Mac DeMarco’s Four-Show Run Tops the Ten Best Concerts in New York This Week


Canadian-born but New York-certified, Mac DeMarco continues his streak of releasing impressive and consistent records with his latest, Another One. He’s toured the world, bedazzling audiences at every turn, and now he returns home for a week of four shows, hitting the Bowery Ballroom, Webster Hall, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Warsaw. Other highlights for the week include a breakdown on what it takes to craft a classic song, a visit to the Eighties, and two hip-hop legends in a bowling alley.

Monday, 8/17

Mac DeMarco
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $30-$35

The lovable goofball of way-down-south Queens, Mac DeMarco kicks off his first of four shows this week at the Bowery Ballroom. Fresh off the August 7 release of his mini-album Another One, DeMarco is sounding as whimsical and jangling as ever with his Seventies-pop-inspired laments about love. His “House by the Water,” the album’s closing track, ends with DeMarco releasing his Far Rockaway, Queens, home address and inviting fans over for a cup of coffee. Another One arrives just a year after his critical breakthrough, Salad Days, and this speedy release confirms that DeMarco is blossoming. — Silas Valentino

C.P. Unit
Silent Barn
8 p.m., $10

In a brief but insanely productive spurt, nascent twentysomething alto sax local Chris Pitsiokos has firebreathed his way to the forefront of New York City’s outsider avant-garde jazz underground. The baby-faced free-improviser’s brutal prog heaviness and intense quietude first exploded on Unplanned Obsolescence, and was followed by collabs with guitarist Ron Anderson and an alliance with no-wave goddess Lydia Lunch. The ear-busting run continued just last month with the release of the weirdly swinging sprawl of Gordion Twine, his trio with bassist Max Johnson and Talibam! drummer Kevin Shea. For his newest project — dubbed C.P. Unit — Pitsiokos has assembled a murderers’ row of skronk overlords including his partner in crime Weasel Walter, Child Abuse’s Tim Dahl, and guitarist Brandon Seabrook for a night of pure face-ripping of the highest order. Hard-drinking eccentric composer Dave Buddin and Dominika Em’s Angels of Retribution set Silent Barn’s stage ablaze along with Tongues and Qeei. — Brad Cohan

Jazz Listening Parties
Lincoln Center
7 p.m., FREE

Throughout the month of August, Lincoln Center has been providing various Jazz Listening Parties that combine live and recorded music with discussions from popular musicologists. On August 17, the topic is “Anatomy of a Popular Song: George Gershwin,” hosted by revered jazz pianist Bill Charlap. Listeners will be treated to an in-depth examination of how Gershwin’s ensembles appropriately reflected the Twenties and Thirties. Charlap will also dissect certain Gershwin hits and their techniques and styles, leading to the million-dollar question: What exactly makes a great song? The event will be held at the Irene Diamond Education Center on the fifth floor. — Silas Valentino

Tuesday, 8/18

Counting Crows
JBL Live at Pier 97
6 p.m., $72.50

“Mr. Jones” may be the shiny beacon at the top of the list, but albums like This Desert Life and their latest, Somewhere Under Wonderland, prove the penchant the Counting Crows have for crafting compound rock tunes backed by Adam Duritz’s imaginative, scrawled-on-a-napkin poetry. Their 2014 single “Palisades Park” spins a nostalgic tale that drifts down the same storytelling alley Bruce Springsteen once traversed, all emotive lyrics and carnival-lights instrumentation. Opening acts are soul-pop songwriter Citizen Cope and the burgeoning Queens rock ‘n’ roll band Hollis Brown, one of New York’s more promising young acts. — Silas Valentino

Psychedelic Furs
Irving Plaza
7 p.m., $36.50

Brother band the Psychedelic Furs haven’t released a new album since 1991’s World Outside, but that hasn’t kept them from keeping busy on world tours revisiting those new-wave hits that helped define the Eighties. Led by the raspy, lovesick vocals of Richard Butler, the Furs provided the title track to John Hughes’s 1986 teen drama Pretty in Pink but obtained pop-music perfection with defining moment “Love My Way,” which remains holy for its use of the marimba — played on record by none other than the album’s producer, Todd Rundgren. — Silas Valentino

Sessions at the Circle
Time Warner Center
6 p.m., FREE

Lasting through September 1, the free music series Sessions at the Circle — which runs each Tuesday night at six — offers live performances from premier musicians on a weekly basis. Taking place on the second floor of the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle, the program is a co-presentation between Jazz at Lincoln Center and DoNYC. The slate of performers includes Vuyo Sotashe (August 18), Jazzmeia Horn (August 25), and the International Chamber Orchestra of America (September 1). — Danny King

Wednesday, 8/19

Tal Nation
Le Poisson Rouge
8 p.m., $18

Hailing from low-musical-profile Niger, Tal National emit at least as much jubilant energy as any of their more popular West African neighbors. Formed in 2000 by guitarist Hamadal “Almeida” Moumine (a judge by day), Tal National recently released their fourth album with a polyglot lineup that includes Fulani, Hausa, Songhai, and Tuareg speakers. High-speed contrapuntal guitar lines, mbalax-flavored talking drum, and a traps drummer who can’t/won’t stop even as his kit is disassembled around him all make for a terrifically engaging experience. Openers Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang likewise deal in all-out excitement: Nabay chants politically loaded lyrics above centuries-old bubu rhythms while a synth replicates traditional bamboo pipes and an electric guitar that transports the whole outfit to outer space. — Richard Gehr

Day Wave
Mercury Lounge
6:30 p.m., $10

Jackson Phillips, of the electropop duo Carousel, strikes out on his own via the infectiously catchy indie pop of Day Wave. With whisper-soft vocals matched by flowery guitar-based arrangements, Day Wave turns twentysomething insecurities into lo-fi gold, best heard in “We Try but Don’t Fit In” or the popular single “Drag.” Phillips resides in Oakland, a city that’s made a recent drastic transformation due to its flourishing art community — earning comparisons to Brooklyn along the way — and it would appear as though the potential of his hometown has seeped its way into Day Wave’s glossy sound. — Silas Valentino

Thursday, 8/20

Brooklyn Bowl
6 p.m., $17-$20

Returning after a decade-long hiatus, Blackalicious are set to release Imani Vol. 1 on September 18, their first album since 2005’s The Craft. The hip-hop duo from Sacramento features the wordsmith MC Gift of Gab, who proved his mettle with the 1999 microphone slammer “Alphabet Aerobics (The Cut Chemist 2 1/2 Minute Workout)” where he jams together endless alliteration with commanding force. Opening the show is Bronx native Kool Keith, who was one of the founding members of the influential early-Nineties hip-hop ensemble Ultramagnetic MCs. His 1996 debut album, Dr. Octagonecologyst, recorded under one of his many aliases (Dr. Octagon), is regarded as a hip-hop classic for its amalgamation of trip-hop and obscene horrorcore. — Silas Valentino

Nikki Lane
Union Pool
9 p.m., $10

Marching in a pair of dusty boots that seem to have been passed down by Nancy Sinatra, Nikki Lane is keeping the Outlaw Country spirit aglow with her brutally honest lyrics and slide-guitar-heavy tunes. Dan Auerbach oversaw her second LP, All or Nothin’, in his Nashville studio, and the Black Keys frontman joins Lane in the tender duet highlight “Love’s on Fire.” The remainder of All or Nothin’ showcases the singer-songwriter’s fierce craftsmanship and smooth ability to fuse her country and Motown vocal influences into a blend entirely her own. — Silas Valentino

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