Spring Guide: Londoners the xx and More

Enjoying American top-10 lists with the hit Brits


April 9

Took a hell of an act to wrest attention away from Dirty Projectors' live spectacle in their crowning year, but no-longer-unknown opener Merrill Garbus managed to do just that on several dates with little more than a ukulele, a pair of floor toms, and a loop pedal. First, familiarize yourself with last year's hypnotically suffocating BiRd-BrAiNs, which stuffed into free recording software everything from confessional relationship diaries ("I don't need no booze to get it up in the morning") to homemade musique concrète of clanging forks and glasses. Then go see her upstage Xiu Xiu. Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, boweryballroom.com

Graduates of Bleak High School
Aliya Nuamoff
Graduates of Bleak High School

Lupe Fiasco

April 10 and 11

With André 3000 AWOL and Kanye laying low in a world that loves Taylor Swift, rappers who can flaunt the cerebral and still bring the boom bap are an endangered species. Luckily, this skateboarding Chicago wunderkind has reneged on his supposed premature retirement to offer up a forthcoming album, Lasers, and a purported light show to go with it. Considering the comic-book imagination of 2007's The Cool, which followed the Faust-like persona Michael Young History through trippy encounters with characters such as a villainous cheeseburger, Fiasco may yet gleefully live up to his surname. Plus, motherfucker can flow. Fillmore at Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, livenation.com


April 16

There's no humble way to sell one of the best bands in the world, so I won't lowball it: Inside the basic-on-paper four-piece framework that is the Cincinnati rock band Wussy, you'll experience marital intensity like peak X, amplifier squall like great Crazy Horse, and oddball folklore panoramas like early R.E.M. And wouldn't it be impolite not to mention the hooks they shoot through the heartbreak, as if Lucinda Williams had been conceived by a gang of college-rock warhorses? Miss and mope. Cake Shop, 152 Ludlow Street, cake-shop.com

The Apples in Stereo

April 21

Robert Schneider has garnered a lot of respect as a lifelong indie-popster, co-founder of the Elephant 6 collective, children's songwriter (as Robbert Bobbert), and, most recently, inventor of the Non-Pythagorean musical scale (!). But what he really deserves now is unabashed fanatical love: The Apples' bombastic ELO pastiche New Magnetic Wonder was one of 2007's best (and least hip) records. His band's live show rocks surprisingly hard in addition to the efficient tunecraft that his Beatles-mad reputation promises. Perhaps the upcoming r&b- and dance-inflected Travellers in Space and Time will help everyone forget they did that Powerpuff Girls video. Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, boweryballroom.com

Deer Tick

May 15

Maybe John McCauley's voice (which on a good day resembles Sonny Bono straining to shout over an operating trash compactor) isn't the ideal ambassador to introduce people to his songs. But they said that about Bob Dylan, and part of the fun of listening to Deer Tick is being won over by how well the rough-fringed singing hews to the good-time folk backing. Last year's Born on Flag Day is prettiest at its ugliest—that's the idea. Terminal 5, 610 West 56th Street, terminal5nyc.com

Everybody Was in theFrench Resistance . . . Now

May 13

Eddie Argos is the most talented purveyor of novelty songs since "Weird Al" Yankovic—certainly no other indie rocker has taken such pride and joy in the high-concept or explicitly self-referential. His obsession has become so maniacal that it's already spiraled out of his rock band Art Brut and into this duo (with excellent new foil Dyan Valdes), whose entire repertoire is comprised of answer songs—to '60s pop hits, Dylan, Kanye, and Avril. And it takes some stones to launch "Billie's Genes" ("You broke more than just a young girl's heart") at Michael Jackson's still-warm corpse. Union Hall, 702 Union Street, Brooklyn, unionhallny.com

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