Let’s not dance around the lede: were you to go see one live show this week, I would love for it to be the inaugural Bklyn Sounds Live showcase at Littlefield in Gowanus, on Friday, August 6th. If you like music filled with moving polyrhythms, sonic unpredictability and the comfort of melody, a three-layered bill featuring the noisy electronic jazz duo Anteloper, the Nuyorican soul-funk quartet Conclave, and the excellent young house DJ Malik Hendricks fits the order.
If it seems like all three artists on the bill play different styles of music, and may sound incongruous sharing the Littlefield stage, you’re not wrong. Yet these eclectic curatorial choices were made by design.
The Bklyn Sounds column you’ve been reading the past couple of months was created with specific intentions: To bring a spotlight and give an outlet to many different musicians sharing space in Brooklyn's post-quarantine live music quagmire; to provide audiences starving for live-music experiences with some great local options at which to let loose; and to hopefully bring the panoply of music makers and musickers together as a way of overcoming the physical and social segregation we’ve all just been living through. My favorite primary tools to achieve these coalition-building goals are rhythm, improvisation and community, with the presence of the first two usually leading to the third.
Rhythm, improvisation and community are what unites the sounds of Anteloper, Conclave and Malik Hendricks — each artist and band works with these elements, at times explicitly, and at others philosophically. They're in the abstract-funk interplay between jaimie branch’s synths and Jason Nazary’s drums that guide Anteloper’s instrumentals; they're in the sweet tenor of Cesar Toribio’s voice and Rhodes piano which is at the heart of Conclave’s beautiful songs; and certainly, they're in the deep jazz samples that are key to Malik Hendricks’ house tracks. This is spiritual music for weird times, made by people who walk among us, seeing and hearing what we see and hear. Bklyn Sounds Live is a night to celebrate what we can make of this world. I hope you get vacc’d and join us. (635 Sackett Street, 8 pm, $10-15)
OUR CHOICES FOR LIVE MUSIC THIS WEEK: 8/6 - 8/12
Upper Wilds is the heavy and punky rock-band project of Dan Friel, an indie-rock and lo-fi electronic music stalwart usually pegged as an experimentalist but whose way with a great melody that happens to be buried under layers of fuzz and effects, is a kind of pop genius. Experience it on Friday (8/6) at Sunset Park’s Mama Tried, with bonus garage vibes from local indie-rock veterans, Savak. (787 3rd Avenue, 7 pm, FREE)
Even in an era when popular hip-hop has splintered in a multitude of directions, the New York radio DJ Funkmaster Flex remains an undiminished figure, beloved by the old heads and goaded by the youngsters. The rap ruffians were not invited to Flex’s 54th birthday party spectacular on Saturday (8/7) at Coney Island Amphitheater, but a bill called “Ginuwine and Friends,” which includes the soul singer who set off the “yeehaw agenda” in the late ‘90s, alongside rapper Rakim, he of the forever-Hall-of-Fame flow, and Kool DJ Red Alert, one of hip-hop’s DJ architects, trades in youth for survival instincts. (3052 W. 21st Street, 7 pm, FREE)
As free music + museum programs go, the Second Sunday (8/8) hangs in the garden at Red Hook’s Pioneer Works offer a pretty nice outdoor location perfect for heady musical vibes that are neither commitment nor distraction. This month, those who get involved in the heady are in for two very different kinds of treats: an early live electronics set from producer Prince of Queens (aka Felipe Quiroz, of the great Latinx psychedelic punk group Combo Chimbita), and an improvisational collaboration between the poet No Land, veteran free-jazz reed player Daniel Carter and guitarist Bentley Anderson. (169 Pioneer Street, Noon, FREE)
Back to Mama Tried on Wednesday (8/11) for a potentially special evening featuring Tape Hiss, a kind of indie supergroup — Steve Shelley (once drummer of Sonic Youth), Ernie Brooks (once bassist of the Modern Lovers), and local indie songwriter mainstays, Peter Galub and David Nagler — who are gathering to play the timeless music of pop savants, Jonathan Richman and Arthur Russell. More punk nostalgia courtesy of opening act Chris Moore, once singer of Detroit hardcore band, Negative Approach. (787 3rd Avenue, 7 pm, FREE)
Born in Morocco but firmly based in Brooklyn, Innov Gnawa are the hardest working local practitioners of Gnawa, a highly percussive and prayerful North African spiritual folk music that is at once captivating and uplifting. On Wednesday (8/11), Innov Gnawa bring their transcendental grooves to the plaza at the Brooklyn Public Library. If you’ve never been, it is highly recommended. (Grand Army Plaza, 7 pm, FREE)
The Far East is a local quintet in love with the classic Jamaica-born sounds of Rub a Dub and Lovers Rock, the smooth, song-first corner of reggae history, led by the vocal prowess of singer Maddie Ruthless. In December, they dropped their debut album, the wonderfully slinky New York Is For Lovers, and on Thursday (8/12) they return to the stage in front of a live audience at, you guessed it, Mama Tried. (787 3rd Avenue, 7 pm, Free)
PLEASE do not forget to contact the venues or at the very least check their social media to make sure that the event is not canceled due to inclement weather, and do check with individual venues about their vaccination requirements and proof for attendees, and whether RSVPs are required to buy tickets at the door.
Reminder: If you are a Brooklyn (or greater New York) artist, label, venue or musicker organization that is releasing new music, or producing (Brooklyn) events, or just making noise that you want to spread through the community, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear it — and potentially put it on.