In a 2013 filled with skeevy swagger and bombastic braggadocio, Lorde stood way out. The 17-year-old Kiwi stormed the charts with "Royals," a cool, collected anti-banger sung from the perspective of a pop outsider looking in. When she hits town for this trio of gigs, she might even have a Grammy or four to her name. Lorde may never be royal, but feel free to bow down. In the opening slot, Matthew Hemerlein, who performs as Lo-Fang, shows off his modern-day singer-songsmithery, which matches soulful crooning to beats equally indebted to hip-hop and chamber music.
The xx manages to communicate volumes in its elegant, subdued and understatedly sensual songs. Expect the transmissions to be all that much more intimate here, as the deservedly fussed-over London trio sets up camp at the Armory, reprising a residency it undertook in Manchester last year. The details are mouthwatering: 25 shows over 11 nights, with no more than 40 people in attendance at each gig. See you on Craigslist, then?
While some pegged Miley Cyrus as the black sheep of pop in 2013, the foam-finger-sporting, Terry Richardson–approved former Disney starlet seems to be having the last laugh. The media backlash that followed her twerktastic VMA performance quickly flamed out, only to be replaced by a chorus of "Leave Miley alone" pleas. Plus, the stupendous "Wrecking Ball" continues to live up to its title, laying waste on pop radio. Expect trashy sensory overload here, as Cyrus plays a trio of area gigs on her Bangerz tour, abetted by fellow edgy pop sensations Icona Pop and Sky Ferreira. (Prediction: If all three acts end up onstage together for an encore, Instagram will crash nightly.)
Well, this ought to be something.… The omnitalented bombshell—a star for nearly five decades—returns to the arenas in support of last year's Auto-Tune–drenched dance-pop beltfest Closer to the Truth. The album hasn't yet spawned a "Believe," but lead track "Woman's World" did burn up the dance charts. On the strength of over-the-top razzle-dazzle, not to mention stylistic breadth and sheer megastar wattage, these gigs could be the pop spectacle of the year.
Any savvy ’80s-music connoisseur could pick out all the ingredients that made up Haim's 2013 debut, Days Are Gone—a touch of Michael Jackson, a pinch of Bangles, a spoonful of Eagles, a generous dash of solo-era Stevie Nicks—a fact that didn’t make the mix any less appealing. The L.A. sister act deployed virtuoso chops, dizzying vocal arrangements and club-ready production values in the service of staggeringly well-made songs, resulting in the pop triumph of 2013. Expect an ecstatic sing-along and dance party here, as Danielle, Este, Alana & Co. headline their biggest NYC shows to date.