I’ve written in the past about all the great free music NYC has to offer and this past Friday was yet another prime example. To start the night, my buddy Kure—from We Kure Burns fame—and I caught Grand Archives’ set at the South Street Seaport. For those unfamiliar, Grand Archives is a Seattle-based band started by Mat Brooke, formerly of Band of Horses, and signed to Sub Pop. Though not wholly unlike his former band, Brooke’s new outfit places a greater emphasis on vocal harmonies and leans more towards pop-rock than alt-country. On Friday, the tunes, primarily drawn from Grand Archives’ self-titled debut, were the perfect accompaniment to the backdrop of the Seaport. There are few places I’d rather see a show on a chill Friday evening. Check out the video for “Miniature Birds” below. The llamas are sweet, but the little kid kinda creeps me out.

After Grand Archives finished up, we hustled out to Brooklyn to see Professor Murder play for free at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. I had seen Professor Murder once before when they opened up for Matt and Kim at the Bowery and have wanted to see them again ever since. The scene at the Music Hall couldn’t have been more different than that at the Seaport. A cool breeze and blissfully spaced out heads were traded for a thumping bassline and hipsters abiding by an implied dress code. After mediocre sets by Pink Skull and Free Blood, Professor Murder (three excellent names by the way), set it off with their electronic post-punk. When I think of P-Murder, I think percussion out the ass with a healthy dose of cowbell. If you don’t feel like moving, you’re comatose. When they launched into “Free Stress Test,” kids started bouncing of the walls. I’ve included the best video of the song I could find below. Overall it was a great night of music and all I paid for was Budweiser.

“Miniature Birds”

“Free Stress Test”

New York becomes a different city altogether in the summer. The sun is still shining when you leave work, people are smiling, even the rats are less pissed. As an avid concert goer, the summer also means free live music…outside. This allows me to not only save some Washingtons, but enjoy the city from somewhere else besides my couch. Thus I was eager to peep the recently announced schedules for Central Park Summerstage and South Street Seaport, two veritable institutions for gratis outdoor live music.

Summerstage kicks off the season with soul icon Mavis Staples on Friday, June 13, followed by a trio of blogger delights, Vampire Weekend, Kid Sister and Born Ruffians that Saturday. The rest of the free Summerstage lineup features names like iTunes darling Yael Naim; Santogold with Diplo and A-Trak; Battles with Black Dice and Gang Gang Dance; and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. A couple of sweet shows are NOT free (benefits), including Thievery Corporation with Seu Jorge and Crosby, Stills & Nash. I saw Brazilian Girls as well as Joss Stone with Common last year, and both shows were great. What can I say, Central Park is a beautiful place to see a show. Check out the full Summerstage schedule HERE.

The Seaport schedule for this summer boasts a decidedly more indie lineup including A Place to Bury Strangers; No Age with Telepathe and Abe Vigoda; Atlas Sound; Brother Ali; and Dirty Projectors with White Williams. Last summer I caught a DJ set by Bonobo, which was real chill. I actually prefer the Seaport to Summerstage for its smaller crowds and lower-key atmosphere. Not to mention the view looking north on the East River of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges at night is priceless. You can see the full Seaport schedule HERE.

Check out Brazilian Girls performing “Me Gustas Cuando Callas” from last year’s Summerstage: