Welcome to our weekly installment of the ten best shows around town. And boy is it a good week for music. If you’re already facing imminent meltdown due to the fact that X-mas music is EVERYWHERE, yet again (something you try to forget every single year), put your Scrooge rage on ice, because nearly all of our picks for this week embody the antithesis of holiday spirit. Eat it up while you still can kids.
Where All The Cool Kids Will Be
Pharmakon, Marshstepper, Puce Mary, Liebestod, Aischrolatreia, Ligature
Thursday December 11th, 7:30 pm at Saint Vitus (Greenpoint), tickets: $10
Dannnnngggg, this is a sick lineup. If you missed Pharmakon’s record release show at Palisades a couple weeks back, here’s your chance to catch Margaret Chardiet again before hometown girl leaves on her Bestial Burden tour. And while Palisades is a great party palace, the sound isn’t, like, superb. St. Vitus is much fancier, yes, but the tradeoff is better sound and more room to wiggle, not that that’s what you’d be doing at a noise(ish) show anyway, but whatever. If you’re not familiar with Pharmakon, give her latest record a quick spin and you’ll understand her nifty approach to noise, a genre that’s not exactly “fun” or “approachable,” is actually quite accessible. But don’t worry, she doesn’t sacrifice horrifying screams and doom-inducing industrial beats that cut you to your core for catchy hooks or anything.
A bunch of other bands are joining Pharmakon, noteably Puce Mary, Ligature, and Marshstepper from Ascetic House. Remember when the Arizona-based record label took over town during 4th of July? Yeah, me too. That ruled. Well, they’re back apparently– with noise and metal that will make you want to rip your brains out. If that’s your thing, we’d hate to see you miss this opportunity to do so.
If You Slept On This One, I Feel Sorry You, Bud
Swans and Liturgy
Friday December 12th, 7 pm at Warsaw (Greenpoint), tickets: $35
Emerging from the New York no-wave scene of the 1980’s, Swans, much like its brethren, has put out album after album of totally brutal music. The lineup has changed over the years, save for its guiding light, Michael Gira, but after more than 30 years, the band is still widely regarded as one of the best live acts out there. But what’s truly surprising about Swans is Gira’s refusal to stand still, even when he’s found himself in a brilliant position. To Be Kind, released this year, is strikingly different from last year’s The Seer, and even more so removed from an album, like, oh I don’t know Cop.
Another draw for this particular show is that Swans is playing at Warsaw, which means you basically have an opportunity to see them at your high school gymnasium, only curmudgeonly old Polish ladies will be there to slop kielbasa and pierogi onto your plate if brooding, sadistic music makes you hungry. To each his own.
Opening for Swans is Liturgy, a “Brooklyn black metal” band, which means they’re hardly black metal at all if you ask me– that would be like calling the Witches of Bushwick actual Satanists. Though true metal heads would like LOL at this pretty boy band, there’s no reason you should hate on them because they bathe and, to my knowledge, don’t self-mutilate on stage. Give peace a chance
High Chance of Bro Showers, But Great Music Will Move In By Nighttime
Parquet Courts, Blues Control, PC Worship
Thursday December 11th, 7:30 pm at Webster Hall (East Village), tickets $15-17
Ok so this show isn’t happening in Brooklyn, but Parquet Courts, the quintessential Brooklyn band, is playing, so if that’s something you care about you should probably be there. PC Worship is another Brooklyn-based punk band that’s been around for quite a while and most recently has been hamming it up with aforementioned BK darlings under PCPC. They’re definitely on the short list for fun local acts to see. And of course Blues Control– their jammy, psyched-out tunes are a particularly irreducible kind of rock music– do not miss out on Blues Control guys. If you’re one of those I-only-show-up-for-the-headlining-act jerks, check your lameness for just this once. Wait, actually just try doing that from here on out, or consider leaving this planet forever.
If you’ve been living under a rock or simply prefer to sip red wine in the pitch black dark while soaking in the tub because you already have to deal with people too freaking much, perhaps you haven’t had a chance to see this Parkay Quarts and their catchy party punk ripped straight from Tyvek in action. It could also be that their last several shows in the city, including this one, have sold out fairly quickly. But here’s to hoping you’ve already secured your way in, or shook on a deal with a 16-year-old to trade his tickets for a case of High Life.
Friday December 12th and Saturday December 13th, 8pm at Saint Vitus (Greenpoint), tickets: $17-20
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for doom metal. And Yob plays some of the genre’s finest sludgy durges. Their new album has made a wide range of best albums of 2014 lists, esoteric bloggerss and even Rolling Stone agreed Clearing the Path To Ascend was one of the year’s best releases. Luckily, they’re playing two shows, so you have a decent chance of finding tickets for at least one. On Friday, Tombs (metal/ post-punk) and Kings Destroy (Brooklyn stoner metal) open up. If ‘80s metal is more your speed, Saturday’s opening act Occultation will probably get you going. They’re joined by Ecstatic Vision, a band that’s one part droney nod to “world music,” and three parts heavy psych.
If Your Ears Aren’t Blown Out By Sunday, This Will Seal the Deal
Sunday December 14th, 8 pm at Saint Vitus (Greenpoint), tickets: $15
OK, so we’re a little heavy on the metal this week. I swear I’m not even a huge metal head, there just happen to be a lot of great bands playing this week. And yes, Mutilation Rites is another Brooklyn black metal band (see above: Liturgy), but they are a little nastier and I haven’t heard anyone accuse them of being “hipster metal.” This Sunday night lineup also includes White Widows Pact (mainly death metal, but hats off to their unexpected cover of “Negative Creep”) and Black Breath sort of comes off as butt metal, but like I can’t really promise that because I’ve never seen them live.
So Cute, I’m Screaming
Sunday December 14th, 7 pm at Glasslands (Williamsburg), tickets: $10-12
This indie pop / psych band is nothing short of super fun. Summer of Hate (2009) and Endless Flowers (2012) both stuck around in my heavy rotation pile for quite some time. I was deep in a nothing-but-filthy-punk stupor for all of 2013, so to be completely honest, I missed their latest release, Crimes of Passion. But hey, the characteristic catchy riffs are there, the same doo-wop cutesy vibes, so I just might find myself back at a Crocodiles show this weekend kids, and I suggest you get there too.
The Expensive Joke
Sunday December 14th, 8 pm at Barclays Center, tickets: $65-230
Ok readers, this is my gift to you. I thought I’d balance out all the spooky metal I’ve loaded on you with some old fashioned star power. JT’s still got it, apparently. He’s still selling, what, like billions of records. But he’s been pulling these pop strings for a while, they’ve got to be getting a little threadbare by now. Let’s be real, Justin’s probably only got a few more years left in him before he joins Britney in Las Vegas, where all pop icons go to be pumped full of formaldehyde and propped up by stiff wires like the Osmonds to live out the rest of their indentured servitude to the entertainment industry. So yeah, go see him while he’s hot!
Bad Behavior, Chat Logs, Tropical Trash, Anwar Sadat
Saturday December 13th, 8pm at Shea Stadium (Bushwick), tickets: $8
The headlining bands both just so happen to make use of annoyingly ubiquitous upside cross insignia on their band websites. But like, please don’t let that deter you. Bad Behavior is some rather welcome low-fi minimal punk– quite different from other stuff that’s passing for punk in Brooklyn these days. Shea Stadium is also welcoming a couple of punk bands (Tropical Trash and Anwar Sadat) from Louisville, Kentucky, whose recordings, you know, sound shitty. But there’s high potential for this to be a fun show y’all.
Sip Tinis and Just Shake It, K?
Friday December12th, 7:30 pm at the Living Room (Williamsburg), tickets, $10
Live synth pop is somewhat of a rarity these days, most artists working within Twin Tapes’ genre are just playing pre-recorded stuff. But seeing Twin Tapes live actually involves a fair amount of improvisation. Imagine that! Oh and it’s electro-pop sort of stuff so it could certainly be interpreted as danceable music, depending of course upon how many vodka crans you’ve sloshed into your face.
Fly Your Freak Flag
Kevin Barnes (from Of Montreal)
Thursday December 11th, 7:30 at Baby’s All Right (Williamsburg), $20
Hey just because Kevin Barnes is appearing without the rest of his band is absolutely no reason to miss this show. The man is an incredible live talent and always brings the unexpected with his weirdo, gender-bending, theatrical performances. Plus Barnes has been known to get totally naked at shows. So leave your grandma and your kids at home. This one’s bound to get freaky.