The College Music Journal Marathon kicks into high gear tonight. Here’s who to hear when you go out to the clubs this week.
With “2mph,” Dom Kennedy has penned a song that anybody who has ever felt cool in a car can relate to. “Two miles per hour, so everybody sees me,” he repeats in a sing-song chorus that is instantly classic. He then proceeds to rap in a rapidfire flow that is both innovative and funny. If he’s even half as charming live, then this will be a show not to miss.
Catch him: Friday, Highline Ballroom
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Listening to this Canadian duo, you might think that your computer is misreading a CD by pop divas of bygone days like Nu Shooz or Exposé. The melodies and vocal ef-fects are 1980s top 40, but there’s something sick going on underneath the surface, like dubstep sub-bass booms and fat hip-hop beats. But when you see them live, you’ll feel like you’re the one whose system is having difficulty pro- cessing the music. As Megan James sings sweet rhymes, Corin Riddick plays an instrument that looks like it’s a row of repurposed draft beer taps. Pipes illuminate and the computer sensors within spit out notes.
Catch them: Friday, Webster Hall, Saturday, Mercury Lounge
A welcome addition to the chill-wave that Neon Indian pioneered, Psychic Twin offers glittery synths over a pleasantly fuzzy drone with breathy vocals on top. It’s the ice cream sundae of sugary dream pop and bound to make for a surprisingly energetic live show.
Catch them: Friday, Rock Shop
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
This trio has what might be the catchiest song to bounce around our brains in a while. Check out “Ffunny Ffriends,” and we dare you not to try to make one of their shows this week. Not only does the tune have the funky disposability that indie rock seems to have lost once people could afford to make high-fi recordings on their own, but the band just absolutely grooves together.
Catch them: Thursday, Cantora Labs Smartlounge; Saturday, Brooklyn Bowl
Self-described pop cock-rock outfit from Brooklyn, Mother Feather takes from the best of metal, glam and of course pop and blow the whole thing out of the water with a theatrical live performance that would put Karen O to shame and make Lady Gaga go running for her prosthetic skin horns.
Catch them: Friday, Rockwood Music Hall
This acoustic gal alternates between playful and poignant, often within the same song. Against elegant instruments in the tear-jerker that is appropriately titled, “Cry, Cry, Baby,” she sings, quite beautifully, “You can have my sixth grade picture/Can I have the one of us mooning?” And she delivers it in a way that you can tell she is not trying to be clever or just silly. It just feels so human, capturing the humor that sometimes briefly emerges in sad situations.
Catch her: Tonight, Mercury Lounge