De La Soul, The B-52's and Rancid Play New York
If you want to listen to the music while you read, click here for my Spotify playlist featuring some of the music mentioned in this article.
Wednesday, June 19
Two of the brightest sparks to emerge from the creative late-70s post-punk pop explosion in the United States were The B-52's and The Go-Go's. LA band The Go-Go's made history as the first all-female band that both wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts. Their 1982 debut "Beauty and the Beat" was propelled by two huge hit singles "Our Lips Are Sealed" and "We Got the Beat." Singer Belinda Carlisle also enjoyed a string of solo hits, including "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" and "Mad About You" after the band broke up in 1985. he B-52's formed in Athens, Georgia (yep, same town as REM) in 1976 and from the outset were a positive, enthusiastic, slightly oddball party band. Their first single "Rock Lobster" was a sizeable international hit and set the tone for their self-titled debut, which also contained the hits "Planet Claire" and "Dance This Mess Around". They will play at Roseland Ballroom.
Thursday, June 20
In 2014, the Museum of the City of New York will present "Folk City: New York and the American Folk Revival," a special exhibition that will explore New York City’s crucial role in fueling the nationwide musical revival in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Tonight there is a benefit concert to aid the exhibition at the New York Academy of Medicine. The cream of today's folk-influenced stars are lining up alongside some rootsy legends to support the cause, including singer-songwriter, novelist and host of NPR's Cabinet of Wonders, John Wesley Harding, folk singer, social activist and co-founder of Peter, Paul and Mary, Peter Yarrow, singer/songwriters Lucy Kaplansky and Langhorne Slim and founding member — and main writer and vocalist — of supergroup The New Pornographers, A.C. Newman.
Also tonight: A mighty lineup of old-school hip-hop heavyweights has come together for the Kings Of The Mic Tour — LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Public Enemy and De La Soul will play Roseland Ballroom. LL Cool J's 13th album "Authentic" has just been released and features performances from Eddie Van Halen, Earth, Wind & Fire and Bootsy Collins. Former N.W.A founder Ice Cube is getting ready to release his 10th solo album "Everythang's Corrupt" this year, while Public Enemy released another acclaimed album in 2012, "The Evil Empire of Everything," described by the Allmusic website as "leaner and harder, stripped down to its hard, unbreakable basics." De La Soul are back with "Get Away," a single that is their first new music in nine years.
And: After three years of non-stop international touring with the likes of the XX, Grimes and the Gossip, when it came time to record their most recent album "Olympia", the Toronto-based Austra had evolved into a complex collaborative effort between its six members. "Olympia" still showcases Katie Stelmanis' epic voice (she's a classically trained veteran of the Canadian Opera Company), but it produces a more robust sound than their fragile 2010 debut "Feel It Break." They will play the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
And: Celebrate the 65th anniversary of the vinyl LP with DJs Ge-ology, Amir (Kon & Amir), The Twilite Tone (Common), OP!, Jon Oliver (East Village Radio) and Scribe spinning records through the Tower of Sound, a custom-built, hi-fidelity sound system, courtesy of Brooklyn's Sound Liberation Front. At Brooklyn Museum.
And: Rancid brings their catchy Clash-inspired punk rock to Terminal 5. The show will also run on Friday.
Friday, June 21
Make Music New York is a live, free musical celebration across the city that takes place each June 21, the longest day of the year. Today more than 1,000 free concerts are scheduled across New York City. Highlights include Punk Island (90 bands/11 hours/seven stages on Staten Island’s enormous “Coast Guard” pier), a performance at Joe's Pub of Beck's innovative 2012 album "Song Reader" (consisting of 20 songs published as sheet music by McSweeney’s), live piano bar parties (on wheels), a piano wire installation under the Manhattan Bridge and BYO instrument jams for guitars, harmonicas, keyboards and voice. I encourage you to check out the website schedule as there are way too many cool events — across all 5 boroughs — to list here!
Also tonight: Lord Huron is LA-based musician Ben Schneider. In 2010, Schneider wrote three spacious, epic-sounding songs inspired by communing with nature, and the Lord Huron project was born. The debut album "Lonesome Dreams" was released in 2012 and features the track "Time To Run." At Webster Hall.
And: UK indie lo-fi dreamers Fear of Men play a free outdoor show this evening at Pier 17, in the South Street Seaport, as part of the Seaport Music Festival.
And: Breathe in the cool Saharan blues of Bombino at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell.
Saturday, June 22
A bunch of cool bands are heading to Prospect Park in Brooklyn today to celebrate Tropfest, the worlds largest short film festival. Catch Chairlift, Neon Indian (DJ Set), Bear In Heaven, Ghost Beach and People Get Ready. Music starts 3:30 p.m., short films at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are free from the Tropfest website.
Also tonight: Columbian superstar Juanes brings his "Loud & Unplugged Tour" to Radio City Music Hall.
Sunday, June 23
Veteran Californian punks Social Distortion hit Warsaw in Brooklyn tonight.
Monday, June 24
Wale's new studio album "The Gifted" is out this week. Hear some new tracks from the soulful hip-hop artist Monday night at Best Buy Theater.
Tuesday, June 25
Copenhagen art-pop quintet When Saints Go Machine are in town to launch their new album "Infinity Pool" at Pianos.