The Best NYC Shows This Week: Cold Specks, Cyndi Lauper, DJ Koze


Several pioneering techno DJs grace the city this weekend, many of them still in their prime despite having cultivated long careers. Ellen Allien, the Berlin DJ and producer who reigned at that city’s legendary club Tresor for years, plays on a solid lineup at Good Room. Meanwhile, Detroit techno veteran Carl Craig will blast his beats at Le Bain, atop the Standard Hotel. For something completely different, head to Baby’s All Right to catch Cold Specks’ Southern Gothic signature taking on notes of Somali doom folk.

Wolf Alice, Polyplastic
Brooklyn Steel
7 p.m., $25

For fans of Brit-rock and shoegaze, the U.K. outfit Wolf Alice is hard to resist. Their sprawling second album, Visions of a Life (released this fall), contains brash, headstrong pop-rock numbers alongside dreamy songs buoyed by synths and filtered vocals. The group is inspired as much by Arctic Monkeys as they are by the likes of M83 (producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen was responsible for that band’s hugely successful Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming) and My Bloody Valentine. You could throw accusations of derivativeness at Wolf Alice, but when their sound is this fun, who cares?

Chad VanGaalen, Un Blonde
Rough Trade
8 p.m., $15–$18

The Canadian multimedia artist Chad VanGaalen makes his own instruments as well as his own colorful, psychedelic music videos, both of which possess a sculpture maker’s attention to craft. But VanGaalen’s music is quality art in its own right. His newly released sixth album, Light Information, spins out lo-fi folk-pop numbers that will sound familiar to those who listen to groups like Woods, or even vintage Elephant 6 bands. He’ll headline Rough Trade with a fellow Canadian, the alt-r&b musician Un Blonde.

Cold Specks, LA timpa
Baby’s All Right
7:30 p.m., $15

The goth-soul singer-songwriter Ladan Hussein, who goes by the name Cold Specks, emerged into the public eye in 2012 with her quietly powerful debut I Predict A Graceful Explosion. Her second album continued using droning soundscapes to isolate her cracked, mournful, forceful voice. On her newest release, Fool’s Paradise, Hussein takes a left turn, embracing her Somali heritage with songs inspired by the country’s traditional music. (It features collaborations with her musician father.) Hussein has evolved as an artist in fascinating ways — don’t miss out on this latest exciting chapter.

Gary Numan, Me Not You
Brooklyn Steel
7 p.m., $30–$35

Gary Numan isn’t one of the first artists whose name comes up when discussing those who shaped the pop music being made by young musicians today — but he should be. His early adoption of synthesizers and industrial noise paved the way for now-legendary groups like Nine Inch Nails as well as more modern artists like Chvrches. If you’re a fan of synth-pop new or old, this chance to watch a living legend at work is unmissable.

DJ Koze, Fahad Haider, Bilaliwood, Christian Voldstad
Zone One at Elsewhere
10 p.m., $30–$40

Germany’s DJ Koze spent the ’90s releasing mixes that had a profound impact on the global hip-hop scene. With his group Fischmob, Koze — whose real name is Stefan Kozalla — provided the backing for a vital and political underground European hip-hop movement. In more recent years, performing under his current name, Kozalla has explored electronic music’s edges, from breakbeats to ambient and everything in between. At this intimate club gig, Kozalla will lead a lineup of DJs for a night of dancing.

Ellen Allien, Volvox, Corey Sizemore
Good Room
10 p.m., $25

Over her 25-year career, Berlin’s reigning techno queen, the DJ and producer Ellen Allien, helped to create the spacious techno that has defined the sound of trendsetting clubs like Tresor. On her newest release, Nost, her productions still sound like the future even while they explicitly reference techno of years past. The album’s title refers to the word “nostalgia,” and so it makes sense that Allien’s sound here hews close to the “pure” techno register she helped create. But styles always move in cycles, and, at this point, these sparse, ominous, minimal tracks, laden with vocoded samples, feel as of-the-moment today as they would have in ’95.

Foxing, Moving Mountains, Sorority Noise, Shortly
Music Hall of Williamsburg
8 p.m., $17–$20

Among the many groups who make up the post-emo revival that’s continually gained momentum over the past several years, the St. Louis band Foxing can be commended for their willingness to expand beyond their genre. Their first album, The Albatross, drew from obvious inspirations (think Cap’n Jazz) but also took cues from jazz, r&b, and folk. Their most recent LP, Dealer, is even more ambitious and stately. Here, lead singer Conor Murphy sounds less aggrieved and more resigned, and though the songs may not provide the heart-wrenching catharsis that earlier tracks like “Rory” did, it sounds like the group is growing up.

Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays
Laura Jane Grace (of Against Me!), Peaches, Jake Shears (of Scissor Sisters), Dr. John, Jackson Browne, Cyndi Lauper, Bridget Everett, Sandra Bernhard, Ani DiFranco
Beacon Theatre
8 p.m., $50–$150

There are plenty of fancy Christmas shows out of our price range this season, but this is one worth shelling out for. The iconic pop star Cyndi Lauper hosts a night featuring some of the indie world’s premier talent, from naughty electro-pop star Peaches and Laura Jane Grace of punk band Against Me! to entertainers the whole family can enjoy, like Ani DiFranco and Jackson Browne. Submit to the spirit of the holiday season and treat yourself to a night seeing these fine performers delight in one of the finest sit-down venues in Manhattan.

Ski Lodge, Frame, Barrie
Zone One at Elsewhere
6 p.m., $10–$12

Ski Lodge is the indie-pop solo project of Brooklyn’s Andrew Marr, also known for his work with the Clementines. His group has released music and toured on-and-off since 2011 without ever breaking through to a larger audience. Their most recent album, last year’s New Life, was a loving homage to ’80s new-wave and pop groups like the Smiths and New Order. On their newest single, “Secure,” the band stays the course, building a simmering pop song out of nostalgic synths and big-drum machine beats.

Carl Craig, Huerco S.
Le Bain
10 p.m., TBA

Le Bain, the nightclub perched atop the glamorous Standard Hotel in the West Village, is known for its debaucherous parties, in-club hot tub, and incredible Manhattan views. But it’s not often that a seriously solid lineup graces the glitzy venue. Detroit techno veteran Carl Craig will headline Le Bain this Saturday, bringing authentic, old-school DJ skill to bear. Opener Huerco S. is known for his ambient techno stylings, which should sound dreamy from atop a skyscraper.