THURSDAY, JAN. 31
Rock philosopher Lili Haydn
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Porter Batiste Stoltz: The meter's running.
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Flower power: Winter Flowers
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Mary Gauthier, Mark Olson at the Troubadour
Louisiana singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, her growing legion of fans will tell you, doesn't just turn folk and country music upside down, she gives it a swift kick in the rump. Her deliberately rough-hewn tales of ruined lives on the skids wipe off the glossy sentimentality to which those genres' storytellers are often prone, harkening back to the starkly sorrowful tales of Johnny Cash or of Bob Dylan in his remotest bouts of gloom. Gauthier's recent Daylight and Dark album on Lost Highway is a ponderous, weighty thing that requires some real listener commitment, made much easier by the strangely uplifting effect of its artful melancholy. The album was produced by sound artist/roots-music visionary Joe Henry (whose own recent album, Civilians, vies with Daylight as the Americana album of 2007). Henry, along with guests Van Dyke Parks and Loudon Wainwright III, gives Gauthier's amazingly authoritative voice ample room to reverberate through the skull and right down to the heart. With former Jayhawks singer Mark Olson. (John Payne)
Also playing Thursday:
JESSIE EVANS, DAME DARCY at the Bordello; DENGUE FEVER at the Echoplex (see Music feature); THE BOWMANS at the Hotel Cafe; BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD at the Key Club; ENTRANCE, LANGHORNE SLIM, RUMSPRINGA at Knitting Factory; WATKINS FAMILY HOUR at Largo; AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT, DEADLY SYNDROME, CASTLEDOOR at Spaceland.
FRIDAY, FEB. 1
Lili Haydn at Busby's East
Working with everyone from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Bill Laswell to Alice Coltrane, violinist Lili Haydn has had one of the more interesting lives in modern memory: Her father, David Jove, co-created New Wave Theater, George Clinton dubbed her the "Jimi Hendrix of the violin," and she was Rodney Dangerfield's daughter in Easy Money! Haydn plays tonight's Writers Guild benefit at Busby's (in the old Conga Room space). Her violin, which resembles a small cello due to her slight stature, is the medium through which she reconfigures the pop landscape with breathy and heartfelt songs of searching and reconciliation. She's signed to Nettwerk, and her new album, Place Between Places, is likely the main course on the bill tonight — it's a long way since the halcyon '90s of playing the Viper Room ad nauseam. The violin as rock's philosopher's stone? Passionate pop pyrotechnics? Stove Top instead of potatoes? I'm stayin'! 5364 Wilshire Blvd.; 7:30 p.m. www.busbysonline.com (David Cotner)
Autolux at El Rey Theatre
Though they long ago outgrew their Silverlake Lounge roots, Autolux remain perhaps the epitome of Eastside cooler-than-thou indie cred. During the pregnant, three-years-plus pause since the trio's drooled-over debut album, Future Perfect, their featuring on UNKLE's lauded War Stories last year (and having that Brit duo give Perfect's "Turnstile Blues" a delicately cacophonous makeover) has rekindled the buzz. Autolux mate shoegaze, Secret Machines and Sonic Youth; gauzily distracted, sensitive-boy vocals; addictively bruising, beyond-Bonham drums; and grizzled, contorted utterances that guitars and basses just weren't meant to make. Listening to them is like living in a Spaceland scenester's iPod: Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Nirvana, early Smashing Pumpkins and guitarist Greg Edwards' former band Failure — all the right references are, well, referenced. Yet there's no dearth of first-generation inspiration: Autolux are raggedly calculated chance-takers, instinctive tunesmiths, and sufficiently standoffish to keep the beard-&-hoodie hipsters swooning. (Paul Rogers)
Also playing Friday:
A-TRAK, KID SISTER at the Natural History Museum; PETER CASE at the Getty Center; LOS LOBOS at Royce Hall; GENE LOVES JEZEBEL at Anarchy Library; KRS-ONE at Blue Cafe; CIRCLE ONE, DR. KNOW, DECRY at Cobalt Cafe; BOYS II MEN at Crash Mansion (see Music feature); LETTER OPENERS, KING CHEETAH at the Derby; BODIES OF WATER, CASTANETS at the Echo; NELLIE McKAY at Largo (see Hoopla); AL STEWART at McCabe's; MONOLATORS, THE FRONT, HEALTH CLUB at Mr. T's Bowl; 400 BLOWS at Relax Bar; MATT COSTA at the Troubadour; LISA LOEB at Barnes & Noble, the Grove, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, FEB. 2
The Bowmans at Amoeba Music
There's something unique about the way harmonies sound when they're sung by talented sisters who've been performing together for their whole lives, and the Brooklyn duo the Bowmans reveal an enchanting blend of voices on their new CD, Far From Home (Mother West). Sarah Bowman, who plays cello with Rasputina, writes most of the songs, although her sister Claire penned the disarmingly childlike album-closer, "Porker Song," a don't-eat-me plea sung from the point of view of a pig who doesn't want to be "your bacon in the morning." The mood is more somber on the placid ballad "Williamsburg Bridge," where Sarah contrasts their Iowa upbringing with life in New York City, before the sisters kick up their heels on the countrified lament "World With No Boundaries." Clearly there are no boundaries that keep the Bowmans fenced in as they find themselves "On the Road," a pastoral slice of Jesse Sykes-style rustic pop where they discover (but don't care) that "the road may take a toll on you." This free set starts at 2 p.m. (Falling James)