NYC concerts in January
Each January, Winter Jazzfest offers a crash course for anyone interest in exploring NYC's jazz scene. Its signature two-night Greenwich Village marathon brings vets and up-and-comers, hordes of music fans and a palpable air of excitement to an array of cozy downtown venues. The shows aren't individually ticketed, so a wristband grants you access to any of each night's shows—as long as a given club doesn’t hit capacity, that is.
Working under the name Zola Jesus, Nika Roza Danilova creates unapologetically dramatic tunes that craftily balance arty texture with poppy drive. Expect tunes from her most recent album, Okovi, which marks her return to beloved local imprint Sacred Bones, as she kicks off the inaugural night of the 2019 Ecstatic Music Festival.
Bow down before NOLA’s queen diva of bounce, the hip-hop style so named for its high spirits and the frenzied ass-shaking it inspires on the dance floor. You’ve heard Freedia’s voice on Beyoncé’s “Formation”and Drake’s “Nice for What,” now experience the veritable booty-quake live. We trust she'll keep the megafun alive all night as she brings her talents Brooklyn for a two-night stint.
The quirky yet poignant punk of NYC antifolk songsmith Blum bares a world-weary atmosphere and an attention to the minutiae of the everyday.
The always captivating local art-pop act balances kaleidoscopic arrangements with crisp drumming and tight harmonies. Listen for new material from its forthcoming album, Good Fruit, due in March.
While her first album soared through majestic dream pop summits, Michelle Zauner's stellar latest, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, features a revamped sound that veers from shoegaze into ’80s synth-pop. Her band has been filling bigger and bigger venues, and deservedly so: Zauner is a confident and captivating performer.
The Queens-via-Uruguay songsmith pretty much charmed the whole city at the helm of local DIY folk-punk institution the Beets. Here, he celebrates his latest album, La Onda de Juan Pablo, a wide-ranging collection of Spanish-language songs written while traveling in South America.
Kyle Thomas, the Vermont longhair who writes ditties as King Tuff, comes to town toting the glittery glam-rock and deep-funk boogie of his 2018 album, The Other. Tuffy may be serving up something wholly different from the catchy garage rock we know and love. If he decides to unleash more of the funk swagger demonstrated on "Pycho Star," we certainly wouldn't complain.
Given the recent huge resurgence in meditative synthesizer music among certain indie circles, it's not surprise to learn New Age music is experiencing something of a comeback. Laraaji is a zither player best remembered for his splendid Brian Eno–produced 1980 LP, Ambient 3: Day of Radiance. He's been active in the borough the past couple years performing in spaces ranging from BAMcafé Live to Brooklyn churches (like at this particular gig). Local ambient-electronic composer Rachika S—a recipient of an emerging artists fellowship with massive new Hudson-Yards art space The Shed—plays the opening set.