Don't Call It Noise Music

Japanese metal bands summon power and energy from the '70s


Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins
March 18

Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Pl, 212-777-6800

Rilo Kiley's frontlady may sound mellower with all the country she's added to her rock, not to mention the cooing, mildly creepy twins backing her up, but her neuroses have been thoroughly honed. Told in her perpetually blossoming voice, they're profound feeling. Catucci

Catch MONO
photo: Human Highway Records
Catch MONO

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    Animal Collective
    March 23

    Webster Hall, 125 E 11th, 212-353-1600

    That they're no longer grouped in Brooklyn means you should see them while you can; that their protean performances sound more like celebrations of their recorded output than reproductions of it means you should see them at every opportunity. But if their avowed unselfconsciousness strikes a sour note for you, come expecting cacophony. Catucci


    Arctic Monkeys
    March 25

    Webster Hall, 125 E 11th, 212-353-1600

    Can you hear the music for the hype? It's a challenge that should pay off for most Brit-friendly fans of indigenous indie. Leader Alex Turner dwells on Northern England nightlife dramas so obsessively and with such great lyrical detail that you can practically smell the stink of stale beer, chips, piss, sweat, and spunk on dirty provincial dancefloors. Walters


    Rakim
    March 27

    B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W 42nd, 212-997-4144

    Rakim made his grand return to NY stages after years of absence less than a month ago, so consider this the encore. If his January B.B. King's set is any indication, don't expect transcendence; the stage will be too crowded with hangers-on, the hypeman way too loud and obnoxious. But time hasn't ravaged Ra's charisma or his miles-deep baritone. The classics still sound great, the new songs have promise, and the enormous goodwill between audience and performer is something to behold. Maybe this time he'll do "Mahogany." Breihan


    Cesaria Evora
    March 30

    Beacon Theatre, 2124 Bway, 212-496-7070

    The pleasure lies mainly in the consistency of this 64-year-old international crooner from Cape Verde. Evora sings an island version of Portuguese fado in her local creole dialect accompanied by her longtime band, a lilting string-driven combo that combines African rhythms, jazz, and French cabaret styles into an easygoing vehicle for sad and beautiful songs. Gehr


    Franz Ferdinand+Death Cab for Cutie
    April 13 & 14

    Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 W 34th, 212-485-1534

    Intelligent indie gods unite! Both of these top-draw guitar-pop titans last year released follow-ups that fell slightly below previous peaks, but even their B sides still outsmart and outcraft most of their peers' A's. Prepare yourself for the best in both bands: Franz Ferdinand rocks hard enough live to light a fire under cuddly Cutie butts. Walters


    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
    April 14

    Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey, 212-533-2111

    In one year this Brooklyn indie-rock band's moved from stints at Pianos to sellouts at Irving and elsewhere and made a case for label-less distribution deals, and guess what, their new songs are pretty OK—jumpier than before, more whimsical and ramshackle. If New York doesn't lose the band in the usual spring buzz shitstorm, this could be their year again. Sylvester


    Ralph Stanley
    April 14

    Town Hall, 123 W 43rd, 212-840-2824

    Dr. Ralph is never caught wincing when new fans he's gathered in late-life stardom suggest that he's so moving because he's old as the hills; he was singing "O Death" just as strikingly 30 years ago. In the bluegrass way, his shows are as much about the band as about its leader, and the band is in fine shape. Mazor


    B.B. King
    April 17 & 18

    B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W 42nd, 212-997-4144

    At 80, the greatest bluesman sitting husbands his resources. After a 15-minute set by his elderly band he talks more than ever and sings less than you'd like. But the voice remains smooth and strong, always as powerful as the uncompromising material requires. His solos risk a weirdness startling in an octogenarian, so fluent you wonder whether arthritis ever crosses his mind. He's even developed sit-down moves—funky shoulder roll, splayed hands folded over enormous heart. Christgau


    R. Kelly
    April 18

    Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave, 212-247-4777

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