Rock Picks: Pacha Massive, Calexico, Juliana Hatfield 

Also, We the People Festival, Temple Bar farewell, Mad Juana and more

Wednesday, Sep 24 2008


MISSION OF BURMA at the Echoplex

Tonight’s Mission of Burma set, in which the Boston post-punk band will perform their landmark 1982 album, Vs., in its entirety, presents a bit of an artistic conundrum. The album — which directly influenced Sonic Youth, R.E.M., Nirvana, Moby and even Pearl Jam (among many others) and was just reissued by Matador in a newly remastered “definitive” edition that includes bonus tracks and a DVD with a full concert performance from 1983 — encompasses such straight-ahead punk anthems as “The Ballad of Johnny Burma” and “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate,” as well as stranger explorations like the wiggly electric-eel guitar riffs of “Trem Two” and the haunting coda spirals of “Dead Pool.” MOB played only a couple of times in Los Angeles during their early-’80s heyday and then took a 19-year break before reuniting in 2002, so any chance to get sucked up again into the swirling, mesmerizing noise vortex of “Secrets” is worth reveling in. But it’s something of a paradox that such a forward-looking band of experimentalists are taking a nostalgic digression now, especially since their two magnificent comeback CDs, ONoffON (2004) and The Obliterati (2006), are equally deserving of the full-length live treatment. On the other hand, perhaps the arbitrary constraints of linear time are irrelevant because Vs. still sounds bracingly fresh today. (Falling James)

click to flip through (7) SABINE WALTZ - Laibach: Slovenian rhapsody
  • Sabine Waltz
  • Laibach: Slovenian rhapsody

CHICHA LIBRE, ETRAN FINATAWA at the Japanese American National Museum

Down in Peru, you got two kinds of chicha, your corn liquor and your cumbiadelic music. The rich folks and pointy heads don’t cotton much to either, looking down their snoots at the working stiffs who tie one on with the Incan hooch while getting down to those wavery geetars, organ con queso and tipsy-tumbling timbales. The music first shook its syncretic bootie in the late 1960s on Amazonian oil-field dance floors and soon spread to the urban jungle of Lima, soaking in rock, Latin and indigenous influences as the revelers smiled. But chicha remained unheard by the planetary ear until Barbès Records’ maven Olivier Conan “discovered” the good stuff during a Peruvian jaunt, inspiring an inimitably wonderful compilation, The Roots of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbia. The French expat’s NYC-based Chicha Libre released Sonido Amazonico! earlier this year, a goofball-fanatique channeling and reinvention of the chichanista groove. Joining them this evening is Etran Finatawa, the Tuareg/Wodaabe purveyors of the Saharan nomad blues who had Temple Bar in glorious trance several months back. Starts at 6:30 p.m. 369 E. First St., Little Tokyo. Etran Finatawa also at Amoeba Music, Tues., 7 p.m. (Tom Cheyney)

TUSSLE, RA RA RIOT at the Echo

One has only to hear the superficial attempts by the many lesser-equipped young Krautrockian bands to re-create the mesmerizing autopilot grooves of Kraftwerk and Neu in order to appreciate Tussle’s state-of-the-art-and-beyond aesthetic. The trio’s new disc, Cream Cuts, on the primo Smalltown Supersound label mixes their funk-laden improvs and dubtronic whirlpools with a newfound harmonic and textural depth and, crucially, a more structured sense of purpose that gives their woolly maelstroms of drums, electronics, bass and more electronics a palpably cinematic effect — though one is welcome to drop a jaw at the rapidly developing power, versatility and un-clichéd imagination of their instrumental chops. But forget all the Krautrock references, because the most exciting thing about this stuff is that it sounds like, well, nothing quite like what has come before. And that’s where it’s at. In a jarringly different realm altogether, Ra Ra Riot will provide the emo-tive rock passion to the 10th power as delivered so unsparingly on their new The Rhumb Line album on Barsuk. (John Payne)

THE SHONDES at Silverlake Lounge

The Shondes are named after the Yiddish word for “shame,” and it sometimes seems like the coed Brooklyn quartet are not only taking on all of the problems of the modern world but also trying to resolve every past injustice on their new Tony Maimone–produced CD, The Red Sea. Clearly, this is a serious and ambitious band. Louisa Solomon belts out her thoughtfully passionate lyrics with a grand voice that draws on the mannered fierceness of riot-grrl icons like Bikini Kill. At times, her delivery has a heroic intensity. At others, there’s a strident sameness that makes one wish Solomon employed a little more dynamic variety in her vocals or relaxed occasionally and revealed something approaching a sense of humor. Still, Elijah Oberman’s violin balances Solomon’s fire with slithering melodies that give tracks like “At the Water” a stately kind of beauty. And while “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” rips off the name of Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s similarly titled classic, it’s an otherwise unrelated song whose breathtaking dramatics are made even more magical by Ian Brannigan’s hovering sheets of post-punk guitars. (Falling James)

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