Top 20 winter concerts

Chill out at these hot events during the next three months.

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  • The National

  • Twin Sister

  • Matisyahu

  • Yo La Tengo

  • David Murray

The National

Dec 12--17 The National
In just a few short years, the National has gone from scrappy also-ran to indie-rock titan, and with good reason. With each album, the band has improved, perfecting its poignant quiet storm punctuated by polite rage on last year's High Violet. It's doing six nights of highlights from that effort and its extremely deep back catalog, and each night features a different hipper-than-hip opener: The War on Drugs (Dec 12), Sharon Van Etten (13), So Percussion (14), Wye Oak (15), My Brightest Diamond (16) and This Is the Kit (17). Beacon Theatre; sold out.

Dec 17 Twin Sister
Twin Sister, whose lead singer, Andrea Estella, often performs with a wig of hair that flows past her knees, plays behind a standout debut LP that demonstrated dreamy synth beats, Cocteau Twins--esque vocals and an impressive studio mastery (especially compared with its preceding EP). You'd be surprised at how much you can dance to live renditions of songs so gloomy and pillowy. Bowery Ballroom; $8.

Dec 19 Matisyahu's Festival of Light
Who holds the record for most sold-out shows at hipsterville venue Music Hall of Williamsburg? Why, Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu, of course. At these Festival of Light shows (including one especially for Billyburgphobes from Manhattan and elsewhere), the singer and rapper celebrates Hanukkah with special guests galore. Dec 19--21: Music Hall of Williamsburg; Dec 22: Webster Hall; $35.

Dec 20--27 Yo La Tengo
Once again, beloved indie-rockers Yo La Tengo present their annual Hanukkah-in-Hoboken series. What could be more awesome than seeing the band in lovely, cozy Maxwell's, as it welcomes surprise musical and comedic guests to the stage? The fact that it's now been ten years since the series started. We're saying Hanukkah blowout. Maxwell's; sold out.

Jan 6, 7 Winter Jazzfest
Shake off that first-week-back-at-work lethargy and prepare for a two-night, five-venue Greenwich Village jazz safari, where the wildlife includes too many star improvisers to name. (For starters, leave room in your clubhopping schedule to catch David Murray, pictured, and his Cuban Ensemble, Fabian Almazan and Strings, and Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom.) New for 2012: a crucial agreement with the local musicians' union, which guarantees fair payment for all performers. Locations vary (see website); $35, two-day festival pass $45.

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