By Coleman Bentley of My Social List
Now I'm not trying to jinx anything nor further disparage that poor, surely remorseful rodent undergoing rigorous psychological therapy just a few hours down Interstate 80, but it appears that spring may (knocking on wood and faux-wood surfaces alike here) finally have arrived; bringing with it Vitamin D-dolling UVs, the reversal of our collective Emperor Palpatine-esque complexions, and, of course, a rejuvenated concert season. So buckle into those Grecian sandals and cut-off shorts, ladies and gents; from here on out it's only going to get crazier.
Of course, in the live indie-music world, the pinnacle of crazy has to be a Yeah Yeah Yeahs album release show in a venue as small (for a band of YYY's size) as Webster Hall. With their first album in nearly four years, Sacrilege, due next week, the trio, long driven by the charisma of frontwoman Karen O and the eccentric genre shape-shifting of guitarist/keyboardist Nick Zinner, will be at the East Village icon on Sunday night for a sold-out spectacle that clocks in as our MOST BUZZED show of the week.
Webster Hall starts this week off on a tear, claiming the top two spots of our weekly top ten, with this silver medal slot going to British songstress Jessie Ware and the summer 2012 single "Wildest Moments" that properly introduced music listening masses to her blend of club-ready beats and soulful vocal chops. Oh, and if you're wondering whether or not two trips to the same venue is too much in a single week, take it from a guy who has done it: It absolutely isn't, especially when the opportunity to experience a talent like Ware's is on the table.
While Bushwick may still strike more than a little fear (OK, fine, apprehension) into the hearts of non-initiated New Yorkers, the fact is the north Brooklyn hood is rapidly becoming the live music hub of NYC, with seemingly every other abandoned warehouse space converted into a must-visit underground music hotspot/kitchy drinking hole. Just because the crime rates remain less than stellar and the visage terminally run-down, doesn't mean all the music is inhospitably raw, however, as evidenced by twee-pop songwriter Allison Weiss who headlines the week's best date concert at not the former home of the New York Mets, Shea Stadium.
The solo project of former P.S. Eliot frontwoman Katie Crutchfield, Waxahatchee has, in the last 12 months, become a veritable blueprint for how to achieve success in an over-saturated Brooklyn music community. Combining her plaintive songcraft with the support of a small, dedicated record label -- in this case Don Giovanni, whose roster includes a variety of prominent leading ladies such as local punk queens Screaming Females -- Crutchfield crafted one of the yet-young year's best-received albums, Cerulean Salt, which will be on full display at 285 Kent on Wednesday. Grab a few friends and a few drinks for this perfect midweek escape.
The Scottish have a flair for the dramatic -- evidenced in accent and environment alike -- that lends itself particularly well to anthemic indie-rock, a genre which north British Isle outfit Frightened Rabbit have been perfecting for well over half a decade. Taking up the Arcade Fire torch where it was dropped at America's Atlantic coastline, Frightened Rabbit recently released their best album yet, Pedestrian Verse, and will be bringing its woodwind-accented crescendos to Terminal 5's 11th Avenue outpost for a must-see show on Thursday night.
Over the past 12 months both punk and electronic music have battled ceaselessly for underground supremacy, bragging rights, and/or Spotify play counts. While the Adeles and Timberlakes of the world have held fast to their mainstream thrones, lesser known artists armed with sweat-stained guitars and tectonic plate rattling synthesizers have waged warehouse warfare, finding cease-fire in one commonality: noise. Enter Nate Young, who, walking the sonic tightrope of straightforward punk aggression and dense electronic soundscapes, has become one of the most buzzed about electronic artists in the NYC scene. With a DJ set from Ducktails -- the side-project of indie-rock favorites Real Estate -- bookending this bill (pun fully intended), this 285 Kent offering has something for almost everyone.
When the power couple of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, long the creative engine of alt-rock pioneers Sonic Youth, announced their divorce in the fall of 2011, the indie community couldn't help but feel a pang of despair; as if Gordon and Thurston were the reason we could all go to bed alone every night and still believe that true love was just one spilled latte and a half second of eye contact away. The upside to this separation, however, is that it allowed both parties to pursue musical endeavors that they otherwise may not have, the most notable of which being Thurston Moore's Chelsea Light Moving, a bull-headed rock band that eschews the heady haze of Sonic Youth for a more immediately inviting sound. Check out the band's eponymous debut before stopping by the Bowery for a legend's set at the legendary Ballroom.
Green Day has been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late. For years the band has been critiqued for their resin reeking bay-area punk to highly-derivative rock opera snob transition and recently, amidst the release of their relatively hit-less trio of new albums, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong entered rehab, prompting a flurry of tabloid-style speculation from music media sources that once mocked tabloid-style speculation. Drama aside, however, the band has maintained a dedicated following over their two-decade plus career, one that has pursued them from 50-capacity dive bars to, come Sunday night, Brooklyn's biggest and baddest venue, the Barclays Center. Ripping through old favorites and new tunes alike with newly redemptive energy, Green Day are sure to show the skeptics that band-bashing banter doesn't mean much when you put on shows like this.
Call it our odd-couple pairing of the week, but whatever you do, don't miss Seattle folk rockers The Cave Singers when they take to Music Hall of Williamsburg with Philly noise-pop quartet Bleeding Rainbow in tow. I became a fan of Bleeding Rainbows stage-incinerating live shows after witnessing them destroy My Social List's CMJ Music Festival Showcase back in October but, as is the case with any musical workout, a next-set adrenaline cool-down was absolutely necessary. With the help of a whiskey on the rocks (or two), The Cave Singers look to provide exactly that on Saturday night.
ALSO BUZZING: Mykki Blanco at Bowery Ballroom (Tonight), Flume, Eprom at Music Hall of Williamsburg (Tonight), Meat Puppets, The World Takes at The Mercury Lounge (Wednesday), Purling Hiss, Spacin', Axis Sova at 285 Kent (Thursday), Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bombadil at Bowery Ballroom (Thursday), Teepee, Herzog Rising, Lodro, Slow Warm Death at The Cake Shop (Friday), Redd Kross at Santos Party House (Saturday) Leonard Cohen at Radio City Music Hall (Saturday) Heavenly Beat, Psychobuildings, I EAT PAINT at Cameo Art Gallery (Saturday) Goth Party w/ Light Asylum, White Gallery, Frankie Teardrop at Steel Drums (Saturday) Purling Hiss at Maxwell's (Sunday)