Why go: What happens when a member of Appalachian-folk trio Mountain Man (Amelia Meath) teams with a producer known for being in beardo-psych-folk act Megafaun (Nick Sanborn)? The result is, unexpectedly, this minimalist electro-pop act, which puts a modern sheen on the sparse arrangements and piercing songwriting of its members’ other groups.
First spin: The percussive, hip-hop-tinged “Coffee,” on which Meath speak-sings over a warm clatter of electronic twitches, sparkles and clicks.
Opening for Ratatat, April 8, 8 p.m., $28, Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool.
Why go: The gritty Irish singer-songwriter is on top of the world right now, courtesy of the booming, voice-of-God hit “Take Me to Church.” Hozier’s commanding voice is just as mesmerizing live—and so are his blues- and folk-inflected songs, thanks in large part to his ace touring band.
First spin: “Take Me to Church” is the hit everyone knows, but the vintage-soul slow dance “Someone New” has a warmer, more personal touch.
With Low Roar, April 9, 8 p.m., $30-$65, the Chelsea.
Why go: Noah Lennox co-founded indie darling Animal Collective, which is good enough reason. As a solo artist, Lennox builds on the electronic, experimental and multimedia-fond bent of his main squeeze; resulting in an immersive, rhythm-heavy experience that’s disorienting and mind-altering in the best ways possible.
First listen: 2011’s “You Can Count on Me,” a synth- and programming-heavy drone that’s an accessible gateway to Panda Bear’s more elaborate, elliptical work.
With Ducktails, April 10, 9 p.m., $20, Bunkhouse Saloon.
Why go: Donald Fagen's and Walter Becker's classic-rock juggernaut has a reputation for studio perfectionism, which also permeates its concerts, meticulous, soulful recreations of the band’s greatest hits. Yet as any fan will attest, a Steely Dan show isn’t stiff and formal; come for the musical precision, but be prepared to let loose.
First spin:The jazzy stabs and smooth harmonies of “Peg” are a must.
April 11, 8 p.m., $95-$205, the Pearl.
Why go: This London-based soul troupe is a rare breed of studio-project-turned-live-band: a seamless success. Thanks to a cadre of talented musicians and vocalists, Jungle’s retro disco, pointed post-punk, checkered funk and slinky R&B is wholeheartedly groovealicious.
First spin: “Time,” a falsetto-laden tune that sounds unearthed from a time capsule buried during Studio 54’s heyday.
Opening for Alt-J, April 13, 8 p.m., $40-$100, the Joint.
Ghostface Killah & Raekwon
Why go: They’re two of the most prolific and innovative members of the hip-hop-trailblazing Wu-Tang Clan, and their many collaborations and separate releases—including Raekwon’s forthcoming LP, Fly International Luxurious Art—underscore that neither seems content resting on his laurels.
First spin: “Heaven & Hell,” from 1995’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, a boundary-crossing combo of laid-back R&B, hip-hop and soul.
With Marion Write, Trade Vorhees; April 13, 9 p.m., $25-$28, Brooklyn Bowl.
Why go: The legendary SoCal act remains one of the most reliable (and relatable) veteran punk bands around, courtesy of gravelly-voiced frontman Greg Graffin’s college-instructor-lecturing stage presence; white-hot drumming from Brooks Wackerman; and a spate of technology- and authority-fearing songs. Bonus: Off!, the skate-punk project from Circle Jerks/Black Flag leader Keith Morris, is opening.
First spin: “21st Century (Digital Boy)” was one of the band’s mainstream breakthrough hits, and it remains an irresistible pop-punk earworm.
With Off!, April 13 & 14, 7 p.m., $30-$32, House of Blues.
Why go: The Swedish indie songstress often gets overshadowed by other artists, simply because her wrenching confessions about heartbreak are so subtle. When those observations collide with her vulnerable, pure-pop voice, however, she deserves to be elevated above the pack. Plus, After taking a sudden break from touring earlier this year—seemingly driven by health and emotional concerns—who knows when she’ll hit town again?
First spin: “I Follow Rivers,” the Depeche Mode-y synth-goth jam from 2011’s stellar Wounded Rhymes.
With Ryn Weaver, April 14, 8 p.m., $20, Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool.
Why go: Though the wildly influential emo rockers haven’t released an album in six years (and counting), the Long Islanders remain a steady touring presence, and the band’s concerts remain cathartic, discordant displays of interpersonal conflict and inward-directed angst.
First spin: 2006 LP The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, its emotional turmoil matched only by its distorted, noisy post-hardcore ferocity.
With Circa Survive, The Weaks; April 17, 8 p.m., $36-$41, Brooklyn Bowl.
Why go: Although still known best as the female co-vocalist from Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” this New Zealand-born singer is far more than an afterthought. Her solo work—such as 2014’s quirky, electro-pop gold-rush The Golden Echo—showed that she has the charisma, voice and originality to be a main attraction.
First spin: The Kylie Minogue-ish “Miracle,” a post-disco, pre-New Wave song dominated by skyscraping, smoky-soul vocals.
With Mikky Ekko, April 18, 9 p.m., $20-$25, Hard Rock Live.
Why go: The Kentucky-born alt-country man is experiencing the same kind of renaissance as fellow outliers Jason Isbell, Nikki Lane and Lydia Loveless. Simpson’s not-so-secret weapon is his voice—the aural equivalent of buttery leather—and twanging, longing songs in the grand tradition of hardscrabble, shot-and-a-beer country acts.
First spin: “The Promise,” a cover of When in Rome’s New Wave trifle that becomes an aching plea for understanding—and a solemn vow of comfort.
With The Lone Bellow, Electric Western; April 23, 8 p.m., $22-$24, Brooklyn Bowl.
Why go: It’s rare to find a band so rooted in tradition, yet so slavishly devoted to forward momentum. Then again, few bands are anything like Chicano Batman, whose unique amalgamation of sounds—organ-fried psych-rock, Brazilian bossa nova, surf-rock rhythms and sultry soul—and stellar musicianship combine for a sizzling live experience.
First spin: “Cycles of Existential Rhyme,” a good approximation of the band’s groove-heavy gigs.
With Rudy De Anda, The Commons; April 24, 9 p.m., $8., Beauty Bar.
Milky Chance with James Hersey, April 9, 9 p.m., $18-$22, Brooklyn Bowl. St. Vincent, April 10, 8 p.m., $25, Boulevard Pool. RAC & St. Lucia, April 11, 8 p.m., $20, Boulevard Pool. Marina and the Diamonds with Kiesza, April 13, 8 p.m., $25, Boulevard Pool. The Cribs with Close to Modern, Warblood, April 14, 9 p.m., $10. Interpol with Guy Blakeslee, April 15, 8 p.m., $25, Boulevard Pool. Stromae with Freedom Fry, April 16, 8 p.m., $25, Boulevard Pool. Alabama Shakes with Allah-Las, April 18, 9 p.m., $40-$44, Brooklyn Bowl. Built to Spill with Braided Waves, April 20, 9 p.m., $15-$20, Bunkhouse Saloon.
It must have been intimidating for Thundercat—then a teenager—to be in the room with the gravitational force that is Erykah Badu.
Like a frozen margarita served poolside, “Don’t Sleep” is funky, refreshing and perfect for summer days.
“When I first came in, I thought, ‘This place is huge,’ but actually, the whole festival is right here,” founder Evan Hagen says, gesturing to ...
- Get More Music Stories