It’s peak summer, and the free shows are plentiful. Whether it’s seeing the quietly transcendent folk artist Julie Byrne (who plays Union Pool on Saturday) or an all-day Indian dance party featuring the international stars of bhangra (on Sunday), you don’t need to pay to have fun this week. But if you’re swimming in cash, you could do worse than to see Gillian Welch play her haunted folk tunes at the Beacon Theatre or hear Fleet Foxes’ transporting harmonies in Prospect Park.
Apollo Vermouth, Foxes in Fiction, Honeymooners, gobbinjr
8 p.m., $8
Milwaukee artist Apollo Vermouth’s new LP, aptly named Crashing Into Nowhere, presents a series of glowing, atmospheric ambient tracks that could slide easily into your record collection alongside William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops. Her music is an aural bath you’ll want to soak in all day. Apollo Vermouth will play with locals including fellow Orchid Tapes artist Foxes in Fiction, who creates similarly sublime soundscapes, and gobbinjr, an indie pop project that recently posted two catchy odes to the sadly shuttered Brooklyn DIY space Shea Stadium.
Blondie, Garbage, Deap Vally
7:30 p.m., $170+
The Wisconsin alt-rock powerhouse Garbage formed in 1993, at the tail end of the grunge era, from which they drew inspiration. After a few highly successful albums, the group disbanded in the early Aughts. But over the last few years, they’ve made a convincing comeback — their 2016 album, Strange Little Birds, was a return to form, retaining the group’s trademark gloomy mood and continuing to deftly meld genres like synthpop and alt-rock. These unique signatures are what earned lead singer Shirley Manson and her band both mainstream popularity and a hardcore cult following. They’ll play at the Beacon this week as the opener for legendary post-punk provocateurs Blondie.
Fleet Foxes, (Sandy) Alex G
Prospect Park Bandshell
7 p.m., $50.50–$55
For those of us in our late twenties, the gentle harmonies of Fleet Foxes were the soundtrack to a formative life period. The indie folk group, who first gained notice with the overwhelmingly gorgeous Sun Giant EP in 2008, made the music that played behind our first kisses, our late-night heart-to-hearts, and our memorable early-morning journeys home. Now, the group has released its first album since 2011’s Helplessness Blues, and, happily, Robin Pecknold’s wistful folk can still surprise and delight. Crack-Up has more depth and emotional complexity than any of the group’s previous work. And Fleet Foxes have always sounded amazing live — hearing their music wafting out over Prospect Park on a balmy summer night should be pure bliss.
8 p.m., $63+
Writer Jedediah Purdy once described 49-year-old country-folk singer-songwriter Gillian Welch’s music as a “sound [that] holds moods the way humid air holds smells.” Welch’s haunted tunes tell the often-tragic stories of Appalachian coal miners and Twenties whiskey runners accompanied by quiet, twanging instrumentation, courtesy of Welch’s longtime collaborator David Rawlings. Her current tour will also see Welch’s music (first up, 2011’s The Harrow & the Harvest) released on vinyl for the first time. To do so, she and Rawlings bought their own lathe and made the records themselves. Nothing could be more appropriate for an artist whose music feels so intimately homespun.
Sean Nicholas Savage, Dougie Poole, Crosslegged
8 p.m., $10–$12
Over the last several years, Canadian artist Sean Nicholas Savage’s weirdo pop has evolved into something more sleek and subtle, elevating him into the realm of fellow PBR&B artists like Autre Ne Veut (also playing this week, Friday at Output) and How to Dress Well. He’ll play at Knockdown Center alongside Dougie Poole, a local DIY scene alumnus whose recent album, Wideass Highway, excellently exhibits his reverb-soaked avant-country, bringing to mind a twangy Majical Cloudz. This lineup is not to be missed.
Batu, Akanbi, Shy Eyez
If you’re a club kid tired of the international techno scene, head to Sunnyvale this Friday to catch Omar McCutcheon, the Bristol, England–based producer known as Batu. Batu’s music cribs from a wide range of the most interesting and influential U.K. dance genres, from jungle and drum’n’bass to dubstep and grime. Unlike a lot of popular dance music today, which feels globalized and detached from any community, Batu’s sounds come directly from Bristol, incorporating the city’s history and the influence of its current crop of artists. His low-tempo, broken-beat techno-fusion sounds should perk up the ears of anyone who has an affinity for the rich history of U.K. dance music.
Friday Night Live
Autre Ne Veut, Khallee, HD
5 p.m., $10–$15
Output, Williamsburg’s premier dance club, is known for its superb sound and star-studded lineup of DJs from around the world. This summer series sees the venue expanding into the realm of live music. Early on Friday night, head to Output’s tropical roof-deck to catch a set from Brooklyn’s soulful pop experimenter Autre Ne Veut, whose performances are usually intensely cathartic. You could do worse on an August Friday than to sip one of Output’s signature frozen drinks and watch this great local performer as the sun sets over the East River.
The Suzan, Teen Vice, Your Dog
8 p.m., $10–$12
Tokyo’s Suzan are pure, simple fun. The group, who formed in 2004 before moving to New York and then back to Japan in 2015, make kawaii pop that wouldn’t be out of place in an indie movie or an iPhone commercial. Live, they’re a joy, turning any room into a candy-colored disco ball–dotted wonderland. They’ll play Sunnyvale with Teen Vice, a new rock project from Tammy Hart of the queer pop group MEN, and the Bronx-based group Your Dog.
Julie Byrne, Innov Gnawa Band
2 p.m., free
Julie Byrne — a singer-songwriter whose music is characterized by intimate strumming and resonant, heartbreaking vocals — isn’t the artist you’d first think of for a free summer-afternoon gig. But she’s impossible to miss no matter the circumstances. Her 2017 album, Not Even Happiness, finds Byrne contemplating her existence on songs that could float weightlessly by as easily as they could tether you to Earth. “I have grown so accustomed to that kind of solitude,” she sings on “Sleepwalker,” a sentiment most of us can relate to even if we haven’t spent years touring across the world. These quietly mystical tunes transport you to forests, mountains, or deserts, where you stare up at a night sky crowded with stars. Byrne does it all gently, bringing you only as far as you want to go.
Basement Bhangra 20th Anniversary
Apache Indian, Panjabi MC, DJ Rekha, Madame Gandhi, Anik Khan, Horsepower, Sikh Knowledge, DJ Petra, DJ Shilpa
Central Park SummerStage
2 p.m., free
This Sunday, head to Central Park to celebrate twenty years of DJ Rekha’s Basement Bhangra party. Founded in 1997, the hugely successful monthly party brought the exhilarating style of Indian dance music to a diverse crowd of partiers, and also led dance classes so attendees could learn the traditional moves. On this stacked bill, some of the major names in international bhangra will make appearances, including Panjabi MC, a U.K. artist who has worked in bhangra since 1993, and the reggae-bhangra fusion artist Apache Indian. The party will take place all afternoon in the park, a lovely end to your mid-summer weekend.