Music

The Best NYC Shows This Week: Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa, Leikeli47, John Maus

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The acclaimed, outrageous pop artist John Maus returns to New York this week after a long absence from the music scene — one fans feared was permanent. But with a newly announced list of tour dates (including two in the city this week) and a terrifying video clip teasing an album, we can rest assured that he’s back to stay. For those outside of the Cult of Maus, there’s plenty else on offer, including the rising rapper Leikeli47 and a special acoustic DIIV performance.

8/15
Leikeli47, Jojo Abot, QUIÑ
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $3 with RSVP, $10 without

This collaboration between Red Bull Sound Select and Afropunk brings together some of New York’s most promising up-and-coming hip-hop artists. Leikeli47, a young rapper from the city, makes tracks that are bursting with attitude. Her breakout tune, “Miss America,” found her dismissing gender stereotypes over lo-fi, crunchy production reminiscent of early M.I.A. Leikeli’s rhymes feel like a spiritual successor to Angel Haze, another New York MC whose androgynous aesthetic complemented her incredible flow. The rest of the lineup is also killer, featuring the Ghanaian multimedia artist Jojo Abot, who plays experimental r&b, and QUIÑ, a silky-voiced singer making what she calls “fantasy soul music.”

El Ten Eleven featuring Emile Mosseri, Pete International Airport
Rough Trade
9 p.m., $18–$20

The L.A. post-rock outfit El Ten Eleven, composed of bassist and guitarist Kristian Dunn and drummer Tim Fogarty, have released six full-length albums of contemplative, creative instrumental music. Watching them live is a treat, as Dunn rocks out on her double-necked bass. The duo work together, using looping and effects pedals to create intricate sonic tapestries that sometimes extend over ten minutes. Recently, they teamed up with the singer Emile Mosseri to release their first work with vocals. Though El Ten Eleven are always fun to listen to, Mosseri’s sultry voice gives the songs something to hang on to, shifting the music into the realm of dreamy shoegaze.

Rey Pila, Ex Reyes
Berlin
8 p.m., $8–$10

Rey Pila, a band founded in Mexico City in 2010, make synth pop that’s as nostalgic for the early Aughts as it is for the Eighties. (Julian Casablancas of the Strokes called Rey Pila his new favorite band; he also produced a couple of their albums.) It couldn’t be more perfect than to see them play Berlin, an intimate and charmingly seedy basement on the Lower East Side that feels like a spot where Casablancas would’ve hung out in 2002. They’ll play with Ex Reyes, the solo project of Bleachers’ Mikey Freedom Hart, which makes catchy, slickly produced soul pop.

8/17
DIIV (unplugged)
Murmrr Theatre
8 p.m., $25–$30

Brooklyn’s premier surf rockers will abandon their reverb for one night at this intimate, stripped-down event. DIIV’s most recent album, Is the Is Are, took a deep journey into the highs and lows of drug addiction, all while maintaining the dreamy pop sound that the band popularized. It should be interesting to see material this personal performed by bandleader Zachary Cole Smith without the wall of sound DIIV are known to normally use to shield the audience from their tracks’ darker moments.

8/18
Four Tet
Analog BK
10 p.m., $15–$20

Kieran Hebden, the U.K. producer known as Four Tet, has spent his career exploring the contemplative side of dance music, experimenting with genres as diverse as post-rock and jungle. On his last few releases, the artist has flitted between new age, Indian inspirations, and classic dance music structure — a multilayered register also evident on his most recent, melancholic single, “Planet.” But no matter what his current obsession, Four Tet always kills live. He’ll take the stage all night at Analog BK, bringing his subtle talent to their impeccable sound system.

John Maus, Gary War
Baby’s All Right
9 p.m., $20

John Maus has always been more than his music. The hyper-intellectual experimental performer is known for lo-fi new wave–y tunes laden with distortion and lyrics concerned with subject matter that ranges from the extreme (like his desire to kill cops) to the mundane (like the need to get a job). After years of silence, during which his fans feared he’d quit music for good, Maus recently returned with a string of tour dates and a baffling, disturbing video labeled “COUNTER STRIKE!” In the video, footage of Maus as a mad scientist and clips of vintage tech and internet memes are overlaid with molecular diagrams. In the background, over new but familiarly Mausian music, a distorted voice asks, “WHERE IS JOHN MAUS?” Maus will be right here on this night, and all those who are there to witness his return are in for an insane, unpredictable experience.

Mary J. Blige
Ford Amphitheater
8 p.m., $40+

The best possible ending to a summer Friday at the beach is seeing r&b legend Mary J. Blige out in Coney Island. Blige’s classic jams are sure to bring up hazy memories of Nineties dance parties. She’s on tour right now to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her first album, What’s the 411?, which pioneered a style of r&b pop that would influence artists from Aaliyah to Alicia Keys. Those early songs were much less polished than her later material, giving the album an old-school charm that it retains today. Her tour has gotten rave reviews so far — it’s a worthy investment for any longtime fan.

8/19
Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa, Motion Graphics, Katrina Stonehart
Baby’s All Right
8 p.m., $12–$14

Dustin Wong — formerly a member of the much-missed Baltimore group Ponytail — is one of the most compelling instrumental artists working in music today. His mesmerizing live shows find him looping his intricate guitar playing to slowly transform a sparse experimental percussion into a full-on pop song, seemingly by magic. Over the last few years, Wong has released albums with the Japanese artist Takako Minekawa. Minekawa was a participant in the Nineties Japanese genre of shibuya-kei, a kitschy pastiche of Western pop that became extremely influential. In their collaborations, the complexity of Wong’s work is complemented with a lightness imported by Minekawa, an upgrade for both of them.

Warm Up
Daphni, John Maus, Delia Gonzalez, Moor Mother, Geng, DJ Haram
MoMA PS1
12 p.m., $18

Another week, another stellar lineup at Warm Up. This time, the producer Dan Snaith, best known for his electro psychpop project Caribou, will headline as Daphni, his dance music project that melds disco and soul samples into low-key techno. John Maus takes the stage for a second time this week, and you wouldn’t be blamed for wanting to see him twice. But there’s plenty else here: The electronic gospel goddess Moor Mother will bring her hardcore spirituals, while DJ Haram spins political, aggressive beats. Also performing is the DJ Geng, who just collaborated with Moor Mother on the haunting track “This Week,” full of ominous drones and the sound of broken glass.  

Heathered Pearls, Physical Therapy, Beta Librae, Ciarra Black
Sunnyvale
Midnight, $10–$12

Jakub Alexander, the producer known as Heathered Pearls, has a dual musical personality. He’s best known for his ambient, beatless electronic compositions, like those found on his enveloping 2012 album, Loyal. But since then, Alexander has explored the realms of dance music that you can actually dance to. His 2016 single, “Belville Renderings Part I,” was an homage to Detroit techno that manages to retain the nuance of Alexander’s ambient work. He’ll play this late-night show at Sunnyvale with fellow Brooklyn techno luminaries Physical Therapy and Ciarra Black.

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