The Best NYC Shows This Week: Laetitia Sadier, Shabazz Palaces, Lea Bertucci


Okkervil River and of Montreal are both indie groups who could be said to have peaked in the late Aughts, each releasing a string of excellent albums that they haven’t topped since. But thankfully both have rallied recently, with records that play to their strengths — whether that’s contemplative, melancholy rootsy rock, on the part of Okkervil, or wild electro-fuck, as it pertains to of Montreal. The pair play this weekend in locations extremely convenient for anyone who lives in South Brooklyn. On Friday night, of Montreal play Gowanus venue the Bell House, while Okkervil River share the bill with Guided by Voices and others at the beer- and music-focused OctFest in Sunset Park the next day.

Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble (of Stereolab), Nicholas Krgovich, Astrobal
The Park Church Co-Op
8 p.m., $16–$18

Gen X–ers will let out a sigh of recognition upon hearing “Undying Love for Humanity,” the opening track on Finding Me Finding You, the album by Laetitia Sadier’s new solo project, released this March. Sadier was the voice and driving creative force behind Nineties band Stereolab, in which she mixed nostalgia for genres like French yé-yé and tropicália with Marxist analysis of inequality and her invitingly clear, alto voice. The formula remains unchanged on “Undying Love,” a delightful and intricate track featuring a flair for exotica and a wood block percussion backbone. “Geometric composition made with a belief that permeates and intimately binds all things — requesting free love and markets NOW! Our future selves depend on it,” read the album’s liner notes. We couldn’t say it better ourselves.

Shabazz Palaces, Porter Ray, JX Cannon
8 p.m., $20

Earlier this year, Seattle hip-hop group Shabazz Palaces released a pair of companion albums, Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines and Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star. On them, rapper Ishmael Butler plays Quazarz, an alien who explores a hostile planet known as Amurderca. As ever, Butler and his collaborator Tendai Maraire create fascinating, diffuse soundscapes of spaced-out free jazz, burbling percussion, and space-age synths. Shabazz Palaces have always veered toward the dystopian side of Afrofuturism, but now, when Nazis are openly marching in the streets with the tacit support of our president, the group’s dark view of America feels more resonant than ever.

Filthy Friends, Versus
The Bell House
8 p.m., $20 

Filthy Friends are a supergroup made up of Sleater-Kinney’s powerhouse frontwoman Corin Tucker, Fastback’s drummer Kurt Bloch, King Crimson drummer Bill Rieflin, Scott McCaughey of the Minus 5, and R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. That’s a lot of personalities and musical backgrounds to fit into one band, but on their recent album, Invitation, these musicians’ disparate sounds mesh together easily. In the forefront, of course, is Tucker’s voice, which transcends whatever music she’s a part of. For fans of any of these groups, it’s a rare chance to see these artists play new music in an intimate space.

Ryoji Ikeda: supercodex
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
7 p.m., $45

Ryoji Ikeda is a Japanese sound and visual artist based in Paris whose work explores the limits of human perception. Ikeda also works with data, translating information like the sequenced human genome into noise and visuals. His glitched-out soundscapes often utilize noises that are either too low or too high for the human ear to hear, making the music nearly subconscious. Other times, his installations are impossible to ignore, flashing overwhelming projections and overpowering your eardrums with IDM-like beats. His new piece, supercodex, explores how data and sound influence each other. Anyone who snags a ticket to this is in for something unforgettable. Also 9/7

The Amazing Acro-Cats, Tuna and the “Rock-cats”
Brooklyn Music School Theater
8 p.m., $25

Ad Hoc is the current standard-bearer of New York indie bookers; every week, it presents some of the best shows the city has to offer, often picking out new bands years before they hit it big. This show should be no different — except with cats. Yes, the Amazing Acro-Cats are a cat circus, guided by animal trainer Samantha Martin, performing multiple shows over the course of this weekend at the Brooklyn Music School Theater. Backing them up will be Tuna and the “Rock-cats,” which the event bills as the “ONLY ALL-CAT BAND IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.” A portion of the sales will go to the rescue and neuter operations run by Martin. Meeeeeeow.

Lea Bertucci, Debit, Naang Tani, m.cro
10 p.m., $10

The new club H0L0 in Ridgewood has already begun to distinguish itself among the fairly young crop of venues that have risen from the ashes of mass shutdowns. Its programming suggests ambition — shows that feel carefully curated and intentionally challenging — without the sometimes overwhelming pretension of other “serious” arts spaces. This night will feature a range of experimental electronic performers including Lea Bertucci, a New York electro-acoustic composer whose work affects your whole body. Her pieces are often space-specific, so you never really know what you’re going to get until you show up. Debit, a DJ on the forward-thinking Mexico City–based NAAFI label, will provide more rhythm-oriented, spooky vibes.

of Montreal, Showtime Goma, Nancy Feast
The Bell House
8 p.m., $25

Over the course of his twenty-year career as of Montreal, Kevin Barnes has assumed a wild array of personas and characters across albums that hopscotch genres from chamber pop to psych folk to EDM. But Barnes always sounds best when those facades hold something deeper, as they do on the masterful 2007 album Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, a kaleidoscopic chronicle of surviving clinical depression in the wake of a major breakup. Last year’s Innocence Reaches was not quite as intimate but still provided everything a good of Montreal record should: danceable tunes, pathos, absurdity. The band is known for its insane, elaborate live performances, replete with glitter, costume changes, and, on one memorable occasion, a live white horse. There’s no telling what this night will bring.

Guided by Voices, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Okkervil River, Kilo Kish, the Sadies, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Brooklyn Hangar
1 p.m., $50–$60

The merging of beer culture and indie rock has been going on for quite some time now, and the Venn diagram of people who enjoy microbrews and Guided by Voices is probably a near circle. So it’s sensible that the band and others will play this day-long festival at Sunset Park’s sprawling Brooklyn Hanger, hosted by October, an online beer magazine launched by indie stalwart Pitchfork. The solid lineup includes the brainy folk-rockers Okkervil River, whose excellent 2016 album, Away, felt like a return to form after years of mediocre output. Brooklyn indie pop stars the Pains of Being Pure at Heart will also perform; they’ve just dropped an album of fuzzy, heartrending pop, which should pair well with your favorite IPA.

Joshua Light Show, Man Forever, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
NYU Skirball Center
7:30 p.m., $40

By now, it’s considered normal for live shows to feature eye-popping visual elements: massive screens, pyrotechnics, etc. But in the Sixties, there wasn’t much to look at besides the band. That all changed when artist Joshua White and his collaborators began doing live light shows at the legendary Fillmore East. Their trippy creations blew the minds of audiences at the time, and today, it’s incredible to see how much they could do with such basic technology. For their fiftieth anniversary, Joshua Light Show will accompany two fascinating contemporary artists: the experimental percussion genius Man Forever and avant-pop circuit bender Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. A groovy time should be had by all. (Joshua Light Show perform with a different lineup at NYU on 9/8.)

Thee Oh Sees, Oceans of the Moon
9 p.m., $24

San Francisco musician John Dwyer is known for his incessant output. As Thee Oh Sees (and a number of other similar monikers), he’s released nineteen albums, and he’s just announced a twentieth. Musically, Dwyer’s range is enormous, but whatever he’s currently playing is never dull. His newly released album, Orc, rampages through heavy psych-rock riffs and squalls, but the first single off his next album, Memory of a Cut Off Head (which will be released under the band’s original name, OCS), is mellow folk pop in the vein of Simon & Garfunkel. In recent years, most of the group’s work has sounded more like Orc, so its live shows are often rowdy, sweaty mosh pits with cutoff jeans as far as the eye can see. Head to Warsaw to see which version of the band turns up this time.

Music Hall of Williamsburg
8 p.m., $25–$30

It’s often said that the U.K. group Swervedriver got lost in the shuffle of shoegaze bands that made it big in the early Nineties. Despite making music with a significantly more accessible sound, the group never reached the heights of peers like Ride or My Bloody Valentine. But that doesn’t mean their music wasn’t high-quality. This week they’ll play through their two best albums — Raise and Mezcal Head, released in ’91 and ’93, respectively — at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Raise in particular is a time capsule of the then-emerging shoegaze sound. The guitar distortion and driving rhythm section sound as good in 2017 as they did back then.