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Five up-and-coming local bands to see this summer

Photograph: Julia Leiby
Frankie Cosmos

Our summer concerts feature gives you the run-down on all the big-name touring acts hitting NYC this season. But rather than search for imported commercial talent, consider diverting your attention and funds locally to these NYC-grown acts who have been making waves over the past year. All are playing shows across the next few weeks in smaller venues and DIY spots—perfect for exploring.

Frankie Cosmos: July 18 at Radio Bushwick
With over 40 lo-fi releases, Frankie Cosmos (born Greta Klein, pictured, far left) is a prolific Bandcamp-er. The 19-year-old's brand of twee indie rock comes out in brief one-to-two-minute bursts, chronicling the little pains we stumble through on our way to bigger plans. Take “Buses Splash with Rain”—a song about being the kind of girl buses splash with rain—where she starts out a little dejectedly:“Look, Mom, I’m hobbling through / I’m gonna be a painter too.” Catch Cosmos at Radio Bushwick amid a sprawling 19-band lineup as the Brooklyn music and art magazine Gigawatts celebrates its first anniversary with a weekend long festival. See a few cuts from last month’s Frankie Cosmos performance at Brooklyn’s Northside Festival here:


GHXST: July 19 at Silent Barn
Over fuzzed-out guitars that seem to portend the coming apocalypse, singer GHXST Shelley X’s smokey croon calls in the four horsemen. The bleak descriptor hardly does justice to the band's frigidly dystopian tones, and though GHXST sits at some sinister intersection of doom and grunge, certain goth aesthetics point to synth player Samuel Aronoff’s activity in the local industrial scene. The trio’s latest video “Dead Town” features shots of desolately empty nighttime streets, and the imagery couldn’t be more fitting. Check it out here:


Ava Luna: July 19 at Rough Trade NYC; July 21 at Glasslands
You might find Ava Luna a little hard to classify—though many peg the Brooklyn outfit as art pop, the band self-identifies by its personally coined term “nervous soul.” Pulling from doo-wop, R&B, and even a little No Wave, the music’s a grab bag of influences. Recently, Ava Luna's lineup pared down by two to a trim five members, and its dense, eccentric sound has grown all the more taut and pointed for it: a danceable concoction with tightly arranged vocal harmonies and an imaginative sense of groove. Catch this year’s single “Genesee” here:


Swearin': July 27 at Death by Audio
Between Allison Crutchfield’s punk crew Swearin' and her sister Katie's solo folk-rock project Waxahatchee, these twins are the reigning queens of indie guitar rock. Though the two share a certain melodic sensibility and world weariness, Swearin’ wields a sharper edge. Last year’s Surfing Strange evokes a restless discontent, with songs like “Loretta’s Flowers” addressing the thoroughly depressing business of peeling away the gold foil that coats teenage nostalgia. (“When you get older, you’ll realize this wasn’t love / Or you won’t and you’ll remain ignorant and in pain,” sings Crutchfield.) The singer sounds a little weary of emotionally immature boys cluttering her life—but in spite of the mistakes, she reclaims the past for herself. See the music video for excellent Surfing Strange album opener "Dust in the Gold Sack" here:


Dinowalrus: August 9 at The Studio at Webster Hall
Dinowalrus specializes in warped pop soundscapes—beach music, were you to spend your day in the sun dropping tabs rather than downing daiquiris. The group's kaleidoscopic, psych-friendly sound combines sparkling guitar chords, heavy reverb, and distorted vocals. The latest Dino album—Complexion, released at the beginning of the summer—embraces ’80s glimmer, with a pounding drum pulse and anthemic choruses. Check out latest single “Tropical Depression” here:

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