Rock Picks: Rupa & the April Fishes, Gnarls Barkley, Emmylou Harris 

Also, Black Kids, Chromeo, Alejandro Escovedo

Wednesday, Jul 23 2008

The Rescues at the Hotel Café

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click to flip through (5) Something fishy: Rupa & the April Fishes
  • Something fishy: Rupa & the April Fishes

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Something fishy: Rupa & the April Fishes

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Wanda Jackson: Let’s have a party.

Earache Records

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At the Gates dazzle with the wonders of backlighting.

Singer-songwriters Kyler England, Gabriel Mann and Adrianne became familiar with one another in the Hotel Café scene, where each achieved some individual, if limited, success (all made Music Connection’s 2007 Hot 100 Unsigned list). Last year, a fan hired the three to play at his wedding, and they struck such a musical spark that they decided to band together as the Rescues. Each brings a different quality — Adrianne has a feisty, punkish energy, Kyler projects a more angelic presence, and keyboardist Gabriel holds down the middle — but they blend marvelously. Listening to their harmonizing on their upcoming disc, Crazy Ever After, it’s hard to believe they’ve only been playing together for about a year. Their voices take flight on the soaring opener, “Lost Along the Way,” and rarely land again. Their music, however, isn’t all soft edges. The gorgeously crafted rocker “Break Me Out” has already found music-supervisor love (getting showcased on Army Wives) and seems destined to break out big. (Michael Berick)

Baka Beyond at Skirball Cultural Center

Not all musical hybrids are as organic as those in the botanical realm, but Baka Beyond’s Afro-Celtic graftings have flourished better than most. Maybe it’s the forest connection. Martin Cradick and Su Hart first lived with the Baka people in the Cameroonian deep green in the early 1990s, developing lasting friendships, as well as an abiding love of the bird-song hocketing of yelli music, which first bloomed with Baka Beyond’s debut, Spirit of the Forest. The band have garnered a global fan base since then, but their friends back in the emerald canopy have never been far from Cradick’s and Hart’s thoughts. They have visited as often as possible, recording there and starting the Global Music Exchange to funnel royalties back to the Baka, culminating in the construction of a traditional-style music house. The current Baka Beyond — pan-African and pan-Celtic in membership and songcraft — strikes chords celebratory and mystic, jaunty and melancholy, a testament to the planetary potential for vibrational positivity. (Tom Cheyney)

Dizzee Rascal at the Echoplex

“Let’s take it back to that old-school storytelling shit,” Dizzee Rascal raps in “Sirens,” from last year’s Maths + English, the third record by the U.K.’s premier grime export. Rascal’s story (raised in a contemporary nonfiction version of Oliver Twist; sorting out a new direction for hip-hop on his 2003 debut, Boy in da Corner; winning Britan’s coveted Mercury Prize at 19 years old) has been told over Corner, 2004’s half-hearted Showtime and the excellent, charged Maths + English. Grime, an aggressive pastiche that includes Jamaican dancehall, British garage rock and American rap, only took hold in the U.S. insofar as Dizzee’s moderate, if emblematic stateside success. His pained squawk delivers stories worth the telling, mostly through heightened and artful literalism and a less-cartoonish version of the gangsta-rap tradition, backed by awkward, often grinding, DIY beats that render the music as a bottom-up social broadcast rather than headphone entertainment. (Kate Carraway)

Also playing Thursday:




Rupa & the April Fishes at California Plaza

Don’t confuse Rupa & the April Fishes with Hootie & the Blowfish. Instead of Blowfish bar pop, Rupa delivers a world-café musical blend that suggests something you’d hear on a Parisian side street. In actuality, the band hails from the San Francisco area; however; Rupa Marya comes by her global sound naturally. Born in the Bay Area to Indian immigrants, she spent her childhood in India and teenage years in a highly Arab area of southern France. Returning to the States, she got a medical degree but couldn’t ignore her love of music. Rupa assembled an eclectic acoustic ensemble, which includes cello, accordion and trumpet, to create genre-melding, Gypsy-spirited tunes that reflect her multicultural upbringing. Singing in French, English, Spanish and Hindi, Rupa and her Fish-mates populate their invigorating debut, Extraordinary Rendition, with enchanting chansons that exude a boho joie de vivre that’s tempered with a soupçon of melancholia. 350 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; noon. Also at Skirball Cultural Center, Sat. (Michael Berick)

Also playing Friday:

DIANA ROSS at Hollywood Bowl; LOS LONELY BOYS, LOS LOBOS at Greek Theatre; PASTILLA at Safari Sam’s.

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