Fall Preview: Native sons and daughters in triumphant New York returns
New York's pop autumn begins with a home run next week (zing!) with what may well be the millionth performance of "Empire State of Mind": Jay-Z and Eminem are coming to the city on Sept. 13 and 14 for the first concerts ever at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees have never been as enamored of music events as other New York sports teams. Shea, of course, hosted the Beatles for the legendary opening show of their 1965 tour, and the old Giants Stadium was a longtime home stand for Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi. Though they may be coming to music a little late, the Yankees are doing it right, and these shows will be the kind of night people will talk about for a long time—Jay-Z returning to his hometown in high style, and Eminem finally re-hitting his swagger.
Double bonus points if you go to the Jay-Z/Eminem concert and arrive at Vampire Weekend's biggest platform yet in the city that made them: a three-night stand at Radio City Music Hall from Sept. 15 to 17. They last played New York in January—three venues in three days!—as their new album, Contra, was released. Even after months of touring, their set is tight and powerful, and they've been mixing it up lately with some new additions. (Let's hope they play this melancholy, excellent cover of Springsteen's "I'm Goin' Down.")
Meanwhile, on Sept. 14, Superchunk—oh, you know, just one of the best indie rock bands of all time!—will release Majesty Shredding, their first album in nine years. It's streaming now until Tuesday at NPR. That Tuesday is a big day for album releases: Black Mountain—Canadian psych-rock that gets better and better with every album—comes out with Wilderness Heart, and Screaming Females, a cornerstone band in the Brunswick, N.J. D.I.Y. scene, grows up when releases Castle Talk. We are looking forward to hearing the best frontwoman scream since Courtney Love from Marissa Paternoster at the Knitting Factory on Sept. 15.
Another voice we're glad to hear returning this fall: Ne-Yo, one of our finest R&B-pop singers. On Sept. 21, he will release the no-doubt-Delillo-inspired Libra Scale. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, the album is a high-concept morality play: "The story follows three garbage men – Jerome, Clyde and Leroy – who are offered everything they have wanted in return for protecting the city against a forthcoming threat. However, there's a catch: they can never fall in love." What's not to love?
On Oct. 11, Belle & Sebastian are releasing Write About Love, their first album since 2006, but you can likely hear a lot of their new songs when they perform at the Williamsburg Waterfront on Sept. 30. If there's any better music for an outdoor concert with the autumn chill in the air, we don't know it.
If Belle & Sebastian, not to mention Superchunk, doesn't quench your thirst for the indie rock of the '90s, The Vaselines are playing Webster Hall on Oct. 2 in support of their new album—entitled Sex With an X (sigh).
A month later, the same venue hosts the moodier, lush music of Blonde Redhead, playing on Nov. 3 (their new album, Penny Sparkle, is out on Sept. 14).
The recent release of All Delighted People, Sufjan Steven's EP, has revived the tiresome, perennial debates about whether Stevens is the messiah or the twee Antichrist. (And why did he lie about that whole 50-state project, anyway?) Those discussions will become only more intense when his new album, The Age of Adz (pronounced, absurdly, "Odds") comes out on Oct. 12. The track list seems to promise a lot of introspection (suprise!)—"Now That I'm Older," "All for Myself," and "I Want to Be Well" are a few of the songs you'll be hearing at mixers this fall. Stevens' disciples will be out in force to support him when he plays the Beacon Theater on Nov. 14 and 15.
We can promise you one thing: you won't dance as much at a Sufjan Stevens show as you will when Phoenix brings their bright sound to Madison Square Garden on Oct. 20, paired with the Dirty Projectors. Opening for those two bands will be the lo-fi stoner rock of Wavves, in what is either a brilliant coup for their 23-year-old frontman, Nathan Williams, or a sign of the apocalypse.
But any apocalypse will no doubt be averted on Oct. 26, when Taylor Swift releases Sweet Now. Will America's sweetheart do something a little less sweet? Her nemesis, if we are to take MTV awards shows seriously, is the tortured, brilliant, possibly insane Kanye West, and he puts out his new album in November. 'Ye has been leaking out new songs every Friday and promises to do more (we'll see about that).
Last, but not least, after gorging yourself on commercial pop, make your way to Club Europa in Greenpoint on Dec. 9 to see Psychic TV, the legendary electronic music group. Formed in 1981, and still run, by performance artist Genesis P-Orridge, it's a must-see live show.