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Vampire Weekend, How to Destroy Angels and Big Boi Play New York

By Daniel Jumpertz | April 24, 2013 7:59am

If you want to listen to the music while you read — click here for my Spotify playlist featuring the bands and artists mentioned in this article.

Wednesday, April 24
As one half of Outkast with his partner Andre 3000, Big Boi created three classics; 1994's "Southerplayalisticadilacmuzik", 1996's "ATLiens" and 1998's "Aquemini." The duo then brought in the new millennium by selling four million copies of "Stankonia," only to follow it up with the Grammy winning  "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" double album. Ten years on, Big Boi continues to break ground on his own with his second solo album, "Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors", the follow up to 2010's "Luscious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty." The album cleverly fuses aggressive southern hip hop, Detroit basslines, indie sounds and funk. Will Butler of The A.V. Club asserted that the album "delivers" as a "feel-good record," with Big Boi "at his most selfless, honest, and exploratory now." At Brooklyn Bowl.

Thursday, April 25
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of her debut album "Everybody Loves You," gifted young guitarist Kaki King is performing two shows tonight at the Mercury Lounge. The early show at 6.30pm is solo acoustic fare, with her full band joining her for the 9.30pm set. King's virtuosic guitar sound (watch this video for evidence) recalls fingerpicking giants such as Leo Kotke.

Also tonight: Eccentric LA duo Sparks — made up of brothers Ron & Russ Mael — formed in 1970 and enjoyed a run of hit records in Europe starting with their UK top 5 album "Kimono My House" in 1974. Their current "Two Hands One Mouth" tour is the first time the brothers have discarded their touring band and faced audiences as a duo. At Highline Ballroom.

Friday, April 26
Although Robyn Hitchcock's earliest influence was folk music, it was how he combined his Bob Dylan obsession and Lennon-esque vocals to pop and punk with The Soft Boys (1976-1980) that ultimately made his reputation as a unique singer and songwriter. Over his career he has collaborated with the cream of the UK and US post punk scene. On his solo debut, "Black Snake Diamond Röle," this included Thomas Dolby and members of The Vibrators and Psychedelic Furs. In 1985 he formed The Egyptians, releasing six albums between 1985 and 1993, and in 1989 teamed up with Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Peter Holsapple of The dB's, playing two gigs as Nigel and the Crosses. Since 2006, his main band has been The Venus 3 and he has continued collaborating with artists as diverse as Nick Lowe, former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, Peter Buck and Gillian Welch. In 2007, he was the subject of a documentary, "Robyn Hitchcock: Sex, Food, Death... and Insects," shown on the Sundance Channel. "Food, sex and death are all corridors to life if you like," he says.  "You need sex to get you here, you need food to keep you here and you need death to get you out, and they’re the entry and exit signs." At Webster Hall with REM's Peter Buck supporting.

Also tonight: Shabazz Palaces created waves by being the first hip hop crew signed to Seattle's Sup Pop record label (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney). Led by Ishmael Butler  (once 'Butterfly' of the jazzy rap group Digable Planets) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai 'Baba' Maraire, the group anonymously self-released two EPs, before releasing their debut full-length album, "Black Up," in 2011. With THEESatisfaction in support, an interesting outfit who have cornered the market in funk-psychedelic feminista sci-fi epics. At The Bowery Ballroom.

And: Balancing delicate production with assertive guitar work and soulful vocals, Trixie Whitley can be seen as picking up where her late father, blues guitarist Chris Whitley, left off. After letting off a few EPs and fronting Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub project, she released her first solo LP, "Fourth Corner," in late January to much fanfare, with Paste Magazine calling it “fascinating and immersive, a perfect setting for her pipes.” At Glasslands, doors at 8:30pm.

Saturday, April 27
Electronic composer and party instigator Dan Deacon's career spans from the streets to Carnegie Hall. His latest project, "America," is a love letter and a call to action. In a New York Times profile, Deacon stated, "It's impossible to think about the land without the history of it, and that's a mixture of guilt and shame." Deacon brings his fluorescent creativity to the Met Museum with a new music/video piece, specifically created for the Charles Engelhard Court in the Met's American Wing. Combining audience-triggered sound and light, video projection with live and electronic sounds, the performance explores Dan's commitment to civic responsibility.

Also tonight: Billy Bragg assembled a new band for the pensive "Tooth & Nail", his first new studio album in five years. The album features an accomplished crew of musicians, including Greg Leisz (Bon Iver), Patrick Warren (Lana Del Rey), Jay Bellerose (Regina Spektor) and David Piltch (Ramblin’ Jack Eliot). Drawing on personal rather than political themes, "Tooth & Nail" was recorded in a five-day session with Grammy Award winning producer Joe Henry (Solomon Burke, Aimee Mann, Elvis Costello and Hugh Laurie) in his South Pasadena basement studio. Bragg says, “In 2011, I took a long, hard look at who I am and what I do. This album is the result.” Here's Billy talking about the making of the album.
At the Town Hall.

Sunday, April 28
Preppy indie rockers Vampire Weekend hit the top spot with their second album, 2010's "Contra," so expectations are high for "Modern Vampires" (release date May 14), which they are previewing tonight at Roseland Ballroom. The band recently released a double A side single featuring the tracks "Diane Young" and "Step" and have been working with actor and director Steve Buscemi on a series of cryptic preview videos. Singer Ezra Koenig recently told Australian radio that, for "Modern Vampires," they have focused on "good songwriting," saying "we wanted the songs to just be amazing," and working towards a sound in which "something that sounds traditional and maybe something that seems modern come together and it feels natural."

Also tonight: Primus frontman, Les Claypool's Duo De Twang plays Gramercy Theater.

Monday, April 29
How to Destroy Angels is a new project for Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, and includes his wife Mariqueen Maandig, soundtrack collaborator Atticus Ross, and art director Rob Sheridan. Their self-titled debut EP was released in 2010 and featured the track "The Believers" from the 2011 film "Limitless." The band also recorded a cover of the Bryan Ferry song "Is Your Love Strong Enough?" which was released on the soundtrack for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." The band's debut album, "Welcome Oblivion" has just been released. In support DIIVhttps://www.facebook.com/diivnyc at the Apollo Theater.

Also tonight: The guitarist Billboard Magazine calls “an American treasure” Jim Campilongo plays tonight with his Campilongo Trio at The Living Room. In 2011 Fender Guitars bestowed Jim the honor of the Campilongo Signature Telecaster.

Tuesday, April 30
The English Beat (known simply as The Beat in the UK) formed in Birmingham during a period of high unemployment and social upheaval and during their first incarnation from 1978-1983 provided an upbeat soundtrack that combined both wryly observed social commentary and purely hedonistic escapism. Although the multiracial band racked up over a dozen UK hits, including "Tears of a Clown", "Ranking Full Stop", Hands Off...She's Mine", "Mirror in the Bathroom", "Stand Down Margaret" and "Save it for Later," outside the British Isles, the band was more marginalised. Combining ska, pop, soul, reggae and punk rock, the The English Beat was at the forefront of the 2 Tone Ska revival alongside The Specials, The Selecter, Madness, Bad Manners and The Bodysnatchers. After their 1983 breakup, bassist Andy Cox and guitarist David Steele formed the Fine Young Cannibals with Roland Gift, finally conquering the US with two consecutive number one singles, "She Drives Me Crazy" and "Good Thing" in 1989. At City Winery.