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.
One-fourth of 98 Degrees, singer Jeff Timmons, has lived in Las Vegas for almost seven years.
Recently she’s been singing with longtime Las Vegas lounge favorite Pop Rebels, formerly known as Generation.
“I went through 15 cervical spinal surgeries at the height of my music career, and then came back seven years later on American Idol.”
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