Separating visual arts from music is artificial, if not impossible. Organizers of Art Basel Miami Beach recognized this from the beginning with the Scissor Sisters concert. The free concert tradition has continued each year, with the fair's official opening followed by its Art Loves Music party on the sand.
But as Art Basel has become more party-centric, the importance of visiting bands and DJs has expanded. Art collectors like to feel hip by being at parties full of young, attractive people, and young, attractive people are attracted by good music (and free booze). Or something. So voila — the week of Basel now features a smorgasbord of forward-thinking music programming. Here's a quick guide to some highlights.
For up-to-date show announcements and morning-after coverage of the parties, visit CrossFade, New Times' local music scene blog, at blogs.miaminewtimes.com/crossfade.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4
Rahsaan, Parable, and Madlib: First things first: Madlib, the MC also known as Quasimoto, won't be rapping tonight. Instead, he's leaving the verbal duties to two local luminaries: Rahsaan, the Miramar-based MC who recently dropped his excellent Fly Paper mixtape, and Parable, a resident host of Jazid's new Fuck It Fridays party. Madlib will, however, throw down as a DJ, an arena in which he is equally, if not more, skilled. Expect rare platters of funk and the roof to blow off. The event is free, but you absolutely must RVSP. 8 p.m.; free with RSVP at www.publicwizardinc.com/RSVP; Black Sheep, 721 N. Lincoln Ln., Miami Beach; 305-531-7700, www.myspace.com/305musiclounge.
Nodzzz and Matt & Kim: Some of the best music presented this week comes courtesy of the ongoing Converse-sponsored Kill Your Idols party in the Design District. An ode to current movers and shakers keeping the original punk spirit alive (albeit in mutated, advanced forms), the space features a photo exhibit by Eileen Polk plus flyers, posters, and various limited-edition goodies. Oh yeah, and a totally free, open-to-the-public show every night at 9. Up first tonight is the Frisco trio Nodzzz, lovably sloppy but influenced by the biting power-pop edge of groups such as the Buzzcocks. The draw for hipsters, though, is Matt & Kim, the Brooklyn-based dancey, punky duo that appears to be the happiest pair of musicians ever. Free and open to the public; 9 p.m.; The Marcy Building, 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami, www.killyouridols.com
The Gossip "After Dark": This isn't a live performance by The Gossip per se. But the band will most certainly be in the house at O.H.W.O.W. tonight for a party following the opening of "Portland Now," a group show at the Bas Fisher Invitational space. (It's curated by the band's guitarist, Brace Pain, a.k.a. Nathan Howdeshell.) From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., the band basically gets to do whatever it wants, which will include, we're told, karaoke, freestyle, video art, "and other weird things." Oh, and complimentary cocktails. Free and open to the public; 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.; O.H.W.O.W., 3100 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 305-490-2076, www.oh-wow.com.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5
Hex Dispensers, Brutal Knights, and Reigning Sound: The party continues at the Kill Your Idols space tonight, first with Hex Dispensers, an Austin quartet that overdosed on the Ramones but not so much the Beach Boys (it's a good thing!). Brutal Knights hail from the much colder climes of Toronto and title their fun ditties things such as "Grow Up Throw Up." Headlining is the Southern-fried, garage-punk-and-roll foursome Reigning Sound, originally from Memphis but now based in Asheville, North Carolina. Free and open to the public; 9 p.m.; The Marcy Building, 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami; www.killyouridols.com.
ADULT.: Pretend the heady days of the late-electroclash backwash are still alive when the Detroit duo ADULT. plays at White Room. Husband and wife Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus have been playing together as various projects since 1998, but peaked in popularity around 2002 or 2003 as ADULT., with chilly, synth-driven incantations such as "Glue Your Eyelids Together." Still, the duo has continued to play music and create art; 2007 saw the release of a fourth full-length, Why Bother, as well as several singles. And both Miller and Kuperus continue to create visual art. In fact, besides the show, ADULT. is in town for a screening of Kuperus's film Decampment, to be shown at Hernan Bas's Wynwood studio December 4 and 5. Orlando act Yip Yip opens the concert. 10 p.m.; $10; ages 18+ with ID; White Room, 1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-995-5060, www.whiteroommiami.com.
Louder than Bombs, a Smiths Tribute, featuring an Andy Rourke DJ set: Static Interference, the occasional locals-only extravaganza thrown by the band Astari Nite at PS14, continues during Art Basel with a night dedicated to a band everyone likes: the Smiths. Besides Astari Nite, a ton of other Miami acts perform, including The Monday Photo, Champagne Days, The Mission Veo, and Down Home Southernaires. They'll be playing mostly originals, though, and brave are the musicians who actually tackle a Smiths tune. Andy Rourke, the band's original bassist, holds court as the DJ between sets. $10; 10 p.m.; ages 18+ with ID; PS14, 28 NE 14th St., Miami; 305-358-2600, www.ps14.com.
Tommie Sunshine and Modernage: The Vagabond continues its Friday party tradition of live music on the patio and scorching electro inside. This edition, in a big Onitsuka Tiger-sponsored fiesta of free giveaways and a giant Lite Brite-style installation, features local group Modernage onstage. The quartet recently released its latest EP, Sirhan Sirhan, featuring more narcotized, rumbly postpunk. Electro-punk OG juggernaut Tommie Sunshine takes the decks in the main room, and he simply never disappoints. $10; 10 p.m.; ages 21+ with ID; The Vagabond, 30 NE 14th St., Miami; 305-379-0508, www.thevagabondmiami.com.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6
Sex Vid, Caustic Christ, and Annihilation Time: The elusive Seattle hardcore-ish band Sex Vid is cult-famous for its refusal to make a website or even properly record and distribute its music. The Pittsburgh foursome Caustic Christ has toured with similarly deliciously named bands, such as Municipal Waste — nuff said. Meanwhile, the songs on Annihilation Time III: Tales of the Ancient Age, by Oakland quintet Annihilation Time, are boozy, sludgy, raunchy, gnarly — probably all adjectives the bandmates would happily claim for their hometown. Skirting the edges of metal, punk, and sloppy Seventies rock, Annihilation Time's music instead falls down somewhere in the middle and passes out in a pile of its own puke. Free and open to the public; 9 p.m.; The Marcy Building, 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami; www.killyouridols.com.
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MSTRKRFT: Once upon a time just a little offshoot of the Canadian dance-punk duo Death from Above 1979, MSTRKRFT has now eclipsed the group from which it sprung. And majorly so. With only one full-length album and a handful of original singles so far, the vowel-less band has shone as a rock-influenced remixer, helping craft a bass-heavy four-four sound that is imitated by countless bedroom wannabes across the blogosphere. These kings of the nouveau dance scene are surpassed in popularity probably only by Justice, and if Heathrow is still standing Sunday morning, we'll be impressed. 10 p.m.; $25 in advance from www.ticketweb.com; ages 21+ with ID; Heathrow Lounge, 681 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-7614, www.heathrowlounge.com.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7
Pink Reason and Times New Viking: The last of the week's shows at the Kill Your Idols space kicks off with a set from Brooklyn-based trio Pink Reason, the brainchild of Kevin Failure, the band's frontman. It sounds a little like Joy Division or another postpunk act put through a shredder, churned in a drum machine, and tossed into a faraway field, where it still remains audible. Um, best heard rather than read about. The Columbus, Ohio-based Times New Viking, meanwhile, released one of the greatest recent lo-fi, art-noise-rock masterpieces earlier this year in Rip It Off, the band's first release for Matador Records. Free and open to the public; 9 p.m.; the Marcy Building, 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami; www.killyouridols.com.
Prefuse 73 and Eliot Lipp: Shoring up Heathrow's more dance-floor-friendly offerings is tonight's party, which leans more toward experimental and heavy. Prefuse 73 was born Guillermo Scott Herren in Miami but grew up in Atlanta; still, he remains popular locally thanks to his releases on labels such as Schematic and Warp. With a dizzying discography under a number of monikers, he remains best known for his warped outings that dredge the more left-field reaches of rock and hip-hop into tweaked IDM. He is also responsible for signing his partner on the decks for the night, Eliot Lipp, to his Eastern Developments record label. Heavily influenced by West Coast hip-hop and anything created on the 808, Lipp's sound drags boom-bap electro into the future. $18 in advance from www.trinumeral.com; 8 p.m.; ages 21+ with ID; Heathrow Lounge, 681 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-7614, www.heathrowlounge.com.