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Rock Picks: Hank III, Joe Strummer Tribute, Wu-Tang Clan 

For the week of Dec. 21 - 27

Wednesday, Dec 19 2007
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FRIDAY, Dec. 21

click to flip through (4) Busdriver gives a hoot. (Photo by Jessica Miller)
  • Busdriver gives a hoot. (Photo by Jessica Miller)
     
 

Busdriver gives a hoot. (Photo by Jessica Miller) (Click to enlarge)

Cowgirl in the sand: Patria Jacobs (Photo by Dorit Thies) (Click to enlarge)

Suicide Silence try to look menacing. (Click to enlarge)

Busdriver at the Troubadour

Much like the title of his recent CD, Roadkillovercoat (Epitaph), Busdriver re-purposes the wreckage of the past and fashions it into a cool new fashion statement. The L.A. rapper, a.k.a. Regan Farquhar, spits out a rapid-fire flurry of dazzling, dizzying imagery as he pulls “the gauze off your scabs” and turns “stages into firewood.” The mainstream music industry — and industry in general — withers under his caustically poetic observations, such as “They want an everyman milking the oldest gags/Spilling the contents of a Pepsi can on a folded flag” and “They want someone lowbrow, a philistine/With iron-on irony for Viacom’s white honkies.” On “Less Yes’s, More No’s,” he recites a blurred litany of soccer moms, Fox News, the war in Iraq, Noam Chomsky and George Bush before concluding, “We refuse the ruling class/in broadcast antennae headdresses.” He looks out balefully over a modern landscape of “broken TV sets” and “pop culture’s lame vestiges” on the febrile statement of purpose, “Ethereal Driftwood,” in which he nimbly “jumps from the plane wreckage . . . covered in a blanket of ash.” His artful surrealism is more truthful than mere journalism. (Falling James)

Lilys at Spaceland

Kurt Heasley has taken a circuitous route back to the present. In 1992, Lilys brandished fuzz-doused guitars, spiraling drum-kit cascades and soft vocals befitting the post-Loveless zeitgeist. Shedding members compulsively, Heasley moved to a sleepy, shambling jangle before settling, albeit for one spellbinding album only, on a blend of FX-damaged etherea and lock-groove drums. Just as suddenly, he took a sharp turn and began chiming kinda Kinks-ish pop, which scored him a hit single in Europe and a major-label deal. His sole Sire release was gloriously overstuffed with hooks (requiring some tracks to run over seven minutes). Since then, Heasley has been nearly methodical in his return to now. He even went Krautock. But his last two albums, garish with giddy melodies and wonky processing like mid-’80s castoffs, is, to some, a decline. But live, with a pickup band of his usual Los Angeles cohorts (the Beachwood Sparks/All Night Radio pool), Heasley’s disparate tunes and styles will be delivered in uniform blasts of distortion, rhythm and melody. Here, the brilliance of his craft should be radiantly evident. (Bernardo Rondeau)

Die Rockers Die, Madamn Grislee, Finland Station at Pehrspace

Here’s a double shot with two of this town’s rudest and funniest punk bands, contrasted by the subtler charms of a mellow local combo who are celebrating the release of their debut album. Die Rockers Die have so many songs — ranging from Minutemen-like funk-punk (“Land of the Free”) and claustrophobically fuzzed-out garage-rock (“A Much Clearer Vision”) to Krautrock spaciness (“The Principles of Accounting,” “Space Jam for Vonnegut”) — that the prolific Filipino-American group are planning on releasing a 37-track triple CD. Finland Station, meanwhile, recorded the catchiest punk rock anthem of the year, “Worst President Ever,” a catalog of George W. Bush’s most egregious sins that also works as a brutally hilarious presidential lesson, from their debut CD, Eastern Bloc Party. Despite their gory name, Madamn Grislee actually specialize in low-key art-rock on their new CD, Blue Dog. Guitarist Merf Schultz’s coolly airy talk-singing nicely evokes Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon on “All Is Fair in Love and War and Songwriting,” while guitarist-drummer Pete Lee’s echoey vocals on “Mirror Move” recall the Jesus & Mary Chain, mixed with some Velvet Underground haziness. (Falling James)

Terrors, Heavy Face, Wire Werewolves, Admiral Angry at the Smell

It’s exciting when The New Yorker is wrong, even a little bit. Suck it, paragon of elevated standards! The real import of the Smell isn’t the venue’s multifunctional purpose or the hype it’s driving toward new L.A. punk and its derivatives, or, as a certain glossy rag recently posited, its symbiotic relationship with postcard-from-the-future local band No Age. Really, the Smell is the city’s best example of the fact that shared cultural space is still crucial, interweb or no interweb, and the spirit and glory of underage basement shows and punk-house all-nighters are essential to cultivate local scenes and individual investment in good independent music. This week, the Smell hosts an appropriately off-kilter bill, with Terrors, who provide a chugga-chugga kind of folkie psych, sort of like a lazier Animal Collective; the full-bodied histrionics of Heavy Face; Wire Werewolves and Admiral Angry, who both do thrashy near-grindcore, and Obstacle Corpse, whom I’ve never heard of, but that’s basically the point. (Kate Carraway)

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