There's no letting up on the music scene this week. Incredible live concerts abound from both living legends and hot new things. Check out my Spotify playlist to get in the mood.
Wednesday, Sept. 11
Q-Tip formed the groundbreaking A Tribe Called Quest in 1985, a trailblazing hip-hop group with a string of smart, arty albums that served as a refreshing counterpoint to the popular hardcore and gangsta rap scenes. He's also been part of other classic releases by De La Soul ("3 Feet High & Rising"), Kanye West and Jay-Z ("Watch The Throne") and the Beastie Boys ("Get It Together"). He's released three solo albums, and won a Grammy in 2006 for his performance on The Chemical Brother's track "Galvanize". At Output in Williamsburg.
Aussie electronica pair Flume and Chet Faker produce contemporary techno with enough wobbly beats to appeal to the indie crowds as well. At Webster Hall.
Drone-y duo J. Spaceman (Spiritualized/Spaceman 3) and Kid Millions (Oneida) debut their new duo tonight at Le Poisson Rouge.
Thursday, Sept. 12
London all-female four-piece band Savages' debut album "Silence Yourself" received rave reviews from The Independent, which wrote that "post-millennial indie boy-rock has taken a savage beating here. And it may prove the best it's ever had." Savages' manifesto is simple: "Our intention is to create a sound, indestructible and musically solid, written for the stage, designed with enough nuances to provide a wide range of emotions. The songs aim to remind us that human beings haven’t evolved so much, that music can still be straight to the point, efficient and exciting." At Terminal 5.
Milwaukee's Violent Femmes released their debut self-titled album in 1983, and although overlooked at the time, it eventually sold over 1 million copies, in the process becoming a rite of passage document for rebellious teens from London to Sydney. Their songs exuded a sparse, spiky acoustic edge with soulful vocals by singer/guitarist Gordon Gano. At Rumsey Playfield, Central Park.
Cleveland's mid-70s underground icons Pere Ubu play The Bowery Ballroom.
Friday, Sept. 13
West Coast duo Pinback play tuneful indie rock. Their most recent album, 2012's "Information Retrieved," has been compared by BBC Music to Radiohead's classic "OK Computer" in that "it depicts a modern society on the verge of collapse, but within the context of this planet’s inevitable end. That’s a crucial difference. Where Radiohead indulged in their own paranoid conspiracy theories about how computers and humans would bring about some kind of unnatural apocalypse, Pinback are merely observing the natural demise of the world waiting out their own (relatively) much more immediate deaths." At Irving Plaza.
Former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook brings his band The Light to Webster Hall. They'll be performing the first two New Order albums, "Movement" and "Power, Corruption & Lies."
Saturday, Sept. 14
Grungy rock is what Screaming Females do best. Catch them alongside Katie Crutchfield's Waxahatchee at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Zola Jesus (Nika Roza Danilova) joins forces with underground legend J.G. Thirlwell (Foetus, Steroid Maximus) and Mivos Quartet for a special collaborative performance at the beautiful Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Brooklyn Heights.
Sunday, Sept. 15
Fresh from her invigorating curation of London's Meltdown Festival this summer, Yoko Ono's Plastic Ono Band is launching a new album, "Take Me To The Land Of Hell," at the Bowery Ballroom. It is the band's second studio album since 1973's "Feeling The Space," an album that featured Plastic Ono Band founding member John Lennon on guitar. "Take Me To The Land Of Hell" features Ono and Lennon's son Sean Lennon contributing, alongside Yuka C. Honda, Keigo “Cornelius” Oyamada, Hirotaka “Shimmy” Shimizu, tUnE-yArDs, ?uestlove, The Beastie Boy's Ad-Rock and Mike D, and Lenny Kravitz.
English indie rockers Alt-J and Michigan's Lord Huron (Ben Schneider) round off a quality double bill at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park. They're also playing Saturday night at Manhattan Center Hammerstein Ballroom.
Ambient bluesy country textures from the hugely underrated Califone at Littlefield, Brooklyn. With Richard Buckner.
Monday, Sept. 16
Arctic Monkeys burst onto the charts in 2005, instantly joining iconic indie rockers Oasis and Blur on the frontline of the boisterous (and hyped) U.K. indie music scene. The band's debut "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" became the U.K.'s fastest selling debut album, shifting over 360,000 copies in its first week, and remains the fastest selling debut album by a band.
Each album since then has topped the U.K. charts, with their second album, 2007's "Favourite Worst Nightmare," their most successful U.S. release. The just-released new album "AM" has been described by English new music bible NME as "smart, randy and touched by genius...an absolute triumph from start to finish." Catch the sounds from their Lennon-inspired new album at Webster Hall.
Elvis Costello and The Roots have joined forces to record a new album "Wise Up Ghost" and according to NPR, "this is sexy music about scary topics like the abuse of power and the manipulation of desire. The sound of "Wise Up Ghost" comes closer to the early '70s cinematic funk of Curtis Mayfield and Isaac Hayes than to anything else. Strings swell and horns punch, but everything stays true to the rhythm ?uestlove, percussionist Frank Knuckles and bassist Mark Kelley lay down." At Brooklyn Bowl.
Tuesday, Sept. 16
Boston's Pixies formed in the mid '80s, igniting the stagnant U.S. rock scene and inspiring a new generation of angry young things, like Nirvana. Led by gifted singer, songwriter and guitarist Black Francis (Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV) the band's appeal was bolstered by former high school cheerleader Kim Deal, whose simple, heavy bass lines grounded the fiery and dynamic Black Francis's songs. After four acclaimed albums between 1988 and 1991 — "Surfer Rosa," "Doolittle," "Bossanova," "Trompe le Monde" — none of which hit the U.S. Top 40, the band broke up, eventually reforming in 2004. A new 4-track EP has been announced. At The Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday and Wednesday, and at The Music Hall Of Williamsburg on Thursday night.
Although the Pet Shop Boys' popularity in the U.S peaked in the mid '80's with a streak of top ten singles — including "West End Girls," "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)," "It's A Sin," "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" and "Always on My Mind" — the duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have continued to release sassy and intelligent techno pop. Their recent album "Electric", their 12th studio album, is the first on their own label x2 via Kobalt. "Electric" is a dancier release than 2012's "Elysium," and is their highest charting U.S album since 1993's "Very". At Beacon Theatre, also Monday.
Also Monday, Bradford Cox's post-punk inspired band Deerhunter, reveal their recent, Brooklyn-recorded album "Monomania" at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Young Englishman Jake Bugg writes blues-inflected rootsy rock with the snarl of Liam Gallagher, the rawness of the White Stripes and the swing of an early '60's Rolling Stones single. At Webster Hall.