Deerhunter Explore New Frontiers in This Week's Best Concerts in NYC
Deerhunter play three shows this week to promote their latest album, Fading Frontier.
Photo courtesy the Windish Agency
For more shows throughout the week, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.
A year after posting pictures of himself in a neck brace from his hospital bed after a nearly fatal car accident, Bradford Cox will grace various NYC stages this week for a series of New York shows in support of Fading Frontier, his latest LP with Deerhunter. He’ll also open every show under his more electronic-leaning solo project Atlas Sound. Cox has had a long history as a volatile character hellbent on provocation, but Frontier is one of his most straightforward and placid works yet, with single “Living My Life” breezily summing up Cox’s new go-with-the-flow mentality. He’s still got teeth, though; early reviews from a pair of shows in Los Angeles last October mentioned that when the band encountered technical issues, the performance quickly devolved into an onslaught of noise and distortion anchored by an angry, thirty-minute rendition of “Nothing Ever Happened.” Fans rushed the stage while Cox inexplicably distributed potted plants. But Cox’s onstage antics are part of what makes him such a vital performer, and because some degree of unpredictability is (ironically) par for the course with Deerhunter, we recommend checking out more than one of these gigs if you can. Deerhunter play a show for Jukely members only at Rough Trade NYC on Monday, Irving Plaza on Tuesday, and Warsaw on Wednesday before heading to the Midwest. Also well worth seeing this week, Joanna Newsom brings Divers, her first LP since 2010’s epic Have One on Me, to Kings Theatre on Monday (with a bonus performance next Friday at the Apollo), and Aimee Mann and Ted Leo kick off a series of holiday performances at Town Hall.
8 p.m., $39.50–$59.50
Once considered the most winsome of the freak-folk crowd, classically trained harp virtuoso Joanna Newsom has spent the last decade laughing in the face of anyone who dared not take her seriously, honing her already considerable skills as both songwriter and musician. Her latest, Divers, came out via 4AD this fall and belongs on every year-end “best of” list, even if Newsom’s disdain for streaming platforms makes it (and her equally exhilarating back catalog) somewhat inaccessible — it is, even so, well worth going deep for. A gorgeous visual treatment of the LP’s title track, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, tells you all you need to know — Newsom is poised, goddess-like, above a diorama of moody peaks, singing about the divide between life and death and how love carries us through those valleys. Newsom recently added a second show (Friday, December 11) at the Apollo. — Lindsey Rhoades
7 p.m., $25
With the release of Fading Frontier, Deerhunter (and their mercurial lead singer Bradford Cox) seem to acquiesce to a more laid-back existence, with sunnier guitar lines and lyrics equivalent to an ASCII shrug. On “Breaker,” for instance, Cox sings, “I’m alive. I don’t credit the source, I just drive” — it’s particularly poignant considering his near-fatal car accident at the end of last year. Frontier’s exceedingly palatable and pop-forward melodies could mean big changes for Deerhunter’s live show, at least in terms of how confrontational Cox & Co. will get. But the Athens, Georgia, quartet, rounded out by Lockett Pundt, Moses Archuleta, and Josh McKay, are nothing if not consummate musicians. Even when given to endless loops of noise, they still bring their all to the stage, and on this tour, they’re stopping at Rough Trade for a Jukely-members-only performance on Monday, followed by an Irving Plaza gig Tuesday and a show at Polish dancehall Warsaw in Greenpoint on Wednesday, each promising to be a completely different experience from the next. Cox opens each performance with his solo project, Atlas Sound. — Lindsey Rhoades
8 p.m., $59.50–$255
If all you want for Christmas is Mariah Carey, the folks at Beacon Theatre are prepared to make that happen. Centered on the explosive popularity of the 1994 smash hit that the New Yorker called "one of the few worthy modern additions to the holiday canon," Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You concert series runs a whopping eight nights in ten days, with all the special guests you could possibly wish for. It’s also something of a homecoming for pop’s biggest diva — born and raised in NYC — and marks the second year she’s had a holiday residency at the Beacon: Last year, she sold out six nights there, grossing a reported $1.5 million. That’s a lot of Christmas presents for a girl who supposedly doesn't want anything much. — Lindsey Rhoades
8 p.m., $TBD
BET’s Music Matters concert series takes over S.O.B.’s on Tuesday, featuring Sonyae Elise, Jacquees, Suzy Q, Orlando Dixon, Tiffany Stevenson, Spade, Crystal Joy, and a headlining set from rising NYC duo Lion Babe. Singer Jillian Hervey might just be the heiress to Erykah Badu’s throne, her jazzy vocal rhythms channeling the Queen of Neo-Soul on Lion Babe’s breakout hit “Treat Me Like Fire.” The group formed in New York when Hervey, then pursuing a career in dance, met producer and multi-instrumentalist Lucas Goodman. Their fresh take on funk caught the ear of Childish Gambino, who collaborated with the pair on the ecstatic “Jump Hi” after they supported him on tour. They’ve since played Afropunk, opened for Disclosure, and released a recent single, “Where Do We Go,” from their upcoming LP, Begin, out January 22. — Lindsey Rhoades
The Knitting Factory
8 p.m., $16
As the lead singer of Nineties slacker act the Lemonheads, Evan Dando penned such enduring pop gems as “If I Could Talk I’d Tell You” and “Into Your Arms.” He’s also released a couple of solo albums laden with the same jangly sentiments, and though his contributions to music were recently recognized by the Boston Music Awards, which inducted the Massachusetts-born musician into its Hall of Fame this November, a few drug-addled decades slowed Dando’s output. He’s recently begun playing with the Lemonheads again and working on new songs, some of which may make it into his intimate set at the Knitting Factory on Tuesday. — Lindsey Rhoades
8 p.m., $20
In the opening lines of "Slipping Away," the first single from Tanlines' sophomore record, Highlights, Eric Emm's plaintive vocal rings out over an exuberant bassline akin to the Cure's "Close to Me": "Was I running backwards? Was it all just a dream?" Emm's lyrics could easily be a reference to the whirlwind in which he, along with bandmate Jesse Cohen, began their career. They released full-length debut Mixed Emotions in 2012, and though some critics docked points for the LP's failure to push many boundaries, it reached No. 2 on the Billboard Heatseekers album chart and earned Tanlines a slew of fans who came out in droves to dance themselves into a frenzy at their shows. Everything about Highlights sees the band making bolder decisions, and Tanlines wanted to reflect that in their live shows as well. They've assembled musicians who will add guitar and live drums on tour, making these shows unlike the many that Tanlines have played as a duo. Angelenos IO Echo are set to open. — Lindsey Rhoades
7 p.m., $35
If you’ve ever wondered what the Black Keys would sound like if those Dan Auerbach blues got doused in spooky soul, well, it would be pretty damn close to the new ensemble the Arcs, who are flying high after the September 4 release of their debut LP, Yours, Dreamily. Auerbach fronts the five-piece, but it’s the rhythm section that delivers the psych-rock side project’s most surprising and vibrant elements. Leon Michels, Homer Steinweiss, and Nick Movshon — all players affiliated with the soul bands of the Daptone Records family — lend a steady groove to the proceedings, while multi-instrumentalist/frequent Keys collaborator Richard Swift of the Shins provides an anchor with his indie-pop technique. The trippy “Put a Flower in Your Pocket” and ballad “Stay in My Corner” soar in particular and propel this side band firmly to center stage. — Silas Valentino
Aimee Mann + Ted Leo
7:30 p.m., $35–$45
For eight years now, singer-songwriter Aimee Mann and Pharmacists frontman Ted Leo have been putting together lavish holiday revues and taking them out on the road. This year, the tour stops at Town Hall on December 10, and although its hosts are primarily musicians (they also play together in a band called the Both), the concept for this particular outing has turned into that of a variety show, with special guests, comedy, video, and sketches accompanying Christmas classics as well as original carols. — Lindsey Rhoades
The Get Up Kids
The Bell House
7 p.m., $25–$28
Much digital ink has been spilled over talk of the so-called “emo” revival, and if it seems a bit too soon to have a “revival” of a genre that crested so recently, consider the fact that its poster children, the Get Up Kids, formed in 1995 and are currently in the midst of a twentieth-anniversary tour. While their seminal record, Something to Write Home About, wasn’t released until 1999, the Missouri quartet met in high school four years prior, releasing their debut, Four Minute Mile, in 1997, and touring through their early years with Braid, Weezer, the Anniversary, and Green Day. Now that they’re all grown up, they’re apparently as nostalgic for emo as the rest of us and are playing two NYC shows this week: one at Irving Plaza on December 9, with an encore performance at the Bell House in Gowanus on December 10. Both are sold out, but tickets may be available on the secondary market. — Lindsey Rhoades
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