Crossover Experimenters Dawn of MIDI Top the Best NYC Shows This Week


This week is all about looking back — to influences, to previous bands, to loved-and-lost icons. The godfather of disco, Giorgio Moroder, headlines Output, a venue that usually hosts younger DJs who have Moroder to thank for their careers. On the same night, Rachel Grimes (of chamber pop group Rachel’s) revisits an album her band released two decades ago. Thursday at Terminal 5, The Devil Makes Three and Langhorne Slim offer up their versions of American music from a different time. And then, of course, there’s the Bowie tribute tonight, featuring an indie pop supergroup who (like many of us) haven’t gotten over Ziggy’s passing just last month. On the more forward-moving side, Dawn of Midi, the Brooklyn trio who have won over jazzheads, indie nerds, and club kids alike, do a victory lap for their phenomenal latest album at the Kitchen — and that’s just half of what’s on offer. Read below for the full range of excellent options.

Bowery Ballroom
8:30 p.m., $20

Graveyard has always bowed at the altar of Seventies rock: One part Black Sabbath and one part Led Zeppelin, the Swedish heavy blues-rock group harkens back to a time when bell-bottoms and fringe were cool (the first time around, that is). Their latest record, Innocence & Decadence, isn’t quite as attention grabbing as the group’s 2011 breakout album, Hisingen Blues, mostly thanks to the slower numbers the group has incorporated into its last two releases. Sultry blues ballads like “Too Much Is Not Enough” aren’t exactly at the energy level that most metalheads crave, but luckily the Hendrix-like riffs on “The Apple and the Tree” more than make up for the lower-key vibe. — Catherine P. Lewis

Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am: A Tribute to David Bowie
Mercury Lounge
9:30 p.m., $10

Though the clamor to honor the late David Bowie after his death in January has died down a bit, we have yet to see the last of the tribute shows and eulogies. This show at Mercury Lounge on February 8 features all-star indie supergroup the Pains of Being TEEN, composed of Kip Berman of indie-pop darlings The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Teeny Lieberson of TEEN, Jen Goma of A Sunny Day in Glasgow, and others. Alongside them is formidable singer-songwriter White Hinterland, a/k/a Casey Dienel, who released her fifth album, Baby, in 2014. Best Behavior (who we have to imagine irritate Drake) and ADESUWA finish out the lineup. Clearly, Bowie’s influence is not limited to mainstream rock, and hearing these bands cover his work will be an unusual treat. — Sophie Weiner

Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $16–18

By day he’s the bassist for Vampire Weekend, but by the wee hours of the morning, Baio (first name: Christopher) reveals twin ambitions of DJing and remixing. More ethereal than grimy and focused on blending rhythms instead of bumping the bass, Baio’s 2015 full-length debut, The Names, is lucid and symmetrical. These are upbeat, electro-pop tunes neatly crafted by the hands of a master of pop music. Single “Sister of Pearl” displays his seamless fusion of his main band’s Afropop instrumentation with arresting vocals, and the album keeps things sharp. With all the success of his other band, Baio didn’t have to strike out on his own, but it’s good he did. — Silas Valentino

Hey Marseilles
Rough Trade NYC
8 p.m., $12–15

For their latest album, Seattle’s Hey Marseilles has aimed for the big leagues, recruiting Grammy-winning producer and engineer Anthony Kilhoffer — best known for his work with heavyweights like Kanye West, John Legend, and Rick Ross — to helm a self-titled record, which arrived February 5. The new tracks find Hey Marseilles moving away from the middle-ground indie/chamber pop realm of their first two albums and toward slickly produced territory. New songs include the snappy piano-backed jaunt “Eyes on You” and the encompassing orchestral ode to their native land, “West Coast,” which builds and soars behind Matt Bishop’s memorable chorus (“Meet me on the west coast/with the salt air/breathe slow/go out to the unknown”). Days after the album’s release, the five-piece present their new songs at Rough Trade in Brooklyn. — Jill Menze

Ecstatic Music Festival: Rachel Grimes with Longleash
Merkin Concert Hall
7:30 p.m., $25

Twenty years ago, Louisville chamber pop trio Rachel’s released Music for Egon Schiele, a score for Stephan Mazurek’s theatrical production illuminating the life and work of the Austrian Expressionist painter. Schiele was renowned for his intensely original style featuring twisted figures and kinetic line work, and every bit of the Rachel’s score reflected that beautifully; it seemed to exist in another era. In honor of the album’s anniversary, the Ecstatic Music Festival has paired core Rachel’s member Rachel Grimes with piano trio Longleash to reimagine the suite. They’ll also present new work and perform selections from Grimes’s 2015 release, The Clearing. And like all Ecstatic events, this rare performance occurs on one night only. — Lindsey Rhoades

Benjamin Clementine
Rough Trade NYC
9 p.m., $20

This youngish British-Ghanaian confessionalist started off busking in the Paris Metro. After a couple of EPs and a powerful 2015 debut full-length that earned him Britain’s Mercury Prize, Clementine is on track to become a prime purveyor of the sort of proudly despairing poetics reminiscent of Nina Simone, Edith Piaf, and Sylvia Plath, with a touch of Antony Hegarty on the side. Clementine performs alone at the piano, barefoot, kicking against his demons with fierce pessimistic charisma, mournful songs filling the room and draining the hearts of all who hear. Tickets to this intimate show are sold out but available on the secondary market. — Richard Gehr

Giorgio Moroder
10 p.m., $20–35

On February 10, Output will give New Yorkers the opportunity to see a living legend in action. Giorgio Moroder, the godfather of disco and electronic music, will play the club following the release of his latest album, Déjà Vu, last year, which featured collaborations with everyone from Sia to Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue. The album didn’t get great reviews (Pitchfork called it “wholly unnecessary“), but that’ll hardly matter to the hardcore fans who will flock to this gig. This isn’t the first time Moroder has made the trek to Williamsburg — his first set at Output was in 2013, almost exactly a year after his longtime collaborator Donna Summer’s death. This date should be a less sobering affair. — Sophie Weiner

Dawn of Midi
The Kitchen
8 p.m., $15

One of last year’s best albums, this Brooklyn trio’s Dysnomia was a work of lunatic genius. While it sprang from the same well of jazz improvisation that characterized the threesome’s 2010 debut, all spontaneity was removed from the 47-minute faux-electronic, neominimalist, through-composed trance vehicle. Morocco-born Amino Belyamani translates digital bytes into gestures by performing right-handed figures on piano keys while muting the instrument’s strings with his left, while India-born bassist Aakaash Israni and Pakistani-American drummer Qasim Naqvi add to the looping elliptical orbits; fittingly, Dysnomia has lunar track titles. Midi will likely dip into that album tonight, but whatever else they have up their sleeve remains to be heard. And whatever it is, it will certainly be welcome. — Richard Gehr

Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., $15

The opening track, “IM U,” off Beacon’s new album Escapements is a ghostly number that could have been slipped into Trent Reznor’s Social Network soundtrack without detection. It’s a well-manicured collaboration between Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett that pops off sparks in the dark atmosphere they’ve generated together. This new LP is their second, following 2013 debut The Way We Separate, and it finds Beacon cementing their presence within Brooklyn’s booming electronica community. The remainder of Escapements is a consistent head-bobbing affair; one imagines the album finding its way onto playlists of fashion show DJs and indie listeners alike. Joining Beacon at this Bowery appearance are Portland’s Natasha Kmeto and fellow Brooklyn duo Blondes. — Silas Valentino

Good Room
10 p.m., $10–20

After almost six years rising through festival ranks on the strength of his remixes and live sets, Kentucky’s Amtrac (a/k/a Caleb Cornett) is in the middle of his first-ever headlining US tour, which stops in Brooklyn on Thursday. His sound isn’t particularly challenging, but it’s exquisitely crafted, thumping and swirling through classic techno vibes while incorporating contemporary touches. He even borrows from EDM, though thankfully only in the sense that his main goal is to get his audience in the groove with some well-placed bass. Most of his tracks hover around that 120-bpm sweet spot that’s fast enough for dancing but not so fast you won’t be able to stay up all night — which you’ll want to so you don’t miss any of this catchy, fluid set. — Zoë Leverant

The Devil Makes Three, Langhorne Slim
Terminal 5
8 p.m, $25–30

Santa Cruz’s The Devil Makes Three and Langhorne, Pennsylvania’s, Langhorne Slim touring together is a match made in Nashville heaven. TDM3’s unique and brilliant blending of jazz, bluegrass, folk, and blues redefines “mountain music” in a notably beautiful way. As vocalist and guitarist Pete Bernhard says of their sound, “We bend genres pretty hard.” Langhorne Slim’s sparse, rustic, and introspective songs are uplifting in even the most trying times. His latest album, The Spirit Moves, is the story of a near-religious quest for peace of mind after a long, hard life (not Slim’s, though — he’s only 35). The LP, recorded in his adopted home of Nashville, is his most honest and vulnerable yet, and you can expect the calm but powerful energy he brought to the record to shine through onstage. — Annalise Domenighini