The Best NYC Shows This Week: Mal Devisa, Alice Coltrane, Ava Luna


Some of our favorite underappreciated New York acts perform this week, including Ice Balloons, the off-kilter punk rock side project by TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone, and Mal Devisa, an incredible rising talent whose music skirts the edges of hip-hop, punk, jazz, and many other genres. Meanwhile, on Sunday, you have two options for art-based afternoon entertainment: Sunday Sessions at MOMA PS1 presents a day dedicated to the spiritual jazz legend Alice Coltrane, while Pioneer Works opens its doors for visitors to experience a wide range of installations and multimedia pieces.

Ice Balloons, Honduras, Chorizo, Blood Cultures
Union Pool
8 p.m., $10–$12

Last week, the internet was deluged with nostalgia when New York published a piece detailing the lovably sleazy hookup culture that prevailed at Williamsburg bar Union Pool in the mid-Aughts. That time is now long gone, but the bar still knows how to host a good show. At this benefit for Puerto Rico hurricane relief, some of Brooklyn’s most underrated bands will play, including Kyp Malone’s dissonant rock act Ice Balloons, surf rockers Honduras, and the radical Latinx punk group Chorizo.

Girlpool, Land of Talk, Forth Wanderers
Brooklyn Steel
8 p.m., $18–$20

On last year’s Powerplantthe most recent album from Los Angeles’ Girlpool, the things we’ve always loved about the indie rock act remained at the forefront: their unassuming vocals, lo-fi production value, slacker-punk ethos, and accessibly angsty lyrics. Their charm has expanded as they experimented with new additions to their sound, while sections of their tracks became heavier and bigger, counterbalancing the twee whimsy elsewhere. For a certain type of indie fan, this is heaven. The rest of the Thursday lineup at Brooklyn Steel is stacked with similarly lovely talent — get there early.

Palehound, Weaves
Brooklyn Bazaar
8 p.m., $14–$16

Boston’s Palehound are part of a crew of indie rock formations that play around with the standard guitar-band formula, never delivering exactly what you’d expect. The group was started by musician Ellen Kempner, who is good friends with Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz fame. Both outfits make music that feels homegrown and intimate, drawing on vocals both direct and urgent. Palehound will play here with Weaves, a Toronto group whose leader, Jasmyn Burke, has cited Bruce Springsteen as an inspiration for her expansive rock tunes, which are also reminiscent of fellow Canadians Broken Social Scene.

Sound of Ceres, Hnry Flwr, Stranger Cat
The Park Church Co-Op
8 p.m., $10–$13

Sound of Ceres, a supergroup that includes members of Candy Claws, Apples in Stereo, and the Drums, stretch out across genres, from electropop to shoegaze. But lead singer Karen Hover’s ghostly vocals, paired with the band’s slightly eerie synths, sound most like something you’d hear at the Roadhouse in Twin Peaks. The group’s last album, 2017’s The Twin, was produced by Alex Somers, who is known for his work with Sigur Rós and Julianna Barwick. The mystical ambiance of those groups shines through on The Twin. Unlike efforts from most shoegaze-adjacent groups, this album has hardly any guitar, and that absence makes the gauzy ethereality of the songs even more striking.

Leaving New York
Shanti Celeste, Working Women, Emil Bergh
10 p.m., $15–$20

The long-running soulful dance music party Leaving New York will take over the new Nowadays indoor space this week for a night featuring house, techno, and more from a variety of high-level DJs. Breezy U.K. house DJ Shanti Celeste, who wowed crowds at Dekmantel, will headline. Working Women, a four-person back-to-back team of female techno DJs, and New Yorker Emil Bergh, who plays Nineties-style techno, fill out the rest of the night. It all amounts to a reason, as if you need another one, to dance until sunrise.

The Lot Radio Two Year Anniversary
Acemo, Analog Soul, Barbie Bertisch & Paul Raffaele, Darker Than Wax, Epic B & Uninamise, Katie Rex, R Gamble, Riobamba, Tygapaw, Working Women, X-Coast, more
Brooklyn Bazaar
7 p.m., $20–$30

The Lot Radio is an all-electronic-music internet broadcast station, based out of a remodeled shipping container located in Williamsburg. Its shows are hosted by many of New York’s finest DJs, as well as occasional visiting guests. At this anniversary smash, many of the station’s brightest talents will take over the entire Brooklyn Bazaar space, including the mutable hip-hop and dance music DJ Tygapaw, techno DJ Katie Rex, and many others. The party starts with a happy hour at 7 p.m. and goes all the way until 5 a.m. — plenty of time for both the early birds and the after-hours crowd.

Ava Luna (playing Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson)
Joe’s Pub
9:30 p.m., $20

New York art-rock band Ava Luna are known for their eclectic sound and adventurous performances. Their music incorporates pop, world, post-punk, and other diffuse genres into a wild and whimsical sound all its own. On this night, the band will perform French pop legend Serge Gainsbourg’s notorious and influential 1971 concept album, Histoire de Melody Nelson, which spins the tale of a man who crashes his car into a bicycle-riding teenage girl, whom he then seduces. The album has been cited as one of Portishead’s major influences in creating the genre that became known as trip-hop. In Ava Luna’s version, Gainsbourg’s part will be played by Becca Kauffman, a gender flip that lends the performance an element of feminist critique.

Mal Devisa
8 p.m., $10–$12

Mal Devisa is the artist name of Deja Carr, a singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist from the Bronx whose voice is as flexible as an Olympic gymnast. Carr showcased her staggering talent on her 2016 debut album, Kiid, where she tore through r&b, punk, hip-hop, jazz, and gospel, sometimes all on the same song. Her singing is both seductive and precise, even as her technical roughness and lyrical intimacy lend her work a rawness that makes listening to her an intensely personal experience. Of all the emerging young artists in this city, Mal Devisa seems on the cusp of seizing one of the brightest possible futures.

Monastic and Ecstatic: A Glimpse Into the Life and Legacy of Alice Coltrane
Kelsey Lu, Laaraji
1 p.m., $15

This afternoon, VW Sunday Sessions at PS1 will honor the life and work of the jazz composer, pianist, and spiritual leader Alice Coltrane, who died eleven years ago at the age of 69. (In 1965, she married the saxophonist John Coltrane, who passed two years later.) Ravi Coltrane, Alice’s son, put together this afternoon of tributes, which will include panel discussions; rare film and audio recordings from the family’s archive; and performances by Kelsey Lu, the avant-garde cellist, and Laaraji, the acclaimed ambient artist. Whether you’re already a devotee or are new to all things Alice, this is a celebration you won’t want to miss.

Second Sundays
Superhuman Happiness
Pioneer Works
4 p.m., $10 suggested donation 

If you live close to Red Hook, Pioneer Works’ version of a Sunday-afternoon art event might be just the weekend activity for you. With a $10 suggested donation, you’ll get access to art installations, open studios, and participatory events like the Pioneer Works tech labs. There will also be a performance from Superhuman Happiness, an indie pop band that “incorporate[s] elements of improvisation, surreal comedy, performance art, and strong melodies and danceable rhythms expressed through an ecstatic audience/performer embrace.”