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The Set List: Live Music on the Lower East Side

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Empress Of, performing at Elvis’ Guesthouse this Saturday.

Here’s TLD Contributor Flora Theden’s weekly run-down of the best live music on the Lower East Side.

Thursday – Milk Dick

The Brooklyn punk group plays scuzzy rock songs with a sense of humor and their show is certainly good for a night of sweaty jumping/dancing in the basement of Cake Shop. Milk Dick released a new cassette, Romantic Superstore, in January of this year as part of a series from Infinity Cat Recordings, curated by Casey Weissbuch of Diarrhea Planet – which should give you some sense of their grungy, zany sound.

Listen to: First Real Party

Cake Shop // April 31st // 8pm // $12

Friday – Joe Pug

An American singer/songwriter, Pug plays an updated version of country-folk. He released his debut EP, Nation of Heat, in 2008 and has been touring and garnering acclaim since then. If you like Deer Tick or Blitzen Trapper you should check out Joe Pug live. He released his third studio album, Windfall, on March 10th, so he’ll have new material to showcase.

Listen to: If Still It Can’t Be Found 

Bowery Ballroom // May 1st // 9pm // $15

Friday – The Apache Relay

Michael Ford Jr. was a music business major when he met The Apache Relay in a Belmont University dorm. They already had “a very Americana, very rootsy” sound, and before long the band was backing up Ford around campus, and soon everywhere else. Ford Jr. dropped out of college, and the group gigged relentlessly behind their 2009 debut, 1988, and their 2011 breakthrough, American Nomad.  While touring in support of the album, the Nashville-based American folk rock band opened for Mumford & Sons and hit festivals like Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Firefly Music Festival, and Voodoo Music Experience.

Listen to: Katie Queen of Tennessee

Mercury Lounge // May 1st // 10:30pm // $10 in advance, $12 day of

Saturday – Empress Of

NYC art-pop musician Lorely Rodriguez will preview music from her forthcoming debut album for XL/Terrible with five nights of shows at this Avenue A newcomer. For the last night, she’ll have special appearances from Chrome Sparks (DJ Set), LE1F (DJ Set), and Obey City (DJ Set).

Listen to: Water Water

Elvis’ Guesthouse // May 2nd // 8pm // $5

Sunday – Birds of Chicago

This husband and wife collective built around JT Nero and Allison Russell formed in 2012. The duo plays “rock n’ roll poetry” that can be hard to categorize, but they’re essentially singer/songwriters with elements of gospel, soul, country and back pork instrumentation. Birds of Chicago is currently raising money on Kickstarter for their third album, which is being produced by Grammy-winning artist Joe Henry and currently has $80K pledged. With their tales of hope and despair, and an endearing grass-roots story, you’ll be sure to leave this show feeling a bit better about the world.

Listen to: Cannonball

Rockwood Music Hall // May 3rd // 8:30pm // $10

Monday – Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass is one of the sharpest up-and-coming songwriters in Nashville. She’s a songwriter’s songwriter and performer’s performer, blessed with a golden voice and universal appeal – a singer who understands the vision and brings an undeniable talent to the process.

She handcrafts album artwork and flyers and organizes local vinyl listening parties/drawing sessions, and there appears to be little end to the homespun creativity of this bright young talent. Prass is a joy for any listener to discover and you’ll fall in love with her sound if you’re in to Jenny Lewis or Feist. 

Listen to: Your Fool

Bowery Ballroom // May 4th // 9pm // $17 in advance, $20 day of


Flora Theden lives and works in the Lower East Side. She loves music. She is an Account Executive in the Hospitality Division of Brandsway Creative, a Public Relations, Marketing and Branding firm.


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