Have Your Way at CMJ

Pusha T, Ex-Cult, and Joanna Gruesome.Photo: Karl Walter/Getty Images; Kim Owens/Kaffeine Buzz; Caitlin Mogridge/Redferns via Getty Images

Joanna Gruesome
Baby’s All Right; 10/15 at 8 p.m.; 146 Broadway, nr. Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
The punkishly named Welsh quintet has been providing the often-tame indie world the kick it needs. Their female-male vocals run from gorgeous harmonies to full-on screams, while the band pushes and pulls from fuzzed-up melodies to sloppy squeals and Fugazi-like discordance. They claim to have met in an anger management group—after hearing them, you might even believe that’s true.

The Flat; 10/16 at 9:45 p.m.; 308 Hooper St., nr. Broadway, Williamsburg 718-599-5151
Dum Dum Girls drummer Sandra Vu steps out to front dark, gothy, synth-based band SISU. Nothing about this band’s music sounds like it’s aiming small, and you won’t get many chances to see them in a cozy bar again.

Baby Alpaca
Pianos; 10/16 at 8:45 p.m.; 158 Ludlow St., at Stanton St.; 212-505-3733
There’s a lot to live up to when you name yourself after one of the world’s cutest animals. Taking cues from modern reverb-y dream pop and the doomed, swoony romance of the era when U.K. new-wave bands discovered funk, these NYCers make something genuinely affecting and heartfelt.

Au Revoir Simone
Highline Ballroom; 10/16 at 7 p.m.; 431 W. 16th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-414-5994
How can you not love three indie-pop ladies who named themselves after a character in a Pee-Wee Herman movie? In support of their recently-released Move In Spectrums.

Perfect Pussy
The Flat; 10/16 at 9 p.m.; 308 Hooper St., Williamsburg, nr. Broadway; 718-599-5151
The energy of these Syracuse noise-punks is contagious: frenetic and murky, like spazzing out underwater. There’s just one lady, lead singer Meredith Graves, but her raw wails are everything. A word of warning, though: Be careful when Googling the band name.

Bowery Ballroom; 10/17 at 9 p.m.; 6 Delancey St., nr. Bowery; 212-533-2111
It’s the drone that will never die: From Loop to Spacemen 3 to Stereolab, to the many bands that have tried, Hookworms gets that psychedelic space-bliss right. But their energy and the arresting, almost-hardcore vocals keep them far from shoe-gazing.

Baby’s All Right; 10/17 at 10:30 p.m.; 146 Broadway, nr. Bedford Ave.; Williamsburg
Memphis churns out the best garage-rock bands with alarming regularity. The former Sex Cult comes from the original home of dirty rock and roll and smudges that history with their own brand of intense punk swagger.

Spike Hill; 10/17 at 8 p.m.; 184 Bedford Ave., nr. 7th St. ; 718-218-9737
These power-chord punks—steeped so much in the Brooklyn DIY scene that they’re named after the co-founder of the venue Shea Stadium—get visceral and sloppy and may get you punched in the face. Check out their track “New York City” here. And try not to punch yourself in the face.

The History of Apple Pie
Living Room; 10/18 at 11:25 p.m.; 154 Ludlow St., nr. Stanton St.; 212-533-7237
25 years ago, there were a few bands making the sort of shoe-gaze pop that combines breathy vocals with a ton of guitar noise: Lush, Ride, My Bloody Valentine. Luckily, there are some people who still value that, while managing to update it. And these London kids are one of the best at that.

Speedy Ortiz
Baby’s All Right; 10/18 at 12:30 a.m.; 146 Broadway, nr. Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
Okay, the nineties. It’s unavoidable when talking about Northampton’s Speedy Ortiz. It may be a decent surface description, but by grabbing the clever, abstruse pop of Helium or Sebadoh and the like, they’ve created something alive and needed.

Saint Vitus; 10/19 at 12 a.m.; 1120 Manhattan Ave., nr. Clay St., Greenpoint,
Post-hardcore favorites of sensitive nineties college students everywhere have been back for a couple of years now, and haven’t lost any of their live explosiveness. And, unlike some, they’ve even managed to make some new music that won’t sound embarrassing next to their classics.

Arlene’s Grocery; 10/19 at 11 p.m.; 95 Stanton St., nr. Ludlow St.; 212-955-1719
Australia’s Helen Croome takes a folk-pop songwriting approach to the lonely italo-disco of someone like Sally Shapiro. It’s a strikingly mature take that still manages to be both dramatic and danceable.

King Holiday
Rockwood Music Hall; 10/20 at 12 a.m.; 196 Allen St., nr. Houston St.; 212-477-4155
A ten-piece funk-soul-psych-everything combo from Bed-Stuy, King Holiday takes bits from James Brown to Talking Heads, from neo-soul to art rock, and make music that’s impossible not to dance to. You may have to call in sick the next day.

New Rap City
There’s a fair amount for hip-hop heads on the bill this year. Besides the big-name Pusha T at Le Poisson Rouge on 10/16, soulful R&B artist Kelala—who recently released her mixtape Cut 4 Me—is at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on 10/15. The Underachievers achieve their own show at Music Hall on 10/16 and Schoolboy Q takes Webster Hall on 10/17, while Houston rapper Riff Raff goes Dada at Irving Plaza on 10/18. And if you want a nineties throwback (and who doesn’t?) Sisqo, who will soon release his third solo album, Last Dragon, is at S.O.B.’s on 10/17. Don’t forget to wear your thong.

Have Your Way at CMJ