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Apples in Stereo
Elephant 6 O.G.s Apples in Stereo have never exactly stopped making records—they're currently signed to Hobbit Elijah Wood's Simian Records label—but the perhaps sad truth is that they're a good deal more popular with the olds than they are with the youngs. We're here to tell you, 20-somethings, that what we're dealing with here is a band whose pitch-perfect execution of 60s-style pop is good enough to warrant your attention, despite the startling fact that they were actually making music in the 90s.
YellowFever, Woven Bones
YellowFever's debut full-length was released earlier this year by Wild World Records, the label owned and operated by the Vivian Girls. And it's not difficult to see why Cassie and the gang are such big fans: YellowFever play an immensely likable brand of classic pop that's always just off-kilter enough to keep things interesting, with jangly guitars and some subtly intricate drums sharing the spotlight with hooky, playful vocal melodies.
Bear in Heaven, Zola Jesus
Bear in Heaven's complicated, synth-flecked rock has plenty of local adherents, but Midwestern goths Zola Jesus are the more exciting point of interest. Oh, tween tagalong on the family vacation whose Seaport visit will spark feelings darker than Twilight ever could, we mist up just imagining you.
The Oh Sees, Golden Triangle
A garage rock Neopolitan cone of sorts, with bands ranging in flavor from Thee Oh Sees' sloppy San Francisco psych, to the theatrical thrash of Brooklyn's Golden Triangle, to So Cow and their rickety Irish pop-hooks. Tastes may vary, but you're not required to choose just one.
Free Energy, Best Coast
A potentially weird mix of uppers and downers here, as Bethany Cosentino's Best Coast project is all hazy femininity, preceding Philly's Free Energy and their Thin Lizzy, cock-rock-uber-alles aesthetic. Both write good tunes though, and the confluence of inebriating effects should be interesting, at least.
Avi Buffalo, Chad Van Gaalen
You really, really, really do not want to like Avi Buffalo. You just don't. They're signed to Sub Pop Records, which is... well, you know what that is, and they've just released a debut full-length jam-packed with smart, breezy indie-pop that manages to seem cool despite it's undeniably commonplace reference points (ahem, The Shins). So why don't you want to like them? The singer, Avi Zahner-Isenberg is 19. And you're not. (We're not, you might be.)
You might be washing up the dishes, and the kitchen might say, "Go down to the Seaport, Seaport. Go down to the Seaport, Seaport. There's a free Yacht show for you."Sometimes humidity-spurned hallucinations give sound advice.
The sweet-singing, NPR-approved Jones might not always be what we want on the turntable, but the idea of kicking back with a glass of wine on a warm summer night and listening to her artfully arranged crossover jazz-pop sounds pretty good. (Man are we getting old.)
The great Allen Toussaint (New Orleans' own) once wrote a song called "Everything I Do Gotta Be Funky."And yes, it do. Though Toussaint's masterful, wildly energetic piano playing makes more sense in a smoky jazz club, Brooklynites will be dancing on the grass tonight.
If Kid Koala weren't one of the most influential and important turntablists of our time, with a laughably impressive resume that boasts collaborations with Gorrillaz, Amon Tobin, Deltron 3030 and Lovage among others, we would definitely make fun of the fact that he goes by the name Kid Koala.
OkayAfrica w/ The Roots, Talib Kweli
On the night of the World Cup final in South Africa, Celebrate Brooklyn! brings together two of the most overtly "in touch with their African heritage" rap acts. Brooklynite Talib hosts, although expect him to regale the thronging masses with some quick, sharp verses, while The Roots introduce acts from across the ocean and an opening performance by Sahr Ngaujah, the star of Broadway's Fela!, before closing the evening with their superb live set.
Sonic Youth, Grass Widow, Talk Normal
While an outdoor Sonic Youth show now seems as common to a Brooklyn summer as questionable shorts, this Prospect Park gig happens to be free. It's also a window into the refusing-to-falter taste of Thurston and co., with opening sets from two awesome, unsung bands: shambolic San Fransisco sweethearts Grass Widow, and Brooklyn's own brainy rockers, Talk Normal.
Metric, Joan as Police Woman, Holly Miranda
Real talk? Metric has always left us feeling a little bit cold—and not in the good way, like how The xx leaves us, like shivering and weeping, but in the bad way, like, completely unmoved. That's ok, though, 'cause the rest of the bill is top-notch—make sure you show up early for Ms. Holly Miranda, whose recent performance at Bowery Ballroom caused quite a stir on the ol' internet.
Sharon Jones, Budos Band
You think you got soul? YOU THINK YOU GOT SOUL?! Well, ok, it doesn't really matter if you do or you do not, because the miraculous Ms. Jones and Her Mighty Kings of Dap have extra, and they always bring it. So rather than feeling a little embarrassed for the old people dancing around you, you should probably just dance.Ã‚Â
2009's Manners saw Massachusetts' Passion Pit creeping into the big leagues, which is not just a reference to the bizarre fact that single "Little Secrets"is now used as relief pitcher run-out music for the Arizona Diamondbacks. This one might fill up quick with more than Park Slope's in-the-know regulars, is what we are saying.
It's been a rough year for Mr. Wainwright, whose wonderful, charming mother, the singer Kate McGarrigle, died in January. So come out and show him some love on this high summer night—and enjoy his magnificent opera pop while you're at it.
Listening to a National album with your eyes closed is likely to conjure a summer evening of emotionally confused early adulthood slipping away from you anyway, so you might as well get out of the apartment and live it. Dusk over the Bandshell, dusk of your youth, beer and wine available.
We've been fans of these guys for quite some time now, dating back to our "8 NYC Bands You Need to Hear" feature from, god, 2007, and we've only grown more fond of them as time has gone by. What started out as promisingly elaborate and pleasantly foot-stomping has been bolstered by a decidedly more confident strut. It works wonders for them, and it'll read perfectly here at East River Park.
Passion Pit, Tokyo Police Club
We already told you about the Passion Pit show at Prospect Park the night before this one, so let us now focus on tonight's openers, Tokyo Police Club, whose super infectious dance-punk—which is smarter and less dopey than most everything else we could call dance-punk—is every bit good enough to warrant a headlining spot. Next year, maybe.
She & Him
If there's one thing America stands for, it's preservationist pop balladry. So really, there can be no single act more patriotic than going out to Governor's Island to take in Zooey Deschanel's pretty, pretty voice.
M.I.A., Sleigh Bells
M.I.A. has organized a three-ring circus of a bill to join her at the eye-popping Governor's Island locale, about a week and a half after her sure-to-be-huge third album drops. It-band Sleigh Bells and the baffling, virally-spread South African freaks Die Antwoord head the list of over a dozen acts giving support. Sadly, truffle fry availability is likely limited to back stage.
Say what you will about the Local Natives album being a pastiche of all the most popular indie rock of the past bunch of years (it is), but at least give them this: they do it quite well. Their Shins-ish melodies are spot-on, as are their Fleet Foxes-style harmonies and their Band of Horses-esque infatuation with reverb. Also, the show is free, and they seem like nice kids, so quit your whining, eh?
Grizzly Bear, The Walkmen, Gang Gang Dance
When Jay-Z and Beyonce deigned to hang out with the beardos last summer, Grizzly Bear's show on the waterfront provided the year's most memorable indie-rock water-cooler moment. Any guesses who the sequel might pull out of the woodwork? Adding The Walkmen guarantees high demand, and it's nice to see the experimental edge of Gang Gang Dance in the mix as well.
Neon Indian's music sounds blown out to the point of lethargy—all heat waves shimmering off the pavement, t-shirts peeled off and deposited on the lawn, and no energy to do anything about it but sip a sweating beer. Brooklyn in mid-August seems just about right, then.
Band of Horses
Little known fact: Band of Horses sometimes still take time out from their busy schedule opening up for Pearl Jam (and also performing "Hunger Strike" with Pearl Jam; go find that shit on our website pronto) to play their own shows. We've been hard on their new album, Infinite Arms, because it's not really very good, but we still hold out hope that their feel-good, reverb- and harmony-laden take on Americana will sound great out here by the water.
Faith No More
We know some people, some good and smart people, who are very, very excited about this, and we really can't blame them: Sure, the crowd here will be full of dudes who just want to hear "Epic," but be on the lookout for the diehards, who know that Mike Patton is one of the best forntmen in... what's that? Oh, in the history of rock and roll. (Those people will be easily recognized when they shout, "Happy birthday, fucker.")
Williamsburg, will hearing "Say It Ain't So" live erase the last decade or so of Weezer's existence from your mind? Even if it is bracketed in this riverside set by stark, shitty proof of those intervening years? You might want to start honing your blackout drinking to a scientifically specific degree.
We know, Modest Mouse doesn't always hit a homerun when they play live, but maybe here in Williamsburg, surrounded by an entire generation of hipster youth who grew up under their influence, they'll be able to relax and throw down.
Primus, Gogol Bordello
Umm, you're gonna wanna drink a lot of water before this one: If not to sustain yourself through Gogol Bordello's frenetic gypsy-punk explosions, than to survive Primus' disturbingly unique bass-wank freakouts.
Nas & Damian Marley
After delivering one of the best rap records of the year (or the best rap-reggae album ever, if you prefer), the dynamic duo turns the Pool Party into a dancehall for a show that will presumably feature plenty of the Illmatic one's back catalogue and, why not, some Bob Marley covers. We know from experience that Nas is more reliable live than on record, and from what we hear Damian takes crowds to Jamrock every time.
Seems like every year, someone says, "Yo, Siren sucks this year... no one good is playing." This is never true, though, and it's not true this year, either. On the contrary, it's a particularly solid lineup: Matt & Kim, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Surfer Blood, Harlem, Ted Leo, We Are Scientists, Screaming Females, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Wye Oak and many more. Don't forget your sunblock.
Though these pioneering (in Brooklyn, anyway) Afrobeaters have been around for awhile, their recent stint as the house band for Fela!—Bill T. Jones incredible musical life of Fela Kuti—has brought them to a new prominence in the hearts of those who like it funky. Do you like it funky? We like it funky. (Castle Clinton is named for George, after all.)
One of the city's most gifted and affecting jazz singers, Madeleine Peyroux is also among our most perplexing: she maintains a devoted fanbase and plenty of critical acclaim despite rarely performing live and almost never granting interviews. Don't miss this one—you've never heard a voice quite like hers.
Some people besmirch Beth Orton as a bit too much on the adult-contemporary side, but for our money, the world could use more of her deceptively elegant song-structure and honey-smooth vocals. Hey, good songs are good songs...
Bang on a Can
If you were to go to one non-Northside event during the four days the festival's going on, we'd say it should probably be the Bang on a Can marathon at the World Financial Center Winter Garden. But please, bring some water: it's 12 hours of avant-garde composers and musicians from all over the world. Highlights include Mira Calix, Burke and Gass, and jaw harp experts Kambar Kalendarov and Kutman Sultanbekov.
The Budos Band
If you've never seen the Budos Band live, ask YouTube to show you clips of them performing their carefully honed brand of instrumental Afro-soul. We promise, you'll kick yourself for sleeping on 'em for so long, and you'll be drunk on a boat making up for lost time in, well, no time.
One would be somewhat justified in arguing that the ideal venue for heavy, drugged-out, psych-rock is a dark, hot rock venue. One would be completely justified in arguing that the far funnier venue for heavy, drugged-out psych-rock is a boat.
Ahahah, remember when that dude from Black Lips called that dude from Wavves a "faggot" after they got into fight at a bar like a bunch of rejects from the cast of Jersey Shore? Ahahaha, that was so funny, wasn't it?!? Oh, it wasn't? No. It wasn't.
Apollo Sunshine, Black Hollies
For better or worse, much of what's currently popular in New York City's independent music scene, and by extension that of the rest of the country, is decidedly modern: hazy, washed out, very much reliant upon technology. Not so with Apollo Sunshine and the Black Hollies, who remain completely enamored of 60's pop and psych, respectively.
Jenny Logan, who was great playing in local indie-pop bands My Teenage Stride and World Atlas, continues to be so with her darker three-piece Ribbons. The band slayed at the Seaport last summer opening for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and will probably shine again in this lunchtime spotlight.
We can't even imagine what it will be like to see The Beets in the middle of the week in broad daylight—their hazy, ramshackle psych-tinged garage-rock is most often experienced in near total darkness of the late-night shows they seem to favor. Come to think of it, we've never seen them while we, or probably they, were sober, either.
Rock the Bells 2010
The summer's biggest hip-hop road show has never packed such an impressive cross-generational bill, including still-sharp old school staples like Slick Rick, KRS-One and Rakim, indie favorites like Murs, Brother Ali and Immortal Technique, and that classic gangsta rap boom-bap courtesy Clipse and Wu-Tang. And, with all the New Yorkers performing, you can probably expect some surprise appearances and a tearful Guru tribute.
Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival
This hip-hop locavore feast hasn't served such a filling lineup with a nutritious old school-new school balance in years. Perennial Native Tongues trio De La Soul will headline, with local vets Smif-N-Wessun and Black Moon in tow and next generation rap stars Curren$sy and Fashawn vying to upstage the olds. As always, expect surprise guests like random Wu-Tang members or even Q-Tip, who's leading a panel at the BHHF earlier in the week.
Titus Andronicus, Male Bonding, Cults
It's not like we want to talk about how awesome Northside is going to be this year, it's just that when a fresh-out-of-the-gate, wide-eyed pop duo like Cults, a hyped-up, high-impact noise-rock band like Male Bonding, and mighty, mighty Titus Andronicus are set to play the first show ever at Greenpoint's Barge Park, then we really have no choice, as journalists, but to let people know about it—even if we are the digest-sized alt weekly that organized the thing.
June 26, Newtown Barge Park, 1pm, $10, $12 at the door, FREE with Northside badge.
Liars, Fucked Up, High Places
Even if Karen O is not in the audience like we've pictured in the fleeting moments before falling asleep every night for the past three months, you'd still be hard-pressed to find a more critically-respected, genre-pushing, out-of-the-box thinking, sweat-inducing group of artists than those present at this show. And that's not to mention back-to-back performances featuring two widely considered frontrunners for best rock frontman out there today. Also in our dream? Lots of crowd surfing. Make that happen, please.
June 26, Newtown Barge Park, 6pm, $16, $18 at the door, FREE with badge.
Elvis Perkins in Dearland, A.A. Bondy
After years of reporting on all aspects of indie rock, online music publication Consequence of Sound seems to know what's up when it comes to differentiating between actual talent and here-today, gone-tomorrow buzz bands. It makes sense then that they asked Elvis Perkins in Dearland to headline their showcase, given the band's long-term knack for turning American folk-rock into an eclectic, energetic experience, one with plenty of charm and old-world warmth. In other words, prepare for a perfect Sunday afternoon on the waterfront. unless you forget sunscreen. Then you're screwed.
June 27, Newtown Barge Park, 1pm, $15, $17 at the door, FREE with badge.
Les Savy Fav, Polvo, Grails
After all the shows, the sweating, the drinking, the fist pumping, the inevitable losing of sunglasses, the finding of sunglasses, the art events, the film screenings, the wondering if you could pull off the same tattoo as that dude in the one band you just saw, and, hopefully, the renewed realization that New York has the best music scene in the world, it's all brought to a close by one Mr. Tim Harrington, his band and his beard, playing to a hometown crowd. Brooklyn, this one's for you.
June 27, Newtown Barge Park, 6pm, $15, $18 at the door, FREE with badge.