THURSDAY, AUGUST 7
The Faint, Jaguar Love, Shy Child at Henry Fonda Theater
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The Boredoms love you eight days a week.
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The radio makes Mary Weiss cry.
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Sin 34 puckers up.
Here’s a solid triple bill that shouldn’t be missed by anyone wondering if the indie-rock underground has outgrown its love affair with danceable post-punk. The Faint, from Omaha, have a new album out this week called Fasciinatiion, and though it’s the first record the band are releasing on their own (until now they’ve been part of the sprawling Saddle Creek family), the CD doesn’t reveal any big departure from the electro-goth jams they kicked out on Danse Macabre and Wet From Birth. Jaguar Love are a kicky new Portland-based outfit featuring members of Pretty Girls Make Graves and Blood Brothers, both of whom recently called it quits; on their Matador debut, Take Me to the Sea (due on August 19), the Jaguars dial down the basement-show fury of their previous acts and bump up the off-kilter tune sense. New York’s Shy Child play a sort of American version of the nü-rave stuff being churned out by British bands like Klaxons and Does It Offend You, Yeah? Also Fri., Aug. 8. (Mikael Wood)
Oliver Mtukudzi, Rocky Dawuni at the Santa Monica Pier
Why does the Western media focus on the bad news from Africa? In some cases, though, no news may mean good news, even though the lack of coverage remains a sore point. Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi’s Zimbabwe has been in the headlines as a continental basket case, largely because of the policies of hold-on-to-power-at-all-costs leader Robert Mugabe. For years, Tuku’s subtly intoxicating southern African home brew has offered Zimbabweans a way to unwind and reflect, his gruff-voiced morality tales commenting on personal choices and societal ills. Yet, L.A. resident Rocky Dawuni’s homeland, Ghana, rarely gets any ink or photons, even though it’s a working democracy with a free press, and — despite endemic poverty and problematic corruption — is generally regarded as an African beacon. No stranger to global music fans here, the peripatetic Dawuni has been working with the likes of UNICEF, gigging back home and elsewhere, as well as finishing his long-awaited follow-up to 2005’s Afro-synergistic Book of Changes. Get ready for some good news with this double-thrill bill, which starts at 7 p.m. (Tom Cheyney)
Also playing Thursday:
AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT, RADARS TO THE SKY at El Rey Theatre; BIC RUNGA at Largo; ROLLING BLACKOUTS at Silverlake Lounge; TARA JANE O’NEIL, BOBB BRUNO at the Smell; DARKER MY LOVE, TWEAK BIRD at the Troubadour; PEANUT BUTTER WOLF at Little Temple.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 8
88BoaDrum at La Brea Tar Pits
To a certain subset of the music world, the announcement that Japanese tribal punk band the Boredoms were to perform in L.A. a variation on last year’s “77BoaDrum,” a 77-minute piece written for 77 drummers that commenced at 7:07 p.m. on 07/07/07, came as a relief. Because for those of us unable to attend its only performance in Brooklyn, the past 13 months have been tough; the legend of that day has grown exponentially, and it’s discussed by attendees with a sort of spiritual reverence. It was like the Rapture had happened, and we were the Left Behind. So, phew, salvation is at hand: Now comes “88BoaDrum”: 88 drummers at La Brea Tar Pits performing an 88-minute composition that will commence at 8:08 p.m. on August 8, 2008.
It’s a notion that could only come from the head of main Boredom Yamantaka Eye, who has cut a wide swath through the art and music world over the past quarter century. He founded the Boredoms as a spazz punk band in the mid-’80s, and, along with drummer Yoshimi P-We (who may be best known as the protagonist of the Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots), they specialized in split-second bursts of songs. Few lasted longer than a minute.
In the intervening years, though, they’ve stretched to create focused, rhythmic mantras. If before they had schizophrenia, the band now suffers from OCD: They find a groove and obsess over it for fifteen minutes (and in concert, sometimes 45 minutes). As well, recent performances like the one this spring at the Henry Fonda Theater have featured an astounding instrument: a seven-necked guitar that is rolled out on a dolly and stands upright like a sculpture. Each neck has a different tuning, and, as three drummers, a bassist and a guitarist develop a groove on their own instruments, Eye employs drumsticks and mallets to use the guitar-beast as a percussion instrument. He hits the strings like they’re gongs, each clanging and humming with surprising beauty. He’ll apparently be using the instrument during “88BoaDrum.” This is a musical event not to be missed, a once-in-a-lifetime moment. The performance is free, though you must have a ticket to get in. If there are any still available, they’re at Amoeba Music and LACMA. If not, arrive early and get a good spot outside the fence. It’s not like you’re going to have a hard time hearing it. 5801 Wilshire Blvd. (Randall Roberts)