Rock Picks: John Fogerty, Band of Horses, Eek-a-Mouse, Gram Rabbit | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Rock Picks: John Fogerty, Band of Horses, Eek-a-Mouse, Gram Rabbit 

For the week of November 23 - 29

Wednesday, Nov 21 2007
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Friday, November 23

John Fogerty at Nokia Theatre

John Fogerty seems to be having the last laugh with the title of his new CD, Revival. For several years now, two members of his former backup band have been attempting to pass themselves off as “Creedence Clearwater Revisited,” perhaps hoping that gullible fans won’t notice the deceptive wordplay — or that it was Fogerty who wrote, sang, produced and arranged all of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s classic original tunes. If any person has the right to reclaim the CCR name, it’s Fogerty, who was estranged from his former record company Fantasy for several decades in an often-absurd dispute with Saul Zaentz, the heavy-handed and litigious label exec who played Salieri to Fogerty’s Mozart before being bought out by Concord in 2005. Now Fogerty’s back with Fantasy, and his new album — the most consistently satisfying of his various solo releases — is a genuine revival on several levels. He playfully invokes his own legacy, scratching up his trademark swampy guitar jangle on “Creedence Song” and whipping out some stinging solos on “Summer of Love.” But he’s not just looking back; “Long Dark Night” is a bluesy warning about the incompetent “Fortunate Son” currently occupying the White House: “Georgie’s... come to get your children/wants to have a war/Lord, you’d better run.” (Falling James)



Between the lines: John Fogerty (Photo by Nela Koenig)


White Out
, Charalambides, Alasdair Roberts at Spaceland

Just a heavy, heavy bill of the most far-reaching and skull-scratchingly best new non-genre music our grand old USA has to offer currently, plus a quieter but no less powerful foreign fella. White Out is Lin Culbertson and Tom Surgal’s free-sound screech-sonics funfest, with frequent collaborator Nels Cline of guitar-god infamy; they’ll be heard revealing the totally improvisational way of life. Charalambides is the semilegendary aggregation based in Texas led by noisy guitar player Tom Carter and his partner, Christina Carter; expect smart psychedelia with guitar sounds larger than the Empire State Building. Scottish singer-strummer Alasdair Roberts has this new The Amber Gatherers album out on Drag City, a rough-hewn, classic U.K.-style folk record of punky, poetic perfection — he’ll charm your socks off, assuming you’re wearing any. (John Payne)


Also playing Friday:

RAHSAAN PATTERSON
at El Rey Theatre; COLD WAR KIDS, RICHARD SWIFT at the Wiltern; DOWN at Henry Fonda Theater; T.S.O.L., D.I. at the Echoplex; SOCIAL DISTORTION, THE HEDRONS at House of Blues; AZTLAN UNDERGROUND at the Knitting Factory; PONCHO SANCHEZ at the Mint; HEALTH CLUB at Relax Bar.


Saturday, November 24

Gram Rabbit at Safari Sam’s

Desert-baked rock provocateurs Gram Rabbit have scarcely broken their offbeat, loping stride since the band’s turn-of-the-century inception and, with their new Radio Angel & the Robot Beat CD, continue to avidly exploit a singular brand of krazy, mixed-up musical antics. Hippitty-hopping through a techno-psych playground, their sound — a wigged-out calico weave with tendencies toward heavy guitar rock and silky contemporary R&B — frames both a healthily cynical personal philosophy and a critical view of modern American life. Their gimlet third eye seems to take it all in, scatter the sociocultural data into a cosmic sifter and glean some remarkably peculiar, cutting perspectives. With a mixture of just enough aural strangeness, a pit-bull knack for locking down on a groove and, of course, the otherworldly allure of singer-keyboardist Jesika Von Rabbit, this unhinged threesome remains one of our most intriguing local forces. (Jonny Whiteside)



Feed your head with Gram Rabbit. (Photo by Michael Dahan)


White Magic
, Luke Top at the Echo

Dat Rosa Mel Apibus, the debut album from songwriter Mira Billotte and guitarist Doug Shaw (a.k.a. White Magic), quietly landed in 2006 with a sparkling cover befitting an illuminated manuscript. The songs are woozy hymnal swirls that are more like half-finished chalk-and-charcoal sketches than full, studio-sealed productions. As Billotte’s piano stirs, Shaw and the hired hands swarm it with scattered rhythms and fluid guitar tangents. There are jumbled passages when it seems every part is out of sync, and there are moments when the puzzle pieces lock into solid colors and distinct gestures. White Magic’s music is thoroughly human in its primitivism: a séance of sticks and bones instead of pedals and circuits. Luke Top remains a Los Angeles treasure buried in plain sight. Conscript to no tribe or fashion, this local alchemist composes wandering songs of gentle mystery. (Bernardo Rondeau)


Band of Horses, Tyler Ramsey at Avalon

This South Carolina indie band has been earning some pretty over-the-top praise lately from folks whose pot-smoking habits must have erased any memory of Built to Spill and My Morning Jacket: From what Internet types are saying about Band of Horses, you’d think no one had ever thought of using a shitload of reverb to suffuse his or her melancholy roots-pop jams with a hint of dreamy mystery! That said, front man Ben Bridwell and his bearded bandmates do have a way with this kind of stuff; their recent sophomore set, Cease to Begin, is as lovely and scruffy as indie rock gets. Extra cuteness: Bridwell’s still kind of bashful onstage. Warming up the Decemberists’ crowd a few months ago at the Hollywood Bowl, he threatened to barf right then and there. Opener Tyler Ramsey plays guitar in Band of Horses, but he also does his own sad-guy emo-folk thing. (Mikael Wood)


Also playing Saturday:

PONCHO SANCHEZ
at Blue Cafe; JOEY ALTRUDA’S CRUCIAL RIDDIMS at the Bordello; KEATON SIMONS, KARL DENSON at Hotel Café; SOCIAL DISTORTION at House of Blues; UNI & HER UKULELE, NORA KEYES at Il Corral; KY-MANI MARLEY at Key Club; BANYAN at Malibu Inn; BACKBITER, MOTORCYCLE BLACK MADONNAS at Mr. T’s Bowl; THE FIXERS, DJ QUIK at Vault 350; ACEYALONE at Viper Room.


Sunday, November 25

Playing Sunday:

CHAKA KHAN
at Gibson Amphitheatre; SOCIAL DISTORTION, TIME AGAIN at House of Blues; ROY ZIMMERMAN at McCabe’s; NEIL HAMBURGER, ABE LINCOLN STORY at Spaceland.


Monday, November 26

Playing Monday:

SLOW POISONER
at the Good Hurt; RESTAURANT, DEVON WILLIAMS at the Echo; LYSA FLORES, OLLIN, EVANGENTIALS at Mr T’s Bowl; CASXIO at Silverlake Lounge; SOFTLIGHTES, PORTERVILLE, EL TEN ELEVEN at Spaceland; KY-MANI MARLEY at Amoeba Music, 7 p.m.


{mosimage}Tuesday, November 27

The Slow Poisoner at Hyperion Tavern

Andrew Goldfarb is a marvelously talented artist with a uniquely loopy style. He’s responsible for the comic strip Ogner Stump’s One Thousand Sorrows (www.ognerstump.com), and he recently penned his first book, The Ballad of a Slow Poisoner (Eraserhead Press), a modern fairy tale about a man who goes on a whimsically surreal journey after noticing that his elbows are getting flatter. As the Slow Poisoner, he’s a one-man band who simultaneously kicks his drums and bangs on his guitar while howling ancient laments like Jimmie Rodgers’ “T.B. Blues” and Bob Wills’ “Faded Love.” His original tunes on Roadside Altar (Rocktopus), such as the slide-guitar-smeared “Run Rooster Run,” draw on primal roots-rock and country-blues influences, although with his clear, smooth delivery he sounds pleasantly fanciful instead of like a hard-living, raw-throated wild man. “Some people ain’t pleased if you don’t eat snakes/Since he lost his thumbs, he’s had the shakes,” Goldfarb croons enigmatically on “Flaming Creatures (of Rock and Roll),” a psych-garage workout that draws on the curative, life-altering powers of rock & roll. 1941 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. (323) 665-1941. Also at the Good Hurt, Mon. (Falling James)


José González at the Henry Fonda Theater

Delicate, hypnotic, comfy; these are words that could describe the fragile yet cradling effect of José González. Is it the romance in his Latin blood (like a crooner from Argentina, where his folks were from)? Could it be the soft-as-snow picture he paints of his Sweden? There’s something in his quiet yet totally convincing voice that is evocative of another artist of Swedish descent, Cat Stevens — and, come to think of it, Gonzo’s sophomore release, In Our Nature (Mute), isn’t so different than ol’ Yusuf’s Back to Earth. But don’t let González lull you into complacency. No, this is an indie folkie whose heroes are punky fighters, not lovers, and even where there’s a pacifist singing about the madness of war (emotional and physical), there’s also a man willing to cut things up, taking musical stabs at the Knife, Joy Division and Massive Attack. (Daniel Siwek)


Johnette Napolitano at the Roxy

With such site-specific songs as “Still in Hollywood,” former Concrete Blonde singer-bassist Johnette Napolitano is the quintessential Angeleno songwriter — never mind that she’s been living in Joshua Tree for several years. On her recent CD, Scarred (Hybrid), the wide-open spaces of the Mojave Desert infuse her version of Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” transforming what had started out as a simple romantic ballad into something more mysterious with its celestial wash of hazy voices, solemn piano and disembodied electronics. “I was just guessing at numbers and figures/pulling your puzzles apart,” she confesses in a permanently world-weary voice. “Questions of science and progress/do not speak as loud as my heart.” Napolitano has always been driven more by passion than logic, and her nostalgic sentimentality “keeps the beast of time at bay” on the swirling fuzz reverie “Just Like Time.” Reality, dreams, temporal displacement and loneliness converge on the intriguing title track, where she wakes from a Rip Van Winkle slumber and asks, “How long was I out? How long was that dream that I was thinking was real?” Even when she’s asleep, she’s more adventurous than most people are when they’re awake. (Falling James)


Also playing Tuesday:

STRAYLIGHT RUN
at El Rey Theatre; FALL OUT BOY, GYM CLASS HEROES, PLAIN WHITE T’s, CUTE IS WHAT WE AIM FOR at Long Beach Arena; LOS CAMPESINOS, MOST SERENE REPUBLIC at the Echo.


Wednesday, November 28

Eek-a-Mouse at the Echoplex

Ripton Hylton, the long, tall toaster who first caused a sensation at Jamiacan sound systems almost 30 years ago with his turbocharged, tongue-twisting flights of ganja-fueled scat-esque frolic, has always been more of a show-stopping entertainer than a Rasta-proselytizing shaman. While his breakout record, “Wah Do Dem,” cast a glorious beam of creative hope across the stagnant Lover’s Rock–era reggae scene, the Mouse has spent the past several decades here in the States, based in O.C. and running his hard-earned rep nearly into the ground through ceaseless gigs at ofay jock-and-bimbo pleasure pits, but tonight’s shindig should prove to be a magnificent return to form. This is his first official Dub Club show (although he dropped in and grabbed a mike at its recent Michigan & Smiley date), featuring peerless dub maestro Scientist at the controls. Expect more pure singjay voltage than the cherished rodent has mustered in ages. (Jonny Whiteside)



The assassinator: Eek-a-Mouse


Don Caballero
at Safari Sam’s

Peripatetically priapic math rockers Don Caballero return phoenixlike in the throes of their latest bout with creativity and 17/2 time signatures, their always endearing and imaginative spastic opuses cheering up the crowd even if it’s not immediately clear where they’re taking them. After 15 years with a shifting lineup, they’re off Touch & Go and on legendary metal label Relapse with their World Class Listening Problem LP. And, with new favorites like “Sure We Had Knives Around” paired with late-’90s blasts like “Delivering the Groceries at 138 Beats Per Minute,” drummer Damon “The Octopus” Che’s brainchild shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. (Those hard Touch & Go bands always did have the best song titles.) Don Caballero don’t noodle, they don’t waste your time, and they deliver something essential and vital through the haze of mesmeric beats, scree and rhythm: showmanship and entertainment. Also: From Monument to Masses. (David Cotner)


Also playing Wednesday:

IRON & WINE, CALIFONE
at Orpheum Theatre; ENTRANCE BAND at the Airliner; MULHOLLANDS, AUTOMATIC MUSIC EXPLOSION at Boardner’s; LESLIE & THE BADGERS at the Bordello; TRAVIS TRITT at House of Blues; ROLLING BLACKOUTS, TSK TSK at the Scene; STEREOFIX at Silverlake Lounge.


{mosimage}Thursday, November 29

Spain at the Echoplex

Riding the same musical meme as Chicago, Boston and Europe, Spain return after a six-year silence by first playing the country of Spain this month in anticipation of the recording of a new album next year. Founded in Los Angeles in 1993, tonight they perform their breakthrough 1995 album, Blue Moods of Spain, in its entirety, while singer-bassist Josh Haden leads the band through their jazzy, brooding and contemplative paces. The Haden sisters — cellist Tanya and violinist Petra — may also appear, playing alongside the new lineup of Tom Gladders on guitar, Randy Kirk on keyboards and guitar, and Matt Mayhall on drums. The Blue Moods of Spain LP (and all the vinyl warmth that that implies) was a welcome oasis in the desert that was the whiny ’90s — righteously rhythmic and sophisticated even as the smooth and the steady were drowned out by the quietloudquiet of the day. (David Cotner)


Also playing Thursday:

BLUES TRAVELER, JESSE MALIN
at the Canyon; THE NIGHTWATCHMAN at Hotel Café; SAM PHILLIPS, JOEL HODGSON at Largo; MOSPEADA, HEALTH CLUB, HECTORS at the Scene; ROLLING BLACKOUTS at Silverlake Lounge; THE HEDRONS at Spaceland; LONESOME SPURS at Taix; SOUNDS OF ASTEROTH, WE FLOAT, GANGSTA QUEEN at M Bar.

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