Dream Crusher, NAH, Girlpusher, Tony Seltzer, Hounds
Wednesday September 21, 8 pm at Aviv: $10
It’s just about time to start gathering your crew for the last stretch at Aviv as we know it. The venue is closing at the end of October and fingers crossed they find a new space, but until then me and you and everyone else who does the Brooklyn DIY thing should get it in while we still can.
This particular show is a hump day affair, so the Stiff Stanleys in your crew might show some resistance, perhaps with a bit of pooh-poohing and some lazy flapping of the hands. Just tell them to turn their “nah” into NAH, a one-man drum machine/electronic force to be reckoned with. He’s straight out of Philly. He’s a mosaic man of a different kind. And he makes fierce, frenetic musical collages that induce a feeling not unlike having a massive heart attack while gripping a jackhammer that’s outfitted with a TV switched to TMZ. Something all of you have experienced once or twice, I trust.
Dreamcrusher, though, is reason number to get here. Luwayne Glass (who we profiled earlier this year) is fire incarnate, an aggressive yin-yang-type performer who vacillates between combustible fury and total, maniacal abandon. Think: Suicide with an even more demonic update.
On the very opposite end of the noise spectrum is Girl Crusher, self-proclaimed practitioner of “Hollywood cyberpunk” who draws on old-school video games and other vintage synth sounds with an equal interest in trap tropes and pop cues, all lathered with a thick layer of glitchy glitter.
Abraham King, Yokotots, Reebok Occult
Wednesday September 21, 8 pm at Alphaville: $8
I couldn’t not recommend a lineup that includes Yokotots, a band that clearly(?) took their name from Yoko Ono’s rarely recollected but nonethless 100-percent real foray into frozen food branding. The idea emerged during that infamous year of separation from John Lennon, which came to be known as the latter’s “Lost Weekend” period. For Lennon, 1974 to early 1975 was essentially an extended boozy bender that reached its debauched depths when he and Harry Nilsson realized they were a match made in dingle dangle heaven and embarked on a binge for the ages. The spree involved plenty of heckling and, as legend has it, Lennon took a piss on some seriously expensive recording equipment (or was it Harry?) at Phil Spector’s studio. The only productive things to emerge from that time is Nilsson’s album, Pussy Cats, which Lennon produced, and probably a hell of a lot of scars. It was a defining moment in troll history, really.
But hardly anyone (and by “anyone” I mean no one) has made an effort to discuss Yoko’s own contribution to the trajectory of trolldom as we know it. There’s actually very little real “information” out there, but based on my assumptions, I can say that Yoko Ono probably spent that year organizing a frozen tater tots company. I mean, right? That’s the only rational explanation for a band named Yokotots that I can think of. Disclaimer: Yoko Ono doesn’t appear to actually be a member of Yokotots. Yet. For now, it’s the solo project of an artist named Dhruv Mehrotra who’s interested in “networks, privacy, surveillance, politics, and all related research.” He describes his sound as “all American jazz,” so it’s anyone’s guess what Yokotots actually sounds like.
Another major selling point for this weekday gig is Abraham King, a band adept at making generally dreary rock music, which for me anyway, usually just becomes part of the melancholy drift of my sad but not sad sad song repertoire. But these ditties tend to stick around like ear glue. Go ahead, give em a whirl.
Kesha and the Creepies
Thursday September 22, 7 pm at Warsaw: $30
Kesha’s had a rough time recently, having lost a court battle with Dr. Luke, the record producer who signed her at 18 and worked with her all the way up to her game-changing 2010 album, Animal. Kesha has accused Dr. Luke of sexually assaulting her and otherwise abusing her. It’s high drama stuff– alleged blackmail, rehab, an eating disorder– you name it, it’s all there. Worse yet, the legal battle continues to drag on. Understandably, the last few years have resulted in enormous changes for Kesha.
But one wonders, is Kesha still Ke$ha since she dropped the dollar sign? It’s one of the most gnawing questions of our time, really. But perhaps since Kesha made the switch-up as soon as she entered rehab in 2014, right before she filed suit against Dr. Luke, it was symbolic of her shedding her commercial overlord, a way to declare her freedom from an allegedly abusive boss, and delineate her own self-worth for once, as opposed to letting someone else– her fans, her label, even the music industry as a whole–brand her according to her monetary value.
Which isn’t to say Kesha completely dropped out of the rat race and fled for a new age commune in the mountains of Vermont where she’d become one with the earth, starting at the bottom with duties as a maiden of the foot pumice.
However, nothing could be a clearer hint that Kesha’s on the way to being reborn as a new, hard-won self-empowered pop star, than naming her tour “Fuck the World.” Maybe you’re not much for big-name pop like this– after all, it can feel even more overstimulating and stressful than having a bad acid trip at Disney World. But I’ve heard, and have sort of been willing to believe, that Kesha’s actually really talented, and, hey why not give Kesha a go? Her tour poster as a blood-sucking lioness-like friend of the tiger is reason enough for me. Um, Adele’s in town too if that’s more your thing…
JEFF the Brotherhood, Music Band
Tuesday September 27, 8 pm at Market Hotel: $15
I don’t know about you, but JEFF the Brotherhood always throws me off. It’s their band name that really gets me. I’ll be scroll-scrolling through any music collection, digital or physical, and be all, “Aha, JEFF the Brotherhood they’re, like, that ’60s garage band that my dad listens to, right?” Well, not exactly. Maybe it’s because “brotherhood” is such a touchy word these days, that it either sounds like some hippie miscalculation from the past or, if it’s used at all today, some kind of Storm Front grossness at worst. At the very best, I picture brawny metal heads who spend their weekends eating pizza rolls and engaging in endless shredding contests– endless until they start lighting candles in mom’s basement. “Don’t burn the house down, Billy!” she usually screams. “Mom, I told you to call me Gylve from now on!” Gawddddd.
But JEFF’s brotherhood is none of the above brotherhoods. Instead, it’s a lasting garage/psych/indie rock n’ roll partnership between two actual brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall. (I imagine that “JEFF” is some sort of compromise, since there’s no way that Jake isn’t totally pissed that his brother Jamin got the way cooler name.) Their output is pretty damn impressive, with ten proper studio albums spanning 2002 to now– that’s almost three quarters an album each year, if I’m doing my math correctly which is highly unlikely so be sure to double check.
Along the way, the Orrall brothers have attracted countless collaborators such as Ty Segall, Sisters, and most recently Alicia Bognanno, who appears on the excellent “Roaching’,” off their new album Zone. They’re also known for jamming a whole number of influences, moods, and instrumental contributors onto a single release, making for records that are always exciting and never dull. It also makes them one of those hard-to-pin-down bands, translation: they don’t follow genre norms that once created were repeated on and on, finally turning into easy, formulaic responses that any band can reproduce so long as they have chord progression skills, at least one person who can carry a tune, and another who can sorta keep time.
JEFF bros have the skills, for sure, but rather than branding themselves, which would definitely benefit them in the sense that they’d become easy purchasable packages– and, in my case, have a perfectly pegged identity I can readily remember at the drop of a name– they’ve acted like real musicians and have never stopped exploring, experimenting, and changing.