Rock Picks: Watson Twins, Les Claypool, Autechre | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Rock Picks: Watson Twins, Les Claypool, Autechre 

Plus other April 3-10 shows

Wednesday, Apr 2 2008


Pamela Littky

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Hands up: The Watson Twins paint the town red.

Ash Newell

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Back in black for the last time: Ministry

Jay Blakesberg

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Les Claypool on his own tragical history tour

A Fine Frenzy at the Roxy

Alison Sudol had a broken heart. Instead of climbing back into bed with a gallon of chocolate ice cream like the rest of us, she channeled her loneliness and pain into a series of cathartic breakup songs, such as “Near to You” and “Ashes and Wine,” on her 2007 debut CD, One Cell in the Sea (Virgin). Armed with a major-label deal and a large supporting cast of sympathetically low-key, if slick studio musicians, Sudol reinvented herself as A Fine Frenzy (from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream), turning her heartbreak into the stuff of grand melodrama. The album’s piano ballads have a rueful, stately presence, and Sudol coos with a breathy delivery that is often languidly pretty. However, Lukas Burton and Hal Cragin’s strings-laden production is wearingly sticky sweet at times, and the occasionally playful but twee lyrics are made soggier by the repetition of lazy banalities like “thick as thieves” and “all I can say/is you blow me away.” Let’s hope that more of the fantastical whimsy of her hero Lewis Carroll finds its way into the future work of this talented singer. (Falling James)

Pitbull, Baby Bash at the Vault 350

One of Pitbull’s stickiest new verses goes, “I’m too Latin for hip-hop and too hip-hop for Latin — y’all figure it out,” which nicely sums up the Miami MC’s dilemma. Like his previous release, El Mariel, the similarly overstuffed Boatlift sees him doling out crunk, reggaeton, syrupy ballads and other styles. But for all its 18 cameo-studded tracks, the record feels thin, probably because he’s never sinking his teeth into any compelling subject matter, such as the Cuban diaspora the CD’s title hints at. To see what this “li’l chico” can really do, pick up Pit’s debut, M.I.A.M.I., the odds-and-sods/remix album Money Is Still a Major Issue or any of the “Unleashed” series of mixtapes with DJ Ideal. Pit’s only 27, and his best work is still ahead of him, so twist off a Red Stripe and drink to his future. Also check for Baby Bash, who rocks it rico-suave smooth over Latin R&B bounce. (Andrew Lentz)

 Also playing Thursday:

MYSTIK JOURNEYMEN, AWOL ONE at the Knitting Factory; THE KRIS SPECIAL at Mr. T’s Bowl. 


The Watson Twins at the Natural History Museum

It’s said that siblings sing with the most beautiful harmonies, and identical twins Chandra and Leigh Watson certainly live up to that cliché. The Louisville, Kentucky, sisters released their debut EP, Southern Manners, in 2006 but came to wider attention by touring with Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis, lending their fabulous vocals to her solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat. While the Watson Twins don’t harmonize with the intensity or eerily haunting melancholy of, say, the Chapin Sisters, their serene vocals usually take their music into enchanting places. On their upcoming CD, Fire Songs (Vanguard), the Watsons ramble through mellow country-pop tunes such as “Sky Open Up,” which has a pastoral dreaminess with soaring guitars that echo the arcing vocals, while the seductive “Map to Where You Are” is brightened by festive horns. A cover of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” is slowed down stylishly — just like so many other recent ’80s remakes — but is nonetheless charming. The Watsons’ originals are pleasant in a low-key Jesse Sykes style, although when it comes to lyrics, one wishes that they would follow the advice of their song “Dig a Little Deeper.” (Falling James)

Mad Juana at the Cat Club

You might remember Sami Yaffa from his days in the early-’80s Finnish hard-rock band Hanoi Rocks (although he’s apparently not involved in their reunion). He recently passed through town as the bassist in the reincarnated New York Dolls, and he wrote the hypnotically descending riff to “We’re All in Love,” the catchiest tune on the Dolls’ 2006 comeback CD. But Mad Juana, his ongoing project with his wife, Karmen Guy, is stranger and more exotic than anything else he’s ever done. “Domingo,” from the New York band’s upcoming CD, Bruja on the Corner (Azra), starts with mariachi horns and segues into an Old Word vibe with accordion and violin melodies that evoke Manu Chao, Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box. However, Ms. Guy’s bewitching singing takes things to a feverishly madcap place where dub, reggae, flamenco and punk collide seamlessly. It all comes together on “Revolution Avenue,” which sounds a little like Nina Hagen fronting Tijuana No! Wicked stuff. (Falling James)

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