By Coleman Bentley
How's that Downtown Music Festival hangover feeling? Eyes still bloodshot? Breath still flammable? Skull still buzzing like a game of Operation every time your brain bumps it? Well, better refill the Excedrin stockpile, because this weekend Googa Mooga hits NYC with a merciless Kool-Aid commercial-colored blast of music, booze, food, and fun that is sure to test the physical and psychological boundaries of even the most in-shape concert-goer. Crying won't help you and praying won't do you no good, as Robert Plant once sang. Only MOST BUZZED shows of the week can save your soul.
Right back into the festival blender, Yeah Yeah Yeahs headline our MOST BUZZED show of the week, a Googa Mooga-backed concert in otherwise quaint, quiet Prospect Park. Though team Ooga suffered some growing pains last summer -- the festival's inaugural year, in their defense -- this summer's music line up, as well as a growing rep as one of the city's most vibrant and varied entertainment options, propels opening night activities to the top of this week's heap.
While 2011 airwaves were dominated by the emergence of chillwave and 2012 by the resurgence of garage rock, 2013, thanks to new releases from bands like My Bloody Valentine, Merchandise, and Pure X, could be the year of shoegaze. If you're looking for a crash course in mope, get to Glasslands Gallery on Thursday for sets from the likes of No Joy and Weekend, whose new LP, dropping in July, lands on my Tan/Fit/Hot/Ready summer release roster.
Also on Friday's Googa Mooga bill, avant-rock legends The Flaming Lips will be in the Garden State 24 hours prior for this weird warm-up at The Wellmont Theatre. Remember the body paint and nitrogen nips, because this one is sure to be one of the wildest sets of the week (totally kidding about the nitrogen by the way, that stuff is like bye-bye-college bad).
When Juicy Juice decides to launch their foray into the lucrative 21-35 year old adult beverage market, rest assured Juicy J will be face behind that branding foray. Until then, the former other half of Three 6 Mafia will have to remain content dropping well-received solo albums, such as this summer's MC-stacked Stay Trippy (due July 2nd), and headlining big NYC shows, like tonight"s set at Irving Plaza. If you're a fan of good, OG hip hop, then a Union Square pilgrimage is unquestionably in order.
While Googa Mooga's opening night slot took our MOST BUZZED show of the week crown, the third and final day of the Park Slope cultural reactor meltdown, headlined by Brooklyn soul revivalists, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, promises to close the weekend in style with sets from hip hop legends (De La Soul) and up-coming entities (Cults) alike. Conceived as a celebration of Brooklyn diversity, Googa Mooga certainly captures it, on stage at least, making a Nethermead Meadow visit a weekend must.
A long way from their buzz-band roots, Austin fog pop trio Pure X are at 285 Kent this week for an essential MOST BUZZED option. Riding the haze wave of their recent LP Climbing Up The Stairs, Pure X are one of the few bands of their ilk that don't mistake synth for substance and atmosphere as a place to belong. Combine that with a Brooklyn venue that any self-respecting NYCer needs to experience and you've got a show worth canceling your Wednesday night plans (a hot date with mid-week psycho emotional numbness) for.
Though the dance-punk torch has been flickering for awhile (since The Rapture's 2011 opus, In the Grace of Your Love, honestly) genre stalwarts !!! have stuck mostly to their guns, dropping their latest slab of shake-your-ass punk, Thr!!!er, earlier this month. This week they hit Bowery Ballroom with former Yeasayer, Sinkane, for what is, hands down, the funkiest show of the week, offering even more proof that, in this town, you don't need a club to get down.
A new installment of MOST BUZZED shows of the week never feels complete without a raucous punk option and, thankfully, veteran Pittsburgh quartet Anti-Flag oblige with this intimate gig in The Studio at Webster Hall. If you've never been down to the Studio, a tiny, 300-capacity cloister hidden in the basement of the East Village legend, then this Saturday nighter is sure to provide a perfect opportunity. Just be careful not to get too close to the stage with that beer, as it is likely end up on your head as opposed to in your stomach.
With recent opening gigs for the likes of Youth Lagoon and a few new tracks from their upcoming LP Impersonator loosing the hype-train brakes, it is safe to say that Montreal's Majical Cloudz's are about to end up somewhere big and quickly. That destination, however, is certainly not Other Music which, though boasting one of NYC's largest record selections, is also one the city's smallest concert venues. When it comes to live music, however, the motion-of-the-ocean rule fully applies, making Majical Cloudz's Sunday night set at the NYU landmark, consequently, a regular Casanova. Just be sure to line up early, as this one is also totally free.
ALSO BUZZING: Foxygen, CRUMBS at Knitting Factory (Tonight); Pure X at the Mercury Lounge (Tonight); Lauryn Hill at Music Hall of Williamsburg (Tonight); MS MR at Bowery Ballroom (Wednesday); Kurt Vile & the Violators, Angel Olsen, Steve Gunn at Bowery Ballroom (Thursday); Pictureplane, Antwon at Santos Party House (Thursday); The Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Band, The Everymen, Shellshag, The Brooklyn What at Shea Stadium (Thursday); Speedy Ortiz, Island Twins, Advaeta, Idiot Genes, Lunchbox at Silent Barn (Friday); Black Francis, Reid Paley at Peter Jay Sharp Theater (Friday); The Great Googa Mooga w/ Matt & Kim, Red Baraat, Jovanotti, Pearl and the Beard, Father John Misty & more at Nethermead Meadow at Prospect Park (Friday); JEFF The Brotherhood, Hunters, Shellshag at The Mercury Lounge (Saturday); Turbonegro, Dirty Fences at Irving Plaza (Saturday); LE1F, L-Vis 1990, Physical Therapy at Steel Drums (Saturday); Liars, Lower Dens at (le) poisson rouge (Sunday); Japanther, Broken Water at Death By Audio (Sunday); Red Bull Music Academy w/ Eamon Harkin, Justin Carter, Francis Englehardt, Paul Nickerson at Secret Brooklyn Venue (Sunday, FREE!)