By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
MONDAY, OCTOBER 27
RADEMACHER, WESTERN STATES MOTEL at the Echo; 13th HOLE at the Good Hurt; MIKE STINSON at Redwood Bar & Grill; DEVON WILLIAMS’ SOMETHING at the Smell; KENAN BELL, THE MORNING BENDERS, WHITE ARROWS at Spaceland.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28
The Kooks have become really popular, really fast, by being really good. They’re sickeningly gifted (even their throwaway “hidden” tracks could be hits); obscenely prolific (choosing from “80 or 90” songs for this year’s sophomore opus Konk); and tour with both youthful gusto and genuine joy (often augmenting formal concerts with acoustic busking appearances). Though dropped from the same XTC/Libertines tree as fellow Brits Arctic Monkeys, the Kooks skip A.M.’s angular, smarty-pants charms and dying-for-a-piss urgency for a more contemplative, sometimes downright-breezy approach. Main-mouth Luke Pritchard summons instant nostalgia and youthful yearning in his Yorkshire-accented yelp, atop organic sheens of acoustic guitar and almost-caustic electric counter melodies that compliment the vocals like some odd sonic feng shui. Yet the band’s far from nad-less — the rhythm section blusters and bubbles away, but always with intelligent intent. The Kooks are cute little indie lads and all, but they know they’re damn great — and that swagger, combined with a frightening fountain of songcraft, will always fill theaters. (Paul Rogers)
And so it happened, just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial, only with Jeffrey Lewis and his skinhead roommate it was “Hey! You got anarcho-punk on my hippy-dippy!” The lo-fi anti-folk musician Lewis is also an album cover/comic-book artist, and he tells the story of 12 Crass Songs (Rough Trade) through a Zap Comix–style strip. That freshman-year encounter was the beginning of his relationship with Crass, a British band whose sloganeering and sense of justice jibed with his Lower East Side (home of the Fugs) upbringing and appreciation for Kurt Cobain. Stripping the punk band of their loud guitars (except for a very loud “Big A, Little A”) doesn’t sound as corny as a Green Day lullaby album; in fact, the bare-bones effect only accentuates the power and relevance of the songs. “Punk Is Dead” (with lines like “Punk became a fashion/just like hippy used to be”), for example, gives us insight into how protest music from the dirty underground ends up an overpriced BeDazzled CBGB T-shirt. (Daniel Siwek)
When more than 100,000 people — a good-sized city’s worth of the curious — want to listen to a new song of yours, you know something interesting is percolating. When you have almost twice that many looking at the follow-up song, you have faithful fans hungry for any blossom of new creation amid gardens of bitter nothingness. Hence Spinnerette. Made of up Distillers singer Brody Dalle, voice still as spiky and coarse as a really spiky and coarse thing, and Distillers guitarist Tony Bevilacqua, this supergroup also includes Alain Johannes, late of Eleven (and the late Natasha Shneider) and ex–Pearl Jam/Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons. Based on the strength of one song, “Valium Knights,” I can only wonder what the evening holds — but if the rest of the tunes have the same kind of consistently catchy and insistent pop tinged with whiffs of apocalypse, Dalle’s relative absence from the spotlight will seem less like class ditched and more like a smoke snatched in the bathroom. Also at Spaceland, Wed. (David Cotner)
Also playing Tuesday:
AGAINST ME, TED LEO & THE PHARMACISTS, FUTURE OF THE LEFT at the Wiltern; APOCALYPTICA at Avalon; KARABAL NIGHTLIFE, I MAKE THIS SOUND, EMMA & THE GHOSTS, THE SHIVERS at the Echo; UMPHREY’S McGEE, TEA LEAF GREEN at House of Blues; HONEYHONEY at Largo at the Coronet.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29
Germany’s appropriately inscrutable post-indie ensemble the Notwist return with The Devil, You + Me (Domino), the long-anticipated follow-up to 2002’s Neon Golden. These microscopically fine-etched and vaguely troubling productions seem a logical extension from the increasingly murky intimations of Neon Golden. The Notwist’s is a world where post-hip-hop electronics lace a dangerously drippy alterna-rock mopiness that creates — via superdetailed aural emotion fields mined with uncertain lyrical imagery that largely concerns God and his rumored existence — calm acceptance of death and even a kind of reveling in one’s chronic alienation. None of this is as big a bummer as it sounds; rather, the Notwist’s subdued menace creates a satisfyingly memorable gloom, and a curiously poignant one at that. The new songs, many of which are augmented by the avant-classical Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, profit deeply by their willingness to jump off from common musical forms into thrillingly uncharted expressive realms. (John Payne)
Also playing Wednesday:
NEW YORK DOLLS at Ventura Theatre; ROB DICKINSON, THE BITTERSWEETS at the Hotel Café; MATT NATHANSON, JESSIE BAYLIN at House of Blues; AKWID, LA SINFONIA, CROOKED STILO at Knitting Factory; MYSTIC, MEDUSA at Sam’s at the Regent; POLAR GOLDIE CATS at the Smell; SPINNERETTE at Spaceland; DANNY B. HARVEY at Taix.