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Rock Picks: Tegan & Sara, Patti Smith, Stereolab 

Also, Pinback, the Quarrymen, Kris Kristofferson and more

Wednesday, Oct 15 2008
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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16    

 
Petra Haden & Woody Jackson at Largo at the Coronet

Judging by the gently heart-stabbing, utterly captivating charms of their upcoming disc, Ten Years (released digitally on DashGo Records), Petra Haden and Woody Jackson have invented their own new sort of music, whose total magic would be substantially squashed by a hamfisted rock critic trying give it a proper context and “rate” its relative worth. But it’s like that. Triple-double-threat Haden is the side player par excellence of soaring violin skills and equally formidable singing chops; she’s plied her trade with musicians as varied as Beck, Cibo Matto, Sean Lennon, Foo Fighters, Spain, Victoria Williams and Rickie Lee Jones, not to mention her own wondrously strange duo with Miss Murgatroid and her recent work with her famous bass-playing legend dad, Charlie, on their new Charlie Haden Family and Friends disc, Ocean of Diamonds. On Ten Years, she braids an especially hypnotic vocalese and violin around acoustic guitarist Woody Jackson in a dozen interludes of subtly shaded, quietly devastating and very, very pure beauty. (John Payne)

click to flip through (6) SALVADOR OCHOA - Girl in a Coma: Tattooed love goddesses
  • Salvador Ochoa
  • Girl in a Coma: Tattooed love goddesses
 

 
Also playing Thursday:

TINA TURNER at Staples Center; RUBEN GUEVARA at Eastside Luv; THE ORIGINAL WAILERS at the Key Club; HAYES CARLL at the Mint; JAGUAR LOVE at Silverlake Lounge; BAD DUDES at the Smell; MATT HALES at Paul Gleason Theater; PILAR DIAZ at SiteLA.

 
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17   

 
Tegan & Sara, Girl in a Coma at the Henry Fonda Theater

Canadian twin sisters Tegan & Sara continue their sold-out run of nights at this venue tonight, building on the momentum of their 2007 CD, The Con. Their songs of romantic attraction/repulsion — such as “Nineteen,” with its surging riffs and yearningly endearing lyrics (“I felt you in my legs before I ever met you”) — are carefully arranged with soothingly sweet harmonies. As diverting as Tegan & Sara can be, you shouldn’t miss openers Girl in a Coma, a San Antonio trio who are even more ambitious, taking their punk and riot-grrl influences into genuinely new and dramatically exhilarating territory on their Blackhearts Records debut, Both Before I’m Gone. The album opens with “Clumsy Sky,” as elegant chimes of guitar unfold under Nina Diaz’s positively lulling, maternally comforting vocals. Then her drummer-sister, Phanie Diaz, and bassist Jenn Alva knock down the door with an unexpected explosion of rhythm, and the song breaks free from its leash and rockets madly around the neighborhood. And yet, through all of the storms that follow, Diaz belts out her poetically probing lyrics with a deep and full, instantly recognizable voice that remains serenely searing. Moods range from the gauzy intimacy of “Road to Home” (with one of the year’s grandest hooks) and the Cure-like throb of “In the Background” to the punky incisions of “Mr. Chivalry.” Also Sat.-Sun. Girl in a Coma also at Amoeba Music, Mon., 7 p.m.; and Alex’s Bar, Wed. (Falling James)

 
The Roots, Gym Class Heroes, Estelle at the Hollywood Palladium

Earlier this year, I started to worry that the Roots had lost some of their against-the-grain mojo when word began to circulate that the Philly-based rap crew had removed “Birthday Girl,” a cutesy pop-rap collabo with Fall Out Boy front man Patrick Stump, from April’s Rising Down after killjoy Internet fans cried foul. Yet, six months later, here they are on tour with FOB pals Gym Class Heroes, whose new The Quilt contains no shortage of Stump-produced pop-rap jams. My bad, fellas — your iconoclastic spirit obviously still burns bright. In addition to Stump’s tracks, The Quilt also features shiny-happy hookups with hip-hop heavyweights Cool & Dre and The-Dream, clearly reflecting the band’s desire to transcend the emo-rap tag they otherwise live up to. English soul-hop siren Estelle is responsible for one of the year’s best singles, “American Boy,” in which she tells Kanye West how much she’d love to see L.A. Welcome! (Mikael Wood)

 
The Kris Special at Blackwatch Pub

There really is something special about the Kris Special. The semi-obscure local band’s 2007 debut CD, Alone Feels Like a Hotel Room, opens with a gently spacy ballad, “April Loved John,” which pairs dusty guitar chords with Anne Pointer’s plaintive cooing to create a lovely Mazzy Star–style idyll. The ballad “I Sleep Alone Sometimes,” with Nick Schutz’s low-key drumming and Andrew Dorsett’s weary lap-steel guitar plunges, is even more windswept and minimal. But just as you’re starting to label the Kris Special a sleepy alt-country band, they surprise you with tracks like “Untitled Z” and “Papers and Such,” which rumble with an early Gun Club drive. “Little Red Song” is a flat-out punk rock barnburner, as Pointer belies her churning fuzz chords with a cool, calm and collected vocal delivery. Still, she’s at her most affecting when she slows things down on such austere, melancholic songs as “Wet Payphone” and the subdued sarcasm of “Smile a Little Louder So They Can Hear You,” where she confides in a glassy, childlike voice, “What do they know about this place anyway? Fuck ’em . . . I’m sure God has reconsidered things.” 497 N. Central Ave. B, Upland. (Falling James)

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