Music

The Best NYC Shows This Week: Diamanda Galás, Lana Del Rey, Julien Baker

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This year, Halloween falls (sadly) on a Tuesday, which means that the preceding weekend is the official time to celebrate the holiday in the city. There are several promising-looking covers shows, a wonderful music-scene Halloween tradition, and a badass club night at Knockdown Center, featuring Peaches and Julianna Huxtable. If you’re looking for something a bit more serious, head to Murmurr Theater, where the brooding goddess Diamanda Galás will make an appearance.

10/23
Lana Del Rey
Terminal 5
8 p.m., $60

When Lana Del Rey first emerged with her sultry ode “Video Games,” with its hipsterified images and retro-misogynist lyrics, she created a firestorm of controversy over what authenticity and feminism mean for musicians working today. Thankfully, that’s all over now, and we can appreciate Lana for what she is: a great pop star. Her newest album, Lust for Life, is a bit touch-and-go but features several gorgeous, melancholic numbers, like the tearjerker “Change” and the uncharacteristically pensive “Coachella — Woodstock in My Mind.” If you’re still stuck fretting about the symbolism of flower crowns or what lyrics to “Diet Mountain Dew” mean for women, you’re missing out on some really fun music. Also 10/24

Insane Clown Posse, R.A. the Rugged Man, Lyte, Surfbort
The Well
7 p.m., $30

For most of their existence, Insane Clown Posse and their juggalo fans have been seen by the mainstream as a joke. But in the last few months, juggalos — who the FBI classifies as a gang — have risen as a potentially powerful political movement. Last month’s Juggalo March on Washington drew attention to the subculture’s working-class roots and the many misconceptions about their politics. Now, their leaders will play a show in Williamsburg at the Well. Is this the moment when the clown rappers will finally claim cultural capital? Show up and find out. Woop woop.

10/25
Death From Above, the Beaches
Brooklyn Steel
8 p.m., $31

Dance punk is a genre so associated with a specific era (the mid-Aughts, to be exact) that it’s almost turned into a punchline. But if you put aside your hindsight judgment, it’s easy to still love albums like Death From Above’s 2004 debut full-length, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine. Even better, the newest album from the group, Outrage! Is Now, feels vital and contemporary, leagues away from the nostalgia trip that might have been expected. Catch them trying out their new sound, which has evolved to cover greater melodic territory, at Brooklyn Steel this week.

10/27
Julien Baker, Half Waif
Town Hall
8 p.m., $25–$39.50

Julien Baker’s 2015 debut album, Sprained Ankle, was remarkable for its vulnerability. On her quiet songs sung over strummed electric guitar, the rawness of Baker’s emotions was palpable. The tracks felt shockingly personal, with a deep hurt that seeped through the young musician’s voice. The two numbers released from her follow-up LP, Turn Out the Lights (out at the end of this month), feel stronger, more confident, and brash. Baker’s voice sounds less like that of someone who has just stopped crying, and yet her ability to pierce into dark emotions is just as stunning. On the title piece, we hear Baker belt out the chorus over distorted guitar that’s louder than anything she’s released before. It’s the sound of catharsis.

Florist, Emily Yacina, Lizard Kisses
The Park Church Co-Op
7 p.m., $12–$15

On the song “Blue Mountain Road” — off the Brooklyn-based, Catskills-born band Florist’s most recent album, If Blue Could Be Happiness — singer Emily Sprague sings, If you’re terrified of living, like me, I hope you’ll be fine. ’Cause we’re terrified together, in this terrifying time.” It’s hard to find a better way to sum up what it’s felt like to live through this past year, and hearing these words sung over Sprague’s minimalist folk pop feels strangely comforting. Her direct, no-nonsense lyrics anchor the band’s compositions in a realism reminiscent of Mount Erie’s folky philosophy.

10/28
Club Glow
Peaches, Juliana Huxtable (DJ), Asian Doll, De Se, Le1f (DJ), Abby, Telfar, Sadaf
Knockdown Center
10 p.m., $25–$30

Among the many Halloween-weekend parties, Club Glow at Knockdown Center should feature some of the wildest costumes. Look no further than Peaches, who, in a video this September for a single from 2015, wore a giant puffy gold jacket with huge spikes coming out of it. Under the jacket she was topless, her nipple painted the color of her skin, producing an eerie, Marilyn Manson–type effect. She was also flanked by men donning massive vagina masks. It’d be worth going solely to see what she’ll be wearing, but the night also features DJs including the artist Juliana Huxtable, the rapper Le1f, and the electronic experimenter Sadaf. 

Stringer (as Pavement), Yucky Duster (as ABBA), gobbinjr (as Justin Timberlake), Estro Zombies (as Misfits)
The Glove
8 p.m., $TBA

The Halloween covers show is a fun tradition for any music nerd: It’s a chance to see a band you love in a totally different context and hear songs you’ve known forever played in a way you’ve never heard them before. Plus, there are usually awesome costumes. This show at DIY spot the Glove features some solid bands and cover choices, including the pop punkers Yucky Duster as ABBA, and the folk pop group gobbinjr as Justin Timberlake. As always, someone is doing the Misfits.

Gutterween
Johnny Live Ones (as Johnny Thunders), the Jackal (as Van Morrison), Skaters (members of Skaters as Pavement), Debbie Downer (as Oasis), toyzanne (as the Smiths), Honeydew Diners (as Rush), Son of Mogo (as Dinosaur Jr.), My Teenage Stride (as the Kinks), OxenFree (as Michael Jackson)
The Gutter
7 p.m., free

Another Halloween covers show to choose from features many Brooklyn favorites performing as a wide range of classic bands. Skaters go as Pavement, My Teenage Stride perform as the Kinks, and Son of Mogo go as Dinosaur Jr. Best of all, when you aren’t watching the bands, you can pick up a bowling game.

10/29
Diamanda Galás
Murmrr Theatre
8 p.m., $45–$75

“Watching Diamanda Galás perform feels like watching God,” a music writer at Noisey once remarked about the iconic singer. Over the course of her decades-long career, Galás has focused her raspy, operatic voice and mesmerizing gothic aesthetic on some of the most difficult parts of the human experience, from AIDS to mental illness and social injustice. Her New York shows are rare, so fans should take this opportunity to catch a living legend in action.

Annea Lockwood, Aki Onda, Akio Suzuki
Pioneer Works
6 p.m., $20

Hailing from New Zealand, the experimental performer, composer, and musician Annea Lockwood has spent her life zooming in on the sounds around us and finding the music inside them. From her early Glass Concerts, where she would “play” glass, to a series of performances that included burning a piano and leaving one in a pond, to her river studies in which she recorded the sounds of the Hudson and Danube, Lockwood’s unquenchable curiosity and dedication to deep listening has enriched our listening experience. Earlier this year, she re-released one of her seminal works, 1970’s Tiger Balm. We don’t know what kind of piece she’ll perform here, but knowing Lockwood, it will be unexpected and fascinating.

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