It may be a cliché to say this these days, but music is Brooklyn’s biggest and best export. If you’re favorite band isn’t from Chicago or Austin, it’s probably from Kings County. All of which makes the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s annual Sounds Like Brooklyn festival (formerly Brooklyn Next), which highlights “some of the most innovative music coming out of the borough,” a little superfluous. The artists announced for the February festival so far—Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Beirut, Chairlift, Kaki King—already have most of the support they need from the blogosphere (or in Chairlift’s case, the iTunes commercial) that helped launch their career in the first place. Still, more attention never hurts and we’re certainly not complaining about the chance to see these guys—especially Beirut’s Zach Condon and his Francophone crooning—at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House. Additional, and we presume, lesser known performers—many of whom will play at BAMcafé and other venues throughout the borough—will be announced next month. Kaki King opens for Beirut on Friday, February 6. Chairlift opens for Clap Your Heads Say Yeah on Friday, February 13. [Tickets for both shows on sale: Friday, December 12 at 10 a.m.]
M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s musical partnership, She & Him, has been inescapable this year. The pair got plastered across numerous magazine covers, each featuring Deschanel’s doe-eyes in all their glory. And now their debut record, Volume 1, is making the rounds on year-end best-of lists. Which is too bad. Not is only is their music, most of it written by Deschanel with production help from Ward, cutesy and inconsequential, but it’s allowed folks to forget how fantastic Ward can be on his own. On records like 2005’s Transistor Radio and 2006’s Post-War, the fleet-fingered guitarist and his haunted tenor craft stark homilies to love and loneliness that feel timeless the instant they hit your ears. A day after his new album, Hold Time, hits stores, Ward comes to the Apollo Theater on February 19. [Tickets on sale: Friday, December 12 at noon]
If Ward needed a full-time backing band (and we’re not saying he does), we’d vote for Delta Spirit. The quintet’s mid-’70s Americana (a la the Band) and firey bluster would be the perfect compliment to Ward’s more raucous moments. Of course, these California boys can do just fine on their own. We were simply stunned by the band’s opening set at the Bowery Ballroom last weekend. Rarely has a crowd been so easily and gratefully won over. The Delta Spirit returns to the Bowery on February 13. [Tickets on sale: Friday, December 12 at noon]
Kieran Hebden may be best known for his alias Four Tet—the name under which he recorded the mesmerizing Rounds (a coffee shop staple in 2003) and a handful of other records (most recently, this year’s Ringer EP). But for the last three years, Hebden has also been collaborating with legendary jazz drummer Steve Reid (who’s played with Miles Davis and James Brown, among others) on a series of fascinating recordings that marry free-form jazz with sample-heavy electronica. Their latest, this year’s NYC, is dedicated to the Big Apple. The duo plays Le Poisson Rouge as part of the Wordless Music Series on Friday, December 12. [Tickets on sale now]
And finally, to return to goings on at BAM, the academy is hosting two performances this month as part of its experimental Next Wave Festival. Beginning tonight at the Howard Gilman Opera House and running most nights through December 20 is renowned choreographer Pina Bausch’s Bamboo Blues—a series of sensual pieces heavily influenced by Indian dance. And then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, Michael Gordon and Ridge Theater present a song-cycle inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poetry entitled Lightening at Our Feet. The multimedia performance at BAM’s Harvey Theater features amplified strings, piano, percussion, and voice. [Tickets on sale now]
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