Musical Reinvention Is the Name of the Game for This Week’s Best NYC Concerts


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We should count ourselves lucky that some of our finest musicians simply give zero fucks when it comes to pleasing a crowd. There are seemingly a million artists in our fair city, but it isn’t the sheer volume that makes our scene thrive — it’s a willingness for these folks to reinvent themselves time and time again, letting go of any pretense, abandoning the vestiges of critical acclaim, even grating a few nerves raw in the process. The perfect example of this is Arthur Ashin, who’s been steadily generating buzz as Autre Ne Veut since 2010. Back then he earned a reputation as something of a crooner; over homemade beats he’d belt out confessional lyrics, cementing a place in a legacy of bedroom recording projects. Then, in 2013, Anxiety took him to new heights, winding up on pretty much every end-of-the-year best-of list imaginable. But his latest, Age of Transparency, is another left turn. More avant-jazz than alt-r&b, Ashin has once again laid himself bare, sometimes even singing a cappella, vocally unhinged throughout the deeply moving record. His Monday-night show at Bowery Ballroom should be explosive. There’ll be echoes of that in Youth Lagoon’s Webster Hall show Thursday; like Ashin, YL frontman Trevor Powers began recording at home and quickly became known for his singular singing style, and both are now seeking major reinvention. 

Monday 10/26

Autre Ne Veut

Bowery Ballroom

8 p.m., $16

It’s always been hard to define the music of Arthur Ashin. The Brooklyn-based songwriter, singer, and producer, who performs as Autre Ne Veut, is often lumped in with the alt-r&b crowd, and his 2013 breakout LP, Anxiety, certainly had elements borrowing from that genre. But on his follow-up, Age of Transparency, released October 2 via Downtown Records, his ever-more-minimal compositions further defy attempts to assign his work to any one discipline. His avant-garde vocal approach has the earmarks of jazz improvisation, his voice almost sounding like the squeal of a sax. He’s unafraid to let his flaws show, and that’s a good thing; he played Rough Trade NYC to celebrate the album’s release earlier this month, but his sold-out show at Bowery Ballroom (with openers Gems and Mazed) will be his biggest headlining gig yet. Though these unadorned tracks should incite more intense vulnerability than ever, Ashin has only grown more self-assured, proving that the anxiety is gone. — Lindsey Rhoades

The Hum

Manhattan Inn

9 p.m., FREE

Back in April, Greenpoint’s Manhattan Inn hosted a month of Monday-night shows pairing NYC-based female musicians across genres for unique collaborative performances. The series, dubbed The Hum, went so well that they decided to do it again throughout October; the final installment happens October 26 for anyone who has thus far missed it, and they’re going out with a bang. Early in the evening, one collaboration will feature Alisha Roney from Feathers + Eyes, Bridget Kearney from Lake Street Dive, and Amy León, who does spoken word over her own soulful vocal loops. There’s also a group comprising Rose Blanshei from PRiMA, Jeanann Dara from La Sala, and Katie Von Schleicher from Wilder Maker. But the kicker is a duet between guitar virtuoso Kaki King and M.I.A. drummer Kiran Gandhi, whose sans-tampon marathon run recently went viral to help raise awareness for women’s reproductive health all over the world. Like her free-bleeding statement, the Hum is all about visibility. It’s a chance for these women to build relationships they might not have otherwise built, but also for attendees to revel in their too often unrecognized power. The event is free, but there is a suggested donation of $5–$10. — Lindsey Rhoades

Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs

The Knitting Factory

8 p.m., $12–$14

Infusing an updated rockabilly sound with her trademark wit and sass has worked out well for Holly Golightly. With a discography that spans over twenty albums, Golightly (and, yes, that’s her real name; her mother was a huge Breakfast at Tiffany’s fan) has had another prolific year. First, she released SlowTown Now!, her first “solo” record in eleven years, recorded with a full band in London’s Gizzard Studios. But she’s also been working side by side with Lawyer Dave, her counterpart in the Brokeoffs. The pair have recorded from their home in Georgia since 2012, and this month sees the fruits of another round of their labor with Coulda Shoulda Woulda. The LP represents everything that makes Golightly’s partnership with the Brokeoffs so excellent — direct lyrics, soulful singing, and rock ‘n’ roll roots with a Sixties girl-group vibe. They’ll play two shows in NYC: one Monday night at the Knitting Factory, with an encore performance Tuesday at Mercury Lounge. — Lindsey Rhoades

Tuesday 10/27

The Misfits

PlayStation Theater

8 p.m., $24.50

While this isn’t a Halloween show per se (check back soon for a near-complete listing of those), the Misfits are the indisputable forefathers of horror-punk, with much of their vast and entertaining catalog concerning itself with vampires, aliens, zombies, demons, and cannibalism. That’s a precedent that began with 1982’s Walk Among Us and continued with its follow-up, 1984’s Earth A.D. They’ll play both of those albums in their entirety at the newly rechristened PlayStation Theater (formerly known as Best Buy Theater), along with some additional fan favorites. Put on your best skull T-shirt and get ready to throw those Devil Horns. — Lindsey Rhoades


Music Hall of Williamsburg

9 p.m., $15

Late last year, Madrid garage pop group the Deers found themselves facing a cease-and-desist from a similarly named Canadian band requesting that they change their moniker. Some bands might have viewed that as a setback, or at least a discouraging omen, but this quartet took it all in stride, quickly rechristening themselves Hinds (that’s a synonym for doe, a deer, a female deer) and racking up accolades from music pubs like NME, the Guardian, and Pitchfork. Their debut LP, Leave Me Alone, doesn’t come out until January, but they’ve released a compilation EP of their best jangly, lo-fi singles so far and hit the road on their first major headlining tour. They make a stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg on October 27, with NYC’s own Public Access TV set to open. — Lindsey Rhoades

Ashley Monroe

Bowery Ballroom

8 p.m., $20

Tennessee singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe gained a higher profile in country music with her Vince Gill–produced 2013 album, Like a Rose, as well as her work in the spitfire girl trio Pistol Annies, composed of Monroe, Miranda Lambert, and Angaleena Presley. This summer’s The Blade raised that profile even further on the strength of singles like the breezy, bass-heavy “On to Something Good”; additionally, Monroe was featured on Blake Shelton’s recent hit “Lonely Tonight.” In support of her new album, Monroe headlines Bowery Ballroom on October 27. — Jill Menze

Wednesday 10/28


National Sawdust

7 and 9 p.m., $25

Since resigning from his role as primary cellist in Kronos Quartet, Jeffrey Zeigler has gone on to premiere works with dozens of esteemed musicians, from Steve Reich to Terry Riley to Damon Albarn. As one of the current stable of curators at National Sawdust, he’s helming another prestigious collaboration under the monogram of its three participants, HKZ. These include German pianist Hauschka and Samuli Kosimen, a Finnish percussionist — the H and the K, respectively. They’ve all performed together in different combinations in the past, though never as a trio; here they’ll explore a collusion of electronic and acoustic elements in Sawdust’s dramatic interior. — Lindsey Rhoades


Brooklyn Bowl

8 p.m., $15

Boasting a dozen members, Afrobeat outfit Antibalas have become a permanent fixture in Brooklyn’s burgeoning world-music scene. Having modeled their sound on Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 band, it’s no wonder they were invited to compose and arrange music for the Broadway production of Fela! On October 28, they kick off a residency at Brooklyn Bowl that returns every Wednesday for the next four weeks, with some all-star musical guests in tow. First up, they’ll play with Italian singer-songwriter Jovanotti. Then on November 4, Saul Williams guests, followed by Santigold on November 11 and Lee Fields on November 18. There are also four unique openers on each evening’s bill. — Lindsey Rhoades

Thursday 10/29

Music Hall of Williamsburg

8 p.m., $15

Though she’s the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, Zoë Kravitz isn’t a diva. She gives equal credit to her cohorts in Lolawolf: Jimmy Giannopoulos and James Levy (who also plays in punk band Reputante). Truly, the off-kilter r&b jams on last year’s phenomenal Calm Down were a collaborative effort, the trio’s ingenuity making major waves in critical circles. And though they’ve toured with massive pop stars like Lily Allen and Miley Cyrus, a new EP released last June, Everyfuckinday, reveals their deep trap leanings. Get there early for Trouble Andrew, who melds punk snarl with electronic production — Lolawolf is constantly name-dropping him in interviews when asked about their influences, he’s married to Santigold, and his sets are purported to be quite a spectacle. — Lindsey Rhoades

Youth Lagoon

Webster Hall

7 p.m., $20

With the release of Savage Hills Ballroom, the third LP from Boise-based dream-pop purveyor Youth Lagoon, the enigmatic singer-songwriter Trevor Powers seeks to reinvent himself and succeeds at every turn. The formerly floppy-haired and bespectacled kid first gained attention with anthemic, reverb-drenched ruminations on fireworks and fear of dying with The Year of Hibernation in 2011, following that up with more gauzy meditations on the metaphysical on 2013’s Wondrous Bughouse. Like the fictional venue for which his newest is named, Ballroom is an ornate structure in that tumultuous landscape. Trading distorted vocals and hazy organ for a slicker sound and more precise production, Ballroom is more pop-forward, with some forays into dubstep, sampled sound effects, and horn arrangements here and there. In promotional photos for the tour, which hits Webster Hall on October 29, Powers’s lips and eyes are lined with gold makeup, as if he’s gotten a makeover from Prince. Similarly, his fierce lyrics now shine, as does his unique falsetto, front and center for the first time since he started making music in his bedroom. Toronto psych-pop duo Moon King open. — Lindsey Rhoades

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 26, 2015

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