Music

The Best NYC Shows This Week: Mitski, Playboi Carti, Shonen Knife

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Two of New York’s most adventurous spring festivals begin this week. Ende Tymes, a scrappy celebration of DIY experimental artists, will showcase some of the city’s stranger offerings over its four-day run. Red Bull Music Academy’s yearly festival, which also begins this week, is on the opposite end of the spectrum as far as funding and visibility goes, but the fest still manages to book endlessly surprising and forward-looking acts, along with panels, installations, and collaborations. Whichever way you lean, it’s hard to go wrong with these eclectic offerings.

4/27
Ende Tymes Festival

Denis Rollet & Francisco Meirino, Jenny Gräf (Metalux), Joe Colley, TRNSGNDR/VHS

Issue Project Room

7:30 p.m., $15–$20

The DIY noise and experimental music festival Ende Tymes enters its seventh year this week, with concerts across many New York arts spaces. This show, at Issue Project Room, is the first Ende Tymes event of the week, and it features artists who push electronic music to its aesthetic limits. TRNSGNDR/VHS, the most exciting performance of the night, is a project by artist Alexandra Brandon, who uses noise and pop music samples to explore questions of gender, race, and identity.

Of Montreal, Christina Schneider’s Jepeto Solutions, Potted Plant
Music Hall of Williamsburg

8 p.m., $25

Whether he’s riding a real white horse onstage or getting stark naked, Kevin Barnes, the mastermind behind indiepop group of Montreal, is an unforgettable performer. Barnes’s music is as fascinating and scintillating as his live performance — over the course of fourteen full-length albums, the Athens, Georgia, artist has explored genres from ’60s pop to electroclash and, on last year’s Innocence Reaches, modern dance music. Barnes’s wild taste for costumes and gender-bending, sexual-boundary-pushing themes makes him one of the primary heirs to David Bowie’s and Prince’s legacies. He would make them proud.

Pinegrove, Hovvdy, Lomelda
Bowery Ballroom

7 p.m., $15–$19

The New Jersey rock band Pinegrove trade in an earnest sensitivity — their songs draw on everyday emotions and conflicts blown out into the realm of melodrama. Sonically, the group has a lot in common with Americana-laden predecessors like Wilco and indie rockers like Built to Spill. It’s an intoxicating combination — even if you didn’t live through those bands’ prime years, Pinegrove’s openness and sincerity evoke nostalgia for a simpler time, which is probably why they’ve earned a quickly growing fanbase of young people who feel this music deeply.

4/28

Psychic Ills, Purling Hiss, Junk Boys
Baby’s All Right

8 p.m., $13–$15

Psychic Ills are known for brash, droning tunes laden with guitar distortion and psychedelic flourishes. On its most recent album, last year’s Inner Journey Out, the New York group takes a more contemplative route, playing fuzzy, gentle psychpop ballads along the lines of Mazzy Star, perfect for lying on your back, experiencing the substance of your choice, and considering existence. They’ll play with the noisy psych-rock group Purling Hiss, fellow distortion lovers on the legendary Chicago label Drag City.

Low End Theory NYC
Daddy Kev, Nobody, the Gaslamp Killer, D-Styles, Prefuse 73

Paper Box

10 p.m., $15–$25

Low End Theory, the long-running Los Angeles experimental hip-hop and beat music party, comes to Brooklyn this week with some of the scene’s biggest stars in tow. The party is probably the world’s most influential event for this kind of music — it’s helped launch the careers of artists like Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing. The party is a draw for visionary producers whose music skirts the mainstream, like the Gaslamp Killer and Daddy Kev, the latter of whom has produced tracks for rappers like Busdriver and Sage Francis. There’s no better way to experience this constantly mutating scene than to get down on Low End Theory’s hallowed dance floor.

4/29
Mitski, Salt Cathedral, Told Slant

Brooklyn Steel

7 p.m., $25

Mitski’s album Puberty 2 was one of last year’s purest victories. The young artist has transitioned seamlessly from her early DIY recordings to making emotional, intimate, yet anthemic rock music that will easily fill Brooklyn Steel’s cavernous space. On the record, Mitski chronicled her struggles with depression, anxiety, and growing up a Japanese American woman, constantly challenging assumptions about how someone like her should present her identity and music. Mitski is one of indie rock’s contemporary songwriting geniuses — she’s a powerful voice of today’s scene whose potential can’t be underestimated.

Playboi Carti, DJ Wavy
Knockdown Center

8 p.m., $20–$25

Atlanta rapper Playboi Carti has coasted by the last few years on his associations with the A$AP crew, but with the release of his self-titled mixtape, that’s all about to change. The easy, woozy New Orleans bounce–influenced production combined with rapid-fire vocals on single “Magnolia” has already earned the track a preemptive Song of the Summer tag from Pitchfork. This show will be Carti’s New York coming-out party, a chance to hop on the wagon while this future star is just gearing up.

Shonen Knife, Yucky Duster, the Prits
Sunnyvale

8 p.m., $15

Osaka pop punk powerhouse trio Shonen Knife have been dominating audiences with euphoric live shows for more than 35 years now, and they show no sign of stopping. In fact, they’ve outlasted the much more famous bands that their jangly pop rock helped inspire — from Nirvana to Sonic Youth. Shonen Knife are truly Ogs of underground indiepop, and their matching outfits and choreographed moves are no less charming today than they were in the early ’80s. They’ll play with Yucky Duster, an up-and-coming Brooklyn indiepop group who similarly draw inspiration from girl group harmonies and punk progenitors like the Ramones.

White Lung, Pop. 1280, Verdigrls
The Studio at Webster Hall

7 p.m., $13

On White Lung’s last LP, last year’s Paradise, the Vancouver, British Columbia, punks intentionally embraced a pop sensibility that diverged from their messier, rougher early work. The result was an album of massive, anthemic tunes with epic, endless riffs and lyrics that wouldn’t look out of place scrawled in your high school notebook: “I’m all about you/You’re all about me too.” In a lot of ways, this shift was a way of fighting against being pigeonholed as an overly earnest feminist punk band. But the transition in no way diminishes the group’s power — it’s just made White Lung’s music something that even more people can enjoy.

Fluxo: Funk Proibidão
MC Bin Laden, MC Carol, DJ Assault, Sicko Mobb, Venus X, Asmara, Leo Justi, Tom DJ

Secret Location TBA

9 p.m., $15

This weekend marks the beginning of Red Bull Music Academy’s monthlong New York festival, a collection of highly curated events that spans some of the most fascinating and forward-thinking global trends in music (full disclosure: the author of this list has written for Red Bull Music Academy’s publications). This night will explore the music of fluxos, Brazilian block parties that take place in the poor favelas that surround major cities. Fluxo parties have spawned a diverse and wildly creative dance music culture that mixes hip-hop, traditional Brazilian music, and bass music. It should be a fascinating and sweaty evening — prepare to dance.

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