Top 20 winter concerts

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

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  • Buraka Som Sistema

  • Girls

  • Jeff Mangum

  • Photograph: Jim Wright

    Caveman

    Caveman

  • Kelly Clarkson

Buraka Som Sistema

Jan 11 Buraka Som Sistema
So you thought you weren't ever going to have to go to any more parties, ever again. Think again, lazy! The Portuguese dance-floor renegades of Buraka Som Sistema bring their shouty, joyful, sweaty mess of a show to town to brighten the dark days of January. Their music is known as kuduro, which translates as "hard ass." So if you've any doubts as to where yours has been heading during the festive season, you'd be well advised to get down here. Bowery Ballroom; $18.

Jan 14 Girls + Real Estate + King Krule
Too transfixed by Occupy Wall Street and the Republican debates to keep up with the current state of indie rock? Don't fret: This gig will tell you most of what you need to know. San Francisco's Girls and Ridgewood, New Jersey's Real Estate—both of which issued a standout sophomore full-length in 2011—present their respective brands of knee-weakeningly lovely guitar pop at an extra-roomy Midtown West club. Opening is King Krule, the hotly buzzed one-man act of mopey teenage Brit Archy Marshall. Terminal 5; $25.

Jan 19--21 Jeff Mangum
These days, it almost seems inaccurate to label the Neutral Milk Hotel frontman "reclusive." After a decade-long, self-imposed sabbatical from performing, Jeff Mangum popped up all over the place in 2011, appearing at venues both large (he curated the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Asbury Park) and small, including a set of NMH tunes at Occupy Wall Street in October. Expect more than a few tears to be shed by his famously devoted fans during three intimate gatherings at BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House; $35. Jan 20, 21 sold out.

Jan 20 Caveman
Local all-boy band Caveman, welcomed with open arms by the CMJ crowd, takes the stage at the Bowery Ballroom for its first New York headlining gig. For a taste of the quintet's straightforwardly pleasing indie rock, give "Decide" a listen—it's a prime example of Caveman's dreamy jangle pop, full of sweeping guitar melodies and soft yet upbeat vocals. Bowery Ballroom; advance $13, at the door $15.

Jan 21 Kelly Clarkson
Our girl Kelly returns to bare her dark side (now with extra darkness and twistiness) on Stronger: It's an album that has all the ball-busting anthems and girlfriend-got-dumped-but-she's-better-than-you-anyway ballads that were missing from her last outing, All I Ever Wanted. We never thought we'd see the day when we could listen to "Since U Been Gone" and think of it as a mere taste-my-pain preamble for the delicious pop frenzy Clarkson's reveling in these days. When the world ends, she'll still be here, luxuriating in the knowledge that no one understands as well as she does just how sweet misery can be. Radio City Music Hall; sold out.

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