The best NYC concerts and music festivals: Further ahead
Grab your tickets early for Lykke Li, Alt-J, the New Pornographers, St. Lucia and the last NYC concerts ever from the Allman Brothers Band
Photograph: Michael J. Chen
The shadowy Swedish songsmith plays cuts from her soul-baring latest, I Never Learn, which comes off like the modern-day counterpart to an immersive Phil Spector affair. Wallowing has rarely sounded so gorgeous.
Delicately melancholic singer-songwriter Perfume Genius (real name Mike Hadreas) plays fractured, dark indie pop, utilizing a piano and minimal instrumentation. The glitzy synth shimmer of “Queen," the first single off the new album, Too Bright, however, demonstrates an expanding sound palette and slightly sunnier affect.
With his fedora and scruffy antigrooming, Allen Stone may look like a garden-variety Washington Square Park neohippie, but good golly, can this boy sing. Fans of Lewis Taylor, John Mayer and Raphael Saadiq will dig Stone's breathy, smooth voice and mellifluous way with melody; and if you're already a fan, you'll be happy to know that Stone's got a new album out this year—via Capitol, no less—so chances are he'll be airing some fresh tunes. Funkadelic-style soul-rock crew Bad Rabbits and dreamy London singer-songwriter Bruno Major open.
Metal fans across the globe shed a tear three summers ago when it seemed that the juggernaut that is Judas Priest would be embarking on its final tour. But the band recently decided that its 16-album discography was simply too scant, and this fall, it's gallivanting across the nation in support of a much-buzzed new LP, Redeemer of Souls. If you've yet to witness Rob Halford and his legendary hell-bent-for-leather quintet in action, you'd better get moving—and if you think they've lost a move over the years, you've definitely got another thing coming. L.A.’s Steel Panther, which both sends up and revels in its hometown’s illustrious tradition of glam-metal bombast, sets the stage.
Fast-rising Brit quartet Bastille manages to mesh an ’80s postpunk moodiness with perky, dramatic beats—not a million miles from Ed Sheeran singing with the Pet Shop Boys. Its sophomore album has purportedly been delayed due to extensive touring, but we figure that means you can expect a well-oiled show.
The rumors are true: The Danish heavy-metal kingpin finally returns stateside for a full North American tour. Beyond gratuitous facepaint, this Danish heavy-metal legend's live antics famously include microphones made from femurs, the ritual sacrifice of Satanic dolls, and a real human skull named “Melissa”—so expect some mayhem when he promises the show to be his biggest production yet.
Since 2012’s excellent Until the Quiet Comes, Flying Lotus, reigning emperor of the forward-thinking L.A. electronica scene, has indeed been quiet—under that moniker, at least. In the meantime, the producer born Steven Ellison has issued an entire LP under the alias Captain Murphy, but he has resumed his FlyLo mission with his fifth LP, You’re Dead! Fast-fingered fusion bassist Thundercat—Ellison's labelmate and collaborator—opens with his singular brand of fuzzed-out electronic jazz.
Pallbearer, an epic and eerily uplifting Arkansas doom crew hits town in the wake of its hotly anticipated second LP, Foundations of Burden. Also on board are local black-metal-infused riffsmiths Tombs and New Hampshire's punishing yet plaintive Vattnet Viskar.
Synth-tickling beatscapist Seth "Com Truise" Haley, prolific creator of chilled-out odes to the ’80s, performs behind his Wave 1 EP.
The unhinged output of Fat White Family suggests twangy garage-rock filtered through the ickiness of Birthday Party–style postpunk. Much like the album cover—which depicts an emaciated pig man flaunting an erection and holding a bloody hammer and sickle—the U.K. band's buzzy 2013 LP, Champagne Holocaust, is the kind of oddity you can't turn away from despite all sensible instincts.
The brand of synth-pop that Nika Danilova makes as Zola Jesus is as monumental as it is ethereal. She’s stated before that she wants to be No. 1 on the Billboard chart, and anyone who catches her cosmic set live might agree that the goal might not be far off.
Alkaline Trio is like a trusted brand at the supermarket, but instead of bold flavor or supercharged cleansing power, the Illinois trio delivers hooky, sad-sack pop-punk, year after year after year. It's stirring stuff, assuming you're susceptible to the wiles of emo—and we definitely are, to a point. Hear for yourself here, as the Illinois crowd-pleasers perform every single one of their eight albums in its entirety over a four-night residency.
We thought it'd never end, but yes, folks these gigs (some rescheduled from earlier this year) mark the final time the roots-rockin' jam institution will take the Beacon stage—or any stage, for that matter. Come revel in the glorious twang one last time.
First Aid Kit, the effortlessly affecting folk-pop duo of sweet-voiced Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, hits town in support of its latest LP, Stay Gold (the follow-up to 2012's lovely The Lion's Roar).
Foster the People—the catchy L.A. indie-pop crew who brought us 2011's favorite summer earworm, "Pumped Up Kicks"— returns behind its sophomore effort, Supermodel.
Jessie Ware first piqued the interest of tastemakers back in 2011 after contributing her velvety vocals to tracks by post-dubstep bass master SBTRKT and '90s garage throwbacks Disclosure. The London soul-pop diva's beguiling debut, Devotion, retooled the silken soul stylings of Sade with a modern polish, and cemented Ware's star status. While early singles like "Wildest Moments" soared majestically, though, what we've heard of the new Tough Love comes off as surprisingly reserved. We think the stylistic pullback offers some very welcome subtlety.
Pop princess Demi Lovato has done it all, from making the hard calls on The X Factor to starring in an unforgettable role on Barney & Friends. Here, the 22-year-old belts out her bombastic hits in the big rooms.
Heat-seeking New Zealand songstress Kimbra is much more than the crystal-clear–voiced cameo artist on Gotye's 2011 viral hit, "Somebody That I Used to Know." As a follow-up to 2012's Vows, a heavily rhythmic jazz-and-soul-inflected pop concoction, the 24-year-old recently released The Golden Echo, which promises to earn her the stateside name recognition she enjoys at home.
The reigning hooligan king of indie pop, Mac DeMarco, peddles pouty, surreally stylized lo-fi tunage in support of a new LP, Salad Days. The impish outsider-lite-rocker has been busy on the local festival circuit recently, playing Northside and 4Knots this summer (not to mention a sold-out show at Webster Hall). In case you missed all three chances, here's your opportunity to catch the Canuck live.
Of all the weirdo guitar-driven indie outfits the '90s spat out, few have been as stylistically singular and influential as post-hardcore group the Dismemberment Plan, whose game-changing Emergency & I emotively spoke to worldly malaise with the wonkiest of melodies and oddest of time signatures. Re-formed groups often have little to prove to overeager fans or to themselves. Fortunately, last year's reunion album, Uncanney Valley—an ambitious, weird and slightly out of time collection—demonstrated that the group still has something novel to offer.
Smooth, bequiffed Norwegian neosoulster Bernhoft is something of a one-man band, looping and layering his vocals and instrumentation. His live performances can be jaw-dropping—check out the video for "C'mon Talk," which has racked up millions of YouTube views. His songs are rock solid, and at this gig, you'll hear from his latest album, Islander.
Fast-rising British indie-pop trio London Grammar hits NYC with support from soulful electro-r&b songster Pete Lawrie Winfield, a.k.a. Until the Ribbon Breaks.
Leeds, England–based quartet Alt-J traffics in a distinct sound, combining clever songwriting and colorful, jazzy instrumentation with world beats and skittering drops for a quirky brand of alt pop. The band's Mercury Prize-winning debut, An Awesome Wave, made a big splash in 2012, and now Alt-J's back with sophomore effort This is All Yours.
Beloved Canadian crew the New Pornographers (which launched the careers of A.C. Newman, Neko Case, and Destroyer's Dan Bejar) is back with Brill Bruisers, its latest set of shamelessly grandiose, irresistibly hooky pop. Peppy Brooklyn jangle-pop faves the Pains of Being Pure at Heart set the stage.
You remember Luscious Jackson, right? The funk- and hip-hop-infused pop crew was the first to be signed to the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal label in the early ’90s, and had a run of alt hits with "CitySong," "Deep Shag" and "Here" (which featured in Clueless). Over a decade after they called it quits, Jill Cunniff, Gabby Glaser & Co. are back together and making new music—at this NYC date you'll hear from last year's Magic Hour.
Jean-Philip Grobler—originally from Johannesburg, not St. Lucia, thanks very much—creates thumping, euphoric, synth-driven electropop that's retro but refreshingly unkitschy. After four big Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg gigs earlier this year, Grobler graduates to the big room.
Interpol's brief moment as indie-rock gods didn't last forever—Turn on the Bright Lights holds up as one of the most memorable debuts of the ’00s—but the band still manages to churn out solid, Joy Division–esque anthems on its new, fifth LP, El Pintor. Art-pop up-and-comers Hundred Waters open.
NYC rock legend (and the last guy still swapping s for z) Julian Casablancas isn't resting on his considerable laurels as frontman for New York's beloved Strokes, who played a knockout gig at this year's Governors Ball. With his new band the Voidz, Casablancas has just released Tyranny, his first extracurricular effort since 2009's Phrazes for the Young. Snag your tickets as this hometown show is sure to sell out fast.
One month shy of a decade since the release of their much-acclaimed debut, 2004's You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, the amped-up Canadian dance-rawk duo finally dropped their follow-up, The Physical World, just in time to ride the early aughts nostalgia wave. Smart move, guys.
Industrial veterans Skinny Puppy have left a mark on many during the last three decades—for both better and worse. Goth-inspired art-pop queen Grimes cites her first time hearing the band as a revelatory experience, but earlier this year, much to the band's dismay, the U.S. government used the SP discography in Guantánamo prison camps to torture inmates. The Vancouver electrometallers are no strangers to taking on big, bad politicians, though, as their infamous live antics have included mock executions of George H.W. Bush. It goes without saying that we're excited to see what cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre have planned.
This big show by jam-jazz champs Medeski Martin & Wood finds the ever-funksome group renewing its acquaintance with soulful guitarist and fellow traveler John Scofield.
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