Music

The Best NYC Shows This Week: Justin Vivian Bond, John Maus, Superchunk

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It’s Valentine’s Day, but there aren’t any traditionally romantic acts on our list this week. Instead, for the big night, we recommend seeing John Maus, a brilliant eccentric who turns new wave into performance art. The rest of the schedule is packed with fantastic bands like Superchunk, amazing dance parties from NAAFI, and DIY punk shows. Save the money you’d spend on roses and check out some music that will last a lifetime.

2/13
Homeshake, Greatest Champion Alive
Market Hotel
8 p.m., $18+

Slacker rock star Mac DeMarco’s cult is growing, and, as it does, some of his magic is rubbing off on his associates. That may go part of the way towards explaining why Peter Sagar, a former guitarist in DeMarco’s band who now makes music as Homeshake, has sold out four nights at Market Hotel. He went solo in 2013, and last year released Fresh Air, a breezy, lo-fi synth pop album that borrows from r&b and hip-hop as much as it does from melancholy bedroom pop artists like Alex G (and, of course, his ex-bandmate). It’s an intriguing mix, and it has won Sagar a following with the same kinds of young people who see DeMarco as a messiah figure. It’s your chance to be among them on one of these nights — if you can find a ticket.

2/14
John Maus, Gary War
The Hall at Elsewhere
8 p.m., $18–$22

One of John Maus’s early albums was titled Love Is Real, and it’s exactly the kind of grand yet banal statement one has come to expect from the enigmatic synth-pop performer. In interviews, Maus speaks like a mad professor — half the time, he makes no sense. But you still get the feeling that he understands some underlying truth that’s beyond our reach. In addition to his eerie, sparkling pop songs and deep, monotone voice, Maus is best known for his stage antics, which often include beating himself with a microphone or just straight up punching himself in the face. If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day activity that will really make you understand the cheap vulgarity of consumer culture, go see John Maus. You won’t be disappointed.

2/15
NAAFI
Fausto Bahía, Debit, Lao, Mexican Jihad
Elsewhere
Midnight, $10–$12

The boundary-pushing Mexico City electronic music collective NAAFI will put on their first party at Elsewhere this Thursday. NAAFI is known for DJs and producers who mix dance music with politics and aren’t afraid to experiment. But that doesn’t mean you won’t dance your ass off. Headliner Fausto Bahía, in particular, plays an irresistible mix of reggaeton, dancehall, and more that would make anyone want to get down. The label’s founder, Alberto Bustamante, who goes by the artist name Mexican Jihad, will also play a set of his music, which often verges into sound-art territory with abrasive samples and industrial flourishes. Whether you want to be challenged or entertained, there’s something for you here.

Justin Vivian Bond (sings the Carpenters)
The Appel Room
8:30 p.m., price not available

The storied trans cabaret singer Justin Vivian Bond is known for their long history in New York’s Downtown experimental theater and music scenes. They have been called the “the best cabaret artist of their generation.” This week, Bond is taking on the catalog of the Carpenters, the tragic pop group who brought body dysmorphia into the public conversation following singer Karen Carpenter’s death from anorexia. Bond’s performances in tribute to fallen idols are consistently beloved. This one should be another stunner.

Festival of the Glove
The Dreebs, Video Daughters, Dog, Outside World, Xharlow, Dean Cercone, Crawlspace, Straw Pipes, Robot Death Cult
The Glove
8 p.m., $10–$20

The Glove is a charming, scrappy venue located on the second story of a building off the J train in Bushwick. It’s one of an ever-decreasing number of authentically DIY spaces that have survived years of crackdowns by NYPD task forces like MARCH. This festival, the first of what will hopefully be a yearly tradition, will raise money to keep the space open with performances from many friends of the space, including garage pop group Outside World, art rockers the Dreebs, and experimental synth pop artist (and venue owner) Dean Cercone. The party will go all night and the door cost is a sliding scale. Ask your coolest friend for the address and help keep Brooklyn DIY alive.

2/16
Superchunk
Rough Trade
6:30 p.m., free entry with purchase of new album

Over the years, beloved ’90s indie-rock group Superchunk has lost none of their trademark energy, nor their ability to craft catchy, fun, cathartic pop songs. Superchunk’s newly announced album, What a Time to Be Alive, is almost out, and fans will be able to score a copy on vinyl at this Rough Trade record-release party. The single “Erasure” features vocals from Waxahatchee and Stephen Merritt, and sounds fantastic. Three decades on, Superchunk has still got it.

Wye Oak, William Brittelle, Metropolis Ensemble
Symphony Space
8 p.m., $25+

The Baltimore group Wye Oak made the transition from gothy folk to synth pop on their 2014 album, Shriek, and they continue to innovate. At this unique performance, Wye Oak will perform songs off Shriek with totally new arrangements by composer William Brittelle, performed by the Metropolis Ensemble. Brittelle, who writes intricate, interlocking compositions filled with a sweeping energy, will also perform some songs off his album Spiritual America, which Symphony Space calls “an epic post-genre mix of orchestra, children’s chorus, electronics, and rock band.”

Chaos in the CBD, Jayda G, Jacky Sommer, Huerco S, Olin, John Barera, Will Martin
Elsewhere
11 p.m., $15–$25

DJs who play house, disco, techno, and everything in between will take over Elsewhere’s entire space this Friday. The brothers Chaos in the CBD, originally from New Zealand, are one of the big draws. They play house music featuring underused percussion sounds like congas and claves, which gives their music a lightness that’s rare in dance music. Jayda G, an expert selector who pulls out soul and disco as often as house, is another name to get excited about. Her Dekmantel Boiler Room set is now the stuff of legend. This will be a special night.

2/17
American Nightmare, Pissed Jeans, Protester, Spiritual Cramp
Market Hotel
7 p.m., $22.50+

Amazingly, last year, male-led punk band Pissed Jeans released a feminist album that didn’t suck. On the forceful, Lydia Lunch–produced record, lead singer Matt Korvette excoriated the American male psyche. With his growling yell, he sings about the unfair advantages men have in the workplace and self-flagellates over paying cam girls to ignore him. Pissed Jeans play on this stacked lineup of heavy bands at Market Hotel, which also features American Nightmare, the hardcore project of Cold Cave’s Wes Eisold, who just announced their first album since 2003.

L.O.T.I.O.N., Witchtrial, Pobreza Mental, Twisted Thing
Secret Project Robot
9 p.m., $10

L.O.T.I.O.N. use their dense, angry music to explain how injustice and technology rule our lives. Their sound is a mix of industrial clamor, chaotic noise, hardcore motifs, and heavily distorted vocals. From earlier tracks (“Torture Report,” “Fukushima Fallout”) to this year’s new split with Scumputer, Xenophobia, L.O.T.I.O.N. has investigated complex political issues with a ferocious intensity. The band is known for incredible live shows — catch them headlining this Saturday at Secret Project Robot.

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