Get weird and get dark at the showcase for ridiculously flawless label Merok Records. Teengirl Fantasy, Blondes and Gatekeeper will all make the soundtrack a little bent, and if that’s not enough, watch the fuck out for DJ Venus X, of the notorious, intense Ghe20 Gothik crew.
The Brooklyn What
The band I’m looking forward to most at the festival would be The Men, performing at the Sacred Bones showcase at Public Assembly. I just heard their new album Leave Home and it is a phenomenal record, juggling punk rock and experimental music in a chaotic, envelope-pushing tour de force. Imagine Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Black Sabbath and My Bloody Valentine all fighting for space in one band’s brain.
A Saturday night show not to miss is the Merok Records showcase at 285 Kent. Teengirl Fantasy, Blondes, Gatekeeper—this might be the best trio of performers to showcase at Northside this year. Expect a high energy crowd, cool ambient sounds, and fogged-out projections.
I’m excited to check out the Father/Daughter Records & StereoactiveNYC show at Spike Hill on Sunday. Father/Daughter is a really excellent boutique indie label that put out some great stuff over this past year. I’m looking forward to seeing how tooth ache and Holy Spirits pull off their sound for the live show.
Don’t miss Yvette. They’re a noise-rock duo who remind me of This Heat and Sightings, but there’s something mystical about them in concert too—halfway between MMA and a magic show. They play Friday at Bruar Falls, at Kevin Pedersen’s thing. Sunday night, check out Midnight Magic at Music Hall. They’re a full-on disco band from the ashes of Hercules and Love Affair, and their song “Beam Me Up” was a 2010 favorite.
I’m most excited about the Hardly Art showcase at Union Pool. I love the label, and I love the bands. Especially excited to see Colleen Green as her 7” won’t leave my turntable. She writes super rad, colorful, and catchy pop tunes. And its been a long time since I’ve seen Woven Bones, so I’m excited to hear what Andy has got up his sleeve with some new tunes.
If you’re sweaty and stoned (and if you’re doing Northside right, you will be), then few diversions will be as satisfying as Dom’s goofy garage pop. (Idolator Presents… at Brooklyn Bowl).
Paper Garden Records
The most exciting shows (other than ours of course) at Northside this year, I think, will be the Kanine showcase, Battering Room showcase, Cantora, Luaka Bop & Popgun, Ground Control, Brooklyn What, NYC Taper & Pop Tarts Suck Toasted, and Father/Daughter Records & StereoactiveNYC Present. It’s great to see a solid combination within these showcases of more well-established bands alongside some of the most prominent and deserving DIY Brooklyn bands. Many of these showcase presenters are putting acts on their bills who aren’t necessarily part of their company as well, which is great to see as the more the music industry shifts, the more crucial it is that companies and bands are collaborative and supportive of one another instead of competitive. This is something we strongly support within Paper Garden Records.
As far as the WIERD Records/No Fun/Bunker showcase... the new Laurel Halo EP and Kindest Lines album are both really pretty (in this lush and dark, but bright way), and I’m curious to see how they translate live. That, and it’s always fun to see what Carlos Giffoni decides to blow up.
Magik Markers’ Elisa Ambrogio is one of the most charismatic guitarists/vocalists/performers/interview subjects (“Who wants beauty when you and me can make the ugly?”) you’ll come across. I’ve seen a few mesmerizing (one bloody) Magik Markers sets. If they were playing in Detroit and got pelted with bottles, they wouldn’t flee like Odd Future; they’d find a way to incorporate the broken glass into the chaos. Truly inspiring, real-deal noise-rock.
Mt. Eerie’s Phil Elverum is just as charismatic, but in a gentler way. I like that no matter how many times you see him perform—whether as Microphones in the old days, or Mt. Eerie now—he shifts his sound in ambitious, unexpected, but still purely “Phil E.” ways. A couple of years ago I put on a Halloween show with Mt. Eerie, Liturgy, and Malkuth at Market Hotel. Elverum was playing songs from his black metal-influenced record, Wind’s Poem. He played faster and more ferociously than I’d ever seen, tore into noise and BM atmospherics and drone, and somehow managed to retain that soft, gentle whispering core. The time I’d seen him before that he was solo with his voice and a lot of guitar feedback. A month or so ago he said he was working on a new live show with a distorted gong. The guy’s a treasure.
I’ve been sequestered away for the last six months, finishing and releasing this album. Not very good at keeping up with new things to begin with, but I feel especially out of it this spring. That said, I have been listening to lots and lots of Nirvana recently, and I’m definitely going to try to see Deervana—and I hope someone makes an appropriate illustration for that project. I’ve always wanted to see Theophilous London, I kind of wish his show was in a church. I met one of the guys from Beige last night—he works at a restaurant by my apartment and everything he recommended was amazing, especially the oysters. Definitely going to see Beige.
Heart is a Spade
Day by day picks: Thursday, Theophilus London. Swag from birth. Friday, Kanine’s showcase. Don’t forget to bring a forklift. You’ll need it to elevate your jaw off the ground following Zambri’s set. Saturday, Luaka Bop showcase, Javelin & The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! on the same bill will surely lead to one of the most frenetic dance parties of all time.
Sacred Bones Records
We are very excited for both the Academy Annex/Other Music show as well as the Wierd Records
showcase. Public Assembly is going to be where it’s at that weekend!
Pop Tarts Suck Toasted
In my mind there are few better Northside Showcases than the Battering Room showcase at Matchless on Saturday afternoon. Not only do you get to swig some awesome beers in the middle of the day, you also get to rock out to some truly hidden gems. I’m Turning Into and Beat Radio are long time faves of mine, but I’m most excited to have another chance to see Portland, Maine’s Marie Stella and the always awesome Mussels. Should be the perfect way to spend your Saturday at Northside.
Bird Dog Productions
Kanine Records and Newtown Radio have the best lineups this year, done and done. Other random acts I want to catch are Janka Nabay, Ava Luna, Neighbors and wait wait... Harry Belafonte?!... yes please. Oh, and the Merok Showcase with Blondes, Teengirl Fantasy and Gatekeeper at 285 Kent, duh!
Big Ass Lens
For us dudes at Big Ass Lens, catching shows is our steady duty so we’re pretty damn stoked that we get to see them for free this time covering and participating in the fest. Usually we’d have to pay or plea our way into awesome shows like Magik Markers at Cecilia’s, Prurient at Public Assembly, or Mr. Dream at Glasslands. Now the question remains, did Glasslands get A/C yet? A man could get muggy in there.
Academy Records Annex
I’m excited to see more shows happening at St. Cecilia’s Church. It’s an amazing space for artists in Brooklyn right now and I hope it continues to be a center of great, creative things.