The Best Shows in NYC This Week: Protomartyr + Blitzen Trapper + Buzzcocks + Squarepusher + Earl Sweatshirt + The Menzingers + The Album Leaf + The Juan Maclean + Pity Sex + LVL UP + Com Truise + Trans Am + Beverly + Alex G + Doldrums + Liturgy + Cayetana
Written by Patrick McNamara
Let's stop messing around and start talking about the good shows going down this week. No dilly-dallying talking about our day or the weather or the sporting games today. Quality concerts come before all other worldly pleasantries and concerns. The shitty ones can go straight to hell. We will not be concerned with them today. It is the good ones we are about to discuss - the shows that are just like heaven.
Go see good things.
Forever and Ever.
Monday - April 13th, 2015 A.D.
Sunflower Bean play Baby's All Right. They make psych sludge pop goodness with plenty of well-placed yelps. Remember when we came out with that “Hardest Working NYC Bands of 2014" feature and Sunflower Bean took the top slot because we listed way more of their shows than any other band on the blob last year? That was pretty chill but it pissed off some other bands who claim they played more. Sorry, bands. Also, your digital haranguing really makes me want to list your band's future shows. Honduras, another hard working band of 2014, opens.
Philly's Cayetana opens the action at Music Hall of Williamsburg. I can't remember who headlines. You'll just have to check Rockness because I always write off-blob. But I do remember that Cayetana play pretty perfect pop emo folk punk so the rest of this bill is gravy on the goodness train as far as I'm concerned.
Pittsburgh's Adventures play Amityville Music Hall out on Long Island tonight. How far do you want to travel to see super solid pop punk that you can happily sing along to and not feel the least bit bad about it? That's a question only you can answer. But the band will be 6 hours and 56 minutes (in current traffic) from their home in Pennsylvania so that's just something to keep in mind as you decide.
Tuesday - April 14th, 2015 A.D.
Speaking of Pennsylvania, scrappy Scranton emo punks The Menzingers headline Baby's All Right (Big Eyes also play) and that's fine by me. They write good songs about waitresses and smoke breaks. This is one of those Red Bull Sound Select shows and was curated by BrooklynVegan and I don't want to be an asshole anymore.
Pill play Shea Stadium. Oh My Rockness recently said this NYC band makes “skittish saxophone punk chaos" and I always like quoting me back to me. Consider this one if you wish No Wave of the early '80s was alive today (spoiler: it is) and if you're the type that enjoys contorting yourself.
Wednesday - April 15th, 2015 A.D.
Here's a really great 1-2 goodness punch. Alex G and LVL UP lead a good all-around lineup at Baby's All Right tonight. I told you how Alex G is a lo-fi folk wunderkind and will probably be a shining star someday soon, right? Pretty sure I did. But don't think I mentioned that I recently saw LVL UP play again and it was easily one of the best sets I've heard in quite some time. Not bullshit. Real talk. True spit.
Speaking of shining stars, Detroit's Protomartyr play The Wick and this band was one of the big winners of last year's CMJ. They tell you it's not a competition but if that's the case then why is everybody playing the game? Stew on that while streaming this solid song. #scuzz #punk (update: management says hashtags serve no purpose for dynamic digital articles like this one. #oh #well)
The dark lords of Brooklyn, Liturgy, blast their euphoric post metal noise at Saint Vitus tonight and their set will certainly include songs off their new album “The Ark Work" on Thrill Jockey. Please note: Tortoise, this is not. Bring earplugs to this and nobody gets hurt.
Other Notable Shows = Big Terrific Comedy Show at Cameo Gallery (one of its final shows)
Thursday - April 16th, 2015 A.D.
Trans Am (click that if you like reading nine-year-old band profiles) play Baby's All Right tonight which is tremendous because I was totally just talking about Thrill Jockey. This instrumental post rock band from Maryland have been shredding the math rock goodness since their debut album came out way back in '96 on…. you guessed it…. Thrill Jockey. Here are those classic Trans Am “cuts" (music industry insider speak for “songs") that still make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside even after all these years.
Some legendary British punks play Irving Plaza tonight. Never mind the Sex Pistols because after a myriad of breakups and hiatuses Buzzcocks are still here. Since 1976, kid. Singles Going Steady, son.
Electronic dance punks The Juan Maclean are always excellent and tonight they play a rare “live set" at Cameo Gallery (and tomorrow and Saturday, too). Just realized my use of quotes for “live set" makes it look like I'm being sarcastic. You misunderstand me, sir. I just wanted to make sure “live set" was highlighted because often The Juan Maclean sling “DJ" sets and those are cool and all but seeing someone push buttons and knobs and levers and things is not really the same thing as seeing someone play strings and keys and drums and things.
Bluffing play “super quick indiepop doo-wop that sometimes slings punk rock." Those are wise words written by myself last December and I still stand by them all these four months later. Did you know we listed 35 shows for Bluffing in 2014 alone? It's true. Practice and talent make good. They open the goodness at Aviv tonight.
Other notable shows = Weird Womb at Black Bear Bar + Bob Saget at Best Buy Theater + Cake Shop's benefit for the people of the recent East Village Fire + Radical Dads at Rough Trade + Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson at Union Pool
Friday - April 17th, 2015 A.D.
Standout Michigan fuzz punksters Pity Sex play a FREE show at Brooklyn Night Bazaar (with the also excellent Foxes in Fiction). Back in February of last year I said, “Pity Sex's crunchy vs. noodle-y guitars playfully wrestle as male/female harmonies propel these noisy choruses towards something resembling contentment" and I still 100% agree with myself. If you haven't heard this almost instantly likeable band you will be hearing about them soon. Bet. Even sooner if you stream this good song I have so conveniently posted. Aww. I'm always doing sweet things like that.
The Woodhead boys are back in town. Toronto's Doldrums (led by Airik Woodhead) + Moon King (Daniel Woodhead's thang) are two good bands of brothers that play their own brand of synth-driven pop. See them both at Mercury Lounge (and tomorrow at Baby's All Right) and see if they end up punching each other in the face like my brother and I would do if we were ever touring North America together.
Portland's alt country folk popsters Blitzen Trapper play two shows at City Winery tonight. They will be performing Neil Young's classic 1972 album “Harvest" in its entirety. You know, the album with “Old Man" and “Heart of Gold?" Right. There you go. As of this writing, there were tickets to a couple of stools available but no reserved chairs, premier seats, or VIP La-Z-Boys (if you haven't been to City Winery don't worry about it).
Electronic pop master Com Truise (aka Seth Haley) has been creating the instrumental hits for a few years now. Time, where do you go? He plays Verboten tonight and in appreciation, allow me to post an oldie but a goodie and a song I still return to in times of great nostalgia. File Under: JAM.
Saturday - April 18th, 2015 A.D.
True story: I was pretty obsessed with San Diego's The Album Leaf (mastermind = Jimmy LaValle) for much of the early aughts. I listened to their instrumental goodness over and over and over once more. Perfect post-rock sound pieces of art just did it for me back then and I still return to this band's catalog often (RIP TigerStyle + now Insound). So I'm VERY much looking forward to seeing this one at Brooklyn Night Bazaar tonight. It's got to be at least 13 years since I last saw The Album Leaf live. It was at Knitting Factory. The older one. On Leonard Street.
I love when three good bands play the same show because it means I don't have to move for awhile and idle laziness is something I can always get behind. Ava Luna (click that if you like reading band profiles from 2010 - like all my band profiles that I never update after I write them, consider it a time capsule) + Palehound (that one is only a year and a half old that one is OK) + LVL UP (careful Rockness readers will note I already showered LVL UP with kindness this week) are the 1-2-3 Triple Crown Goodness Punch tonight at Silent Barn. Get there early. Stay late. Don't move a goddamn muscle. Ahhhhh.
Earl Sweatshirt aka Thebe Neruda Kgositsile aka (Odd) Future Poet Laureate flows forth songs from his super sweated over new album “I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside" at Best Buy Theater tonight. Don't let that title fool you. Expect positive vibes.
Brooklyn's Beverly play punk rippers at Palisades tonight and whenever they play a show they get mentioned on this Best Shows This Week thing because they are a really good band and that's just the way it works.
Sunday - April 19th, 2015 A.D.
Squarepusher plays Webster Hall. YES. This elusive break beat master (England's Tom Jenkinson) has been twiddling the masterful electronic goodness since 1995. Maybe he doesn't get quite as much praise as his counterpart, Aphex Twin, but he's a legend to those in the know and since this show is totally sold-out there are many who do. Let's take it back with this classic deep cut. Ah, Port Rhombus EP. I remember you.
Young Brooklyn lyrical genius Joey Bada$ plays Terminal 5. Careful Rockness readers might notice I always post the same Joey Bada$ song whenever I pimp his goodness, even though the song in question is now over three years old. But it's a really good song, there are no careful Rockness readers, and why stop now.
The Beach Boys play The Wellmont Theatre. Some say the songs found on “Pet Sounds" represented this bands greatest work but I disagree. Those songs didn't have Stamos. Cut. It. Out.*
*yes, I know that was Dave Cloutier's catchphrase and not Uncle Jesse's but I just wanted an excuse to say that not only was Alanis Morissette's hit song “You Oughta Know" widely rumored to be about Dave but so was Carly Simon's hit song “You're So Vain."
Oh, yeah. America opens this show for The Beach Boys and THIS SONG IS A JAM NO JOKE (don't stand behind this video, though).
Other notable shows = see: Amazon Prime + Netflix + Hulu Plus + Sling + Suddenly Everything
That's it. Thanks for reading all the way to the end. Let's do it again next week.
Forever and Ever.