While we’re usually anticipating what to do at the CMJ Music Marathon around this time of the year, we’ll just have to find something else to do instead. Fear not, however, because a regular weekend is obviously still packed with things to do and this one is no exception, which is especially well-timed given the political circus and “killer clowns” (maybe they’re the same thing?) stinking up the air.
5) Big Ups, Greys, Yucky Duster, Patio at Aviv
Aviv is closing at the end of the month, so get there while you can. This show celebrates the release of a new 33 1/3 book, this time for Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy, and who knows, maybe the band’s are planning on learning a song or two although I’m sure many have tried and failed! I’ve called Big Ups the unofficial band of Free Williamsburg before and I’ll stick by that, while Greys, Yucky Duster and Patio have featured on previous “Top 5 shows of the weekend” posts. Thursday 8pm
4) Jazzfest Marathon at BRIC House
BRIC Jazzfest is already in full swing, starting last weekend, but ends with shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Night one is free (though tickets are required), you’ll part with some cash for nights two and three but check the listings and see where your preferences lie. With the likes of David Murray Infinity Quartet, Michael Olatuja & Lagos Pepper Soup and Yosvany Terry Quintet playing, there should be plenty for everyone.
3) White Lung at Villain
This show was originally scheduled to be at Market Hotel, but the venue has had some issues recently regarding “warehousing alcohol”, the venue has clarified what happened in a statement here, and the cynical side of me sees this as a little opportunistic from the NYPD. Anyway, the upshot is most of Market Hotel’s immediate shows will move to Villain at 50 N 3rd Street in Williamsburg. It’s a bit of an awkward space to see a show in my opinion, but at least the gig is on. White Lung have just released a video for Sister, which has all the band’s trademarks, pounding drums and (under appreciated) guitar wizardry behind Mish Way’s vocals. Their last album, Paradise, was up for a Polaris prize last month (which was won by Kaytranada). Saturday 8pm
2) Preoccupations, Methyl Ethel at Warsaw
In today’s world of trigger warnings, no platforming and regressive politics, it’s not too surprising that Viet Cong decided to change their name to appease anyone who gets to decide who should be offended and by what. And while anyone can seemingly freely walk around in a Joy Division shirt knowing what a cool band they were (to just pick one example), it shouldn’t be forgotten that Viet Cong’s self-titled album, released last year, was a post-punk triumph. The closing track, Death, is one of the great songs of this decade in particular. Fortunately for Preoccupations, as they are now known, very little has changed, and the Montreal quartet have just released a new record via Jagjaguwar (self-titled, once again) which ebbs and flows with equal parts anger, beauty, defeat and triumph. Standout track Degraded seems to have more than a hint about the past twelve months for the group. Openers Methyl Ethel are not to be missed under any circumstances either, the band’s debut album (more of a one-man-band in the studio, masterminded by Jake Webb), Oh Inhuman Spectacle, was released on 4AD in May. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t remind you to get some pierogies at the venue itself. Friday 8pm
1) Teenage Fanclub at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg
Few bands are critically adored quite as much as Teenage Fanclub, and for good reason too, their beautifully constructed songs amount to one of the most satisfying discographies of any band who are still active. I haven’t seen them since they played Oxford Brookes University in 2002, and can only describe the experience as watching four statues playing the most wonderful pop songs around (I mean that as a huge compliment). The band are here for two shows, one at Bowery Ballroom on Saturday and Music Hall of Williamsburg plays host on Sunday. Their latest effort, Here, came out on Merge records last month and is their first in six years, but good things come to those who wait and the songwriting chops are in full flow over the course of its twelve tracks. At the time of writing, the show at Bowery is sold out, but there are still some tickets available for Sunday at Music Hall Williamsburg.