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Rock Picks 

For the week of February 22 – March 1

Wednesday, Feb 21 2007
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Love of Diagrams, Division Day at Spaceland The trio Love of Diagrams come from a land Down Under, but they step smartly with the jagged, angular rhythms of a vintage British post-punk band. Guitarist Luke Horton sends up wiry, interstellar smoke signals on their new self-titled EP on Matador, while bassist Antonia Sellbach chants out melodic bursts like “The Pyramid” and “Pace or the Patience.” Drummer Monika Fikerle chimes in with the swirling chaos of “No Way Out,” while Sellbach’s Cure-like bass figure coils around her like a python. The Melbourne group rely on some of Joy Division’s dark riffology, but they claim that they’re also influenced by David Lynch, Cindy Sherman and Roman Polanski. The new L.A. shoegazer combo Division Day close out their free monthlong Spaceland residency with songs from their recent CD, Beartrap Island, whose art-pop tunes mix Ryan Wilson’s jangly, blurry guitars with keyboardist Rohner Segnitz’s world-weary yet poppy confessions. Love of Diagrams also at Safari Sam’s, Tues. (Falling James)

Also playing Monday: THE WHO, TRAGICALLY HIP at Long Beach Arena; SIMON DAWES, SABROSA PURR at the Echo; WADDY WACHTEL at the Joint; BINGES, ANDY DICK at King King; GO BETTY GO at the Scene. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27

Charleston Grotto, Danny Cohen at Theater of Note

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In your studious search for the true, righteous realness from way back in revered rock’s “glory” or “salad” days, you’ve no doubt come across frequent references to proto-punk bands like the Standells or Sonics or Seeds or whatever, most of whom might’ve got their start around ’66 or so. No band fits the proto-punk description better than Charleston Grotto, who were a bunch of 12-year-olds and younger when they began throwing down such pre-seminally nasty, weird and maniacal slams as “Kill the Teacher” in L.A. in 1961! Why, that means that their certifiably (they recorded it all on Sony reel-to-reel) punk rock sound actually predates the Beatles. Strange . . . Anyway, here it is almost half a century later, and the original members of C.G., which include the idiosyncratically great singer-composer Danny Cohen and his famous bass-playing brother, Greg (Tom Waits et al.), have reunited to present “50 Years of the Beachwood Boys and Charleston Grotto With Front, Rear, Bottom and Fidel.” There’ll be opening sets by Danny Cohen, a growing legend all on his own for his series of poetically outsiderish and musically superlative solo albums; he’ll play and sing stuff from his sterling new Shades of Dorian Gray (Anti-). 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd.; two sets, 7 & 9:30 p.m. (John Payne)

Also playing Tuesday: MOLECULES, FOREIGN BORN at Boardner’s; NELS CLINE & GLENN KOTCHE at the Echo; TOM BROSSEAU at the Hotel Café; CHRIS THILE & HOW TO GROW A BAND at Largo; GEORGIE JAMES, LOVE OF DIAGRAMS at Safari Sam’s ; MARTIN KLINGMAN at Tangier; MONEY MARK at Amoeba Music, 7 p.m.; GREG DAPONTE, CHIP KINMAN at Cinema Bar.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28

The Letter Openers at Safari Sam’s Of all the bands in the pop-punk collective Kiss or Kill, the Letter Openers have the most pleasingly cynical attitude. The longtime, if obscure L.A. quartet are informed by good old punk rock on their recent CD, All the Time Right Now — especially on the unsentimental documentation of a certain lost place and time with “Summer of ’79” — but they play with a mostly straight-ahead rock & roll drive. They abolish romanticism on the pounding hypnosis of “I Won’t Remember Your Name,” and they have a way with elegantly wasted descending chords on such tunes as “Peppermint.” Mac Dunlop’s gruff howling is brightened by Martin Ransbury’s judiciously quick lead-guitar adornments, while bassist Matt Peter and drummer-singer Jon Goldberg clobber everything in sight. “You know, it’s all about the wedding ring,” Dunlop sings on the power-pop-laden hook of “Special Things” before snatching away happiness with the sarcastic rejoinder “You get yourself a house in the Valley and then, baby, those are special things.” The Letter Openers come off like a darker L.A. version of Cheap Trick. Don’t miss ’em. (Falling James)

Baseck, Captain Ahab, Costes & Lisou Prout, Mr. Natural, Rale at the Smell As much a danger to traditional values as fluoride in the water or pee-pee in the Coke, legendary composer and absurdist Jean-Louis Costes appears with actress Lisa Prout in a Gallic superduo singing, stripping, rubbing semi-solid foods all over themselves and playing cracked electronics on this tour for Les petits oiseaus chient [Little Birds Shit], “an opera porno-social,” a voyage from youth to the bourgeoisie alongside acts of bizarre S&M sex and “the logical conclusion of this journey: finishing in hell.” Accompanying them on this magical misery tour is the pile-driving drum & bass of Captain Ahab and Mr. Natural’s living plants, transformed into noisy killing machines of verve and charisma. Baseck, he of the Sonic Death Rabbit collective/unconsciousness, thrives in a glitchy 17/2 backwater, while Rale purportedly is a member of Unnecessary Surgery and Beach Balls — two things in life we positively cannot do without. (David Cotner)

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