Rock Picks: Don Caballero, Yo! Majesty, Joan Baez, Juana Molina | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Rock Picks: Don Caballero, Yo! Majesty, Joan Baez, Juana Molina 

Also, Extreme Animals, Andrew Bird, Peach Fuzz, and others

Wednesday, Feb 11 2009


Veteran Pittsburgh atom-smashers Don Caballero are back, way back, with a new-old thing titled Punkgasm (Relapse), a subtle title that may clue you in to the brainily ballsy boom-boom bonanza enfolded within. The followup to last year’s overwhelming live set World Class Listening Problem, the new one offers yet more and, if possible, even trickier time signatures, several carloads of dissonantly drawn superstructures, and a number of satisfyingly indie-ironic song titles, such as “Celestial Dusty Groove,” “Why is the Couch Always Wet?,” and, of course, “Awe Man That’s Jive Skip.” Drummer/deity Damon Che leads his band through aforementioned stuff with a pyro-technique’d precision and a newfound dynamic range that tips a hat to the band’s free jazz and Crimso/Beefheartian forebears, yet easily transcends the headbanger symphonists from whom they also derive. Also: wicked, wanton ax/cheapo-synth chopper Spencer Seim of Hella, in his new, even more intensely rad role as sBach. (John Payne)


click to flip through (4) Yo! Majesty: They’d make - 2 Live Crew blush.
  • Yo! Majesty: They’d make 2 Live Crew blush.

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It’s worth tracking down the Cherry Bluestorms’ 2007 CD, Transit of Venus (Roundhouse Recording), if only because the 3-D cover is a spacy variation on the psychedelic artwork to the Rolling Stones’ 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request. The music inside isn’t bad, either, starting with a glittery makeover of the Beatles’ “Baby, You’re a Rich Man,” which is blown up by ex-Dickies guitarist Glen Laughlin’s crunchy, hard-bubblegum production and frosted with Deborah Gee’s sweetly reproachful vocals. The tune sounds fresh again and would probably already be in television commercials everywhere if the duo had any connections. In their best original songs, such as “Fear of Gravity,” Laughlin surrounds Gee’s desperately yearning vocals with swirling arpeggios and doomy, dramatic descending chords. On “Daisy Chain,” they get away with chanting giddy lyrics like “The moon and all the stars watch Venus dancing home to Mars” because there is real power in their power pop. The plainer lyrics in their lesser songs are generally offset by Gee’s clear, melodic singing and Laughlin’s jangly guitar curlicues. It could prove interesting to see how they fit their intergalactic pop into this small Audrey Hepburn–themed café on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Las Palmas Avenue. (Falling James)

Also playing Friday:

JON HASSELL & MAARIFA STREET at Royce Hall; PRINCE PAUL, PEANUT BUTTER WOLF, ARABIAN LOVER, DAM FUNK AND MAYER HAWTHORNE at the Echoplex; DEMETRI MARTIN at the Henry Fonda Theater; PATTI AUSTIN at Walt Disney Concert Hall; LL COOL J at Club Nokia; APPLESEED CAST at the Knitting Factory.




Tampa’s Yo! Majesty may never rise above the shock delivered by their raunchy debut, “Kryptonite Pussy,” but it’s not clear that these ladies give a damn, frankly. A recent press photo shows songstress Jwl B. midair, grasping her large, liberated breasts like they’re a pair of floaties (the same pair, by the way, makes frequent appearances at Y!M shows). And though their album, Futuristically Speaking ... Never Be Afraid,  includes production by esteemed folk like Basement Jaxx, Yo!’s lyrics are enough make 2 Live Crew blush. To wit, in “Hott,” rapper Shunda K informs us that “When I get aroused/I just stick it with my fist.” The duo — black, lesbian, Christian — flouts just about every social more one could imagine. Best enjoyed with a bottle of Courvoisier. (Chris Martins)

Feel the love Valentine’s Day when Pittsburgh-meets-San Diego duo Extreme Animals land in downtown. Much like their pals Black Dice and Neon Hunk, Extreme Animals (drummer David Wightman and noisemaker/MC Jacob Ciocci) pulverize sounds and beats to make a glorious, multilayered dance orgy — as if Wagon Christ had Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo’s baby, then raised the little one on pure corn syrup and meth. Ciocci’s laptop sends spastic MIDI transmissions to his ramshackle drum machine/keyboard, where he generates a series of feedback loops (and sings) through a mixer — Wightman provides the pounding accompaniment. Above all else, Ciocci and Wightman are master showmen, so expect any of the following: roller skates, group hugs, everyone encouraged to gather under a bed sheet, burning wires, interpretive dance, heat stroke, seeing rainbows, seeing God, etc. Openers Anavan are Smell darlings from way back. Their drumset antics, computers, microphone-rigged helmets and shredding dance grooves will have you sore the next day. (On Sunday, Ciocci will present films he’s created as a member of the art collective, Paperrad, at Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre; Fortress of Amplitude will perform, as well.) (Wendy Gilmartin)


Here’s a Valentine’s Day bill that should appeal equally to sad-sack loners and happy, sappy lovebirds. Peachfuzz’s love songs, such as “Change Her Mind,” will provide a fitting soundtrack for the evening, with their Beatles-eque chord changes and Big Star harmonies, but there’s also a welcome dose of good, old-fashioned Kinks-style cynicism and contrarian intelligence lurking in the folk-pop strumming of “L.A. Is Where I Belong” and “Hero of Nineteen Eighty Three,” from their 2007 CD, Catch Your Snap (Teenacide Records). So, whether you’re reveling in moon-in-June bliss or trying to get over the memory of an unhappy breakup, Peachfuzz will transcend cheap sentimentality by beefing up their pop hooks with a Cheap Trick drive. The coed Long Beach garage-punks the Thingz are all about love, but they’re apparently more enamored with homicidal pasta dishes and spiny undersea creatures than they are with actual people. There’s simply no time to mope and get tragic about lost love, as the silly trio whip into such deliriously manic and proudly flippant joke songs as “Manicotti Massacre” and “She’s a Piranha,” not to mention the incisive social commentary of “I’m Glad I’m Not a Mollusk.” Also with the fizzy, effervescent pop-rock of Peachfuzz’s Teenacide label mates the Makeout Party. (Falling James)

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