The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Week, 2/18/13

Catch Nellie McKay with her Amigos this Monday at Jazz at Lincoln Center
Catch Nellie McKay with her Amigos this Monday at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Here are the 10 best concerts to check out around the city this week, in no particular order.

Nellie McKay And The Amigos Band Jazz at Lincoln Center Monday, 7:30pm & 9:30pm, $30 As New York as stop-and-frisk, this uke-slinging, piano-swinging avenger of the oppressed has never sounded better. Expect nuggets from throughout McKay's remarkable oeuvre, which includes her Rachel Carson tribute "Silent Spring-It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature," her political-pop parfait of a latest album, Home Sweet Mobile Home, and random bursts of classic Americana from Dave Frishberg, Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Neil Young, and Charles Mingus. -- By Richard Gehr

Matthew Dear + The Virgins + The Rapture + Jim-e Stack Capitale Thursday,10pm, $30 Producer, DJ, and electronic avant-pop artist Matthew Dear got his start in the Detroit techno scene in 1999. With glitchy synths and cloudy electro production, his music lingers in ambiguous territory, somewhere between dark and dancey, microhouse and harder techno. With one foot in Reznorian industrial murk and the other in Eno-esque ambient pop, Dear conjures up an unrelenting, hypnotic blend of sounds. --By Sarah Madges

K. Michelle B. B. King Blues Club & Grill Tuesday, 8pm, $25/$28 K. Michelle's 2012 mixtape 0 F*cks Given detailed her piques and pains with a specificity and vocal dexterity befitting mentor R. Kelly at his secular, pre-revivalist peak but without his impersonal use of artifice. The dissonance between title and content is not rooted in the self-delusion that Ms. Michelle's reality show, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, frequently exploits. Rather than feigning implacability, 0 F*cks asserts a defiant, radical vulnerability, as intimated on the bare-all cover photograph. -- By Rajiv Jaswa

Deerhoof & Del Niente w/ Marcos Balter Merkin Concert Hall Wednesday, 7:30pm, $25 The Ecstatic Music Festival continues its cavalcade of intriguing collaborations with this edition featuring the Chicago contemporary music ensemble Dal Niente, who will perform drummer Greg Saunier's Deerhoof arrangements. Del Niente and the experimental rock quartet will also collaborate on a new work by Brazilian composer Marcos Balter. Expect shocks, humor, and pummel in varying proportions. -- By Richard Gehr

Dan Friel + Guardian Alien+Yvette + Braxton Knitting Factory Brooklyn Tuesday, 9pm, $10 Dan Friel's new Total Folklore is like a confrontational, bombastic, and jagged remake of Walter/Wendy Carlos's groundbreaking 1968 synthesizer hit, Switched-On Bach--and that's a compliment. The "folk" aspect refers both to the former Parts & Labor member's blunt-edged tools--a 1984 Yamaha PortaSound keyboard, thrift-store pedals, and OS9 Mac--as well as found sounds gleaned from long Brooklyn strolls. His mixture of brutal electronics and rather sweet classically inspired melodies deliver a visceral jolt, particularly in "Ulysses," a pummeling 13-minute homewrecker of an opener. In addition to his solo set, Friel will shiver the timbers with a one-off group that includes members of Titus Andronicus, Guardian Alien, Parts & Labor, and Oneida. Guardian Alien, Yvette, and DJ Tyondai Braxton open. -- By Richard Gehr


Fred Armisen brings his array of talents to Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday
Fred Armisen brings his array of talents to Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday

Fred Armisen Bowery Ballroom Tuesday, 8pm, $20 Yuk it up with Fred Armisen While we cozy up on Friday nights to watch new episodes of Portlandia, this week we're doubling the fun with the hottest (and funniest) SNL cast member. No, not Jason Sudeikis--Fred Armisen! The funnyman, musician, and actor is back onstage doing his thing, which could mean performing covers of the Clash, impersonating President Obama, or perhaps acting as sweet-girl Nina. Regardless, whenever Armisen hits the stage, it's always pretty damn hilarious and, of course, very charming. Tonight also includes comedy by Heather Lawless and music by Telekinesis. -- By Araceli Cruz

Tame Impala + The Growl Terminal 5 Tuesday, 8pm, $25 The Australian psych-rock ensemble Tame Impala earned some worthy attention last year with the release of their second LP, Lonerism, which ranked No. 6 on this year's Pazz & Jop. A mix of Zombies-style harmonies and Barrett-era Floyd, the record somehow seemed even trippier and more kaleidoscopically explosive than its predecessor, 2010's Innerspeaker. Whether that has to do with the morale boost the group's mastermind, Kevin Parker, must have felt when that record was ballyhooed or the fact that maybe he just found a better stash, his loner ways are paying off. With the Growl. -- By Kory Grow

'The Bunker' w/ Speedy J+Peter Van Hoesen+Mike Servito Output Friday, 10pm, $20/$30 Earlier in 2013, the Bunker celebrated 10 years of the uncompromising bookings that have brought hordes of serious techno heads to their home base of Public Assembly. This date marks the first Bunker appearance at nearby Output, with headlining sets from Belgian techno auteur Peter van Hoesen and Dutch minimal icon Speedy J ready to break in the gleaming Funktion One sound system with oppressive, fiery beats. -- By Aaron Gonsher

Henry Butler The Stone Wednesday, 8pm & 10pm, $10 A dazzling and funky cohesion of blues, jazz, and classical maneuvers, Butler is the latest and greatest in a line of stylistically voracious and percussively powerful New Orleans pianists that extends back to Jelly Roll Morton and mutated decisively with Professor Longhair. Butler's solo performance tonight, "The Ghost of Don Pullen," should ramble even further afield than usual in seeking the spirit of the late composer, bandleader, avant-gardist, and latter-days internationalist. -- By Richard Gehr

Polygraph Lounge Joe's Pub Tuesday, 7pm & 9:30pm, $12-$20 Keyboards-theremin wizard Rob Schwimmer and Bang on a Can guitarist Mark Stewart's new-music cabaret is a delightfully absurdist hoot for the whole family. Hence tonight's early show, "Bring the Kids!!" and its after-bedtime counterpart, "Songs of Baloney (Don't Bring the Kids!!)." Along with the operatically inclined Melissa Fathman, the virtuosic duo take a lysergic Spike Jones approach to the rock and classical canons, with dollops of topical humor, audience participation, and artful soundscaping. -- By Richard Gehr

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