Summer concerts in NYC: Indie bands and cutting-edge festivals

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Ramona Falls

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Brent Knopf, formerly of Menomena, turns his focus to Ramona Falls, his cerebral side project, with sophomore album Prophet. “You can’t take it back,” Knopf wails repeatedly on the record’s funky opening track, “Bodies of Water.” No, he can’t, but why would we want him to? Ramona Falls’ unexpected melodies, philosophical lyrics and fearless anthems are best experienced with your summer fling by your side.

Enter to win two tickets.

  1. Mercury Lounge 217 E Houston St, between Essex and Ludlow Sts
  2. Thu Feb 7
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Deer Tick

  • Critics choice
  • Free

No band better epitomizes the pleasures of summertime day-drinking than Rhode Island’s Deer Tick. Sing along to rowdy favorites like “Let’s All Go to the Bar” and shed a tear in your beer to the band’s wistful, folky numbers. Mild sunburn obligatory.

  1. Red Hook Park Bay St, between Clinton and Henry Sts
  2. Thu Jun 26
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Japandroids

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

“If they try to slow me down, I’ll tell them all to go to hell,” Brian King screams on “The House That Heaven Built,” the first single off Japandroid’s new Celebration Rock. The band has said that the album was made with joyous audience sing-alongs in mind, and Celebration inspires that and more: On your headphones, Japandroids are a fun walk to the subway. Live, they’re a pop-punk revelation.

Enter to win two tickets: June 27 | June 28

  1. Music Hall of Williamsburg 66 North 6th St, between Kent and Wythe Aves
  2. Wed Jun 27 - Thu Jun 28
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Death to All + Gorguts

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Former members of the extreme-metal institution Death unite to pay tribute to the band's late mastermind, Chuck Schuldiner (who succumbed to brain cancer in 2001), and raise money for the Sweet Relief musicians-aid charity. Egghead headbangers will be in heaven tonight, as pros like Gene Hoglan, Sean Reinert, Steve DiGiorgio and Paul Masvidal blaze through Schuldiner's fiendishly technical anthems. Opening is the Canadian avant-death-metal crew Gorguts, reactivated a couple years back and sounding downright ferocious.

  1. Irving Plaza 17 Irving Pl, at 15th St
  2. Wed Apr 24
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Codeine

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Given its association with the so-called slowcore movement, it comes as no surprise that this legendary New York indie-rock trio took 18 years to give in to the reunion bug. Regrouped to promote the comprehensive reissuing of its influential LPs, Codeine is concentrating primarily on smaller venues during this step back into the light.

Enter to win two tickets: June 29 | July 15

  1. Le Poisson Rouge 158 Bleecker St, at Thompson St
  2. Fri Jun 29 - Sun Jul 15
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Northern Spy Presents the 2nd Annual Spy Music Festival

  • Critics choice

The Northern Spy independent label shot off from the ESP-Disk mothership a couple years back, and has since become one of NYC’s coolest, most stylistically omnivorous labels. Get up to speed at this two-week blowout, which ventures from Williamsburg to the East Village and beyond, connecting the dots between free jazz, experimental music and cutting-edge avant-rock. The fest gets started on June 29 and 30 with a pair of gigs by minimalist visionary Rhys Chatham and expands outward from there; be on the lookout for killer collaborations including Charles Gayle and White Out (July 7 at 285 Kent) and Arthur Doyle and Nymph (July 11 at the Stone).

  1. Various locations
  2. Fri Jun 29 - Sun Jul 15
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Moonface

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Spencer Krug, the multi-instrumentalist member of Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown and Swan Lake, is now going solo with Moonface. His third album, With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, is as dark a summer album as you can get, chronicling his loveless misery. While everyone else canoodles in the sunshine, there’s no shame in standing alone in the Ballroom and doing some ugly crying (or cry-dancing, as the case may be) of your own.

Enter to win two tickets.

  1. Bowery Ballroom 6 Delancey St, between Bowery and Chrystie St
  2. Sat Nov 9
More info

Dirty Projectors + Wye Oak + Purity Ring

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Dirty Projectors exploded into the big leagues in ’09 on the strength of their magical fifth full-length album, Bitte Orca. TV appearances, praise from tastemakers like Questlove and a high-profile team-up with Björk ensued. After a hibernation period, Dave Longstreth’s protean art-pop vehicle is back with a new LP, Swing Lo Magellan, and a sure-to-be-exquisite Celebrate Brooklyn! gig to match.

  1. Celebrate Brooklyn! (at the Prospect Park Bandshell) Prospect Park West, at 9th St
  2. Tue Jul 15
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10cc

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Even if you think you don’t know this classic English art-rock band, you’ve probably heard its indelible radio staples such as “I’m Not in Love” and “The Things We Do for Love.” Precariously balanced between an arty faction (Kevin Godley and Lol Creme) and a pure-pop duo (Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart), the band was fractious even at its peak; now it’s just Gouldman as the main creative force—but that’s no small thing.

Enter to win two tickets.

  1. The Concert Hall at New York Society for Ethical Culture 2 W 64th St, at Central Park West
  2. Fri Jul 18
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Oberhofer + The Soft Pack

  • Critics choice
  • Free

We can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend a sweltering July evening than at this River Rocks show with two reliably wonderful Brooklyn bands. Oberhofer’s off-kilter pop, the Soft Pack’s lo-fi punk, the sunset and the edge of a cool breeze? We’ll see you there.

Enter to win two VIP passes, a meet and greet with the band, and a prize package.

  1. Hudson River Park at Pier 84 44th St, at the Hudson River
  2. Thu Jul 31
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