We know there’s a lot of shows to see in the summer. To help you narrow down your options, we’re introducing My 5 Shows, a regular feature where we grill behind-the-scenes music-heads for their top 5, don’t-miss-’em live shows this summer.
Andrew Parks has been running the digital music magazine self-titled for ages, carefully honing the publication into a go-to resource for all music new, old, worldly, and obscure. Given his credentials, we weren’t surprised when he followed up our request for his top five show recs with — ahem — ten stellar picks and a veritable laundry list of honorable mentions. After the jump, Parks provides what could possibly be the only summer music guide you’ll end up needing this year.
7/4 Marshstepper @ Palisades
“You have to stick around for Marshstepper,” a friend told us at the tail end of a very late Northside showcase last year. A collaboration between Sacred Bones and the Arizona collective Ascetic House, the night could have easily peaked with the tortured noise transmissions of Pharmakon. And yet, Marshstepper pushed things past a point of no return, pairing their own feedback-infused freakouts with actual performance art. More of an Eyes Wide Shut-esque ritual than a standard issue ‘show’, it was the kind of thing most venues would get a court summons for. Instead, Marshstepper’s open-minded crowd watched on—intrigued, confused and more than a little disturbed.
For a more clearer idea of the whole Ascetic House aesthetic, be sure to check out their other Independence Day Weekend events, including a daytime dose of guitar heroism from Destruction Unit (Marshstepper’s sister act) at Silent Barn and an experimental dance party at Bossa Nova Civic Club featuring D-Unit’s drummer (Andrew Flores) under his Jock Club alias and a support slot set from Bookworms (L.I.E.S, Confused House).
This two-for-one special drops one of the summer’s most sorely overlooked debuts (the bratty post-post-punk duo Dub Thompson, who are already working on their second album) alongside one that’s been rightfully acclaimed across the board (Ought). Expect Kraut-rock references, Fugazi flashbacks and one hell of a convincing argument that not every compelling young act out there has sold their guitars for synthesizers, all “Losing My Edge”-like.
What a killer free show. Presented by Vice’s music site Noisey, this bill was originally a hardcore double header, featuring the long overdue return of Matador’s other punk band (Ceremony) and the two-piece wrecking crew Iron Lung. Now that Nothing have been added—bringing a barrage of beautifully damaged shoegaze—this ranks up there with anything happening free of charge at the city’s many parks and public spaces in the weeks ahead.
7/19 Warm Up @ MoMA PS1
As a general rule, MoMA PS1’s Warm Up series has been one of summer’s most consistent weekly events for a while now. It’s not free like many of the season’s other ongoing concerts, though. So if you’re looking to narrow their packed schedule down to an option or two, this survey of underground techno’s new (Container, Rrose, Objekt) and old (Robert Hood) guard—with Dominick Fernow’s Vatican Shadow project caught somewhere in between, moving further and further away from his noise roots as Prurient—is a solid start.
7/31 Cherry Glazerr @ Mercury Lounge
One look at the song titles—”Grilled Cheese,” “Teenage Girl,” “Bloody Bandaid”—from this year’s Haxel Princess LP is all it takes to understand where Cherry Glazerr is coming from. Which is that confused and carefree headspace only fellow high schoolers truly understand. Originally the solo project of singer-songwriter Clementine Creevy, the L.A. band has quickly become one of the choice breakout acts from Burger Records’ stacked rock ‘n’ roll stable. See them now before the bidding war begins, if it hasn’t already.
8/2 United Nations @ Saint Vitus
What began as a loose, often cheeky nod to cult bands like Orchid and Reversal of Man is now—to quote the lead single from their new The Next Four Years album—serious business, a high concept commentary track on what it means to make politically charged punk music in an age dominated by cynicism and change that never appears to actually take hold. If former Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly wants a chance for a second career beyond his largely underappreciated last act, this is a mighty fine mission statement.
Since Omar Souleyman’s free House of Vans show with Future Islands is bound to be a bit slammed in the “subject to capacity” department, may I suggest this more intimate rescheduled date alongside former Gang Gang Dance member and recent UNO NYC signing Dutch E Germ? Let’s just hope Glasslands’ air conditioning is working; otherwise, there’ll have to be stretchers set up outside for all the heat-exhausted victims of Souleyman’s crowd-riling Syrian techno songs.
The shadowy side of the synth-pop spectrum gets top billing from a couple of strictly analog Brooklyn vets (Xeno & Oaklander) and a recent standout signing to Felte’s growing roster, helmed by longtime Ghostly International label manager Jeff Owens. If there’s any excuse to wear leather or several monochromatic shades of black and white in the middle of summer, it is this show, a must for anyone who is into melancholic electronic music and artists who name-check Arthur Russell and Whitehouse in the same sentence.
8/16 DJ Sprinkles @ Cameo Gallery
Outré icon Terre Thaemlitz has really hit her stride in recent years, from a flawless deep house LP (2009’s Midtown 120 Blues, which was recently given a painfully limited reissue) to a staggering run of edits (compiled on last year’s Queerifications & Ruins double disc) that reminded us all of a time when remixes were still an art form. Thaemlitz’s night-long DJ sets are legendary as well, starting at midnight and keeping floors moving until the very last call.
8/23-24. Afropunk Fest @ Commodore Barry Park
As the summer festival industry continues to approach its saturation point and get increasingly predictable, Brooklyn’s Afropunk Fest has only gotten stronger in its tenth year. Rare appearances by D’Angelo and Ice-T’s recently reactivated Body Count band are great and all, but Afropunk’s promoters should also be commended for reaching well beyond the racial and genre lines seemingly suggested by its title. Punk in spirit more than in mere execution, this is the only chance you’ll get to see the doom-laden soul of Cold Specks, the head-crushing hardcore of Trash Talk, and the heady hip-hop of Shabazz Palaces in one weekend. Not to mention SZA, a secret weapon from the TDE camp that’s already made stars out of Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. Gotta love Afropunk’s tagline, too: “No: sexism, racism, abelism, homophobia, fatphobia, transphobia or general hatefulness allowed. You will be asked to leave.”
7/9 Sky Ferreira @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
7/10 DIIV @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
7/11 Protomartyr @ South Street Seaport (free)
7/12 Ghostly International x Cascine Showcase @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
7/12 The Men @ Union Pool (free)
7/17 Jon Hopkins @ (Le) Poisson Rouge
7/17 Oneida @ Glasslands
7/17 Ex Hex @ MoMA (free with museum admission)
7/18 OOIOO @ Rough Trade
7/19 Deltron 3030 @ Prospect Park Bandshell (free)
7/24 The Wytches @ Mercury Lounge
7/25 Rustie @ Webster Hall
7/26 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds @ Prospect Park Bandshell
8/3 Boris + The Atlas Moth @ Bowery Ballroom
8/6 FKA Twigs @ Webster Hall
8/8 Black Bananas @ South Street Seaport (free)
8/19 Basement + PIty Sex @ Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom
8/23 Liturgy @ Pioneer Works
8/24 Arcade Fire + The Unicorns + Dan Deacon @ Barclays Center
8/25 Sleep + Holy Sons @ Stage 48
8/28 Reigning Sound @ Bowery Ballroom
8/29 Joanna Gruesome @ South Street Seaport (free)
8/30 Mount Kimbie @ The Wick
9/3 White Lung @ Glasslands
9/4 Part Time + Gap Dream @ Glasslands
9/4-6 Mr. Twin Sister @ Baby’s All Right
9/6 Fucked Up @ Irving Plaza
9/6 Sir Richard Bishop @ Issue Project Room
9/6 Evian Christ + Forest Swords @ MoMA PS1
9/9-10 Philip Glass Ensemble + Steve Reich @ BAM