Rock Picks: Neil Young, the Pogues, Michelle Shocked 

For the week of Oct. 26-Nov. 1

Wednesday, Oct 24 2007
{mosimage}Thursday, October 25

Gogol Bordello
at the Mayan

“There was never any good old days,” Gogol Bordello madman Eugene Hütz declares at the outset of Gogol Bordello’s fifth CD, Super Taranta! (SideOneDummy). Maybe he’s saying that phony Gypsy-mania has bitten the dust; although his rambunctiously theatrical band draws on traditional folk and Eastern European influences, Hütz is more concerned with the here and now than kitschy Old World sentimentality. “I traveled the world... hunting and gathering first-hand information/challenging definitions of sin,” he declares on “Wonderlust King,” and his band mates do the same on festively eclectic tracks like “Zina-Marina,” where Oren Kaplan’s punk guitar bumps up against mariachi-like horns and Sergey Ryabtzev’s exotically serpentine violin. Science and religion collide with Yuri Lemeshev’s merry accordion on “Supertheory of Supereverything,” where Ukraine native Hütz declares in typically fractured English, “First time I had read the Bible/It had stroke me as unwitty... that the Lord ain’t got no humor.” Despite their worrisome recent collaborations with Madonna (!?), the Gogols reveal their own sense of humor on “Your Country” (where Hütz plays God and sends Stooges haters to hell) and the ambivalent ode “Alcohol,” which echoes the Kinks song. (Falling James)

The Sex Pistols at the Roxy

While this show would be more historically relevant if it were happening at the Roxy in London in 1977, it does mark the first time that the Sex Pistols have deigned to play a small club in Los Angeles. As such, the gig highlights all the messy contradictions surrounding the group’s ongoing reunion. There was a kind of nihilistic symmetry when the Pistols broke up following their short U.S. tour in January 1978 after releasing just one classic album and a handful of singles; it meant that they wouldn’t be lingering around for decades, clotting up the airwaves like the classic-rock careerists. (However, the romantic illusion that they were so perfectly self-destructive probably contributed to Sid Vicious’ tragic death and blinded the surviving members to manager Malcolm McLaren’s greedy machinations.) Is it really “better to burn out than fade away,” as Neil Young once clumsily put it? Isn’t punk nostalgia an oxymoron? While we’d rather see John Lydon doing something subversively creative with that restlessly churning mind of his (what ever happened to Public Image?), the Pistols still deliver the old hits with plenty of seedy menace. (Falling James)

Also playing Thursday:
BLONDE REDHEAD, AUTOLUX at the Wiltern; JOSH RITTER, ERIC BACHMANN at El Rey Theatre; AL DI MEOLA at the Canyon; SICK OF IT ALL at Key Club; JAMES WILSEY at Molly Malone’s; TWO TON BOA at Spaceland; GOOD LIFE, JOHNATHAN RICE at the Troubadour.

Friday, October 26

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Goon Moon at the Echoplex

Goon Moon is a collaboration between Masters of Reality leader/all-around desert-rock impresario Chris Goss and multi-instrumentalist Jeordie White, who was last known as Twiggy Ramirez when he played guitar for Marilyn Manson. In many ways, their new project is more interesting, disciplined and multilayered than the work they’ve done in their previous, more infamous past lives. “Tip Toe,” from Goon Moon’s recent CD, Licker’s Last Leg, trundles along with boxy keyboards, wheezing accordion and electronic blips under hushed, intimate vocals and a spacy rock drive. “I’m losing my connection,” they croon as whooshing sounds surround and engulf them. “Apple Pie” disgorges itself with an intro of creaky string sounds that fade away into an austere, windswept alien landscape littered with Bowiesque lyrics and random sound effects. “Pin Eyed Boy” churns with big, sprawling rock guitars and serene, distant vocals, and it’s not so arty or experimental that it wouldn’t sound good on the radio. Melodic acoustic interludes like the unreleased “Sleep With a Gun” further hint at the potential of these stellar Goons. (Falling James)

{mosimage}Caribou at the Troubadour

Caribou — a.k.a. Canadian electronic-acoustic alchemist Dan Snaith — has done a recent album on Merge called Andorra, the London-based artist’s latest in a series of works that, while traversing droney ambient chill-out and IDM-type pure-beat/texture/tonality, have gradually harkened back to the considered song forms and arrangement aesthetics of ’60s and ’70s psychedelia, progressive rock and even classic rock. That evolution bore tasty fruit on his excellent 2005 The Milk of Human Kindness album on Domino, where the visceral wham of electronic timbre and dynamic range resonated naturally atop songs that boasted baroque, complex vocal harmony and instrumental settings — and, yes, the bulk of the latter was artfully sampled off his crusty old record collection. Andorra comes replete with memorable songs, in other words, wide-screened in thrillingly crafted yet basically non-hi-tech palettes where the technology and songcraft sound like they came from the same musical womb. Onstage, Caribou is a band (with a real drummer, even) that brings this blurrily opulent sound to kicking life. (John Payne)

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