In addition to her skills as a chameleonic singer and actor, Amber Martin is a consummate host who has spent years at the hub of the downtown alt-performance world. Every Monday at Sid Gold’s, Chelsea’s swank retro piano bar, she invites a different pal to perform an hour-long set of music and/or stories. The chummy party vibe continues afterward, when people are encouraged to stick around to mingle or even sing a song or two themselves.
Mitski Miyawaki’s come far since self-releasing her first two albums and playing DIY gigs—that much is obvious considering she sold out her three most recent NYC concerts and basically every other show on her last national tour months in advance. Her latest collection of heartrending songs, Puberty 2, continues where 2014’s breathtaking Bury Me at Makeout Creek left off: dreamily yearning indie rock that highlights her talents for complex, emotive melody and pointed lyricism.
Trading consummately vicious wordsmithery for introspective lyricism and grandiose Shakespearian narrative, Mykki’s music video for her single “High School Never Ends” is indicative of the sky-high ambition behind her recent self-titled debut. Bolstered by her endlessly compelling stage presence, the scale of these songs mounts to even grander heights live. Quicksilver-tongued rapper Cakes Da Killa delivers slippery wordplay in the opening set.
This experimental local crew came beautifully into its own on its 2014 Relapse debut, The Mother of Virtues, spewing forth demented death metal that falls somewhere between the anguished precision of Gorguts and the voices-in-your-head onslaught of vintage Today Is the Day. Pyrrhon refines the formula with a move out of abstraction and toward structure on last year's EP, Running Out of Skin.