Critical 5 Concerts in NYC this week: be your own Valentine, Feb. 13-20
We're guessing that depending on your relationship status and/or general outlook on life, this week is either going to be full of wine, roses, candy, and smooches; or wine, roses, candy, and ugly-crying yourself to sleep for the fourth year in a row.
We here at Critical Mob say, it doesn't have to be that way! To prove it, here are five shows that you can either share with a loved one, or enjoy stag. They don't call music the great equalizer for nothing, guys. Also, we're not sure if anyone actually calls music the great equalizer. But anyhow, read on!
Not unlike love itself, the music made by brothers Yoni Wolf and Josiah Wolf defies easy characterization. The siblings and their compatriots in WHY? mix up hip-hop, psychedelic rock, folk, and jangle pop into something entirely their own. Longtime associates of the avant-rap label Anticon, WHY? have consistently managed to avoid trend-hopping, even if it means suffering the inevitable Pitchfork backlash. If you're looking for an antidote to everything commercial about this week, look no further.
Sadly, they just don't make 'em like Lee Fields & the Expressions anymore. A native son of North Carolina, Fields has been making music since the late 60's. His sound is a raucous mixture of soul, R&B, and funk that has somehow only gotten better with age. His most recent record with the Expressions, 2012's Faithful Man, has been the most successful of his career, earning widespread critical acclaim and opening gigs for Wilco and The Black Keys. Only swing by The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night if you're ready to cut a rug.
NYC is currently in the midst of a new punk rock renaissance, mostly centered around Brooklyn label Burn Books. These new punk bands are snotty, loud, and insanely fun, just the way punk is supposed to be. To get an idea of the sort of insanity being peddled by such scumbags as Goosebumps, Hank Wood and the Hammerheads, and Pregnant, drag yourself over to 285 Kent this Saturday and witness the noisy whirlwind that is Crazy Spirit. Minute long songs that recall The Germs, Rudimentary Peni, and warm beer. Love is for suckers.
Real Estate fans who weren't aware of Alex Bleeker's solo material (featuring a rotating cast of Jersey bros known as The Freaks) got their first taste of the bassist's talents during "Wonder Years", a country-tinged highlight from the band's excellent 2011 album Days. The obvious point of comparison is Neil Young, and that's even more true on Bleeker's own material outside of Real Estate: while "Wonder Years" is reminiscent of After the Gold Rush-era Shakey, when he has The Freaks backing him up, things get into more Crazy Horse-ish territory. These cats can jam, man. At Glasslands on Sunday, Alex Bleeker & The Freaks will hopefully be debuting new material from their forthcoming sophomore album.
Tegan and Sara have been almost always too easy to put into little boxes in the past. They were that band from Canada comprised of two identical twin sisters who both happened to be lesbians. So it's understandable that the attention from the outside world has not been 100% focused on their music. However, with the release of their newest album, Heartthrob, it's all about the music. The sisters Quinn have planted their sophisticated heartbreak anthems squarely in the realm of '80s synth pop, resulting in a glossy party album that wouldn't be out of place at the roller rink. We're not sure what the Beacon Theater's policy is regarding skates, so just show up with your dancing shoes.
|Alex Bleeker and the Freaks - Our Song 7.21.11 @ Glasslands|