It’s official: we made it through 2016. The question now is: Where do we go from here? An array of great shows in New York this week provide a bevy of options, from the intense optimism of pop punk band Teenage Halloween to the abject darkness of doom metal group Thou. There are techno sets to lose yourself in, from Brooklyn DJs Umfang and Patricia, and experimental art rock bands, from The Dreebs to Blonde Redhead. How to greet the new year—whether with despair or exhilaration—is up to you.
The Dreebs, Sediment Club, Kate Mohanty
8 p.m., $5 – $10
Experimental Brooklyn band The Dreebs broke up in 2014, not long after they were mentioned in a Pitchfork review of guitarist Jordan Bernstein’s band PC Music. This is a pretty good description of The Dreebs’ ethos—they always seems just a few steps ahead of anyone trying to understand them. The three piece (guitar, drums, violin) plays music that veers from no wave to new age to experimental folk, never quite settling anywhere familiar. Catch them now before they decide to call it quits again.
Whitney, Julie Byrne
8 p.m., $18 – $20
Former Smith Westerns guitarist Max Kakacek got together with Unknown Mortal Orchestra drummer Julien Ehrlich (who also played for a stint with Smith Westerns) last year to release an album that distilled some of their former bands’ best qualities. Whitney’s Light Upon the Lake, which came out this June, is a simple, warm, and inviting record that calls to mind folk-rock like the Band or modern disciples like Dr. Dog. Whitney’s immediately engaging and memorable songs are grounded in the somewhat nasally vocals of Ehrlich, whose dissonance gives the record just the right amount of edge to prevent it from slipping into overly gooey territory.
Teenage Halloween, Little Waist, Washer, Howardian, Hiccup
8 p.m., $8
Asbury Park power pop group Teenage Halloween plays the kind of earnest music—ranging from folk punk to pop punk—that’s the perfect antidote to the negativity many of us feel heading into 2017. The group, comprised of at least nine members and often more, creates their own community wherever they go, as they charge through two minute songs packed with hooks. In these times of irony and despair, watching a bunch of kids screaming with conviction about tiki parties while crowds of teenagers lose their minds prove that punk’s playful spirit isn’t dead.
Flat White, Venus X
10 p.m., $20 – $30
When the streetwear designer and DJ Virgil Abloh, aka Flat White, played a set for the tastemaking broadcasters Boiler Room, they called it “an hour of back-to-back fire.” Abloh’s sensibility is steeped in hip hop, footwork, and grime, combining many of today’s most exciting sounds and making for raucous DJ sets. He’ll play Output with the GHE20GOTH1K star Venus X, another artist who works with a violent collision of modern genres from the African diaspora.
Thou, Unearthly Trance, Wormwatcher
8 p.m., $16
Fuck hope; now is the time to wallow in our collective self-hatred. New Orleans doom metal project Thou— known for prolific releases and collaborations with artists like the equally apocalyptic Portland band the Body—is the perfect soundtrack to your desperation. Their sludgy, at times industrial instrumentals and wailing horror-movie vocals will consume you until you forget there is even a world to escape from.
11:59 p.m., $20
“I held my breath in a suit and a tie because I didn’t know I could fight back,” Ben Hopkins sings on “Serving Goffman,” off the excellent 2015 album Ugly Cherries by the Hudson Valley rock band PWR BTTM. “I want to put the whole world in drag, but I’m starting to realize it’s already like that.” These lyrics underscore the band’s subversive ethos, describing the challenges and obstacles they’ve faced as young queer people born into a world of binary gender norms. Though their sound is reminiscent of many melancholy indie rock groups, the queer perspective that Hopkins (guitar, vocals) and bandmate Liv Bruce (drums, vocals) bring to these often overtly masculine sounds is a refreshing change. Tickets are sold out but available on the secondary market.
Ian Sweet, Patio, T-Rextasy, Human People
8 p.m., $10
The electric debut album from trio Ian Sweet, Shapeshifter, set the group apart from Brooklyn’s many young indie rock bands. Shapeshifter‘s sounds are fully-formed, even at this early stage in the band’s career. There are echoes here of experimental groups like Deerhoof and Ponytail, though Ian Sweet’s songs tend to coalesce into pop more often than not. But their music is never dull—single “Slime Time Live” ricochets through genres, from fuzzy ’90s indie rock to experimental psychedelia and noise. With such a strong first effort, it’s likely we’ll hear a lot more from Ian Sweet this year.
The Bunker 14 Year Anniversary
Mike Servito, Derek Plaslaiko, Patrick Russell, Bryan Kasenic, WRECKEDnyc (Ryan Smith DJ & Ron Like Hell DJ), Justin Cudmore, Antenes
10 p.m., $10 – $15
The Bunker is a record label and party that showcases some of the best techno artists that Brooklyn, and the world, have to offer. They’ve existed in various forms since 2003, when they began as a weekly party at the long-closed subTonic space in Manhattan. Over the years, as the scene has changed, they’ve morphed over and over again, adding new resident DJs, starting a record label, and curating shows at venues around the world. Their fourteenth anniversary will feature Bunker staples like techno DJs Patrick Russell and Bryan Kasenic, Chicago house master Mike Servito, and queer party kings WRECKEDnyc.
Evigt Mörker, Patricia, UMFANG
10 p.m., $15
Swedish DJ Evigt Mörker will join some of Brooklyn’s finest electronic talent at the new Bushwick venue The Gateway for a night of contemplative techno. Mörker’s hypnotic, atmospheric productions should fit well with Patricia’s warm, lo-fi analog beats. They’ll be joined by Discwoman’s UMFANG, whose pounding techno sets have decimated floors around the world this past year.
le poisson rouge
4:30 pm. and 8:30 p.m., $30
Blonde Redhead, formed in New York City in 1993, are one of the few of their peers who have played straight through nearly two and a half decades without a major break up or calamity. On their nine albums, the band explored realms of dream pop, shoegaze, and noise rock, crafting an often whimsical sound that’s immediately recognizable. After all these years, the group can still draw a packed room of eager longtime fans and live up to their expectations.