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Wednesday, Mar 29 2006
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Fake Is the New Real

As you may recall, last year Petra Haden released an a cappella, full-length version of The Who Sell Out, mostly at the urging of her friend Mike Watt. Pete Townshend loved it. Loooved it. He especially appreciated Haden’s ear for detail. (“That is such a gift for one musician to give another — to really listen,” he told the L.A. Times. I’ve had that quote taped to my computer for a year!) We hosted Haden’s 10-woman a cappella choir at the 2005 L.A. Weekly Music Awards, and their performance was astonishing, a suspended moment of grace. They’ll do it again in a rare gig Saturday, 4/1, at Jensen Rec Center in Echo Park, presented by Spaceland. Come and freak out to insane harmonics, and if you have a heart beating in your chest, you should bring tissues . . . Sunday, 4/2, something called Holy Shit! performs at Part Time Punks at The Echo, and, while we have no idea what Holy Shit! is, precisely, we are made to understand that local cult 8-tracker Ariel Pink is part of it, and it allegedly makes music for fans of Brit smart-poppers Felt, Denim and Go-Kart Mozart. Assumably that means more faux-’70s FM pop, which we support. Go Dodgers! (Kate Sullivan)

THURSDAY, MARCH 30

Deftones, Thrice, Atreyu, As I Lay Dying, Dredg at Long Beach Arena

This year’s Taste of Chaos tour — a grab bag of guitar-tossing acts who give headbangin’ a Hot Topic makeover — offers co-headliners who’re a then-and-now of moody muscle: Sacramento veterans Deftones plateaued after their 2000 watershed, White Pony, yet still command respect for their genre-bending meeting of post–Faith No More nu-metal and Cure-ish moodiness, while O.C.’s Thrice became the new lords of leather-free rock with the quantum quality shift of last year’s Vheissu. Atreyu conjure paranoia and isolation with their hardcore/metal hybrid; As I Lay Dying launch vomity vocals, militaristic double-kick salvos and ominous twin-guitar chuggery; Dredg’s anthemic efforts make them U2-lite (and late); Pelican purvey instrumental metal (wait — keep reading) that’s technically deft yet willingly loose; and Greeley Estates bring melodramatic dynamics and obligatory screaming/singing interplay. 300 E. Ocean Blvd. (213) 480-3232. (Paul Rogers)

FRIDAY, MARCH 31

Marley’s Ghost, Van Dyke Parks at McCabe’s

“Old timey” is a term that can scare a modern music fan, conjuring up images of barbershop quartets and jug bands. But Marley’s Ghost makes traditional acoustic music less frightening for young and old alike. This West Coast quartet deftly, and frequently daffily, dashes across decades of American music to create a sound that’s seeped in tradition but never bogged down by traditionalism. The band is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a fine new album, Spooked, that showcases its instrumental versatility and prowess, as well as its terrific vocal harmonizing. Using a spirited blend of reverence and whimsy, the songs address such topics as God, death and French pop idol Johnny Hallyday. Joining the band at cozy McCabe’s will be Spooked’s producer, the venerable Van Dyke Parks, which should only add to the merriment. (Michael Berick)Mary Chapin Carpenter, Billy Collins at Royce Hall

What could be more boring, or annoying, than something called “an evening of spoken word and song,” at least at first glance? Further inspection reveals that “spoken word” is actually code for “poetry” and not the other way around, as it often is, and that the “song” in question comes with an unmistakable twang. Poetry and (gulp) country music? Ordinarily such a pairing would clear out any coffeehouse quicker than you can say “double latte,” let alone UCLA’s lofty Royce Hall, where the event takes place. Thankfully, that won’t be the case when Grammy Award–winning singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter and former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins step onstage, taking turns in what should be an enthralling evening of Carpenter’s ballads, hailed for their literate nature, interspersed with Collins’ humorous poems about the quotidian. UCLA, Wstwd. (310) 825-2101 or www.UCLALIVE.org. (Ellen Krout-Hasegawa)

MONDAY, APRIL 3

New York Dolls at Spaceland

We music fans are perhaps too easily satisfied when a classic old rock band reunites. We don’t seem to care, for instance, when a groups gets back together without any of its original members, as long as they trot out the obvious hits, authenticity be damned. We apparently prefer to keep a band stuck in amber, fixed permanently in some idealized version of their past, which is why it was so surprising at last summer’s Sunset Junction festival when the New York Dolls dared to break out some brand-new tunes alongside such expected oldies as “Trash” and “Personality Crisis.” New songs like “We’re All in Love,” with its yearning chorus harmonies, were instantly memorable and bode well for the Dolls’ Roadrunner Records release in June, helmed by early Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas. And while it may seem strange that the Dolls are performing these days without rambunctious drummer Jerry Nolan, bassist Arthur “Killer” Kane and the group’s heart and soul, Johnny Thunders, surviving members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain still have that old black magic. (Falling James)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5

Jeff Beck at House of Blues

British rock guitarist Jeff Beck, whose blend of thundering trauma and tightly controlled delicacy (drawn from deep jazz, low blues and feral rockabilly) long ago guaranteed his ascension to status as one of the all-time, indisputably greatest guitar heroes, only very occasionally deigns to take the stage. While he’s reached the high side of 60, Beck is undoubtedly capable of delivering the rampaging intensity he brought to the Yardbirds (filling the shoes of Eric Clapton). As captured live at London’s Marquee club in an all-too-brief, lurid Technicolor sequence in Antonioni’s 1966 classic Blow Up, Beck’s fierce rabble-rousing guitar work was several generations ahead of its time, and his subsequent solo recordings hardly reneged on that progression. Lord only knows what epic territory he’ll claim tonight. (Jonny Whiteside)

THURSDAY, APRIL 6

Subtle, Jel, Fog at the Knitting Factory

A lotta DIY types are intent on quirking us to death with their bedroom experiments. Oakland sextet Subtle — featuring the tireless Doseone — are nerds in theory only: The freak-rap indie-rock damage of Wishingbone (a companion piece/remix of their ’04 debut, A New Whit, including a DVD of videos) is a seductive pop experiment executed with the same light touch their name implies. Jel, who programs the beats in Subtle, pulls off a similar if more polished feat with Soft Money, a mongrel of instantly likable melodic drizzlings and supersmart verses with cameos by a far-flung cast of characters (none of whom appear tonight). Still with us? Then you’ll be feeling Minnesotan Andrew Broder — a.k.a. Fog — whose free-jazz glitch-guitar-drone clusterfucks make you go, “Oh, no, he didn’t.” (Andrew Lentz)

The Flesheaters at the Echo

The Flesheaters, one of the late-’70s Hollywood underground’s most extreme and uncategorizable bands, always work at boiling point. Careening across a turbulent musical ocean of ferociously heavy art-metal grind, singer Chris D drives the band with a demented Captain Ahab–like focus and lyrics that ooze a mixture of tormented passion and surrealistic imagery; the master of a singularly expressive, choked-up vocal squall, he made sure that the band’s albums — Forever Came Today; A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die among them — went far beyond anything their renegade colleagues had proposed. Bursting forth from a self-imposed exile, the Flesheaters are certain to uphold a bizarre rock & roll tradition that is theirs alone. (Jonny Whiteside)

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