Music

The Best NYC Shows This Week: Nina Kraviz, Kamasi Washington, Slaughter Beach, Dog

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It’s Thanksgiving week in New York City. If you’re still around, you’re likely either stuck in town without a family with which to celebrate, or you’re a New York native with few of your friends left in town. Whichever the case, we’ve got options for those hanging out over the holiday, from heartwarming local acts like Mutual Benefit and Teenage Halloween to hard-hitting techno parties where you can dance off that turkey and stuffing. Even on a notoriously quiet week, New York won’t let you down.

11/20
Mutual Benefit, NM Esc, Tres Freeborn, Yowler, Molly Soda, Sleepovers
Secret Project Robot
7:30 p.m., $10

Mutualism, an anarchist theory of economics, imagines a world where individuals within collectives voluntarily help one another, taking no more than is necessary to live and getting equitable compensation for their labor. It’s from this utopian vision that Mutual Benefit, Jordan Lee’s Brooklyn orchestral folk project, takes its name. Lee’s most recent album, 2016’s Skip a Sinking Stone, communicates through its gorgeous string arrangements and laid-back rhythms the ease and joy that come with detaching from our hyper-capitalist, always-on culture. Lee will perform on Monday to kick off Thanksgiving week in a truly radical fashion, with a potluck and readings from local poets like NM Esc.

11/21
Greg Fox & M. Geddes Gengras, Leya, mmm, die Reihe
Alphaville
8 p.m., $10

M. Geddes Gengras, an experimental electronic musician, has spent years toiling in the Los Angeles underground scene, releasing album after album of intellectual modular synthesizer music. His work ranges from abrasive rhythmic noises to beautiful ambient soundscapes that bring to mind artists like Tim Hecker and Eluvium. This week at Alphaville, Gengras will perform in collaboration with Greg Fox, the über-talented drummer known for his work in Liturgy, GDFX, and Guardian Alien. Both artists love to explore the bounds of music through experimentation and improvisation, and their collaboration should be fascinating.

HEEMS, Nadia Tehran, Jelani Sei
Zone One at Elsewhere
8 p.m., $15–$20

It’s been two years since the release of Eat Pray Thug, the solo album from former Das Racist rapper Heems. On that effort, Heems tried to find his voice as a solo act, to varying degrees of success. His album last year with his new project, Swet Shop Boys — a collaboration with the U.K.–born rapper and Star Wars actor Riz Ahmed — showed that he still has plenty of fire left. Heems’s half-joking, half–deadly serious rhymes deal with themes of racism, politics, and the experience of growing up as a first-generation immigrant in Queens. His music feels more vital now than ever.

11/22
Veronica Vasicka, Soren Roi, Mr. Nails
Jupiter Disco
8 p.m., $10

If you’re stuck in town for the week of Turkey Day, you could do worse than to grab your high school friends and take them down to Jupiter Disco, where Veronica Vasicka, DJ and founder of record label Minimal Wave, will headline a night of dark dance music. Backing her up is Soren Roi, a DJ associated with the weekly experimental electronic party Nothing Changes. The venue makes for an intimate spot to dance, and has a great sound system and cheap covers to boot — perfect for a night out with people who might be new to this kind of music.

Kamasi Washington, Robert Randolph
Terminal 5
8 p.m., $35–$40

The saxophonist and composer Kamasi Washington is perhaps the only contemporary jazz artist who has left an unmissable mark on modern hip-hop, largely through his work on Kendrick Lamar’s instant classic To Pimp a Butterfly. Washington’s most recent release, the Harmony of Difference EP, finds him doing something a little different. The songs on the album were part of a multimedia installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2017 Biennial. The music accompanied projections of paintings by Washington’s sister, Amani Washington. Like her paintings, Washington’s sprawling jazz compositions use seeming abstraction to create a stunning, recognizable whole.

Headless Horseman, Ontal, SDX, Chanski, Auspex
Brooklyn venue TBA
10 p.m., $30

There are many electronic artists who choose to keep their identities a mystery, but none whose ambiguity feels quite as ominous as Headless Horseman. The producer and DJ, who gained particular renown after a live set in 2014 at the notorious Berghain, performs with a long, dark fringe covering his face, like a creepier Cousin Itt in a hoodie. Since then, he’s only spoken a few times to the press, preferring to let his dark, industrial techno and famously hard sets do the talking for him. We can only hope that this TBA venue in Brooklyn is a cavernous warehouse worthy of his unsettling music.

11/24
Laurel Halo (DJ), SHYBOI, SCRAAATCH, LSDXOXO, Haruka
The Hall at Elsewhere
10 p.m., $12–$20

In her own productions, the electronic musician Laurel Halo combines warped vocals, synths, and drum beats to stretch and bend fragments of dance music into something altogether stranger. Her DJ sets are often more straightforward, though her offbeat sensibility shines through nonetheless. She’ll headline this night at Elsewhere alongside the rising Brooklyn DJ SHYBOI, a member of the collective #KUNQ who uses dance music to explore her identity as a Jamaican woman and the historical dynamics between Caribbean and American culture.

Slaughter Beach, Dog; Shannen Moser; Greg Mendez
Mercury Lounge
7:30 p.m., $12–$14

Jake Ewald has a lot more free time than he used to. His main band, the emo revival outfit Modern Baseball, went on hiatus last year, citing the mental-health troubles of one of the band members, Brendan Lukens. Now, Ewald has released the second album by his solo band, Slaughter Beach, Dog, a quieter, indie folk effort with intimate lyrics that tell quasi-autobiographical stories about love, substance abuse, and ennui. This music is strong enough that it could succeed without the draw of Ewald’s other group’s fame. Fans of that outfit are encouraged to check this out.

Shellshag, Math the Band, Teenage Halloween, Nervous Dater, Ivan Saladin
Silent Barn
8 p.m., $10

Another great option for the generally quiet Thanksgiving week is this show at Silent Barn, which features several standout local acts alongside touring bands. Math the Band are a bonkers chiptune act whose music defies explanation — you need to see them live to get a feel for their overactive enthusiasm. The Brooklyn two-piece punk group Shellshag will also play, along with the instantly lovable New Brunswick garage poppers Teenage Halloween and the Brooklyn pop rock act Nervous Dater.

11/25
Nina Kraviz, Umfang, Antenes b2b Mary Yuzovskaya
Brooklyn venue TBA
10 p.m., $56

The international superstar techno DJ Nina Kraviz headlines this bill of incredible female DJs at a Brooklyn warehouse party. Kraviz, who emerged from Russia to dominate the global underground techno scene over the last few years, is known for her willingness to take risks in her big-room sets. The rest of the bill is just as impressive. Umfang, a local DJ on the Discwoman roster, plays pounding techno that often closes out the best local raves. Experimental artist and modular synth pro Antenes will play b2b with Mary Yuzovskaya, another of underground techno’s greatest hopes. This party is where you’ll find the hippest raver kids working off their Thanksgiving dinners until dawn.

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