U.S. Girls Smashes Glass Ceilings by Playing Three of NYC’s Best Concerts This Weekend


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

There is only one woman behind the Toronto-based DIY pop project U.S. Girls, despite the fact that the moniker gives the impression that this woman, Meghan Remy, is in fact a roving squad of All-American tween-age females. In a way, that’s somewhat appropriate: Remy has used this project to act as a surrogate narrator for the stories of a variety of women, and her latest record Half Free achieves this storytelling device on a level that she’s never been able to reach previously. If her handle conjures bubblegum-popping, the sounds sample disco and dub just as prominently, darkly twisted to fit the bitter, gnarled realities of gender inequality. Remy makes an unabashedly feminist statement with the concept on this LP — Half Free is full-on truth, explored in a series of songs that thematically link as seamlessly as chapters in a book. This weekend, it feels like feminism is winning as Remy takes the stage for three intimate shows: two on Friday, at NYC’s Best New DIY Venue Alphaville (8 p.m.) and Mercury Lounge (10 p.m.), with an additional gig taking place Saturday at West Village artist collective Babycastles. There’s pretty much no reason to miss out on Remy’s performances, unless, of course, you’re checking out Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf’s new indie rock project EL VY, the time-hopping pop of Postmodern Jukebox, or Jordanian vocal virtuoso Farah Siraj.

Friday 11/13
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m. $28
On October 30, Matt Berninger offered up his first album without his longtime bandmates in the National, titled Return to the Moon. His new project, EL VY is a collaboration with Brent Knopf (Ramona Falls, ex-Menomena) and finds the baritone setting up shop among Knopf’s eclectic tastes, which oscillate between robust guitar rock, funk-fueled barroom pop, and swooning romantic slow jams. EL VY’s New York City shows — November 13 at the Bowery Ballroom and November 14 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg — see the duo expand to a four-piece, adding Wye Oak’s Andy Stack on drums and Lost Lander’s Matt Sheehy on bass. Berninger does not anticipate songs from the National or Menomena sneaking into the setlist, but they have been offering up a cover of Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy” that fits nicely in the group’s sonic nest. – Philip Cosores

Frog Eyes
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $12
As the lead singer, main songwriter, and instigating force behind Frog Eyes, Carey Mercer has long forged an unrelenting and rather curious path through indie rock’s back channels. His voice is often described as idiosyncratic, but that description doesn’t cut it; he bellows, he whoops, he howls, and he hisses his way through cryptic poetry and extended lyrical metaphors, stamping each of his musical projects with an enduring trademark. That almost changed when he was diagnosed with throat cancer after the release of 2013 LP Carey’s Cold Spring, but he’s made a full recovery, writing this year’s surprisingly bright Pickpocket’s Locket on an acoustic guitar his father left to him in his will. With his wife Melanie Campbell on drums, Shyla Seller on keys and bassist Terri Upton, Frog Eyes are set for a one-off show at Baby’s All Right this Friday. – Lindsey Rhoades

U.S. Girls
8 p.m., $12
On the cover of her debut record for 4AD, Meghan Remy, a.k.a. U.S. Girls, appears in cinematically lit black and white, strategic shadows vignetting a soft glow in her eyes. It’s reminiscent of Cindy Sherman’s self-portraiture, in which the pioneering feminist photographer captured herself in clichéd domestic and theatrical scenes as a critique on womanhood; on Half Free, Remy does the same thing sonically, spinning melodramatic yarns about mourning widows, May-December relationships, cheating husbands and the women who still love them. As they’ve done with artists like Ariel Pink and Future Islands, 4AD takes U.S. Girls’ homemade sound and updates it for a record-buying zeitgeist, hoping to build on the quirky appeal of 2011 breakout U.S. Girls on Kraak and its 2012 follow-up, Gem. So far, things are looking good – Remy just opened up for Peaches on a bunch of West Coast tour dates, spent most of October in Europe, and returns to NYC for three buzzed-about shows in a whirlwind two days this weekend. – Lindsey Rhoades

Saturday 11/14
Encuentro NYC
Le Poisson Rouge
3:30 p.m., $25
At a recent edition of the annual Encuentro NYC festival, audience members lined up facing each other, holding up their hands to make a tunnel for one another to pass through as they danced to a fandango performed by Folklore Urbano. Diverse as New York City’s nightlife options are, spontaneous traditional social dancing is not a common sight anywhere, but lively scenes like this have come to characterize the twelve-year-old festival, which celebrates music inspired by the traditional rhythms of Colombia. This year, it will bring together Los Aliens’ cumbia groove–based experimental jazz with electronic elements, singer-songwriter Veronica Tierra performing boleros and bambucos, and the smooth and swinging sounds of the Gregorio Uribe Big Band. Bulla en el Barrio will round things out with a little bullerengue, a style of cumbia sung only by women, and festival founder Pablo Mayor’s El Barrio project, a tribute to Spanish Harlem — the cradle of salsa music and the neighborhood where he has taught and worked for many years. Encuentro NYC is an opportunity for like-minded musicians to connect, and it’s also, inevitably, a celebration of diversity, because few countries possess such wildly divergent indigenous styles of music as Colombia. – Beverly Bryan

Postmodern Jukebox
St. George Theater
8 p.m., $35-$50
Postmodern Jukebox, whose vintage renditions of such well-known pop tunes as Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” and Lorde’s “Royals” have racked up almost 300 million YouTube views, have more a million subscribers who turn in each Thursday for their kitschy time-traveling tributes. The ensemble now boasts a revolving crew of some 40 players, an amount whittled down to around a dozen to tour, with multiple singers (including onetime American Idol contestant Haley Reinhart) and a tap dancer. Their worldwide tour, which began this month and brings them to the St. George Theatre on Staten Island this week, runs into 2016 and takes them to Europe and beyond, with fans commonly dressing up in their favorite period outfits to feel that Jukebox spirit. – Linda Laban

Dilly Dally
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $15
Toronto’s Dilly Dally might seem at the outset to be just another group of grunge-pop revivalists, but they pull it off with such aplomb that the last two decades might as well never have existed. Case in point: the caustic hiss of “Purple Rage,” from the quartet’s debut LP Sore, offers blistering angst courtesy frontwoman Katie Monks’ earth-quaking yowl. On “Desire,” her rattling yelps and gnarly growls come out of nowhere, sometimes right in the middle of an otherwise nonchalant (or even syrupy sweet) delivery, the titular ache buffeted amongst ragged guitar and pummeling drums. After a widely praised CMJ run, Dilly Dally is back at Baby’s All Right, here to make it clear that they aren’t wasting anyone’s time as they embark on their first headlining tour. – Lindsey Rhoades

Nada Surf
Webster Hall
8 p.m., $30
Though it’s been two decades since spoken-word teenage anthem “Popular” skyrocketed Nada Surf to, well… popularity, they’ve steadily released solid albums (most recently, 2012’s The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy) and toured all over the world. The band just crossed the finish line of their seventh LP, completing a fragmented creative process that presented the veteran alt-rockers with numerous logistical challenges, now that they’re split across the globe. Tracked in gearhead paradise the Nut House recording studio in Hoboken, New Jersey, in just two weeks, the album is slated for March release, and Nada Surf are planning a major roll-out. Now, they’re just debating the pros and cons of debuting new material on their upcoming East Coast run, which stops at Webster Hall on Saturday with openers Slothrust. – Ryan Reed

National Sawdust
9:30 p.m., $15
Out of New York City’s burgeoning percussion scene has emerged drums titans who are creating inventive, spiritual soundscapes steeped in the DIY ethos. Oneida’s Kid Millions’s Man Forever army, Liturgy/Guardian Alien heavyweight Greg Fox and So Percussion are the beats gurus leading the way. Add Brooklyn-based power trio TIGUE into that fray. The self-described “half new music ensemble, half art-rock band” drops its razor sharp yet totally groovin’ debut Peaks this week, fittingly produced by Millions, who also cameos on the record, as does Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan and James McNew. The sonic ecstasy of TIGUE’s tribal-centric marathon-length jams and space-rock textures and patterns that make up Peaks radiate with Oneida and YLT-ish vibes. Williamsburg’s brand spanking new avant venue National Sawdust is the perfect backdrop for the ritualistic thuds and melodic drones TIGUE will mete out tonight. – Brad Cohan

Farah Siraj
Roulette Brooklyn
8 p.m., $25
Born and raised in Amman, Jordan, before moving to Spain with her family, Berklee-trained singer Farah Siraj is the self-described musical child of Umm Kulthum, Paco de Lucia, and Ella Fitzgerald. At Berklee, her song “To the Sudanese Woman” won the Darfur Initiative Competition to raise awareness for genocide in Darfur. Siraj possesses a strong, flexible voice perfect for negotiating the quarter-tones of both traditional and contemporary Arab music, adding Andalusian flavors from classical music to flamenco, and dipping into pop and bossa nova. – Richard Gehr

Sunday 11/15
Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $16
Ty Segall just sent out a bunch of cryptic VHS tapes via his label Drag City; on overdubbed Blockbuster bargain-bin videotape, there’s an eleven-song album entitled Emotional Mugger, due out mid-January. But fans in need of a Segall-style punk rock pummeling need not wait – he’s on tour with brain-blistering psych-rock super-trio Fuzz. As with the band’s searing self-titled 2013 debut, Segall handles drumming duties for the trio, formed with guitarist Charles Moothart and Chad Ubovich (of The Meatbodies), who replaced former Fuzz bassist Roland Cosio. They’re currently on the road to promote their aptly-named sophomore LP II, which dropped a few weeks ago via In The Red Records. As an added bonus, Brooklyn noise-rockers The Men open; though they veered from their earlier, more abrasive beginnings with the Americana-infused New Moon in 2013 and a foray into classic rock territory with subsequent LP Tomorrow’s Hits, their recent CMJ shows revealed a squalling return to form. – Lindsey Rhoades

Zevious, Twins of El Dorado and Voice Coils
8 p.m., $12
Fort Greene’s aluminum foil-draped avant-garde hub JACK continues its special Sunday night concert run with yet another keeper. Trumpeter and Brooklyn mainstay Joe Moffett has been a crucial presence on the local underground jazz scene for years, most recently collaborating with tubist Dan Peck and drummer Carlo Costa in experi-metal trio Earth Tongues. Tonight, Moffett has organized an evening sure to dizzy the senses with sick notes galore, featuring all-instrumental math-metal beast Zevious, who’ll be serving up meticulous cuts off their latest slab Passing Through the Wall, and Voice Coils, whose blend of avant-pop, metal and classical sets off the brainiest of fireworks. Moffett will also be on hand celebrating the tape release of Verses (Prom Night Records) by Twins of El Dorado, the revelatory trumpet/voice duo he shares with angelic-voiced singer Kristin Slipp, whose deep cred includes The Elizabeth-Caroline Unit, the vocal ensemble that boldly interpreted saxophonist Darius Jones’s otherworldly The Oversoul Manual– Brad Cohan