Rock Picks: The Wailers, Thelonious Dub, Halfmonk, Mike Watt & the Secondmen | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Rock Picks: The Wailers, Thelonious Dub, Halfmonk, Mike Watt & the Secondmen 

Plus, Good for the Jews, Legowelt, Resistant Culture, and others

Wednesday, Dec 24 2008

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Mike Watt & the Secondmen, Listing Ship at Redwood Bar & Grill

The gently arty folk collective Listing Ship wouldn’t seem, at first glance, to be the most appropriate band to be paired on a bill with the aggro, bass-pounding Mike Watt, but the former Minuteman was a guest star on the Ship’s 2005 CD, Time to Dream. Although Watt might be best known for the punk-funk minimalism of the Minutemen and the funk-punk sprawl of the Stooges, he reveals his softer side with such side projects as the contemplative bass duo Dos. While Watt’s clench-throated huffing and puffing and indulgence in classic-rock noodling can occasionally get predictable in his countless other projects (which range from the L.A. supergroup Banyan and a non-ironic Madonna homage, the Madonnabes, to several Stooges tribute bands, in addition to the real article), he tends to play with more focus and creativity when doing his own material. Jamming on other folks’ songs must be a great release for Watt, but he’s much more interesting when he’s approximating the Minutemen’s forward-looking inventiveness with the Secondmen than when he’s dipping into someone else’s retro bag. Listing Ship followed the rustically charming Time to Dream with the restless sea chanteys and subversive folk-pop of A Hull Full of Oil and Bone, one of this year’s most quietly impressive local releases. The album encompasses Lyman Chaffee’s sarcastically chipper new-wave anthems (“Voice of the Future”) and such utterly spellbinding ballads as “Depression,” where Shawn Lockie sings with a funereal glow, adorned elegantly by her sister Heather’s sympathetic viola. (Falling James)

Legowelt at Mountain Bar

click to flip through (6) Straight, no chaser: Thelonious Dub
  • Straight, no chaser: Thelonious Dub

When Dutch musician Legowelt (a.k.a. Danny Wolfers) released his first album, Pimpshifter, in 1998, he looked to the EBM/Jack tracks from Chicago and the noisy techno-electro being made by Drexciya in Detroit. A few years later, Lego’s “Disco Route” had Kraftwerk and Moroder sharing a pair of skis on a Ghostly Records hit. Now he produces giallo-italo, meaning it’s no Fun Fun, and the dance is a sleazy, scary place (as directed by Argento, Bava or Lenzi) where the killer hooks may very well be a killer’s hook accented by a Goblin soundtrack. Legowelt will be playing cuts from his upcoming release, Vatos Locos, for the Crème Organization (though he runs his own Strange Life label), which was founded TLR, your opening DJ. TLR is also behind the Global Darkness headquarters, which hosts a loose conglomeration of labels (Bunker, Clone, Crème, Godspill, Viewlexx and others) located in the Hague. They’ve coined their sound “The West Coast of Holland,” and you can go to to hear it (it’s where Legowelt deejays The Astro Unicorn Show, and TLR does the Back to Music show). (Daniel Siwek)

Also playing Saturday:

LUIS & THE WILDFIRES at the Derby; MARI IIJIMA at Genghis Cohen; STRUNG OUT, SUPERSUCKERS at House of Blues; ROSEMARY’S BILLYGOAT, SWORDS OF FATIMA at House of Blues; PRINCETON at Spaceland (see Music feature); JOE BAIZA’S UNIVERSAL CONGRESS OF . . ., BLACK WIDOWS at Taix; BIBLICAL PROOF OF UFOs at Buccaneer Lounge; CAFÉ R&B at Harvelle’s; ANDRE THIERRY & ZYDECO MAGIC at the Elks Lodge, Gardena; JAMES INTVELD at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill.



Halfmonk, Jen Hung at Mandrake Bar

Here we have another one of these most immaculately hip new-music-type events promoted for the sheer crazy belief in it by one true local hero, the electric-ax-god-and-so-much-more known as G.E. Stinson. He has undertaken the tireless promotion of these super-high-quality electronic/new-jazz/nongenre bills around town for the past several years, to partially fill the void left by the demise of Nels Cline’s great New Music Mondays at the old Alligator in Santa Monica. Anyway, tonight’s bill features Stinson himself under his Halfmonk appellation, doing a solo bit on various laptop and “x tech” guitar configurations; Jen Hung contributes vocals and sundry oral and digital effects, and one B.K. Bynum provides the piquant video abstruseness. These events you need to know about and attend, the next time you catch yourself saying there’s nothing going on in this town. Please note the early time slot, 7-9 p.m. 2692 S. La Cienega Blvd. (310) 837-3297. (John Payne)

Also playing Sunday:

THE SPINNERS at Grove of Anaheim; STRUNG OUT, SUPERSUCKERS at House of Blues; KARLING ABBEYGATE, AMBER FOXX, MEMPHIS KINGS at Redwood Bar & Grill, noon; NEIL HAMBURGER at Spaceland.



Robin Thicke, Chrisette Michele at Club Nokia

His wildly eclectic (and wildly underrated) 2003 debut, A Beautiful World, suggested the arrival of a brash R&B envelope-pusher, but Robin Thicke has since evolved into one of the genre’s most traditionally minded talents. (Not for nothing did the son of sitcom star Alan Thicke call his 2006 sophomore set The Evolution of Robin Thicke.) Thanks, no doubt, to the success of the mellow Evolution hit “Lost Without U,” this year’s Something Else is perhaps a little too cool for school — all those slow-burning odes to true-blue romance can blur together, no matter how well sung. That said, Thicke is a straight-up charmer onstage; at House of Blues back in August, he flexed his falsetto for the females and did appealingly goofy dances for . . . well, those were probably for the females too. Opener Chrisette Michele’s 2007 debut, I Am, didn’t receive as much attention as it should have, which is why a recent post on her MySpace page describes a studio session with Ne-Yo. (Mikael Wood)

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