Carly Rae Jepsen’s Record Store Show Tops the Ten Best Concerts in New York This Weekend


The inaugural Emerging Music Festival hits Bryant Park on Friday evening, bringing New Yorkers a chance to catch five burgeoning local acts for the right price — free! Mainland top the bill with acts Miracles of Modern Science and Lazyeyes providing support, while food vendors from Hester Street Fair are set to provide the grub. Also in store for this weekend are the falsetto vocals of Ayer, pop queen Carly Rae Jepsen, and a jazz festival commemorating the Bird himself, Charlie Parker.

Friday, 8/21

Emerging Music Festival
Bryant Park
5 p.m., FREE

For it’s debut year, the Emerging Music Festival has enlisted five NYC-based acts covering indie pop, and neo soul for an evening commemorating local music on the rise. Mainland headlines the event with their spin on edgier power pop and the occasional dreamy synthesizer (think Depeche Mode with more of a bite) led by the spry singer/guitarist Jordan Topf. Singer/songwriter Julia Easterlin toys with electro sample loops and a production that calls to mind the tender reveal heard in Lorde’s minimalism. And with soul music for the selfie age, Mad Satta is an eight-member ensemble driven by the raspy singer Joanna Teters, who can convert the stage into a red velveteen-smoking lounge with her intense vocals. — Silas Valentino

Mystery Skulls
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $12

The electronica beaming out of Mystery Skulls’ keyboard recalls those irresistible soundtrack moments from the 2011 movie Drive, but with more dance floor passion than road rage. An electropop outlet for the multitalented Luis Dubuc, a self-taught musician who in the past fronted the metal band Of Legends, Mystery Skulls flexes its muscles through sparkling synths, big backing beats, and layers of soulful vocals that tie the whole flashing arrangement together. The 2014 debut Forever bares its roots in radio-friendly Daft Punk as well synthwave leader College with its loop-centric production. It’s an impressive display from a virtuoso nomad. — Silas Valentino

Cameo Gallery
7 p.m., $8 – $10

The Brooklyn-based Ayer delivers his falsetto, R&B-fused electro pop in a manner that comes off as both timid and assured. Ayer maintains an element of gentle insecurity while detailing songs of lost love — as heard in the recent single “Castaway” — supported by a soft guitar loop reminiscent of the Temper Trap’s beauty “Sweet Disposition.” Ayer sounds confident while baring his heart under tattered sleeves. Opening this 21+ show are Surf Rock is Dead, Paperwhite, and Blonde Maze. — Silas Valentino

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

Trudging the underground since the mid-Eighties and still rockin’ as if their lives depended on it are Chicago’s legendary twang-punk vets, Eleventh Dream Day. Channeling the gritty harmonies and roots-punk burn of X and the wizardry of Neil Young and Yo La Tengo, EDD led by criminally underrated six-string slasher Rick Rizzo and drums beast Janet Beveridge Bean — are treasured elder statesmen of underground rock. Over the course of a ten-record sprawl that included a disastrous major label stint in the Nineties, EDD have persevered. On the new ferociously anthemic Works for Tomorrow, Rizzo, Bean and longtime members Douglas McCombs (Tortoise) and multi-instrumentalist Mark Greenberg have welcomed James? Elkington (Brokeback, Tweedy) into the fold, sending its Americana-flavored punk rock blitz even further into the stratosphere. Opening are the equally shredworthy Antietam and junk-fi improv nomads 75 Dollar Bill. The guitar heroics start at 6:30pm for this one, so arrive early. — Brad Cohan

Saturday, 8/22

All Dogs
Silent Barn
8 p.m., $7

All Dogs are an unassuming rock band from Columbus, OH that delight with poppy power chords and wailing vocals courtesy of singer Maryn Jones. They’re a self-aware four piece — referring to themselves as “punks making pop music” on their Tumblr — and after issuing a string of solid mini releases the band is ready to make a proper statement with their debut album Kicking Ever Day out August 28 on Salinas Records. Scooping the album title from single “That Kind of Girl,” Kicking Every Day has All Dogs firmly landing feet first, producing power punk that’s equally provocative as it is catchy. — Silas Valentino

Carly Rae Jepsen
Rough Trade NYC
11 a.m., Entry with Album Purchase

Canadian pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen appears to be defying the odds with her third record E•MO•TION, which comes out on August 21, the day before this in-store appearance. Her 2012 single “Call Me Maybe” proved to be one of the year’s most incurable earworms with its catchy lyrics and compelling vocals. Jepsen appears to have moved past the shackles of her prior fame, partly due to the enlistment of esteemed pop music writers Dev Hynes, the Swedish savant Shellback, and Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend. E•MO•TION’s writing credits look like a royal pop music roll call where Jepsen’s name tops the list. — Silas Valentino

Earl Sweatshirt
Best Buy Theatre
8 p.m., $30 – $35

In relation to his Odd Future upbringing, Earl Sweatshirt was generally the most exciting member of the now-inactive hip-hop collective. His three releases exhibit a career of a conscious poet, endlessly digging for honest expression through the lens of teenage angst or twenty-something dissatisfaction. The surprise drop of his second studio effort I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, released on March 23, displayed his ambition. Its dark, brooding production is suitable for a late night bout with an unreliable G Train where Sweatshirt is the conductor of malaise. — Silas Valentino

Sunday, 8/23

Nine of Swords
Silent Barn
7 p.m., $7

In the mystical realm of tarot cards, the nine of swords is known as the Lord of Cruelty — an astute name for a band specializing in heavy grinding metal with seething screams. Local quartet Nine of Swords follow suit with its tarot namesake and produces relentless, fast-paced music that could easily fit in the Tidal account for any cruel lord — or head-banging fanatic. Their 2014 release I Can’t Stand on My Face is a ruthless six-song introduction that barely hits the ten-minute mark, indicating that taking in a full performance is the appropriate way to appreciate their doom. Come prepared with a neck brace. Ursula, Tall Juan, and the Empty Gestures open. — Silas Valentino

Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
Tompkins Square Park
3 p.m., FREE

Frenzy played a key role in Charlie Parker’s music, so a bit of mania always helps the equation when artists salute the iconic jazz saxophonist. You can definitely hear it in Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls project, which refracts sections of Parker’s itchy bop themes in ways that allow the bandleader’s quintet to develop a handful of new designs (and incorporate Mahanthappa’s Indian heritage). It’s a wise booking that positions the group on the final afternoon of this year’s Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, the annual uptown/downtown bash that invariably feels cozy and cool — a micro-fest for those stuck in town during the summer months. This edition isn’t shy about covering lots of bases: The Oliver Lake Big Band gets things started on Friday in Marcus Garvey Park; Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jeff Watts, Andy Bey, and others continue there on Saturday (starting at three); and today, Joe Lovano, Myra Melford, and Mahanthappa (pictured) tip their hats in Tompkins Square Park. Tell everyone you know — now’s the time. — Jim Macnie

Afropunk Festival
Commodore Barry Park
1 p.m., $45 – $250

This weekend’s Afropunk Festival kicks off on Friday with a Fancy Dress Ball that, with O.G. Afrofuturist Grace Jones as headliner, should be fabulous, provocative, and progressive in equal measure. Jones returns Saturday for a female-centric day of music, politics, and skateboards that will unleash sets by Lauryn Hill, Kelis, and Adia Victoria; Danny Brown, screamy hip-hop experimentalists Death Grips, and aging skate punks Suicidal Tendencies flesh out the day’s roster of performers. Today’s closing lineup includes Lenny Kravitz, blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr., British soul rockers Vintage Trouble, Paris’s Petite Noir, and Kele. Many other acts are also on tap at this decade-old social-science experiment that, for the first time, will charge anywhere from $45 (single-day admission) to $250 (a weekend of V.I.P. access) for entry. — Richard Gehr

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