FRIDAY, JANUARY 2
Aaron Beaumont at the Hotel Café
Maybe, just maybe, a new Elton John might be just what the doctor ordered, someone who can bring a new life to the ancient music-hall/pop piano-man tradition, with clear-headed songs of genuinely witty lyrical oomph and, most of all, a historically informed musical depth — all delivered with style, grace, wit and élan, of course. Your candidate for such a new contender might very well be one Aaron Beaumont, a young L.A.-based singer-songwriter who’s just put out this very choice platter on Milan Records called Nothing’s Forever, Not Even Goodbye. Beaumont’s love of the melodic flair of the ’20s and ’30s will take him far; his stuff simply never sounds trite, at least not in the earnest passion of his emotional palette — and he’s got that in spades. It might have something to do with his training as a classical pianist, or his experience playing trumpet in jazz bands, or being a bassist in hard-rock bands, sure, but ultimately it’s a matter of talent + taste + a keen intelligence. (John Payne)
George Clinton at Club Nokia
George Clinton puts on a new set of musical disguises on his recent all-covers CD, George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love, where the P-Funk mastermind digs into some of his favorite songs and expands on them with typically freaky sonic twists. His version of “Let the Good Times Roll,” abetted by Kim Manning and protégés the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Clinton produced the Peppers’ 1985 album, Freaky Styley), is truly weird with its psychedelic hard-rock guitar, funk rhythms and childlike vocals, all of it anchored to a gospel foundation. Guest star Carlos Santana adds some stinging licks to brighten a mellow R&B take on “Gypsy Woman,” while “Sway” drifts on an exotic (pot) cloud of flamenco guitars and exotic vocals. And is that a rare Sly Stone sighting on Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t That Peculiar”? The remake, which also features El Debarge, moves with a slinky, spacy cool-funk groove that makes it one of the stranger makeovers of this song since the Gun Club’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce turned it into a rural-blues anthem. Meanwhile, gospel singer Kim Burrell gives “Mathematics of Love” a contrastingly straightforward jazz-pop feel, before Clinton drops in with his gruff, craggy vocals to take the song into tripper places. At tonight’s show, Clinton promises to tear the roof off the very unfunky Club Nokia with a set of his P-Funk classics. (Falling James)
Also playing Friday:
THE SLACKERS, SEAN WHEELER & ZANDER SCHLOSS at El Rey Theatre; L.A. GUNS at Brixton South Bay; YOU ME & IOWA, SHILOE at the Redwood Bar & Grill; MICHTO PELO at Taix; THE MORMONS, THE MONOLATORS, SEASONS at American Legion Post 206, Highland Park; THE FORTY FOURS at Cozy’s Bar & Grill; PHIL GATES at the Cellar; CODY BRYANT at Viva Cantina.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 3
The Kris Special at Spaceland
The Kris Special are really two bands in one on their 2007 CD, Alone Feels Like a Hotel Room. There’s the mellow outfit that stirs up laid-back ballads like “Fiasco” and “April Loved John,” which glows with a Mazzy Star charm. There’s a hint of high-&-lonesome pedal-steel guitars washing over the austere ballad “I Sleep Alone Sometimes,” as singer Anne Pointer confides her rueful lyrics with a countrified lilt. You could call it country music, but it’s been stretched out and expanded across dusty desert landscapes until it’s become something more haunting and less predictable. And, of course, there’s the other Kris Special that allows drummer Nick Schutz to rip it up on faster, harder-rocking tunes like “Untitled Z” and “Little Red Song,” which churns with a punky X-style attack. “I knock down for-sale signs,” Pointer sings enigmatically on the jangly romp “Theme for the Get-Away Car.” What sets the Kris Special apart — whether they’re rocking it up on “Shadow Smart” or getting glacial on the lulling soundscape “Wet Payphone” — is Pointer’s gift for unexpectedly poetic lyrics. They’re already one of L.A.’s most intriguing bands. (Falling James)
Also playing Saturday:
PRIMA DONNA, LADYKILLERS at the Knitting Factory; PSYCHOSTAR, CARNAGE ASADA, STAB CITY at the Redwood Bar & Grill; CHENCHA BERRINCHES, ORGULLO CAFE, VIERNES 13 at the Roxy; SIMON STOKES, DOGWEED at Taix; CODY BRYANT at Viva Cantina; ROD PIAZZA & THE MIGHTY FLYERS at Arcadia Blues Club; CADILLAC ZACK, DEACON JONES at the Cellar.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 4
REEL BIG FISH at Grove of Anaheim; SECRET SOCIETY OF THE SONIC SIX at Echo Curio; FISHTANK ENSEMBLE at Hotel Café; WOUNDED LION, BODIES OF WATER at the Smell; JAKE LA BOTZ at Liquid Kitty; THE TOLEDO SHOW at Harvelle’s.
MONDAY, JANUARY 5
Teeth at La Cita
You might think Teeth belong a few doors down from La Cita at the scene-setting club the Smell (in fact, Teeth are playing there Friday, January 9). But there’s probably no better way to celebrate the dawn of a new year (and to wave bye bye to the turd that was 2008) than with the combined onslaught of La Cita’s fabulously fun club Moustache Mondays and Teeth’s no-frills, dance-punk frenzy. Ximon Tayki (a.k.a. Simon Leahy) is affiliated with other queercore assemblages like Acid Bwabes and Tiniest Muscles, and makes the melodies in Teeth by formulating Atari-esque beeps and buzzing swoops (you won 10,000 points!) on his crappy laptop. Teeth’s boorish beats and happy delivery sink in easy, thanks to spastic pounder Simon Whybray and his patchwork kit of drum parts, as well as shouter Veronica So, who pogos and growls with a flair all her own. (Wendy Gilmartin)