My top picks for live music on the Lower East Side this weekend:
YELLOWBIRDS – Friday Feb. 17 | 11:30pm at Mercury Lounge
Yellowbirds is the non-solo, solo project of Brooklyn’s Sam Cohen. A sharp composer, Cohen’s fluid, dexterous music-making has an eerie, retro, water-dance quality. Cohen serves as songwriter, lead guitarist, and singer for the 4-piece, which certainly rings of “frontman” designation, but the other three pieces (Balthrop Alabama’s Josh Kauffman on keys, the Bandana Splits’ Annie Nero on bass, and Brian Kantor of Higgins on drums) play an equally integral part in building the texture and depth that make the Yellowbirds sound so distinct. $10//217 E. Houston St.
MONARCHS – Saturday Feb. 18 | 1am Rockwood Music Hall
Birmingham Alabama native Celeste Griffin is the driving force and the fluttering voice behind folk entity Monarchs. Griffin began writing songs at a young age, and recorded her first album of acoustic songs “The Oak” via 4-track in 2008. It was around this time that Griffin moved to music city Austin, TX, where Monarchs grew into its current rootsy incarnation. Along with guitarist Van Hollingsworth, bassist Phil Aijarpu and drummer Josh Halpern, Griffin is now poised to release Monarch’s latest recording “Rise and Fall”, due out later this year. FREE//196 Allen St.
BRAZIL CHORO TRIO w/ DOUGLAS LORA – Sunday Feb. 19 | 8pm at The Living Room
Originally, Brasil Guitar Duo, and now Brazil Choro Trio, guitar virtuoso Douglas Lora joins forces with his brother Alexandre Lora on percussion and Dudu Maia on 10 string Mandolin to strut their stuff on the Living Room stage. Lora and his bandmates pick up where the likes of Strunz and Farah and Paco Pena left off, and move things forward along the same direction as folks like Rodrigo y Gabriela. Keeping the fireworks and flourishes of the dazzling musicianship that has become synonymous with such groups, Lora and company’s compositions seem to have have more grit and edge. There will always be remnants of the traditional Rhumba Flamenca and classical spanish guitar music that originally opened the door to western listeners, but it’s clear that in this incarnation, this is World Music for the 2000 generation. FREE//154 Ludlow St.
Splitting his time between performing and producing, contributor Ken Beasley primarily plays with his own roots/rock band, Ken Beasley & Co., as well as the power punk outfit, Missy Sport, while also curating the Underground at the Abrons music series on the Lower East Side.