There's a reason almost all of the shows on Mitski's recent tour with Japanese Breakfast and Jay Som have sold out. Her energy onstage is magnetic, electric and fascinating to say the least. From her early tours to now headlining bigger stages, Mitski puts her all into her vulnerable and passionate music and fixes the audience with a powerful stare, seemingly invincible but utterly human at the same time.

Mitski recently released her album 'Puberty 2' on Dead Oceans, and in her newest live sets you can hear nearly all of those standout tracks such as 'My Body's Made of Crushed Little Stars' along with songs from her breakout 2014 album Bury Me at Makeout Creek. Live, Mitski plays spare basslines while her lead guitarist Callan Dwan (who is also in Nashville psych-pop band Idle Bloom) shreds dirty and sludgy yet precise tones and drummer Casey Weissbuch (of Slanted and formerly Diarrhea Planet) provides minimal and quick drumbeats. Mitski could carry the show without them, such is her charisma and the strength of her voice, but her band adds the final layer of depth to her songs.

In this set from July 2015, Mitski says at one point, "I wrote all these songs, and now I'm playing them! It's a dream come true!" Mitski's frankness and honesty are part of what make her a captivating performer. Her songs on her records glow with life, but when performed live, they truly radiate. Take a listen to this essential set and catch Mitski on the road this summer - she is not to be missed.
-Julia Leiby


Downtown Boys

A self-described “bi bilingual political dance sax punk party from Providence,” Downtown Boys came onto the scene in 2011 and haven’t stopped fighting the good fight since. Founders Victoria Ruiz and Joey DeFrancesco met while working at a hotel as both employees and labor organizers; they soon took their politics from the streets to the stage and have been producing some of the most socially-conscious music of the last decade, both as Downtown Boys and Malportado Kids.

Downtown Boys' music tackles issues of racism, queerphobia, classism, police violence, and more. They work to reclaim historically white, hypermasculine dominated spaces in punk with each explosive performance. What some might find alienating-- like Ruiz’s use of Spanish in “Haz Algo,” “Desde Arriba,” and “Monstro” as well as on stage--is exactly what makes the group accessible for traditionally overlooked audiences in punk. At the same, Ruiz and the band deliver powerfully blunt stump speeches in songs like “Slumlord Sal,” making sure their message can’t be overlooked or misinterpreted.

Even in the recording of their 2014 Shea set, Downtown Boys' infectious sax-driven energy comes through. It’s hard to listen to all ten tracks and not feel like you’re a part of a larger movement sprinting toward the revolution. Luckily, this is a revolution you can dance to.
- Ruby Mastrodimos



Ask anyone about Palm's live show and unanimously the response will be that there's nothing like it. Whether you've seen them two times or twenty times, after their set is done you're left trying to catch your breath and scrambling to figure out when you'll see them next.

Palm is as prolific as they are inventive; at any given show you're likely to hear cuts from their full length debut "Trading Basics" alongside brand new tracks they wrote two weeks ago. The most predictable thing about Palm is the top notch quality of every song - you can always count on that, but it's impossible to predict much else about them. Musically they're incredibly erratic, jumping from time signature to time signature and from idea to idea with mechanical precision. Lead guitarists + vocalists Eve and Kasra trade off sharp atonal guitar spasms, crafting complex dirges fit for a futuristic chrome landscape. Drummer Hugo and bassist Gerry are the steadfast glue to the music, locking down some tightly controlled and mesmerizing grooves but occasionally pulling the rug out from under things and devolving into a quick noise jam.

Seconds later the controls are tightened again and things return to a relative normalcy, although few people would describe Palm's music as "normal". At times watching them feels almost supernatural - the intense connection between each member is what allows the music to be so tight. Everyone's totally in sync with each other - Eve and Kasra spend more time communicating via glances and nods than they spend even looking at the audience. Palm is a well oiled machine running at peak efficiency, and you'd do well to catch them at a show as soon as possible to witness the magic they're creating.
- Connor Rush



Steve Hartlett is no stranger to Shea Stadium; chances are you’ve seen Ovlov play, or seen Steve play with Baked if you’ve been going to shows in Brooklyn over the past few years. Steve is back now with a new project, Stove.

Stove is a new and expansive beginning for Hartlett, creating some of the fuzziest and most emotionally impactful songs that are full of thought and masterfully executed. With only 22 seconds Stove debuts “Is Stupider” with a lead riff and proclaiming: “Don’t know who I am, so I act like who I’m with.”

Flawlessly setting the tone for the rest of the album, blending raw energy, shoegaze-esque noise with heavy melodies. It’s almost impossible not to be fully immersed by the delicate balance of fuzzy noise and melody accompanied by Hartlett’s clever and poetic lyricism as he encapsulates the human adventure all wrapped in a witty and charming sense of humor.

Stove’s set from Shea back in July exemplifies what Stove does best live, bringing in a great blend of raw rock’n’roll with no holding back. Be sure to check out the archives while you wait for Stove’s next show at Shea on 2/25.
-Ben Smith