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Rock Picks: The Hives, Buck 65, Redd Kross, Yo La Tengo 

For the week of Nov. 1 - 8

Wednesday, Oct 31 2007
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Thursday, November 1

Michelle Shocked at Temple Bar

Michelle Shocked has always marched to her own beat. After starting out as a fiery folkie back in the late ’80s, she has taken an eclectic journey across the American musical landscape: visiting rock, swing, blues, soul and other genres in between. Shocked’s latest disc, the live ToHeavenURide, finds her exploring her spiritual side. Since this is Shocked, we’re naturally not talking genteel music. Rather, it’s the foot-stomping gospel sounds of the South Central church she frequents. The music not only nicely captures her religious passions and societal concerns but also provides a fine showcase for her strong, soulful singing. Besides testifying in song to her love for the Staples Singers and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Shocked is also performing new originals and old favorites. And is it purely coincidental that she chose Temple Bar to perform this inspirational music? (Michael Berick)

Also playing Thursday:

THE POGUES at the Wiltern; DIOS MALOS at Rio Hondo College; BRYONY ATKINSON, BLACK OLIVE at the Bordello; YOU ME & IOWA, COCO B’s, SAINT MOTEL at the Echo; THE AGGROLITES, BREAKESTRA at the Key Club; JON BRION at Largo; LONESOME SPURS at Taix.

Friday, Nov. 2

Redd Kross at the Echoplex

Los Angeles rock & roll heroes Redd Kross are like LSD — when they get to work, one never knows precisely what will happen, but it’s a sure bet that the experience will yank out elements of the familiar and present them in boldly assembled, heretofore-undreamt-of creations while building from mild euphoria to a shattering peak intensity that demands every available bit of stimuli-shock-absorbing capacity. Their music, a mixture of luminous pop dynamics and lightning-bolt riffology, is always delivered with crushing power, limitless good cheer and a near-demented abandon that founding sibs Jeff and Steven McDonald manage to control like some kind of weird two-headed mad scientist. Of course, the little buggers have been perfecting their artfully accelerated bubblegum expression since they were Bradyesque adolescents, and at this point one may expect nothing less than alchemical perfection. (Jonny Whiteside)

Dax Riggs at Spaceland

Born a Hoosier yet raised in the heart of Cajun country, Dax Riggs’ musical journey has followed a similarly unpredictable path. The founder of doom-metallers Acid Bath, he went on to form various projects including Agents of Oblivion and Deadboy & the Elephantmen before his transformation into rock-&-roll peacock. Hopefully, it’s a persona he’ll be comfortable with for some time. Fat, fuzzy hooks rise from the production murk on We Sing of Only Blood or Love — which fits right in with the other juke-joint-worshipping releases on the Fat Possum label. Sure, his lyrics — howled or moaned in a grizzled lower register — get a bit frothy and high school goth at times, but we’d expect nothing less from such a conflicted romantic. With Beaten Awake. (Andrew Lentz)

Also playing Friday:

NEIL YOUNG, PEGI YOUNG at Nokia Theatre; YO LA TENGO at Ivar Theatre; POLYPHONIC SPREE, ROONEY at Henry Fonda Theater; DROPKICK MURPHYS, THE BRIGGS at the Wiltern; SHADY LADY at C.I.A.; JUDITH OWEN at McCabe’s; SHINICHI at the Mint; THE MONOLATORS at Mr. T’s Bowl; SLACKSTRING, CULVER CITY DUB COLLECTIVE at the Troubadour.

Saturday, Nov. 3 Tinariwen at Temple Bar

Who knew that putting an electric guitar in the hands of a rebellious Tuareg nomad in exile named Ibrahim Ag Alhabib in the early ’80s would lead to the creation of Tinariwen and the beginning of a new chapter in rock? Not just any kind of rock, but a wondrous, glistening one that rolls over you in wave after trance-dance-inducing wave of righteous electric six-string goodness. Tinariwen plays a brand-spankin’ blues as old and widescreen as the Saharan expanse where Ibrahim finds spiritual-artistic inspiration and his people call home. It’s been said elsewhere that if everyone spoke Tamashek, Tinariwen would be as big as the Stones. That’s a bit of a stretch — imagine four Keiths but no Mick (and no preening) and songs that resonate with real rebellion and suffering — but you don’t have to speak their ancient language to feel the cleansing uplift of their magisterial desert rock. (Tom Cheyney)

Yo La Tengo at the Ivar Theater

On their umpteenth tour, New Jersey’s tireless Yo La Tengo are putting their thick, well-thumbed catalog in the blender. Maybe inspired by their work on the soundtrack for Toddy Haynes’ forthcoming cubist Dylan cine-symphony, I’m Not There , the trio are now “Freewheeling” as they randomly generate entirely acoustic renderings of tunes from their back pages. An active indie-rock band that remains a cut above, arguably all by their lonesome selves in a pantheon crowded with marble busts and the cryogenically preserved, YLT have always delivered their bountiful albums — continent-sized collages that pass through styles and textures like climates with lock-groove spark-showering sprawls, jingle-jangle saunters, droning nocturnal purrs, bittersweet pop ditties and ethereally blurred balladry — with a gentle disposition. When this temperament is combined with the band’s elegantly restrained arrangements (they usually make the most of very little: some crackling snare, organ fuzz, putty bass and soft voices), unplugging hardly seems a challenge. Also Fri. (Bernardo Rondeau)

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