This Week's Best Shows and a Spotify Playlist of the Bands
Thursday, May 15
Lykke Li returned to the studio with her longtime producer Bjorn Yttling (of Peter, Bjorn and John) to record her follow up to 2011’s “Wounded Rhymes.” The resulting breakup album, “I Never Learn,” was recently described by Pitchfork as an album “for the times when heartbreak is so life-affirming that you want to share the feeling with the world.” The show takes place at 8 p.m. at the The Apollo Theater, West 125th St, Harlem. Tickets are available from $68 on Stubhub.
Brooklyn-born music legend Al Kooper — collaborator and side-man for Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, founder of Blood, Sweat & Tears and much more — celebrates his 70th birthday with a pair of shows at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at B. B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd St. Times Square. Tickets are $27.50.
Friday, May 16
UK indie rock band Elbow play restrained orchestral pop songs imbued with a healthy sense of drama and strong lyrical narrative. Their sixth studio album, “The Take Off and Landing of Everything,” recorded at Peter Gabriel’s rural English recording studio, became their first album to debut atop the UK charts. In support is John Grant, the 45-year-old former frontman for Colorado rock band the Czars. His breakthrough 2013 album “Pale Green Ghosts” was described by UK newspaper The Guardian as, “self-obsessed but completely compelling, profoundly discomforting but beautiful, lost in its own fathomless personal misery, but warm, funny and wise." The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at East Village’s Webster Hall, 125 East 11th St. Tickets are available from $75.
Saturday, May 17
UK production trailblazer Sophie wrapped up 2013 on a high with his squelchy single “Bipp.” Tonight he’s headlining Glasslands, 289 Kent Avenue, Williamsburg, for a high energy late show tonight. Doors 11:30 p.m. $10.
Sunday, May 18
John Scofield's Trio wraps up a six night run of shows at the famous Blue Note club tonight. Scofield is a world renowned jazz improviser with a great feel for post-bop, funk edged jazz and R & B. His trio lineup includes Larry Goldings (organ) and Greg Hutchinson (drums). Two shows, 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., Blue Note, 131 West 3rd St, Greenwich Village. $20 bar entry (first come, first served basis), $35 for a pre-booked table reservation.
Monday, May 19
Swans, led by guitarist and vocalist Michael Gira, play visceral, multi-layered music that is both heavy, powerful and utterly unique. Their intense album “The Seer” topped many critics' best of 2012 lists, and their latest, the epic “To Be Kind,” will likely follow suit this year. With Norwegian singer Jenny Hval in support. Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 North 6th St. tonight ($35).
Tuesday, May 20
Nebraskan singer-songwriter Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) has a new album out, “Upside Down Mountain,” which he’ll be previewing tonight at Rough Trade NYC, 64 North 9th St. Williamsburg. Tickets are available at the door, $20.
Wednesday, May 21
Singer songwriter Mirah has released over a dozen solo and collaborative albums since her 2000 debut “You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This.” Over the years she has partnered with Phil Elverum (The Microphones/Mount Eerie), Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs) and Tara Jane O'Neil — each helping expand her experimental and playful folk-tinged songs in new directions. Her new album, “Changing Light,” out this week, appears on her own imprint, Absolute Magnitude Recordings. 7:30 p.m., Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 North 6th St. Williamsburg, $18.50.