This Week in Live Music: Dreary Black Metal, Avant Garde Pop, and Death Cult Vibes

03/31/2015 2:19 PM |


Welcome back to another installment of our esteemed show list. And this week we have as diverse a lineup as ever, we promise. While spring is tugging us, rudely I might add, between wintery blues and like just wanting to lurch forward with all of our pent up energy into the sunlight and never come back, our ears are responding in kind. At least me and this guy I know are craving the cathartic darkness of black metal and some pop-timism, and don’t fret– we’ve got those ends and every in-betweens for you right here. Open wide.


Dark Pop 

Lower Dens, Matteah Baim, Gold Dime

Tuesday March 31st, 8 pm @ Baby’s All Right: $15

We had a pretty raw conversation with Jana Hunter of Lower Dens last week and have been hotly anticipating this weeks’s show at Baby’s All Right marking the kick off of the band’s tour. The new album, Escape From Evil (which dropped today by the way) sees the band turning yet another page in their growing anthology of right-now sound. Though they haven’t made a peep since 2012, Escape offers a fresh take on dream pop, with the added distant, cold post-punk vibes that are that rainy day sound of now. The best part about Lower Dens’ music is that you have a choice here: you can be a passive listener and let the dreary vibes drift over you, or tune in a little more and really reap the benefits of a close listen. Either way you’ll leave…well, not happy, but un-alone.

Joining lower dens is Matteah Baim. For some reason writers are always referencing her one-time collaboration way back in 2006 with CocoRosie member Sierra Casady, which like I don’t really get because TBH I had to google: “What is the difference between CocoRosie and Sigur Ros?” to even begin caring. Baim’s latest album stands on its own, it’s really not the type of music I’m used to hitting play on at all. It’s much too beautiful for my grubby fingers. But on the real, Baim’s stuff sounds close to a mix of ’70s smooth listening standards and fill-in-the-blank any Beach Something band of the past several years, which is to say it’s totally unexpected.  That last part makes sense, seeing as Baim has one foot in the visual art world and another in the music biz.

A show in Brooklyn right now wouldn’t be complete without some manner of noise, and thankfully Gold Dime fills that gaping hole in this line up with their primitive noise pop (the much more unhinged project of Andrya Ambro of BK indie rock band Talk Normal.)


Death Squad

Mutilation Rites, Anicon, Iron Force, Sunrot

Tuesday March 31st, 8 pm at the Acheron: $10 

Get your obligatory death vibes for the week right here. If all this talk of Liturgy with their new album has left you feeling like your black metal listening experiences as of late leave something to be desired (i.e. total flesh burning rottenness), this is the show for you. Mutilation Rites are, yes, another black metal from Brooklyn, but don’t kid yourself in assuming they’re any bit as cerebral as Liturgy (not knocking those dudes, their “transcendental black metal” is also very much appreciate). Phlegm was literally floating to the top of my lungs as I beat my chest and tried to sing along to MR’s seasonable track, “A Season of Grey Rain.” This is depraved to the core and will instantly blast any daffodils sprouting within feet of the Acheron. Take that, life! Throw in a hefty dose of Anicon (symphonic black metal)and Sunrot (more sludge) and there will be nothing less than heaping scoops of doom, gloom, and bronchitisiatic vocals. Perfect for a rainy Tuesday night.


Hip Pop 

Alarke, Scherzo, Madam West, Love Spread

Wednesday April 1st, 8 pm at Palisades: $5 at the door

This should be either really interesting or totally weird. Is this how Lady Gaga got her start? Or is that piano bar thing like totally a myth? Headlining is Alarke, which from what I can gather is chortling through a similar “avant-garde” breed of pop, with the added grace of being a dreamy hipster songstress. Her tunes ain’t bad either– easy on the ears and at first listen they might feel similar to brain rot, but everybody needs a bit of hard candy once in a while. Right? Right.

I was pleasantly surprised at first listen to what Scherzo brings to the turntable– “Taco Tree” in particular rang as frustratingly familiar to me. I know I’ve heard this synth medley more than a couple times, but where? I’m hoping it’s not from a Kia commercial, because truly it’s a great summer time jam. Like the rest of their tracks, “Taco Tree” dreamy, drifty, stoned– in fact listening to it brings me back to a particularly weedy day spent leisurely snacking on froyo atop a blanked in some verdant park. Wait, that never actually happened, but I’d like it to, I’d really, really like it to. But like that’ll be the day, etc., etc., so until then I have these dreams of taco trees.


Cool Kids on the Block 

Heaven’s Gate, Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk, Crown Larks, Media Jeweler

Friday April 3rd, 8 pm @ Shea Stadium: $8 at the door

This should be a fun lineup at an equally fun venue, including Heaven’s Gate (voted best band name in NYC by…me) a band that tells it like it is with space master shoe gaze. It’s all Jesus and Mary Chain with a spooky twist. When you hear the band name Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk, please don’t go running in the other direction. Stay a minute, even past this description: Brooklyn noise pop jammers by way of Kansas. Ok, we’re still good, right? I promise that despite this rap sheet they aren’t “twee” by any means. Darkening the vibes down to more palatable grit are Crown Larks (weird psych-noise) and finally Media Jeweler, which I don’t really know what to do with because at once they sound like Bonnaroo and prog rock all bundled together.


Gargle This

Vulture Shit, Show me the Body, Flagland, Soda Bomb

Friday April 3rd, 8 pm @ Palisades: $8 

I did like a really obnoxious fist pump in mid air when I saw this line up. It’s like the perfect storm of nasty noise and punk, and this town is just drowning too freaking deep in indie sizzurp and sometimes I just can’t deal with all the sugary substance I’m obligated to wade through to find good music for y’all. Not that I’m all horror and depravity, just mostly. But enough about me, let’s hear about this show eh? Leaders of the pack are the dudes from Vulture Shit— I’ve definitely pointed out these guys sound like Jesus Lizard, and I promise that was BEFORE I heard their cover of “Mouth Breather.” I just want to make that abundantly clear, like, I made the connection before. Again, this run-down is not about me. So anyway, they’re returning from a big ol’ tour and are ready to rip your face off with their vulture claws or talons or whatever grippers those sky beasts are blessed with.

Adding to the mayhem are Show Me The Body, a jangley sludge band I regularly spittle praise on because they are steeped in familiar punk vibes and less familiar influences that appear to stem from traveling kid punk (these kids have like broke ass banjos and washboards and names like “Treasure” and “Tough Times”), both of which combine for something pretty out-there.

Soda Bomb (bro punk) includes a gaggle of boys who somehow all manage to look remarkably similar to a man child I dated in early college. Are you guys related? Anyway, despite the dippy boy vibes, I find myself oddly drawn to them, like a fly to honey. Yes, yes, and yes to girl-fronted hardcore bands. And yes, I also hate the term “girl band” that’s why I’m not using it here, but Death Vacation is serious hardcore for badass bitches. I mean, there’s hardcore and then there’s this kind of hardcore where the typical testosterone garbage is smashed into a million pieces and now where is the table buddy, huh? Not on your side, that’s for sure. “The jokes on you we know what you do / I never get wet for a person like you.” Brutal, love it.

Also joining are Nonsense, a band of #punks who are supposedly putting out an EP very soon, but I can tell from their demos they’ve got plenty of spittle to go around so don’t assume they’ve wasted all their energy in recent recording sessions. Huffers are endearing, whatever punks with a Jay Mascis sincerity and awful sounding recordings. I couldn’t ask for more, really.


New Orleans Comes to Town

Pampers, Buck Biloxi and the Fucks, Heavy Lids (???), Foster Care

Friday April 3rd, 8 pm @ Union Pool: $10

Yes, yes YES. Check this show out not just for Pampers and their battle-ready boy punk (if battles indicate getting drunk as F and making a ruckus), something something pool sticks in the side of lame-Os. But stay for Buck Biloxi and the Fucks— these guys blew up big time in the past couple of years on all those goofy punk blogs I know and love. Now, when I say these dudes sound like garage punk I mean like real old-fashioned garage. Also, they’re from New Orleans, but they’re such badasses apparently they can’t play at any venues there… for now. So just thank your lucky stars they made it out of that town (their asses in hand and their gear all squared away) with fellow townies Heavy Lids. At least according to the tour page these guys will be there, so fingers crossed because if present they’ll bring depraved funeral dirges and general snottiness. The presence of Foster Care mean that no doubt there’ll be raucous rips from a band headed by people with some seriously knotted, crossed, and otherwise gnarly angry-wires.


Sweet Tooth


Thursday April 2nd, 8 pm @ Bowery Ballroom: $15

Hey please don’t tell anyone but I like this band ok? “Archie, Marry Me” byAlvvays is one gloriously catchy diddy. And yeah it made all sorts of Best Songs lists from 2014, but deservedly so. She’s a sticky one for sure. But go see them live and let me know if there’s more to this band, which I’m sort of confident there is. I mean do “one hit wonders” in the traditional sense of the word even exist anymore? But just saying, I find it a little icky that the brunette chick is pushed to the back in all of the photos, obscured by the blonde singer at the front. Wait, are blondes more marketable or something? Not going to answer my own question with anything other than [angry emoji face] and [rain on umbrella].