Hate to break it to you but the band to see this week, Royal Headache (Mark E. Smith and Morrissey moved to Australia and had a baby, basically) has sold out two freaking shows, one at Palisades and another at Rough Trade. What a royal… pain in the ass these guys are, coming all the way from Upside Down America only to play a couple of shows in what is inarguably the center of the goddamn universe! You’re officially counted as #tragic if you don’t have a ticket, but don’t go plotting any public beheadings just yet, there are plenty of worthy alternatives to wrap your ears around.
Wet Leather, Ron Gallo, Rosy Street
Monday August 24th, 8:30 pm at Baby’s All Right: $10
With a deep curtsy to ’80s R&B-pop and the booty-shaking “eclecticism” of Talking Heads and, dare we utter the name, Phil Collins, Wet Leather (talk about a misleading name) are courting the opposite end of this spectrum of ’80s nostalgia, flouting the choice of everyone else preoccupied with that particular decade these days. Rather than writing odes to post-punk, new wave, goth, etc., the fellows of Wet Leather are idolizing the soundtrack of depraved, coke-angry yuppies — but to excellent effect, I swear.
Ronny is the recent, self-described “weird country” solo effort of Ron Gallo, the Philadelphia-based musician who put in his time touring as an equal amongst other bandmates in Toy Soldiers before deciding he had to break out on his own to be a true weirdo. But don’t be fooled by the crystal clear harmonies of Ronny — this guy actually lives up to the tall title by straight-faced covering the likes of Philly punk thrashers Pissed Jeans, though with a very strange interpretation indeed of the spittle-tossing fury of his piss punk idols.
Then we’ve got the Brooklyn-based outfit Rosy Street, a bluesy delight with a clear predecessor in Jeffrey Lee Pierce that embraces some very un-weird country Western guitar warbles.
Gun Fight!, Coaches, Big Eater, Famous Laughs
Thursday, August 27, 8 pm at Shea Stadium: $8 at the door
Speaking of country, Gun Fight! certainly qualifies in some ways as such, but they also sort of remind me of campfires, games of cards, Tinder profiles that declare a love for bourbon as if said quality is a) unique and b) stinks of tough points, and some really embarrassing band called O.A.R. None of those are necessarily terrible things, well, except for that aforementioned “band.” But just in case that proves to be a truly noxious combo– rather than a guilty pleasure hoedown– there are some other undoubtedly lovely acts on this bill.
Coaches (forgive them, they hail from Boston) play an offbeat, plucky ode to all those soaring, sort of proggy late-’90s rock bands that floated this weird mainstream/mainstream-indie divide, which is to say Coaches have pop appeal. But before you go screaming to the nearest punk record to wash the anticipation of a horrible taste out of your mouth, give them a real listen and you’ll realize these guys can truly shred with the best of em. And praise be to the gods, it’s all washed over with a nice layer of feedback, so it’ll go down easy like a glass of ice cold milk.
Big Eater aka Matt Bachmann admittedly shares, at his slowest pace, some essential qualities with Deerhunter. But, really, who can describe themselves as indie pop these days and escape that association to some degree? Thankfully Big Eater resists full-blown imitation by swaying between dreamy, fuzzy nap-alongs and actually fun, rip-roary pop rock explosions.
Water, Louie Louie, Sun Abduction, War Cries
Tuesday, August 25, 8 pm at the Silent Barn: $7 at the door
What can I say? I’m a sucker for narrow-eyed, psyched-out, too-cool for school girl pop devotees and Louie Louie delivers on this and more. There’s pure sing-along charm here, even a doo-wop quality. But it’s not just attitude — these girls have true psych chops with guitar licks and organs bits to boot.
Sun Abduction prove to be a little more spaced-out than their aforementioned touring bill buddies, so much so that while we imagine Louie Louie were out on the town necking with dudes and breaking hearts, these guys were holed up in some hippie commune in the desert right outside of New York City engaging in all manner of psychedelic bliss-fests.
I mean, check out their self-titled album cover. What else besides divine communication with the universe would lead you to dream up an owl wearing human woman breasts and clutching a sickle?! Demons, that’s who. And get ready for even more psych-evil witchery brought to you by BK band Warcries.
Flowers of Evil, Surfbort, OCDPP
Sunday, August 30, 8 pm at Cake Shop: $8
Oh right, and back to how much it sucks that we’re all missing those Royal Headache shows. Thankfully the opener for the Palisades iteration, Flowers of Evil, are playing another show at Cake Shop later in the week. GET EXCITED. As the name implies, members of A Place to Bury Strangers, Crocodiles, and Young Boys are nodding to the Baudelaire-loving punks of the late ’70s. These guys are gonna be a riot. Don’t believe us? Check out the video below, captured at a recent show at Silent Barn.
And if we could write a letter to Surfbort it would go something like this: Dear Surfbort, thanks for staying true to your “haggard manifesto” and keeping your particular brand of nasty noise punk alive. New York City needs you.