The Best NYC Shows This Week: Hazel English, Kelela, the Mountain Goats


It’s been less than a week since the opening of the Bushwick venue Elsewhere; already, the new space is hosting a huge portion of this week’s must-see shows. Built with $3 million in investment money and dreamed up by veterans of the defunct Glasslands, Elsewhere is a spectacular sight, with many rooms, a VR exhibit, and an interactive light installation. If you’re interested in Brooklyn’s other impressive new space, check out the Mountain Goats on Sunday at Brooklyn Steel — their shows are always a delight.

Noveller, Palto Flats (DJ)
The Hall at Elsewhere
8 p.m., $10–$15

As Noveller, the Brooklyn musician Sarah Lipstate creates music that often evokes the image of someone crawling into a dark hole to wait out the winter. At other points, listening to her feels like watching the snow gracefully fall. Her guitar playing and looping blends ambient, shoegaze, and noise to evocative and mesmerizing effect. Lipstate is a force to be reckoned with, and her deep vibes will easily fill Elsewhere’s main space.

Joyce Manor, Wavves, Culture Abuse
Brooklyn Steel
8 p.m., $25

The Southern California foursome Joyce Manor began their career as a hardcore band, slid into pop punk territory, and are now playing something close to indie pop. But as its sound has shifted, the band has maintained its foundational knack for catchy songwriting and absorbing performances, complete with sing-alongs that inspire its teenage fans. They’ll play here with another SoCal favorite, Wavves, whose bratty garage pop continues to attract a certain brand of disaffected youth.

Mndsgn, Yaeji, P.U.D.G.E.
The Hall at Elsewhere
8 p.m., $15–$22

Since his emergence on the scene, the L.A. beatmaker Mndsgn has been known for his intricate, jazzy productions, along the lines of Flying Lotus. Until last year, that is, when he released Body Wash, an album of productions featuring chilled-out Eighties synths and funky beats. This spacious pop will fit well in Elsewhere’s main room, which features an interactive light installation. Mndsgn is joined by the up-and-coming New York producer Yaeji, a dance-music prodigy in her own right.

Hazel English, the Sea Life
Zone One at Elsewhere
8 p.m., $12–$14

Hazel English’s dreamy, jangly guitar pop follows in the tradition of indie pop artists like Beach Fossils and Camera Obscura. English is originally from Sydney, and though she’s made her home in Oakland, California, her music is reminiscent of many bands from Australia’s scene. Her newest release, Just Give In / Never Going Home, is everything you could want in a collection of pristine dreampop, her melancholy lyrics blending perfectly with background harmonies over wistful guitar riffs. She’ll play the smaller Zone One space at Elsewhere.

EMA, the Blow, Gold Dime
Brooklyn Bazaar
7 p.m., $15–$17

On Erika M. Anderson’s third solo album, Exile in the Outer Ring, released this year, the experimental blend of pop, folk, drone, and noise reaches into the depths of 21st-century American despair. The record harkens back to Anderson’s work with her old project, Gowns, in which she chronicled the lives of burned-out junkies and nihilistic youth in suburban South Dakota, where she grew up. Through searing critiques like “33 Nihilistic and Female” and “Aryan Nation,” she shines a light on some of our country’s darkest corners, and, in the process, gives us strength to survive these frightening times. Anderson will headline an excellent lineup including electropop project the Blow and noise rockers Gold Dime.

No Vacancy 3
Bearcat, False Witness, AceMo, Ne/Re/A, Upsetter
Studio 929
7 p.m., suggested donation before 10 p.m., $10–$15 after

This weekend, the third iteration of the art event No Vacancy will take over the top two floors of an unused former apartment building in Bushwick. Put on by the Brooklyn art collective Alt Esc, No Vacancy features plenty of local favorites, from the Weird internet deep-diver Jacob Ciocci to the multimedia 3-D-printing aficionados MSHR. In addition to the exhibit, the cavernous top floor will host one hell of an opening party, featuring antagonistic dance music from GHE20G0TH1K’s False Witness and Discwoman’s Bearcat. If you want to experience the Bushwick arts scene at its best, head here on Friday.

Ambient Church
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Felicia Atkinson, CV & JAB, Gregg Kowalsky
Bushwick United Methodist Parish
7 p.m., $25

The newest in the Ambient Church events series brings another diverse roster of artists to perform in a Brooklyn church decked out with immersive lights and lasers. The New York artist Jefre Cantu-Ledesma will perform his guitar- and drum machine–based looping lullabies, while the French ambient electronic artist Felicia Atkinson brings her muted, hypnotic beats. The collaboration CV & JAB (cinematic ambient artist Christina Vantzou and John Also Bennett, the latter of the New York group Forma) will make their U.S. debut.

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, Rozwell Kid, Animal Flag
Market Hotel
8 p.m., $15

On the excellent recent album Always Foreign, the lead songwriter of The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, David Bello, is forced to take a long, hard look at what’s going on around us. As a musician of Lebanese and Puerto Rican descent who grew up in the South, Bello has a lot of feelings about our country’s slide into white-supremacist, fascist leadership. On its previous records, the moody post-rock band wrote music that felt hopeful and idealistic. But now, as Pitchfork puts it, Bello “comes [to] the same conclusion as the rest of us: The world is an increasingly terrible place and we should all be scared to death.” Head to the newly reopened Market Hotel to revel in the world’s shittiness with one of the best young bands working today.

Kelela, Lafawndah
Bowery Ballroom
9 p.m., $23

Kelela’s sensual, heady music has percolated through the alt-r&b, electronic, and underground hip-hop scenes for years now. But with her debut album, Take Me Apart, the artist has made a major statement. The record is an instant classic, exploring realms of r&b and pop that are simultaneously accessible and unfamiliar. These songs could play on the radio, yet many are produced by electronic music’s most singular and experimental voices, from Arca to Dubbel Dutch. It seems inevitable that Kelela’s star will continue to rise — this is your chance to see her before she starts playing stadiums.

The Mountain Goats, Mothers
Brooklyn Steel
8 p.m., $31

The music of John Darnielle — the philosophical force behind the cult-favorite folk rock band the Mountain Goats — is a candle in the dark in these days of fear and uncertainty. For the last 26 years, Darnielle has released music that ranges from primitive tape-deck recordings to orchestral, tastefully produced arrangements. But no matter what his music sounds like, his talent for capturing the small joys and deep anguish of being alive shine through within his literary lyrics. His most recent release, Goths, is no exception, tracing the lives of people who take refuge in the darkness with compassion and grace. Darnielle plays Brooklyn Steel with his band this Sunday — for his fans, it’s time to go to church.