The Nine Best Concerts in New York This Week, 5/11/15


For more shows throughout the week, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

Monday, 5/11
The Staves
Rough Trade NYC
8 p.m., $15
The Staves are a sisterly trio from a tiny English town with an enormous, mystical folk sound. On their sophomore album, If I Was, the Staveley-Taylor sisters enlisted Justin Vernon as a sort of spiritual shepherd, recording most of the album in his Wisconsin studio compound and relying on his ever-faithful production style to draw out their darkest and brightest potential. As the title suggests, If I Was is a swirling story of what-ifs and songs that linger long in the cracked grooves of a broken heart. These sisters take breakup songs and spin them into majestic, ruinous talismans. If you’ve been through the wilderness of grief this album recounts, there is some solace in its wintry, resolute sorrow. And if you haven’t, the songs here are nearly broken enough to spur you away from romance altogether. — Caitlin White

Say Lou Lou
Baby’s All Right // Mercury Lounge
Monday, 8 p.m., $12–$14 // Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
Twin-sister Swedish-Australian duo Miranda and Elektra Kilbey, who perform as Say Lou Lou, create seductive, and often melancholy, downtempo electropop. Following a string of well-received singles, starting with 2012’s quietly devastating “Maybe You,” their growing fan base eagerly waited for a full album. Their debut, the shimmering, synth-washed Lucid Dreaming, was finally released worldwide on April 7, preceded by the sweeping and cinematic “Nothing but a Heartbeat.” Both their Brooklyn and Manhattan shows have sold out, but try your luck for tickets on the secondary market. — Karen Gardiner

Azealia Banks
Irving Plaza
7 p.m.
With all of Azealia Banks‘s Twitter beefs and Obama-bedding remarks, the Harlem rapper often comes off as more public show than substance — but her rap game says otherwise. The shameless, stylistic raunch of her breakout single “212” minted Banks as the up-and-coming MC to watch, though label woes delayed the release of her debut album. Broke With Expensive Taste finally arrived as a surprise release late last year, and to support it she’s playing a few select dates. The high-demand Irving Plaza show is sold out, but tickets are available on the secondary market. Strange Names open. — Jill Menze

Passion Pit
Kings Theatre
8 p.m., $24–$114
Since the historic Kings Theatre in Flatbush reopened its doors at the beginning of this year, a number of marquee names have begun gracing the long dormant stage. Adding to the list of spring acts passing through are Passion Pit, a notable live act for the inclined-to-dance hipster set. The show comes on the heels of the release of Passion Pit’s Kindred, the uber-catchy and excellent third album from the group fronted by the man with the sky-high falsetto, Michael Angelakos. Expect extra head-bobbing during Passion Pit favorites like “Sleepyhead” and “Take a Walk.” — Jill Menze


Tuesday, 5/14
East India Youth
Rough Trade NYC
8 p.m., $15
William Doyle, who records under the name East India Youth in tribute to the East India Docks in London where he used to reside, had a triumphant year last year when his debut album, Total Strife Forever, received an unexpected Mercury Prize nomination. He has quickly followed it up with the leftfield pop-tinged Culture of Volume, which features a handful of banging club-centric tracks that should see him find an even wider audience. Armed with only a laptop and bass guitar, he cuts an unassuming figure and his live shows are energetic and often euphoric affairs. Emerging Brooklyn trio Glass Gang open. — Karen Gardiner

Wednesday, 5/13
Eric D. Johnson
Bowery Ballroom
9 p.m., $20–$22
Eric D. Johnson is best known as the frontman and primary songwriter of the Fruit Bats, a Northwest indie rock band with a hard-on for pop. The band released a string of exceptional records, with singles like “When You Love Somebody” finding a bigger audience among those who make commercials than those who buy records. After a stunning finale with 2011’s Tripper, the band called it quits. Performing under the EDJ handle, Johnson picks up right where Fruit Bats left off on the project’s self-titled debut, which boasts catchy riffs and summer jingles to spare. — Chris Kornelis

Kaiser Chiefs
Irving Plaza
7 p.m., $42
Kaiser Chiefs rode the same pop-crossover wave as Franz Ferdinand in the mid-Aughts, producing such classic Britpop hits as “I Predict a Riot” and “Ruby.” Though founding drummer Nick Hodgson departed the band in 2012, Kaiser Chiefs carried on in his absence, recruiting Vijay Mistry to round out the quintet for last year’s Education, Education, Education & War. Kaiser Chiefs’ dance-friendly live shows are consistently strong and confident, led by singer Ricky Wilson’s undeniable, palpable energy. For the group’s Irving Plaza show, Portland’s Priory open. — Jill Menze

Thursday, 5/14
Matt & Kim
Terminal 5
Thursday & Friday, 7 p.m.
A few adjectives that come to mind when considering a Matt & Kim show: Exuberant, joyous, exhilarating, smile-inducing, and, well, anything else that hails from a whole lot of fun. The Brooklyn pop duo of vocalist and keyboardist Matt Johnson and drummer Kim Schifino are known for their legendary live sets as well as memorable videos (the couple running naked through Times Square in “Lessons Learned,” anyone?). In honor of Matt & Kim’s latest album, New Glory, the group is playing two hot-ticket shows at Terminal 5. Though the shows are sold out, look for tickets on the secondary market. Waters open. — Jill Menze

Friday, 5/15
Mat Zo
Pacha NYC
10:30 p.m., $19–$100 (Fasttrack tickets available)
When now 25-year-old DJ/producer Mat Zo got “discovered” by Above & Beyond’s Anjunabeats label, he likely didn’t know he would become the credible and well-established musical wonderboy he is today. Since his 2013 debut with Damage Control, the grass has only gotten greener for the Londoner. Zo’s music is the exact kind Anjuna has come to love: impassioned, melodically alluring, and funky, sometimes all at once. Clearly ready to pursue this seemingly perpetual growth, Zo is kicking off his Pacha NYC summer residency this Friday. “The Residency Launch” will be a solo show featuring all of Zo’s signature groovy goodness, and is open to all those 19+. — Eleanor Lambert