The Best NYC Shows This Week: Show Me the Body, Ellen Allien, Moor Mother

Moor Mother plays Sunnyvale on Saturday
Moor Mother plays Sunnyvale on Saturday
Nema Etebar

SXSW is over for another year, and if you weren’t able to escape the blizzard to attend, worry not: per usual, several of the festival’s buzziest acts will make their way to New York for a victory lap, including artists like Australian band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever who don’t often get to play in this hemisphere. But this week’s most exciting show is one that features two performers from closer to home — the Texas producer Rabit and Philadelphia-based radical industrial performance artist Moor Mother.

3/23
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Baked, Drawing Boards
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m. $12

This Melbourne, Australia group combines many of indie pop’s signature tics: jangly guitars, shoegazy distortion, tight song structure with satisfying builds and climaxes, and groovy riffs. Their sound resides somewhere between Courtney Barnett’s slacker rock and Diiv’s mesmerizing surfer pop. Last year they released a solid first album, Talk Tight, but they’ve already one-upped themselves with a new EP French Press, where their sound is clearer and their songs have a darker cast.

Julianna Barwick, Mas Ysa, Mankind, fantasy league, Nathan Phillips
First Unitarian Congregational Society
7 p.m., $15 - $20

The transcendent looping genius Julianna Barwick will play at First Unitarian this week thanks to a new booking entity called Ambient Church, founded by former members of the defunct New Age Bushwick DIY space Body Actualized Center. Their fingerprints are all over the event — the ticket page says the space will include an “incense cloud” and “vibes bar”. Aside from Barwick, the night will feature an ambient set from Mas Ysa, a Montreal artist who is known for passionate experimental electro-pop. Please vibe responsibly.

Illegal Civilization Presents: Show Me the Body, Leven Kali, Taco
The Studio at Webster Hall
8 p.m., $20

Illegal Civilization is a LA-based skate crew who make videos and put on shows. They’ll be in New York this week, premiering a film featuring the rapper Mac Miller, and hosting this show at Webster Hall. Headlining is the New York punk trio Show Me the Body, whose excellent debut album Body War, released last year, showed off their diverse influences, from hip hop to hardcore to blues, and their furious live energy.

3/24
Firehouse: Ellen Allien, Kim Ann Foxman, Jake Reif + more
Good Room
10 p.m., $15 - $25

Kim Ann Foxmann’s Firehouse residency at Greenpoint’s Good Room will host some of our favorite techno DJs this week, including Ellen Allien, who is globally respected for her wide ranging tastes and dynamic live sets. Allien, who runs the label BPitch Control and designs clothing in addition to DJing and producing, splits her time between techno capitals Berlin and Ibiza. In the venue’s smaller Bad Room, the New York collective Discwoman will curate a lineup featuring rising star Volvox and Japan’s Haruka.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Deradoorian
Knockdown Center
8 p.m., $12 - $15

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith — a composer who is known for using a rare Buchla modular synthesizer — creates bubbling, expansive electronic songs that weave a path somewhere between experimental and pop. Some of the songs off Smith’s most recent album EARS are pretty and easy to enjoy, like Brian Eno’s ambient work, while others are more avant-garde. She doesn’t shy away from vocals, which are often eerily multi-tracked and robotic. The album’s closer is an ambitious 11 minute track “Existence in the Unfurling,” a journey of slowly building melodies, fluttering instruments, and stray sounds that creates its own atmosphere. The album is a serious statement, positioning Smith as the artist next in line to take on the weird pop perfected by artists like Fever Ray.

3/25
Dude York, PAWS
Knitting Factory
7:30 p.m., $10 - $12

The title of Seattle trio Dude York’s new album, Sincerely, released on the great Northwest label Hardly Art, is an appropriate description of their ethos. Their songs draw from a diverse range of sources within the history of indie rock, selecting only the biggest, most anthemic hooks and choruses. Their explosively catchy song “Tonight,” about casting off the burden of rejection in favor of self-love, is destined to be screamed by teenagers in their suburban bedrooms. But even if you’re long past the adolescent-heartbreak stage, these songs are a pure joy.

Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Pallas, Deli Girls, The Cradle
The Glove
8 p.m., $7

Brooklyn experimenters Cloud Becomes Your Hand headline this show at Bushwick venue The Glove, one of the last standing bastions of true DIY in the borough. The sextet makes bizarre psych-pop reminiscent of some of the farther-out bands of the ‘60s or the Athens, Georgia label Elephant 6. Their off-kilter songs, bursting with a phantasmagoria of strange, colorful noises, are hypnotizing to watch live. They’ll play with an assortment of local weirdos and Atlanta’s Pallas, who play frantic noise rock shrouded in feedback.

Rabit (live), Moor Mother, Geng
Sunnyvale
Midnight, $12

Experimental DJ and producer Rabit and the radical power electronics performer Moor Mother are two of the most fascinating and important artists working in music today. Each uses sound to address systemic injustices in creative and confrontational ways. Rabit’s music, which he often intersperses with chilling samples of political speeches or news reports, feels like an actual assault, a weaponized collection of gunshots and artillery noises. Moor Mother, an artist and activist from Philadelphia, uses her music as part of a spiritual and political practice. To this end, she employs everything from haunted spirituals to jazz to aggressive harsh noise, rapping, singing and speaking the dark truths of our history over her tangled productions. To see her play live is to witness an exorcising of the deeply rooted traumas that come with living as a young black woman in America.

FLATLAND: Lawrence English, DJ Richard, Earthen Sea, Soramimi
Knockdown Center
8 p.m., $10 - $20

Brooklyn rave lighting experts Nitemind will take over the enormous Knockdown Center space this Saturday, installing a landscape of 3D LED sculptures which attendees can explore while listening to ambient sets by several producers. Australian artist, composer and curator Lawrence English will bring his sweeping, mood-shifting ambient works to the space, while Brooklyn producer Earthen Sea will play productions off his recent album An Act of Love, a gorgeously meditative ambient techno record meant for such a cavernous space.

3/26
Mykki Blanco, Cakes Da Killa
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $17

Last year the confrontational and commanding rapper Mykki Blanco released her first proper studio album, Mykki. On the LP, she spits fiery verses in voices that range from a low growl to a yelping scream, over inventive beats that are often menacing and industrial. Live, Blanco, the stage name of Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. is a force, dominating any stage she comes across, often wearing an outfit that exposes her many tattoos. At this show, she'll play alongside the rapper Cakes Da Killa, who similarly filters his quick-witted flow through a queer worldview.


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