Loading...

Rock Picks: Raveonettes, Amebix, Thorns of Life 

Also, the Head Cat, the Spanks, Jimmy Webb and others

Wednesday, Jan 21 2009
Comments

THURSDAY, JANUARY 22

CHROMEO AT THE KEY CLUB

Chromeo robo-walk down the mothership’s ramp, chanting “Take me to your dealer!” through pawnshop vocoders before re-materializing at some word-of-mouth loft party full of American Apparel models. The Montreal-based pair produce electro-funk laced with dangerous doses of irony, introducing the club-staple synths of New Order and Human League to karaoke-evoking early Madonna disco-lite, the brittle guitars and optimistic keys of Billy Ocean and even that chummily vomit-inducing Ghost Busters theme. It’s a tired, oversaturated genre but, as ever, it’ll be the strong left standing, and Chromeo — alongside their Aussie cuzzes Cut Copy and the Presets — are rippling with DJ instincts. They grasp that those of a certain age want to be transported back to responsibility-free high school/college days and that, dammit, no one wants to be “challenged” by music all the time. Anyone on a stage has an ego, but Chromeo’s music is an escapist dance-floor soundtrack, not some self-pitying/-important window into their oh-so-fascinating souls. (Paul Rogers)

click to flip through (3) SEAN P. COSTELLO - The Spanks
  • Sean P. Costello
  • The Spanks
   
 

Related Stories

GEORGE JONES AT SAN MANUEL INDIAN BINGO

George Jones, the undisputed king of country music, has always been a weird, enigmatic character. Capable of the most intensely moving song interpretations known to man, he seems, offstage, a near-inarticulate, withdrawn character (remember his painfully wooden “interview” style on TNN’s early-’90s gab fest The George Jones Show?). Jones’ proclivity for mixing genius with self-destruction is unrivaled — his greatest artistic success was achieved at a point in his life when whiskey and cocaine use had so badly ravaged the singer, he was missing many of his bookings and his weight had dropped below 100 pounds. He’s still barnstorming the hinterlands in his mid-70s (this date was only confirmed within the last two weeks). Jones’ pipes may be somewhat diminished, but he remains the same purely aesthetic force he was as a 10-year-old street singer in Beaumont, Texas; Jones was stunned when people began pitching coins at him because, as he said, “I would’ve been happy to do it for free.” (Jonny Whiteside)

Also playing Thursday:

SHITN A, KEVIN LITROW, HALLOWEEN SWIM TEAM at the Airliner; WILLIE NELSON at the Canyon; AMEBIX at the Echoplex; THE RESCUES, JOSH KELLEY, AM at the Hotel Cafe; DUANE PETERS GUNFIGHT, PRIMA DONNA at the Knitting Factory; FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE at Largo; LOVE GRENADES, WAR TAPES at the Roxy; NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS at the Troubadour.

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 23

THORNS OF LIFE, UNDERGROUND RAILROAD TO CANDYLAND AT EAGLE ROCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS

The world’s been a lonelier place since Blake Schwarzenbach disappeared nearly six years ago. The former Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil singer-guitarist left fans with a gaping hole that couldn’t be filled with the limitless supply of heart-on-sleeve imitators who emerged after his departure. Schwarzenbach didn’t write the handbook for the genre the media call emo, but he sure as hell perfected it with Jawbreaker. If the YouTube video evidence means anything, then that despair is now gone, because Thorns of Life, Schwarzenbach’s latest trio (rounded out by drummer Aaron Cometbus and bassist Daniela Sea), have taken the three-chords-and-sorrow formula from Jawbreaker’s Unfun and 24 Hour Revenge Therapy and slowed it down a tad for a graceful transition into the third (and hopefully not final) act of Schwarzenbach’s career. And on the off chance Thorns of Life totally suck, San Pedro’s the Underground Railroad to Candyland are playing. Led by headband-wearing extraordinaire/Toys that Kill frontman Todd Congelliere, the former quartet have added a percussionist and keyboardist to their bag of catchy, punk-meets-pop-meets-surf tunes. (Ryan Ritchie)

AMEBIX AT THE COBALT CAFÉ

If you find the insipid giddiness, mindless euphoria and manufactured escapism of modern corporate-punk bands to be profoundly depressing instead of cheerily goofy, you might be in need of a serious shot of Amebix. Some of the crucial, long-out-of-print early releases by the ’80s British crust-punk originators were released last year on the Alternative Tentacles collection No Sanctuary: The Spiderleg Recordings. The CD is a welcome blast from the days when being a punk rocker was actually a dangerous lifestyle choice instead of a Hot Tip marketing ploy, back when Amebix were living in freezing squats, stealing food from shops, supporting leftist causes and battling the police at Stonehenge. Although Rob “The Baron” Miller’s caustically blasphemous lyrics might be in the same league as fellow anarcho-punks Crass, Amebix’s music also combines the scabrous minimalism of punk rock with heavier, darker post-punk riffery and guttural vocals à la Venom and Killing Joke. The intro to the deceptively titled “Sunshine Ward” unfolds with elegant guitar chimes and mournfully melodic vocals (which have an almost-Morrissey-like melancholy) before segueing into a mechanized crunch of sinister power chords. The lyrics to “The Church Is for Sinners” (where the Baron howls, “The priests, when told of starving kids, look on in mock dismay”) reminds me of the smug expression I saw on Cardinal Roger Mahony’s face just last week, as he blew off two young environmental activists who tried to get him to sign a petition outside Gelson’s supermarket. As long as repressive (and repressed) criminals continue to hide behind generals’ uniforms and priests’ smocks, the music of Amebix will always be relevant. The band is doing two sets tonight, at 6 & 9:30 p.m. (Falling James)

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Check Out Our Metro Gold Line Bar Crawl

    Recently Thrillist published a Metro rail bar map. This heroic effort identifies a watering hole within a 10-minute walk of each station in the entire Metro rail system, minus a few that, tragically, lack any booze within walking distance. We’re big fans of public transportation and efficient drinking, so we decided to...
  • What to Expect at FYF

    In the 11 summers since it sparked its first mosh pit, FYF has morphed from a free and feral punk festival into a beloved August ritual within the L.A. music archipelago. Its 2014 lineup might be the strongest yet. Headliners The Strokes and Phoenix are signed to major labels, but...
  • Public Transpo Is Getting Good in L.A. and I'm Proud

    I consider myself a connoisseur of public transportation. My mother worked for MTA when I was a kid, which kept my young neck draped those in those yearly bus pass lanyards. I took the Red Line on the first day it opened; I was proud that my city had gotten...
    12
Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows