The Best NYC Shows This Week: Daddy Issues, Lil Xan, Mike Servito


Several shows this week announce the future of hip-hop. Lil Xan, part of the coterie of brooding, stoned rappers who have emerged out of the SoundCloud ranks, plays at Brooklyn Steel, while the aggressively raw Brooklyn native Young M.A. takes Music Hall of Williamsburg. For something completely different, head to Knockdown Center to see the pop maximalists Of Montreal, who have just released one of their best albums in years.

Of Montreal, Mega Bog, Potted Plant
Knockdown Center
7 p.m., $25

On his newly released fifteenth studio album, Kevin Barnes, the auteur behind Of Montreal, continues to explore new avenues for his explosive creativity. On the heels of albums that drew on inspirations like EDM and Prince, White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood turns to the influence of DJ Screw, whose woozy hip-hop infuses Barnes’s maximalist pop opuses with a haunted quality. The record largely centers on a feeling of unreality and simulation in the post-Trump world, and the result is some of Barnes’s best work in years. The band’s live shows are always unpredictable and fantastic, and Knockdown Center should give them plenty of room to stretch their wings.

Bing & Ruth, Alice Boman
Murmrr Theatre
7 p.m., $15

David Moore’s electro-acoustic project Bing & Ruth’s most recent album, No Home of the Mind, employs fluttering piano arpeggios undercut by warm drones and wispy woodwinds to create a mood of gorgeous tranquility. Despite the lack of vocals, Moore’s fundamental emotionality comes through loud and clear in these languid tracks. Bing & Ruth are a great starting point for anyone curious about the world of ambient music, but heads will enjoy it just as much.

Daddy Issues, Thick, Blush
8 p.m., $10

Don’t ask us why the new hip-band-name trend is so paternal (Adult Mom, Soccer Mommy, and Acid Dad are just a sample), but whatever draws groups toward these familial labels seems to also help them make compelling music. Nashville’s Daddy Issues is no exception: The group plays ingratiatingly simple lo-fi grunge pop, but their music is anything but shallow. Their lyrics address sexual assault, abuse, and trauma in a direct and confrontational style. They’ll play alongside two of Brooklyn’s best up-and-coming bands: Thick and Blush.

Laurel Halo With Eli Keszler, Embaci
Public Arts
8 p.m., $20

On her many original productions, the electronic musician Laurel Halo combines warped vocals, synths, and drum beats to stretch and bend shards of dance music into something altogether stranger. On her last album, Dust, this approach birthed a masterpiece of fragmented sound. Laurel Halo will play live at this show with accompanying percussion from Eli Keszler, an artist who creates wildly inventive sound-based installations when he isn’t dazzling on the drums.

The Bunker LTD
Mike Servito
10 p.m., $15–$25

The still-relatively-new indoor space at Nowadays has provided an incredible platform for some of the underground scene’s best DJs to play extended sets they’d rarely be allowed to perform elsewhere. They’ll continue the trend this weekend with an eight-hour set by Chicago house DJ Mike Servito, presented by The Bunker LTD. Servito’s technical expertise is as precise as his song selection, and his deep knowledge of techno and house should more than fill this extended format.

Lil Xan, $teven Cannon, Lil Gnar
Brooklyn Steel
7 p.m., $30

The 21-year-old rapper Lil Xan is part of a new school of zoned-out, tatted-up young performers like Lil Uzi Vert and the late Lil Peep who augment their rap with a desperation that is impossible to ignore. “I wake up/I throw up/I feel like I’m dead,” Xan raps listlessly on his song “Wake Up.” This music connects to a generation of kids who have grown up in the post-recession world, plagued by pervasive war and doomed by the threat of global warming. Why not take a few Xanax and let it all pass you by?

DJ Manny, Boylan, DJ Hank, Mel G
11 p.m., $15

Over the last few years, footwork has made its way out of the basements and warehouses of Chicago and onto the international stage. Footwork is both an electronic music style — known for its frenetic high-BPM beats, wild samples, and jungle and hip-hop influence — and a form of dance focused (as the name suggests) on hyper-speed foot movements. The genre is most associated with the Chicago label Teklife and its founder, producer DJ Rashad, a leader of the footwork movement who sadly passed away in 2014. At this party, up-and-coming Teklife acts like DJ Manny will take the stage, spinning their zealous productions.

Young M.A., Creek Boyz, Yerr Eli, Korleone
Music Hall of Williamsburg
8 p.m., $20

The Brooklyn rapper Young M.A. is a fascinating presence on the scene, a queer woman of color who has fully appropriated the persona of a hardened young-male rapper, boasting about pussy, violence, drugs, and more. She pulls it off, putting a new spin on well-worn material and playing with gender identity to boot as she does so. Her single, “Ooouuu,” is a dark club hit that’s been remixed by Nicki Minaj and others. Empire fans: The Freda Gatz character (one of the best rappers on the show) was originally based on Young M.A., but she turned down the part. She wanted to meet the world on her own stage.

Laraaji, Dallas Acid
National Sawdust
10:30 p.m., $13

Laraaji, one of the pioneers of ambient and new-age music, is known for his early collaborations with Brian Eno. Laraaji is an initiated swami and has spent most of his career fascinated by Eastern mysticism, something that is deeply intertwined with his music. On his many albums, the artist makes use of instruments like zither and mbira. His newest, Vision Songs Vol. 1, is a departure for him — he rarely uses vocals — and it’s one of his best efforts in years.

Bad History Month, Shell of a Shell, No One & the Somebodies
7:30 p.m., $10

Bad History Month (formerly Fat History Month) is a band that expands the purview of emo into expressive, post-rock territory. On their new album, Dead and Loving It: An Introductory Exploration of Pessimysticism, bandleader Sean Bean explores the edges of nihilism and, against expectations, finds comfort there. “Now that I know what it means to be nothing, I can finally imagine what it is to be free,” he exclaims on the single “Being Nothing.” Entering the void has never felt so good.