Summer is in full swing, with multiple outdoor shows happening every week and festivals popping up like street-side ice cream carts. That means lots of free shows and shows whose bang-for-buck ratio is so high they might as well be, and this week has plenty of those offerings on deck. It’s supposed to rain during the week (BOO!), so taking shelter inside is a good way to go. And just in time for the weekend, the sun comes back, so go enjoy it before heading inside for one of these amazing lineups.
Mon Laferte, Princess Nokia
Central Park Summerstage
6 p.m., free
Norma Monserrat Bustamante, who performs as Mon Laferte, is a Chilean composer who has, over a ten-year span, morphed her style from traditional to unconventional. Her latest record, La Trenza, maps Latin instruments and Spanish vocals onto rhythms and song structures that belong to doo-wop, indie rock, even Seventies throwback bossa nova, for a sound that’s both familiar and totally unexpected. Joining is Village Voice cover star Princess Nokia, a dizzyingly talented rapper who, by referencing both classic hip-hop and very contemporary politics and fashion, has quickly become the face of Manhattan hip-hop. It’s supposed to drizzle for the show, but that’s a small price to pay for free admission to hear this bill.
Royal Headache, Sheer Mag, Downtown Boys
House of Vans
7 p.m., free
Any of these hard-ripping bands could pack a venue solo, so this lineup is one not to be missed. Cult Australian garage band Royal Headache are so beloved that police once had to shut down a Sydney show when the crowd swarmed the stage during a fan-favorite track. And it makes sense: Their combination of raucous guitar lines and shouted heart-on-sleeve lyrics makes for the kind of performance that even the unfamiliar can’t help but try to sing along to. Sheer Mag are pure Seventies classic rock traditionalism, shredding through power chords and heavy bass lines, always anchored by fearless and endlessly powerful vocalist Tina Halladay. Downtown Boys are the band we all need now: queer, brown, and blissfully loud and celebratory in both their music and their politics (their latest record is called Full Communism). Earplug time!
9 p.m., $20
Long defined by her leading role in the Gossip, Beth Ditto has returned to her Southern roots for her debut solo record. Fake Sugar is tense and tight, equal parts punk, electro, and twang, full of folksy touches and aggressive sonics. Ditto’s unwavering but flexible vocals traipse over crunchy guitars, chugging synths, even the occasional Krautrock-inspired sample. Of course, Ditto’s main draw has always been her performance style, which is riveting in its energy and high style. Also Rough Trade on 7/14.
Tank and the Bangas
Tarronia Ball, a/k/a the “Tank” in Village Voice favorite Tank and the Bangas, is a slam poet–turned-frontwoman who leads her five-piece band on blisteringly energetic journeys through every highlight of New Orleans’s esteemed musical history. Part second line, part bounce, part soul train, their performances border on ecstatic, as Tank belts out delightful wordplay that can turn serious or contemplative in an instant. Bright horns, tight drums, and smooth bass lines round it out. Take a long lunch (or play hooky) to catch this rapidly rising group fresh off its NPR Tiny Desk Contest win.
SOPHIE, Umfang, SPRKLBB, Turtle Bugg
10 p.m., $20–$25
Affiliated but not a part of notorious pop tricksters PC Music, producer SOPHIE borrows some of their adopted family’s humor and silliness but falls squarely on the side of taking their work seriously. Some of their tracks are pure dance bliss; others are heady, near-philosophical explorations of the interplay between noise, techno, and commercial pop appeal. Supporting is Discwoman co-founder Umfang, a techno DJ who is in the process of breaking out of her Brooklyn dominance onto the world stage. SOPHIE also plays Warm Up on 7/15.
8 p.m., $30
Pioneering doom metal trio Sleep are the quintessential stoner rock band and were a touchstone for almost all their Nineties peers. They disbanded in 2000, but since 2009 they’ve been playing the occasional show, where they continue to impress with their ridiculously heavy, highly addictive riffs. Their Pioneer Works performance is part of an installation called “Grand Ole Opera,” which turns touchstones of Southern propriety into sites of rock ’n’ roll transgression at a revival tent inside the art space. Also 7/15.
Out in the Streets Festival
2 p.m., $25–$75
Indoor-outdoor beer hall and venue the Well hosts this year’s edition of the little festival that could, a local favorite that’s grown from tiny DIY to two-day blowout highlighting New York’s biggest local favorites. Saturday hosts local indie pop-rock favorites Caveman, effervescent Puerto Rican stylists Buscabulla, and a handful of other DIY-style groups. Sunday is a little louder, with noise kings A Place to Bury Strangers, punk marching band What Cheer? Brigade, Ramones-indebted solo crusher Tall Juan, and other stalwart rockers. Also 7/16.
Pill, Bambara, Olivia Neutron-John, Weeping Icon
8 p.m., $7–$10
Off-kilter post-punkers Pill have a new EP (that’s your applause cue), and they invited their coolest friends to play the release party. The quartet is aggressive and tender, its screaming and full-commitment guitar lines exuding a vulnerability rare in its genre. Joining are Olivia Neutron-John, a soloist from Washington, D.C., whose puntastic performance name belies her fierce, experimental approach to punk; and Weeping Icon, a local four-piece whose sludgy rock is quickly earning them wide praise.