Week Ahead in New York Music

Week Ahead in NY Music

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Monday, March 12, The Black Keys, The Arctic Monkeys at Madison Square Garden, $65-$40

Say what you will be about The Black Keys (we're generally pro with some reservations), but there's something heartening in this day and age about a group that earned their massive success album by album, ad sync by ad sync. We kid, but just a bit, and are glad to know that bands can still occasionally build old-fashioned careers in a buzz today, gone tomorrow climate. Their latest album El Camino broadens their sound just enough to make it arena-sized without sacrificing too much of the grit that Rubber Factory so appealing all those years ago. Some of the Factory-era fans are, predictably, crying foul over these's guys arena and festival headlining stature, but as long as they keep making songs as catchy as "Lonely Boy" and Patrick Carney still wears insurance salesman glasses, they will remain in good standing with us. - Michael Tedder

Monday, March 12, 2:54, Big Deal at Mercury Lounge, $12
2:54 has a weird name and a sound to match.  Bits of The Cranberries flash through the dark, female-driven jams before bursting into real chorus glory. In truth, Widowspeak has been making similar evaluations of early '90s downplayed radio rock; 2:54 takes the low end Widowspeak neglected at first and shapes its upper registers around the base. They share the bill with Big Deal, who recently signed with Mute Records and are all but taunting smart-alecks with a name like that. - Dale W. Eisinger

Tuesday, March 13, Victor Villarreal, Appatomax at Pianos, $8

We have nothing but positives for the music of Victor Villarreal. His work in Cap'n Jazz and Owls alone is enough in our book to canonize his soul. He's been an anti-apostle of the kind of mindless guitar-playing that made some post-hardcore so apolitical. Villarreal's perennial counterweight Tim Kinsella is doing fine -- in fact, when we saw Joan of Arc at Mercury Lounge in 2011 the guitar playing of Villarreal had as much to do with the momentum of that band as Kinsella's pure art oddity. The excitement of Villarreal's strength as an individual is thrilling. - DWE

Friday, March 16, EMA, Talk Normal at Music Hall of Williamsburg, $12

Erika N. Anderson's solo album Past Life Martyred Saints turned a lot of heads for its searing fields of reverb and pointed lyrics that examined the lives of her friends in Burnout America. We're glad she's still touring on it, but we still wonder when the entire state of California, or at least one of its proud musicians, is going to make an answer song to her claim that that the state made her boring. Is the Golden Bear just going to take that lying down? - MT

Friday, March 16, Why?, Danielson at le poisson rouge, $20

One of the least confrontational rap-rock groups to ever layer a riff over a drum machine, the Bay Area group Why?, centers around frontman Yoni Wolf, who spits abstract poetry over rambling low-end and sparse instrumentation that brings to mind Pavement cutting a split single with Basehead. It's heady, complex stuff, but just when you think he's too deep in to his groovy shtick, he'll hit you straight in the temple with a line like "even though we haven't spoken in years/yours is a funeral i'd fly to from anywhere." And then he'll go back to beguiling you. Stick and move, Yoni. Stick and move. - MT 

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