The Ten Best Concerts in New York This Week, 2/4/13
Here are the 10 best shows to check out around the city this week, in no particular order.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Wednesday & Thursday, 9pm, $33/$35
The members of Swans might be a bunch of dreary-faced LES expats, but they have much to celebrate. Like phoenixes, the group has risen from the ashes of its quasi-industrial negative-rock past. In their original '80s formation, they were a volatile fringe collective that predicted sludge metal and goth ethereality and, by the time they disbanded in the late '90s, they'd fully become experimental art-rock martyrs. Now, since reforming in 2010, they've courted more widespread critical acclaim than in their current run and, for the first time ever, they've gotten an album on the Billboard chart. More implausible, that "commercial" album--last year's The Seer--is a hypnotic, two-hour journey into downtrodden introspection, which features guest spots from members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Low, among others. It even ranked No. 7 on this year's Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll. Now, if only these guys would smile. With Marissa Nadler tonight and Devendra Banhart on Thursday. -- By Kory Grow
See also: Swans' Most Terrifying Songs
Monday, 6pm, $30
The concert world's most internationally cannibalistic composer is on hand for performances of his music by the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the Zankel Band. The program includes Golijov's cantorial K'vakarat for string quartet and clarinet, the New York premiere of the Book of Ecclesiastes-inspired Qohelet for string quartet, and the Argentine's aptly acclaimed Ayre, a grand mashup of Iberian folk melodies. Carnegie's Jeremy Geffen will also interview the composer. -- By Richard Gehr
Los Rakas + Nitty Scott MC + Dave East + Panama
Thursday, 9pm, $10
Pretty boys Raka Rich and Raka Dun of the Bay Area group Los Rakas dish out Panamanian hyphy generously topped with the duo's molasses flow. Their most defining single, "Soy Raka," is at least as infectious as "Vans," but urban radio isn't yet savvy to the potency of their bilingual afrolatinidad (see also: "Pimpin Smoking Dro" featuring E-40). Their politics are refreshingly evident but subterranean to pop dazzle. New single "Bien Ribetiao" is mostly just sexy and blunted. Hide your teenage daughters from their energetic live shows. -- By Alexis Stephens
'Icons of Funk'
Tuesday, 8pm, $30-$65
Although none of the titular "Icons of Funk" playing tonight's showcase are, say, George Clinton or Bootsy Collins, each has played his part in the evolution of the music for different generations. The combo consists of Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli, who has played funk since the '60s, trombonist Fred Wesley, who has sat in with James Brown and Clinton in the '70s, and drummer Stanton Moore, whose jazzy funk beats first turned heads in the '90s. Dr. Funkenstein would likely approve. -- By Kory Grow
Tuesday, 10pm, $14
Singer-songwriter Diane Cluck plays an original brand of "intuitive folk" that joins the free expression of anti-folk with an elegant yet unaffected melodic base. Born out of various cafés of the Lower East Side in 2000, Cluck has been religiously strumming out her darkly arresting songs ever since, even beginning a fan-funded "song of the week" project sending new songs straight to subscribers. With distinctive, almost harp-like guitar work and melodies sung in a broken coo, Cluck is Joni Mitchell meets Joanna Newsom meets a new spellbinding beast altogether. -- By Sarah Madges