This Week's Five Best Concerts: Pistol Annies, Thrill Jockey, Austra, And More

If you're thumbing through the print edition (God bless your soul), it's hard to miss the three pages of recommended events that open the issue. Because the internet makes those a little less obvious, here are our five picks for concerts this week.

Tomorrow, the Pistol Annies come to Midtown's Terminal 5, a long way from Brooklyn but closer than Long Island or New Jersey. Nick Murray writes:

As a solo artist, it took Texas native Miranda Lambert less than a decade to go from second runner-up on a country-themed Idol to the genre's queen bee, winning CMA album of the year for her 2009 return-to-form Revolution. Lately, however, her best music has been coming from retro-oriented supergroup Pistol Annies, which includes both Nashville journeywoman Ashley Monroe and songwriter Angaleena Presley, the pen behind recent hits including Ashton Shepherd's "Look It Up" and Lambert's own "Fastest Girl in Town." Tonight, the trio brings tunes like the self-explanatory "Hell on Heels" and "Bad Example" to Terminal 5, setting a bad example that all New Yorkers would do best to follow.

More »

Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, Part III: Occupying The Year Of The Woman Cliché In Hopes Of Blowing It Up

Kanye West at Occupy Wall Street; confused woman.
Sound of the City's year-end roundtable, with contributions from Tom Ewing, Eric Harvey, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray, and Katherine St. Asaph, continues. Follow along here.

Hello all, and thanks! I'm honored to be here. Let's talk about the collapse of the global economy.

Or rather, let's not; as tempting as it is to link early 2011's glut of apocalyptic dance or late 2011's druggy numbness to financial panic or cultural malaise, you'd have to glibly ignore 99% of both music and the cultural moment. Even the arguments that almost worked didn't, like the reductive meme that Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne was just about being rich, not about the experience of being black and having become rich. And speaking of the 99%, it's far too soon to anoint any Occupy Wall Street anthem. (Sorry, Jonah, Miley's track is just a fanvid.) There's been music on the ground, of course, and there's an album coming out, but it's telling (of my now-bastardized Google Reader feed, if nothing else) that my main associations between music and Occupy are three things: the Radiohead non-concert that turned out to be a new-media bro's prank, the musicians whose Zuccotti cameos were probably out of good intent but in practice indistinguishable from photo ops, and the albums in Occupy's library, which was seized after the NYPD raids—alas, the cloud couldn't save it.

Nor can megastars—they're too busy mythologizing themselves to survive in lieu of those megasales. There are exceptions; candor in interviews and mega-megasales aside, you can't really call Adele a "celebrity," at least not using that term. (Contrary to rockist belief, this is not a selling point.) But take Rihanna, who's wearing herself out being better at this sort of thing than anyone else. Icky news stories? Out-ick them on Twitter! Gossip cackling about Chris Brown? Tease it in the "We Found Love" video! Moral guardians carping about being too sexy? Send racks of raunch down the Talk That Talk assembly line!

More »

Live: Cold Cave Let The Light In, But Only Briefly


Cold Cave w/Austra
Bowery Ballroom
Saturday, August 6

Better than: Keeping it all inside.

Tortured, downtrodden, and fashionable, Cold Cave has dug deep and thoroughly into the ever-resurfacing chasm of 80's nostalgia. Their blend of gothic new wave, industrial, and synthed-out disco has all the melodramatic stoicism of that decade's often dread-soaked spin on pop. But on Saturday, the band's music wasn't the brooding or foot-dragging polemic that it had been built to resemble. With severe and almost comical furiousness, Cold Cave seemed less focused on dwelling on the pain as they were on expelling it openly and uncouthly.

More »

Live: tUnE-yArDs Explodes At Pier 54

tUnE-yArDs w/Austra
Pier 54 at Hudson River Park
Thursday, July 14

Better than: Standing around with your arms crossed.

"Everyone turn around and look at the moon," tUnE-yArDs mastermind Merrill Garbus instructed at the outset of tUnE-yArDs' set last night. She was asking people not just to marvel at its fullness, but to take a second for a bit of self-reflection; it was the last moment that the crowd would get a chance to pause until she exited the stage, a hail of fireworks celebrating her triumphant set on the Hudson River.

More »

Austra, Class Actress And DOM Are This Summer's RiverRocks Opening Acts

DOM, in the haze.
The openers for this summer's RiverRocks concert seriesthree free shows at Hudson River Park's Pier 54, taking place on Thursday evenings in July and August—have been announced: the darkelectro Toronto act Austra will support tUnE-yArDs at this season's July 14 opener; new new wavers Class Actress will open for Metronomy on July 28; and the gleeful deconstructionists DOM will perform with Deer Tick on August 11. All the shows have a 6 p.m. door and are free; videos from the new additions to the lineup below.

More »