By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip
September 25–26"Thou Shalt Always Kill" snottily name-checks 10 bands you like and 20 more you don't. And despite its 2007 chart success in the duo's native Britain, I've only heard it played here at Forever 21. But the silly single belies the arch electro cuts and disenfranchised rhymes of the pair's debut album, Angles; it proves there's more to these Essex boys than pissing on the Arctic Monkeys. For electro-rap without the chip on its shoulder, this show looks mandatory. Mercury Lounge, mercuryloungenyc.com.
October 3–4How many years later, these lo-fi Londoners are still compared to the White Stripes. And true, bluesy guitarist Jamie "Hotel" Hince does resemble an Anne Rice character, slurs incomprehensibly in interviews, and courts supermodels (Kate Moss, currently). But feline singer Alison "VV" Mosshart would never sit stoically behind a drum kit—she'd thrash it to matchsticks and fling it at your face while shrieking that you're just "no wow." This year's Midnight Boom, their third album, patched more post-punk and pop into the formula; expect a proper dance party with claws. Music Hall of Williamsburg, musichallofwilliamsburg.com.
October 9Anyone else miss the days of splinters and sexx laws? Not Beck—he's taking his new echoing, edgy psychedelic rock on the road, presumably without puppets like that other tour. This jaunt (with MGMT) supports Modern Guilt, his terrifically unsettling 10th album and the first produced by Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley—and doesn't the crestfallen animated heart in their "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?" video succinctly sum up Beck nowadays?). If anyone can kick the tires and find the circus in bizarre, mindful '60s rock, it's this man. United Palace Theatre, ticketmaster.com.
Yura Yura Teikoku
October 19Since their formation in 1989, Yura Yura Teikoku have been the underrated linchpins of the Tokyo psychedelic underground scene. Five spoon-bending albums later, they're finally eking out overdue interest stateside. The trio works a tricky, accessible blend of flailing '60s guitar, aggro bass lines, and noisy electro-pop, plus the theatrics to match—singer Sakamoto Shintaro used to shave off his eyebrows and part his long hair to resemble a traditional Japanese ghost; now he's just trying to be Lou Reed, and it still works. Openers Obits and Invisible Conga People may not share the same apparitional bent, but they'll spaz out justifiably. If you're bored with the Boredoms, Yura Yura Teikoku have been in the wings all along. Music Hall of Williamsburg, yurayurateikoku.com.
CMJ Music Marathon
October 21–25Otherwise known as Day of the Locusts downtown. Herds of college-radio idealists gather again to propel dozens of up-and-coming artists to center stage and celebrate the fast rises and seedy falls of last year's herd. In '07, Santogold and Deerhunter caused bottlenecks; this year's schedule was still up in the air at press time, but expect all the most promising in indie rock, hip-hop, and dance. Festival passes tip the scales at over $400 but are unnecessary for many smaller shows; snag tickets early at the venues and pogo next to FM wild-eyeds all night long. Throughout NYC, cmj.com.
November 8Missed them at the McCarren Pool party? Spindly singer Bradford Cox periodically interrupted the seismic art-punk feedback to scream, "Brooklyn is our delay pedal! Those condos are our delay pedal! This guy right here is our delay pedal!" To which the audience gawped quizzically and Cox sighed, "Don't ask me to explain my art"—then petulantly ripped their faces off with an hour of aggressive, temperamental, exploratory rock. Times New Viking, Columbus, Ohio's most technophobic troupe, opens. Perhaps live, they will not try to make their adorable lo-fi rock sound like it was recorded in a wet trash can. Bowery Ballroom, boweryballroom.com.
November 12He's like Phil Ochs minus one finger. (No, not the middle one.) New York expat Richard Shindell, now a resident of Buenos Aires, unspools outraged tales of social injustice over mewling, meditative folk. Seven albums in, he's learning to embrace the halcyon moments—though, as he noted on his website recently, he did just have an incident with an ax and his left index finger. Bummer—he was really lightening up. Bring spare bandages and sympathy with your $25. Le Poisson Rouge, lprnyc.com.
November 28Who needs to get on the Night Train nowadays? Presumably Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the amiable indie-rockers astrally hyped in 2006 for their DIY business credo of refusing to sign with record labels and then bragging about it. They've been meekly MIA for awhile, trying to regain momentum, but drummer Sean Greenhalgh still pulls up his (pleather) bootstraps for Mr. Brownstone, a wicked Guns N' Roses cover band that also features members of Satanicide. Yes, Greenhalgh plays Axl. Yes, he's still got unresolved feelings against the evil music industry, all of which will be expressed in an eloquent snake dance. The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza, irvingplaza.com.
He zagged through Africa last year for the documentary Throw Down Your Heart, so it's about time Béla Fleck came home. The Manhattan native is arguably the most famous banjo player in the world (or he will be, once someone argues about banjo players) and has won eight Grammys for his "blu-bop" hybrid of jazz and bluegrass. Uganda taught him about the roots of his instrument; his residency at the Blue Note will remind him about Louis Vuitton bags and $135 wines. Blue Note, bluenotejazz.com/newyork.