Right above the glittering lights of Midtown, right below the gigantic, steaming Cup O' Noodles soup ad, surrounded on all sides by bright commerce, there is something that doesn't quite belong. Since Jan. 21, Creative Time has been presenting The 59th Minute on NBC's Panasonic jumbotron in the heart of Times Square, featuring the work of four emerging video artists for one minute out of every hour.
Previous artists showcased in The 59th Minute include William Wegman, Thomas Struth, Tibor Kalman, and Peter Fischli and David Weiss. This year's selected artists include Janaina Tschäpe, Hiraki Sawa and the Neistat brothers.
Sixty seconds doesn't allow for much by way of character development, but expect small, fragmented narratives that are absurdist, dreamlike and sometimes funny. Playing with ordinary objects and displacing them into the unlikely setting of Midtown, an unmade bed seems to give birth to a water-filled bubble in Tschäpe's Dream Sequence I, while thumb sized-jumbo jets take off from pillows and carpets, creating a thick mesh of air traffic in the tiny world of the artist's apartment in Sawa's Dwelling.
The Neistat brothers, who have recently become rather notorious due to their widely distributed video, Ipod's Dirty Little Secret, present Mousetrap, a taut, surprisingly intense short wherein a mouse paces back and forth in a white minimalist room centered around a mousetrap rigged with cheese. "The film is sort of about temptation and consumption," the Neistat brothers explain, "and it is playing in the nucleus of consumption and temptation itself."
The jumbotron, which is home to the New Year's Eve ball drop, hangs on the side of One Times Square, rising over three stories. An estimated 870,000 people pass by it every day. Take your lunch break at 12:55, grab a hot dog, push through the crowds and remember to look up for a bit of art.
Dream Sequence I, Dwelling and Mousetrap will air daily in rotation on the last minute of every hour from 6-1 a.m., except between 7-9 a.m. and 6-7 p.m., Times Square, NBC Jumbotron.
Music on the Web
People always ask me, "Dan, how did you get such impeccable taste in music?" A good DJ never gives his secrets away. In fact, during the early days of hiphop, jocks used to scratch the labels off their dub plates or swap stickers from other records to confuse competitors. As a writer, I see myself as nothing more than a conduit of information. And my highest priority is to get quality music out to the media-obsessed masses.
Once, we could find quality eclecticism on the radio. As you ventured through different parts of the country, regional flavors spilled out of the airwaves. The DJ was once responsible for providing his own playlists, show and colorful comments alongside his selections. That's gone. The FCC has allowed Big Brother media conglomerates?Clear Channel, Infinity Broadcasting?to gobble up local stations like Pac-Man. Instead of the warm sounds of a DJ, playlists are now programmed according to marketing surveys and new forms of payola. Now, as you cross the country, the station may change, but the programming remains the same.
I yearn for the late-night DJs presenting me with music?my friend in the empty airwaves, chainsmoking and dishing out musical knowledge from a studio in the sky. Not yet willing to pay for a digital subscription to Sirius or XM, I sifted through the web and landed at the BBC website, where Sean Rowley, on his show The Joy of Music, offers everything from new releases to re-edits to lost gems. To say the man has a music obsession would be an understatement. He's from the old school, playing vinyl and informing his listeners of how he discovered his plates. The show is not a destination of instant gratification, but a journey, and I bet you've never heard Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice" performed by an obscure bluegrass band called the Gourds.
For a more contemporary edge in groove-based music, try Gilles Peterson's Worldwide show, also on the BBC. He's often credited with breaking acid jazz in the late 80s and early 90s, and has become the Funk Master Flex of the U.K. If a tune appears on his show, it will most likely become a hit in the underground. His urban flare takes in many genres, including Roy Ayres jazzy remixes, hiphop, downtempo, drum 'n' bass, and groovy house cuts. His guests are often DJs from New York who can no longer find airtime in their native city.
New York City, though, is not dead in the water just yet. Two shows on the listener-driven WBAI still provide an outlet for creative and more adventurous musicians' records to be played. The first, Liquid Sound Lounge, hosted by Jeannie Hopper, explores dance music in all its forms (wbai.org or liquidsoundlounge.com). The second, The Underground Railroad, hosted by Jay Smooth, focuses on the underground hiphop ignored by Hot 97 and Power 105.1. Many notable DJs have gotten their start there, including, in my stupid opinion, one of the most talented: DJ Spinna.
The web is also a great place to find mix-tape sessions, both new and old. The deep house page (deephousepage.com) has more than a thousand free mixes available from some of the best DJs in the world?from legends like Frankie Knuckles, Tony Humphries, Ron Hardy and Timmy Regisford to more contemporary artists like Louie Vega, Kenny Dope Gonzalez and, of course, Spinna. The shows are free, commercial-free and can be streamed any time of the day. Sitting in your office, knocking out another expense report, these shows and mixes will bring a familiar smile to your face.
Saturday Night Rewritten
Saturday Night Live is now on Sunday nights. A small band of comedy performers from Above Kleptomania is reenacting their own grassroots version of the previous night's SNL performance, only with more edge and less Jimmy Fallon. The show, Saturday Night Rewritten, is not a carbon copy, but rather a loose rendition of the week's program. Its motivation is simple: SNL sucks, and we can do it better.
And they do, though given the current SNL cast, that's not saying a whole lot. The brainchild of Eric Marcisak, Saturday Night Rewritten is a bold and experimental form of revisionist theater with potential to become a cult favorite. That they're able to pull off a show with less than 12 hours to prepare?they begin rehearsing at noon on Sunday?is no small feat.
Like SNL, the skits blend politics and pop culture. Unlike the NBC version, SNR starts slow but then builds, saving its top-shelf sketches for the end. A recent show spoofed Punk'd with Saddam Hussein getting caught in his rathole by Osama bin Laden, who was wearing a trucker hat above his turban. The show offers plenty of impersonations that, though not up to Ferrell or Hammond muster, are solid: One cast member (T.J. Lawson) brilliantly imitated the Crocodile Hunter flinging his baby around.
Unfortunately, like SNL, Saturday Night Rewritten can get silly and sloppy, the cast members looking like they're enjoying themselves too much for the audience's comfort. The show also suffers a bit from b.c.t.c.?or "bigger cast than crowd." More than a dozen performers make for too crowded a stage. But most of the show's flaws are not the fault of the performers, but of the show's shoestring budget: The lighting is poor, the sound putrid (the musical guest MC Gaston improvises hysterical raps through a microphone with drive-thru clarity) and the audience brings the pulse of a bingo crowd. Not to mention the Sage Theater resembles a Christian Science reading room, though it's far classier than the show's previous digs above a neon-friendly porn store.
Still, Saturday Night Rewritten is a testament to one of the main maxims of good sketch comedy: The less time you have to think and plan, the funnier the show. Take note, Lorne Michaels.
711 7th Ave. (betw. 47th & 48th Sts.), 917-214-8252, 8, $8, $6 st.
Better than Guitar Camp Marco Cappelli goes experimental. By Molly Sheridan
I get frustrated trying to label music and it gets worse when my iPod tries to do it for me. But what do you do with music that references among its influences Cage, Cash and Coltrane? File under indeterminate country jazz? The end of definitions might be well and good for the art, but when you're trying to write about something as abstract as music in the first place, a few universally understood categories help speed things along in the communication department.
I've slogged through two different music industry conferences this month where the topic came up. During one unusually animated panel discussion, a much-respected presenter cautioned that whatever you call it, don't call it experimental because that "scares the shit out of people."
To me this sounded weird because I use the word experimental as a kind of code roughly translatable to "this is really interesting so you might want to rush to your nearest record store and/or clear your social calendar and get tickets to this show even if you were thinking of reuniting with that old boyfriend this weekend." I can see that if you were trying to sell out Carnegie Hall, having the words "Daringly Experimental" emblazoned across the publicity posters outside might be a bad marketing strategy. But this is New York and experimental isn't a synonym for bad art.
If you count yourself among those unafraid of a little noise and dissonance, I turn your attention to Italian guitarist Marco Cappelli's amazing and yes, say it loud, experimental Extreme Guitar Project, which is getting a two-night presentation at the Issue Project Room this Friday and Saturday.
To spell it out as best I can, by experimental I mean a well-trained artist tackling work by 10 different composers who were asked specifically to push the boundaries of what the guitar could do. The result, Cappelli says in his richly accented English, is that "the pieces are really different from one another. Each piece has its own personality." The show includes work by such diverse composers as Anthony Coleman, Nick Didkovsky, Erik Friedlander, Annie Gosfield, Ikue Mori, Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, David Shea, Mark Stewart and Otomo Yoshihide.
The music premiered in Napoli as part of the Alessandro Scarlatti Society's concert series last November. I cheated and got hold of a live recording from that event to see just what the audience was in for at the New York show.
For the gearheads in the crowd, Cappelli plays an instrument that was custom built to his design specs?an amplified classical guitar modified with the addition of eight sympathetic strings and rigged to control MIDI devices as well. Maybe it's just the character of this specially designed instrument, but more than half of these new pieces had a decidedly East Asian feel to them. Beyond that, they covered a spectrum of extended techniques and styles.
To my ear Yoshihide pushes the hardest on the noise side of the equation, and Friedlander walks closest to a tonal, updated classical style that highlights Cappelli's years of formal training on the instrument. Mori's swirling ambient work draws on a whole vocabulary of non-guitar sounds as well. Many of the composers exploit the percussive possibilities of the instrument with an evident degree of sensitivity to just how far to take it. Didkovsky toys with multiple layers and tempos in A Bright Moon Makes a Little Day Time, which at eight minutes is the longest and, to me, most fascinating of the works. Honestly, out of 10 there were only a couple pieces that didn't interest me, but when I hear them all again live this week it won't surprise me if I totally change my mind. Such is the character of experimental art.
ISSUE Project Room, 619 E. 6th St. (betw. Aves. B & C), 212-598-4130, 8, $15, Fri. Jan. 30 and Sat. Jan. 31
Anti-Flag Anti-Flag's bassist, who goes simply by "#2," appreciates the irony of playing a show at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill.
"It's definitely not punk! It's nice inside," he says with a laugh. "It's not dreary bricks or whatever."
The Pittsburgh left-wing activist pop-punk quartet headline B.B.'s on Wednesday for the New York stop of their Death of a Nation tour. (In reverse order) Rise Against, Against Me!, None More Black and New Mexican Disaster Squad also appear.
Besides the decor, #2 is happy to play the room on principle.
"It's a thousand-capacity room in New York City that isn't Clear Channel," he explains, and would rather not "play in the Clear Channel venue and have them screw the kids on a bunch of added fees and then screw the bands by paying them shit for expensive tickets?which is what happens a lot in other said venues in New York. It's phenomenal because all the promoters that we've worked with in the past have now jumped onto Clear Channel. With booking agents, you have a history, so unfortunately we do have to play some Clear Channel events, but we try to avoid it at all costs."
#2's explanation pretty much sums up Anti-Flag's overall approach. A protest act through and through, several characteristics set them apart in the realm of likewise politically-minded music. Like #2 does in conversation, the band balances incisive passion with affable delivery. People take shots at how poppy punk has become, but there is something refreshingly vital about searing, angry protest sentiment set to bouncy, upbeat music. #2 emphasizes that Anti-Flag wants you to have fun; to feel a common bond with them and the rest of the audience but almost save the thinking for after the show (even though all the songs address specific issues).
It's a little easier to have that fun when, as #2 demonstrates, Anti-Flag show some flexibility in their principles. You don't go to their show and feel inadequate because you're not doing enough. #2 offers denim as an example. He says he is opposed to sweatshop labor and avoids wearing denim, but admits you might at the odd time catch him with a pair of jeans on. He dismisses the idea of judging other people's levels of activism as "bullshit." Additionally, the members of Anti-Flag are smart enough to cite references and cross-reference their ideas. They read, which you can tell from just a cursory glance at the information-crammed booklet of their latest album, The Terror State.
And they're organized too.
"When we started the band, we were 'fuck police brutality.'" So they participated in setting up a Pittsburgh chapter of Copwatch and a citizen's board to monitor police. Since then, their worldview has expanded beyond their hometown. Their top priority now is promoting voter awareness to get Bush out of office. They are actively involved with punkvoter.com and seek not only to register voters but incite interest in the actual voting process.
The band also co-owns the news website undergroundactionalliance.org.
"I encourage people to watch CNN or go to AOL," says #2, still excited about his recent trip to Iowa before the Democratic caucus, "but I also encourage people to check out both sides."
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W. 42nd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 212-997-4144, 5:30, $15, all ages.
Fiction Writing Workshop First create some characters. Then add dramatic tension, build to a climax and voila! You have your very own novel. Set it in a mall or a room lined with cubicles, have your characters communicate through emails and instant messaging. Critics will hail it as a brilliant examination of contemporary culture. Now get to it. Alexander Steele reveals the "tricks of the trade for writing fiction" at Barnes & Noble, 396 6th Ave. (betw. Waverly Pl. & W. 8th St.), 212-674-8780, 7:30, free.
Robbers on High Street Sure, their name sounds like a 70s cop show, but the joke's on you. Their guitar interplay recalls the "frantic" original style of Television's Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, and with song titles like "Hot Sluts (Say I Love You)" they obviously know the dirty lives we lead in the Big Apple. Check them out at Northsix, 66 N. 6th St. (betw. Wythe & Kent Aves.), 718-599-5103, 8, $8.
Hemingway on War World War II may have left us with a whole slew of two-fisted American writers who both celebrated and bemoaned warfare as the only proper way to become a manly man, but they were all just aping Papa. He'd seen it all long before most of them were born. Tonight, Hemingway's grandson tries to sift out those bits from the stories, novels and essays which actually seem to imply that war is a bad thing. Barnes & Noble, 2289 B'way (82nd St.), 212-362-8835, 7:30, free.
Debra DeSalvo Debra DeSalvo's new CD is titled Electric Goddess, and the former False Prophets axe-mistress backs up her claim to the pantheon with an impressive guitar attack. While blessed with blistering speed, she's more fond of subtle shading, washes of sound and occasional Sonic Youth-style feedback. The songs balance moody, minor-key introspection with an unaffected, girl-next-door sensuality, best exemplified by the CD's opening cut, "Demon in the Sack." CBGB, 315 Bowery (Bleecker St.), 212-982-4052, 10, $7.
Jon Langford's Ship & Pilot All cool old guy jokes aside, Jon Langford is a really cool old guy. You may already know and love him from his drunken country-punk rants in the Mekons, as well as prolific appearances on albums by Alejandro Escovedo, the Ex and other similarly choice artists. His newest band, Ship & Pilot, continues in a similar tradition of populist pub anthemry. With Dollar Store and Neil Clearly. Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St. (betw. Ludlow & Essex Sts.), 212-260-4700, 10:30, $10.
Dance Rumble We'd stay out of Chelsea tonight; there's probably gonna be trouble. Up in Hell's Kitchen you got the big Swing Mania dance party going on at Jack Rose. And downtown you got Tango Night at La Belle Epoque. So what happens when everything lets out? It's gonna be the Jets vs. the Sharks all over again, with singin' an' dancin' and zip guns and shivs on West 28th! Jack Rose, 771 8th Ave. (47th St.), 212-247-7518, 9, $15 incl. lessons. La Belle Epoque, 827 B'way (betw. 12th & 13th Sts.), 212-254-6436, 8:30-2:30, $12.
The Booty Bar with Disco D Did you say booty? Well, we thought you meant pirate treasure. Disco D and his crew of trash-loving party animals take over Filter 14 for a night of rumpshaking electrofabulousness. Wiggle your jiggle to the best Baltimore has to offer. A real treat in the front room, as Max Glazer rubs his zoom zoom in the boom boom with hiphop rump shakers and dancehall delights. Shake whatcha' Big Mac gave ya'. 432 W. 14th St. (betw. Washington St. & 9th Ave.), 212-366-5680, 10, $9.
iOs The iOs have slowed things down on their latest self-released EP, but there's still plenty of dreamy new wave goodness that's perfect for dancing or making out or moping about how you're not dancing or making out. During the chorus of "Calm Down," Chris Punsalan and Autumn Proemm's voices playfully bounce off each other and it sounds like total bliss, or at least a college-radio hit. The iOs play Knitting Factory tonight with Man in Gray and the Color Guard. 74 Leonard St. (betw. Church & B'way), 212-219-3132, 9, $6.
Marco Cappelli Tonight and tomorrow, he gets experimental at the ISSUE Project Room. More, see p. 60.
Christopher Hitchens He's gotten into more beefs than Tupac, swills gin by the gallon and has read every book, ever. In recent years, Christopher Hitchens quit his long-running column at the Nation, vocally supported the war in Iraq and racked up feuds with everyone from Studs Terkel to Noam Chomsky. Hitch still puts on a hell of a show and leaves his opponents?now on the right and left?running for cover. This bout pits him against author Samantha Power and New Yorker writer Mark Danner on the aftereffects of the war in Iraq. Head downtown for a ringside seat. New School University, 66 W. 12th St. #407 (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.), 212-229-5611, 7, free.
Les Savy Fav During the Tinkle Booze Cruise last August, the nearly naked Les Savy Fav vocalist Tim Harrington disappeared behind the stage, out a window and onto the very top of a rental tent on the chartered boat, in the middle of the Hudson and without a net. While the captain went nuts, the crowd went nuttier: Harrington sang the whole time, Harrison Haynes' drums pounded through songs with sledgehammer-sized beats, Syd Butler's disquietingly sleek bass lines kept the crowd moving and the supersonic riffs of Seth Jabour snaked their way around the band's arty antics like a boa on the arms of the grandest dame at the ball.
Fast-forward to Northsix late last September: The band played furiously and Harrington, seemingly dressed as a the ghost of Marcel Marceau, began to sweat through his greasepaint and all-white ensemble under the broiling stage lights. Cooling himself with copious amounts of water and beer, however, he became a wriggling, writhing human palette, his clothes changing color as if by magic. While his sorcery was really just tie-dye powder, he and the similarly arrayed stage had already become a giant canvas.
Musically, LSF's approach is one of deconstruction. In an interview, Butler told me they're constantly breaking their songs down, "each through his own interest or instrument." Butler, for example, is influenced by dance music and hip-hop. "If I could get away with writing a bass line that can move through a whole song with very little if any change..." He cites Andre 3000's "Hey Ya" as "the perfect example of a pop dance song with artistic credibility."
Does this mean Les Savy Fav will ever write the great American pop dance song? "No, probably not. We've got too many different approaches." Where they always agree, though, is that everyone is a participant in their music; in the kinetic energy that moves through the group, the audience and the show. The band's name is a fake; despite its resemblance to French, it doesn't mean anything in any language. But "it does represent an abstract thought," says Butler. "I don't know if it's a band anymore." They have become the aesthetic they embrace, a dedication to the deconstruction of the literal. "There is nothing literal about Les Savy Fav. It becomes a conversation piece. All of a sudden you're engaged in a social conversation."
Like Dadaism, which is largely interpreted as having no one set of characteristics, Les Savy Fav is interpreted and enhanced by each participant. LSF arouses reaction in the audience dependent on the context of that individual in that audience. That is not to say LSF is inherently Dadaistic, but it is definitely more than a band, and often an experiment with constants, catalysts and goals. One of the group's long-standing goals?to complete a nine-piece puzzle of seven-inch records released on several different labels?will be complete this April with the release of "Inches," their 18-song singles collection. In that sense, the band is almost done. Does this mean the band is finished? No worries. "We still haven't done a bunch of things we have in mind."
Sat. Jan. 31 at Northsix, 66 N. 6th St. (betw. Wythe & Kent Aves.), Williamsburg, 718-599-5103, 8. $15, $13 adv.
Sun. Feb. 1 at Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St. (betw. Ludlow & Essex Sts.), 212-260-4700, 10:30, $15, $13 adv.
Brooklyn Museum Blitz A scavenger hunt at an often-overlooked, dope museum? That's right. The BMA doesn't get as much traffic as it should?last summer's pulp art show was amazing and underappreciated, for instance. This is an agreeably juvenile way to introduce yourself to the joint. It's also just down the road from where that jackass fell into the ice last week, and you can peep the five million "do not step on the ice" signs for yourself. Brooklyn Museum of Art, 200 Eastern Pkwy. (Washington Ave.), Brooklyn, 212-726-1529, 3-5:30, $25.
Full Moon Fest Tonight Dumboluna throws a Full Moon Festival celebrating "the unity between the arts" that will include a long list of genre-straddling DJs in three rooms, including Traxx and Tim Xavier from Chicago. Art design installations by Mariano Airaldi and Daniela Leonardi. If you've never seen the view from this spot, we recommend getting down to down under the bridge. Lunatarium, 10 Jay St. (betw. John & Plymouth Sts.), Dumbo, 10, $12.
Big Lazy Big Lazy haven't forgotten their Brooklyn roots. Their duo shows, like this one, highlight the subtle brilliance of guitarist Steve Ulrich and bassist Paul Dugan. It'll evoke the glory days of their residency at Black Betty a few years back where the little room in the back became the set of a Hitchcock movie every Sunday night. Noir soundtrack ambience, sophisticated jazz-inflected interplay between musicians and enough reverb to make this venue levitate. Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St. (betw. Frost & Richardson Sts.) 718-302-3770, 10:30, free.
Orthrelm Given up on your New Year's resolutions already? Get yourself back on track with an aural flogging from Orthrelm. The duo from DC dispatch with metal's accoutrements (bass, vocals, fun) in favor of impossibly intricate speed riffs and woodpecker-fast drums that will snap the necks of those foolish enough to try to keep up. With Dillinger Escape Plan, The Locust and Your Enemies Friends. Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St. (Bowery), 212-533-2111, 8, $15, $13 adv.
Anti-Superbowl Punk Rawk Party Word of mouth is spreading like the flu, but here it is in print: Lucky 13 Saloon is a punk/goth/ deathrock/metal bar recently opened in Park Slope. This Sunday they're offering a no-cover Anti-Superbowl Punk Rawk Party featuring punk and old-school goth DJs, drink specials, giveaways and "other fun stuff to make you forget the U.S. suddenly revolves around a bunch of meatballs chasing an oddly shaped ball around." 273 13th St. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves), Park Slope, 718-499-7553, 8, free.
U.N. Open Karate TournamenT No dramatic crane kicks, no snot-nosed karate kids, no digitally enhanced moves, no sound effects?this is the full-contact real deal. Grandmaster Aaron Banks has been putting on the United Nations Open Karate Tournament for 27 years, and it's a legendary event in the world of martial arts for a reason. Whether you want to register and fight or just watch and wince from the sidelines, this is the place to do it. Adria Hotel, 220-33 Northern Blvd. (betw. 220th & 221st Sts.), Bayside, 718-897-4468, 11 a.m., $20.
Graphology: the Write of Way Does your handwriting send the message, "Man, this guy must be retarded"? Or does it instead tell people that you have "a monstrous ego with psychopathic tendencies"? Find out from the pros, who will also tell you what to look for in other people's illegible scrawls. Learn how to write a note that'll have those tellers believing that you really do have a gun in your pocket. NYTS, 242 E. 53rd. St. (betw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.), 212-753-3835, 3, $10-$15 sugg. don.
The Moonlighters Despite a Herculean gig schedule, the Moonlighters are one of the most consistent acts in town. Frontwoman/multi-instrumentalist Bliss Blood and guitarist Carla Murray deliver seamlessly sweet vocals and the band behind them glimmers and swings. Their stock in trade is still Hawaiian music, both covers and originals, but they've broadened their scope to include jazz, blues and the occasional pop standard from years back. Rodeo Bar, 375 3rd Ave. (27th St.), 212-683-6500, 10, free.
James Joyce 122nd Birthday So what if you never finished Ulysses and could barely understand the little that you did read? A literary evening of Irish wit, words and whiskey with a much more down-to-earth trio: Frank McCourt, Roddy Doyle and Colum McCann (he wrote Dancer). NYU's Glucksman Ireland House, 1 Washington Mews (5th Ave.), 212-998-3950, 7:30, $10 don.
Monolake Rock stars for the naughties, the German duo Robert Henke and Gerard Behles, better known under their moniker Monolake, have championed the minimalist sound made and performed on their customized music software. Affiliated with the legendary Berlin dubby techno label Basic Channel/Chain Reaction, Monolake continues to explore the mellower corners of the ever-expanding digital soundscape. APT, 419 W. 13th St. (betw. Washington St. & 9th Ave.), 212-414-4245, 9, $5.
The Notwist It's hard not to be just a little suspicious of the Notwist and their near-universal acclaim. Because if we're honest with ourselves, what they're really doing is the same old indie pop?though with a few Mille Plateaux-isms thrown in. The German group are at their best when they leave the gloomy ethos of the indie bedroom behind and approximate something resembling Euro-disco bounce, as with "Pilot," from their latest full-length, Neon Golden. With Themselves. Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St. (Bowery), 212-533-2111, 9, $15.
Contributors: Adam Bulger, Mara Hvistendahl, Jim Knipfel, Ilya Malinsky, Dustin Roasa, Dennis Tyhacz, Lucia Udvardyova, Andy Wang, Alan Young and Alexander Zaitchik.