Staff Consensus Picks:
- May 4: Bladerunner at (le) poisson rouge: John Zorn has a new band, with Bill Laswell playing bass and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. Expect heavy savagery and illumination.
- May 8 – 11: End Tymes Festival of Noise and Experimental Liberation at Silent Barn. A four-night endurance test of non-stop madness in Bushwick, the Ende Tymes festival returns with a predictably strong lineup of noise mavens and general debauchery. Hiroshi Hasegawa of legendary sonic assaulters C.C.C.C. heads up the bill along with mainstays like Kevin Drumm, Pete Swanson, and Telecult Powers. Not recommended for the elderly.
- May 30 - June 1: 69th Regiment Armory (68 Lexington Ave.): WFMU Record Fair. Start browsing the stacks of choice wax as soon as 4 p.m. Friday, but be advised: no matter how early you arrive, WFMU’s DJs will still have found the coolest stuff before you. Console yourself with live music, live broadcasts, and special events.
- May 3: Sonnambula Viol Consort at Spectrum. I’m a sucker for Dowland and new music for ancient instruments, and this concert offers both: Lachrimae and three contemporary composers’ responses. Plus a free glass of wine.
- May 4: Kendra Shank & John Stowell at Roulette. A special kind of voice/guitar duo, a peek into the darker mysteries of jazz.
- May 6: Ear Heart Music at Roulette. An excellent new music series, this concert features Sam Pluta’s Chain Reactions/Five Events for string quartet and laptop, and the world premiere of Robert Honstein’s affecting wordless, lonely hearts lament, RE: you.
- May 6: Ross Hammond’s Humanity Suite release. A monumental stew of improvisation and emotional force from guitarist Hammond and band.
- May 11 - 16: Undead Festival. Year five of exploring spontaneous music making and combustion. Centered around Marc Ribot, and encompassing Waddada Leo Smith, Henry Grimes, Kaki King, Petra Haden, James Carter, and many more.
- May 16 - 18: Queens New Music Festival. The third installment for this increasingly expansive festival, three days of talented musicians, young composers, and classics from Kyle Gann to Pauline Oliveros.
- May 20: Encyclopedia of Arto release. A collection of Lindsay’s pop music, accomplishing the uncanny feat of balancing skronk, elegance, funk, intelligence, wit and solitude. The most satisfying part: it’s made for adults.
- May 24 - 25: Tectonics Festival New York. Stephen O’Malley playing Alvin Lucier, little-known Harley Gaber’s abrading drone masterpiece The Winds Rise in the North: two highlights from what might be the new music event of the season.
- May 27: On In Love release. Literally years ago, I heard the premiere of this blistering, two-fisted collaboration between composer Jefferson Friedman and the great rock singer Craig Wedren. The highest achievement of classical structure and pop sensibility.
- May 29: Frederic Rzewski at Roulette. The great craftsman of musical form and political witness playing two pieces, old—Four Pieces—and new—Dreams, Part I. Do not miss this.
- May 4: The Honeybeealujah! Show — Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir. The good Reverend’s writing has graced the pages of the Rail, but for the full effect you need to see him in person. Every Sunday for two months, Billy and co. praise the honeybee and protest the industrial agriculture behemoth that threatens its survival. The cause is just; the show is joyous.
- May 13: Anthology Film Archives: Marc Ribot — Live Score to Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid. Ribot does Charlot. If his ample experience collaborating with latter-day Tramp Tom Waits weren’t already enough, Ribot’s soundtracking bona fides include a 2010 album, Silent Movies . First premiered in 2010, Ribot’s score for The Kid gets a welcome encore.
- May 21: The Wick Nazoranai. A new collaboration at a new venue off Bushwick Avenue. Keiji Haino, Stephen O’Malley, and Oren Ambarchi are “three extraordinary experimental operators of doom, noise, and power electronics.” You can ponder who does what while trying to figure out whether the neighborhood you’re in is Bushwick or East Williamsburg.
- Every Saturday in May: Mitra Sumara at Barbés. This group pays homage to the vibrant pop and funk music of pre-revolutionary Iran. They weave Middle Eastern poetry and melodies with international genres.
- May 21: D’Angelo at the Brooklyn Museum. The neo-soul magnate will undoubtedly divulge some secrets in his first public lecture.
- May 22: TEEN at Baby’s All Right. This four-woman band from Brooklyn will debut their new album, The Way and Color. Sneak a listen to their infectious, modern take on R&B here.
- May 29 and May 31: CONTACT! at the New York Philharmonic Biennial. Lovers of synesthesia might enjoy the premiere of new works from nine composers, inspired by a series of sculptures commissioned for the Salzburg Art Project. Conducted by Matthias Pintscher.
- May 2 - 3: ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor, at BAM. David Byrne, Sinkane, Devonté Hynes, LCD Soundsystem’s Pat Mahoney, and many more, come together to play the music of the gone-but-not-forgotten Nigerian funk legend.
- May 6 - 11: A weeklong residency for cellist and composer Okkyung Lee at The Stone, featuring a dozen collaborative performances with musicians such as Kim Gordon, Jenny Hval, Ches Smith, Laurie Anderson and more.
- May 9: Pantha Du Prince at (le) poisson rouge. The German producer/sound collagist with a full band at an intimate venue.
- May 16: Hardcore Activity in Progress. Presented by Red Bull Music Academy, this night at the Knockdown Center factory space in Queens was curated to feature musicians pushing the limits of sound, genre, and live performance. Featuring Tim Hecker, Wolf Eyes, and The Thing, to name just a few.
- May 17: Visuals, High Water, and Dave Harrington at Cameo. Three artists on Nicolas Jaar’s Other People imprint. Harrington is also releasing his debut EP, Before This There Was One Heart But a Thousand Thoughts, on May 19.
- May 20: Hyperdub 10.1. In celebration of it’s 10th birthday, the label is releasing a two-disc compilation of new and old music, featuring the likes of Burial, Kode9, and footwork figurehead, DJ Rashad.
- May 24: Oneohtrix Point Never at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
- May 26: Ben Frost, A U R O R A. Icelandic label/collective Bedroom Community rolls out the new record of the label’s cofounder, Ben Frost.
- May 10: Shoes at the Bell House. Supremely under-appreciated purveyors of bittersweet power pop, Shoes’s output in the mid-late 70s outdoes anything from contemporaries such as Big Star. Mixtape standbys like “Kristine” and “Why Do I Get So Shy” will hopefully be revived in the Bell House’s intimate confines. Paul Collins Beat and Barreracudas round out a solid bill of ‘70s nostalgia.
- May 15 – 17: Mahler’s 3rd, NY Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall. Under the capable hands of conductor Bernard Haitink, Gustav Mahler’s 3rd Symphony—a piece mastered by Bernstein— gets a much needed reprise with the New York Philharmonic. One of Mahler’s least performed works, his 3rd is one of the longest symphonies in the standard repertoire.
- May 21 – 22: Michael Hurley at Union Pool. Fifty years after his first album release, on Moe Asch’s Folkways Records, folk troubadour Michael Hurley is still trucking along. He materializes for a two night stand at Union Pool to pick through his immense catalog. Hurley is a throwback to a simpler time, but his strong run of albums in the last five years has proven that he’s still got a lot left in the tank.
- May 25: Endless Boogie at Union Pool. Never has a band name seemed quite so appropriate. Long Island’s Endless Boogie is known for their long sets of soaring riffs, infectious grooves, and mind-numbing guitar driven jams. Unapologetic almost to a fault, Endless Boogie quite simply slays mediocrity.
MARSHALL YARBROUGH is the Brooklyn Rail’s assistant music editor.Christopher Nelson
CHRISTOPHER NELSON lives and works in Brooklyn.George Grella
GEORGE GRELLA is the Rail’s music editor.Andrea Gordillo
ANDREA GORDILLO is a writer based in New York City.Taylor Dafoe
TAYLOR DAFOE is a writer and photographer based in Brooklyn. His writing has appeared in Afterimage, artnet News, BOMB, Elephant, Interview, Modern Painters, and Photograph Magazine, among others.