Music

The Best NYC Shows This Week: Slowdive, Pond, Trade Show

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Two Australian psychpop artists play on the same night this week. If you’re in the mood for bizarre costumes and festival-friendly bangers, check out Empire of the Sun at Terminal 5. If you’re in more of an underground mood, Pond, the other project of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, plays at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Vintage jangly pop also abounds, from Slowdive to the Feelies, who pioneered dreampop and indie pop in general, respectively. If all that sounds like a bunch of noise, no worries — there are also some solid techno and house parties for those of the dance music persuasion.

5/9

Slowdive, Japanese Breakfast

Brooklyn Steel

7 p.m., $35

Slowdive, the English dreampop band whose albums in the early Nineties helped define the genre, have just released their first album in 22 years. Over this long hiatus, the group, known for its warm, woozy guitars and soft vocals, has gained a bigger and bigger following as new generations have discovered its classic recordings. On its new self-titled album, the band doesn’t mess much with the formula that made it great. Fuzzy guitar tunes unspool over six minutes — sinking into them feels like a warm bath. This week, Slowdive will play with Japanese Breakfast, a young Brooklyn artist with a totally different take on jangly guitar pop and an excellent debut album.

Pond, Kirin J. Callinan

Music Hall of Williamsburg

8 p.m., $20

Pond are the project of Australian drummer Kevin Parker, whose solo endeavor, Tame Impala, has won fans around the world with its blissed-out, epic psychedelic rock. Several Pond bandmates have toured with Tame Impala in the past, and you can hear the groups’ kinship. Fans of Parker’s other project won’t be disappointed: Like Tame Impala, Pond trade in shimmering psychpop with multi-tracked, reverbed vocals and arena-style rock breakdowns. Opening is another Australian artist, Kirin J. Callinan, one of the strangest and most promising artists working today. His experimental pop music emits an aura of discomfort, and live, he does his best to make his audiences feel just as weird as him.

Tara Jane O’Neil, Mike Bones

Union Pool

8 p.m., $10

Tara Jane O’Neil was once the bassist for the Kentucky math rock group Rodan, but as a solo artist she’s released nine albums of acoustic folk that sways between experimental ambient and straightforward singer-songwriter material. Her most recent album, a self-titled record released this year, finds O’Neil embracing her singer-songwriter side, with quiet, contemplative songs that focus on her voice and lyrics. This is an album for a car ride on a rainy day or a walk in the forest. Her intimate music invites you to come in, get comfortable, and notice all the careful details that make it special.

Empire of the Sun, Grandmaster Flash

Terminal 5

7 p.m., $45

Australian synthpop duo Empire of the Sun made their name with their 2008 album, Walking on a Dream. Their quirky pop tunes sounded like mutated versions of Eighties stars like Prince or George Michael. The band’s aesthetic also made it stand out — the duo wear outfits that look like something out of a long-lost straight-to-VHS sci-fi B movie, and their album covers could be the posters for said imaginary film. Now Empire of the Sun are incredibly successful — they added a second date at Terminal 5 after the first one sold out. Their sets have entertained festivalgoers around the world — it’s perfect music for an early summer night. As an extra treat, Grandmaster Flash, the true OG of hip-hop, will perform alongside them.

5/10

Forest Swords, Actress, UMFANG

Mercury Lounge

8 p.m., $15–$20

“We all communicate using images now,” U.K. producer Matthew Barnes, who goes by the name Forest Swords, told Dazed recently. “Emojis or gifs have wide, open meanings, and have a lot of wiggle room in what they can convey to someone else. In some ways they’re more expressive and creative than using words.” On Barnes’s most recent album, Compassion, released last week, he tries to do just that — communicate deeply felt emotions without words, instead relying on the evocative power of his productions, which often have a dark, muted quality and draw on genres like drone, dub, house, and IDM. The songs on Compassion may not contain lyrics, but they are haunted by voices, distorted and chopped up, representing the difficulty of communicating our subjective reality to others, something that’s come to the fore in the era of Brexit and Donald Trump. Despite this challenge, Barnes’s album is an attempt to reach out and express his own pain and fears in a language that he hopes others will understand.



5/11

Omar Souleyman, Tim Sweeney (DJ)

le poisson rouge

7 p.m., $30–$35

Exiled Syrian musician Omar Souleyman makes dabke, a traditional music of the Levant used as the soundtrack for line and circle dances common in the region. But Souleyman’s music isn’t merely traditional — he fuses dabke with modern electronic instruments and styles, creating a mashed-up genre of dabke techno that’s found an enthusiastic audience in the West. But where Souleyman’s music doesn’t diverge from tradition is in the skill of his players, who riff endlessly and mesmerizingly on instruments like keyboard and saz, a long-necked lute. Souleyman is notoriously non-celebratory live — he tends to stand in one spot onstage — but his hypnotic tunes are engrossing enough that you’ll be too busy dancing to care.

5/12

Sublimate: Hessle Audio 10 Years

Ben UFO, Pangaea, Pearson Sound, Faso, Turtle Bugg, Sagotsky

Sugar Hill Disco

10 p.m., $30–$40

Sublimate is an ultra-underground after-hours party that is a refuge for house and techno heads who don’t like going home before 8 a.m. This week, the party will shift to an earlier time slot to celebrate the U.K. label Hessle Audio’s ten-year anniversary. Hessle is home to some of techno’s most celebrated rising artists. It was founded by producers Pangaea and Pearson Sound, who both trade in club music that has an experimental edge. Alongside house prodigy DJ Ben UFO, the third Hessle founder, each will play a rare marathon set. Sublimate residents Faso, Sagotsky, and Turtle Bugg will also play — they’re excellent DJs who always bring the party. Better yet, this party is located at Sugar Hill Disco, a perfectly preserved disco and soul food restaurant in Bed-Stuy that’s one of the city’s most interesting places to dance.

5/13

Trade Show

Honey Soundsystem, Wreckednyc, Honcho, Spotlight, NeedlExchange, Men’s Room, the Carry Nation, DJ Holographic

592 Johnson Avenue, Brooklyn

6 p.m., $25

If you’ve ever been to an underground queer dance party, you know that it’s the most fun you’ll ever have. Compared to the mostly hetero worlds of minimal techno or EDM, underground queer club scenes tend to focus on house music that’s more soulful and funky, less divorced from its roots in disco and black culture. Often, creating and wearing over-the-top looks is as important as the music or the venue. For Red Bull Music Academy’s festival, some of the country’s premier queer party throwers will come together for a twelve-hour mega-party. New York’s own Wrecked and Carry Nation are playing, while San Francisco’s Honey Soundsystem and Los Angeles’s Spotlight rep the West Coast.

Adult., Ritual Howls, Void Vision
Brooklyn Bazaar

8 p.m., $15–$18

Adult. is a project of the married duo Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller whose music fetishizes post-punk aesthetics and crunchy vintage synths. But Kuperus and Miller’s fascination with the past doesn’t make their music sound derivative — the innovative way they combine elements of coldwave, electroclash, and gothpop feels fresh. They’ll play with Detroit’s Ritual Howls, whose cavernous, droning industrial rock has an atmosphere so thick you can feel it.

5/14

The Feelies
Rough Trade

8 p.m., $25

New Jersey band the Feelies formed in 1976. Inspired by contemporaries like Lou Reed, the band pioneered a purposefully shambling, jangly pop aesthetic that would go on to influence everyone from R.E.M. to Calvin Johnson, helping to birth the genre known as indie pop. In 2011, the Feelies released their first album in twenty years, and this year, they followed it up with another album, In Between. Though the title may sound indecisive, In Between is a solid effort full of laid-back, confident guitar pop songs that wouldn’t be out of place on the band’s seminal 1986 work, The Good Earth. We should feel lucky to live in a time when a band like the Feelies is still going strong.

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