Rock Picks: Black Mountain, PJ Harvey and John Parish, Alice Russell, Starfucker | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Rock Picks: Black Mountain, PJ Harvey and John Parish, Alice Russell, Starfucker 

Also, T-Model Ford, the Sadies, Van Dyke Parks and others

Wednesday, Mar 18 2009
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FRIDAY, MARCH 20

Paul Wall, Aplus Certified at the Knitting Factory

Down South it’s too damn hot and humid to move most days between May and November, so they slow down the cars, the vibe and the lifestyle. They even slow the records to a narcotic crawl — a technique developed by DJ Screw in the ’90s. Paul Wall didn’t invent the cough syrup–induced flow born in Houston’s Southpark and Third Ward neighborhoods, but he took the signature chopped-and-screwed style to the national stage, and brought much notoriety back to Houston in 2005. Since most H-town artists are ruthlessly independent of major labels and don’t much tour outside the region, there’s no other way to hear Hugetown’s woozy-ass sound in L.A. unless you catch Paul Wall. With his Johnny Dang grill, tattoo sleeves and 32-ounce big gulp (drank inside), Wall is always a remarkable showman. Tonight he’s debuting tracks off his new album, Fast Life, like the strangely techno-tinged “Girl Is on Fire.” Come early for Altadena’s Aplus Certified (Ce-Jay and Aliyy), who’ve been breaking out of the Eastside scene with infectious hooks and raw beats. (Wendy Gilmartin)

click to flip through (5) DIGBY OLDRIDGE - Alice Russell: Yet more proof that the British Isles are a seething hotbed of soul
  • Digby Oldridge
  • Alice Russell: Yet more proof that the British Isles are a seething hotbed of soul
 

 

Four Tet, Jon Hopkins at the Echo

Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden is as responsible as anyone for establishing the folktronica sound — think skittering laptop beats overlaid with atmospheric acoustic noodling — that briefly dominated electronic music during the early part of this decade. (If you’re looking for classics of the subgenre, start with Four Tet’s 2001 Pause, which kind of sounds like an Aphex Twin remix of Solid Air by John Martyn.) His contribution secure, Hebden has since moved away somewhat from the folktronica thing, collaborating live and in the studio with jazz drummer Steve Reid and going in a synthier direction on last year’s Ringer EP. Live laptop stuff is never the most exciting thing to behold, but Hebden is better than most at creating an immersive sound world worth getting lost in. London-based opener Jon Hopkins got a leg up on his airy-electronica peers last year when Coldplay used a portion of his track “Light Through the Veins” on Viva La Vida; Domino is set to release Hopkins’ new album, Insides, on May 5. (Mikael Wood)

 

Also playing Friday:

THE ADICTS, THE DICKIES at the Key Club; A-TRAK, SINDEN, COUNT at Avalon; TUCK & PATTI at the Catalina Bar & Grill; RAKIM AND KEN-Y at Club Nokia; THE CORAL SEA, THE SPIRES, KARIN TATOYAN, AVI BUFFALO at Spaceland; JON BRION AND FRIENDS at Largo at the Coronet; WILL BERNARD FEAT. JOHN MEDESKI at the Roxy.

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 21

Alice Russell at the Troubadour

Way back in the day, a term such as “British soul singer” struck some as a bit of an oxymoron. But things change, and in this case it was probably around the time that Welsh coal miner’s son Tom Jones began humpin’ American stages and proving that “soul” had more to do with incentive and personal experience than the color of the skin that . well, enough of that old lecture. We now have, straight outta Brighton, the great Alice Russell to illustrate again that the British Isles are a seething hotbed of true soul sensations. Purveying her superfunky retro kinda thing, Russell brings the grit and grain to a slew of instant classics on her newish Pot of Gold set on Six Degrees. The album showcases Russell’s apparent ease in a variety of sassy belters, which portray a young singer obviously enamored of Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan, sure, but whose sound is dominated by au courant stylistic ingredients whose breeding source is most likely hers alone. It’s a forward-into-the-past aesthetic that her Brit male counterpart, the ace cool James Hunter, adopts as well to such authentically gritty effect. (John Payne)

 

Black Mountain, The Sadies at the Echoplex

With their lonely high-northern lamentations and their knotty bluegrass pluckin’, the Sadies are indeed some kind of country outfit (alt or otherwise), but they also like to trip out into stranger, Morricone-esque territory. They’re a country band from another country (Canada) that’s worked with simpatico No(w) Depression types like Neko Case, the Mekons’ Jon Langford and Blue Rodeo, but they’re also freaky enough to have backed the regally sleazy R&B icon Andre Williams on his 1999 CD, Red Dirt. Led by guitarist brothers Dallas Good and Travis Good, the Toronto group lay down some persuasive retro country settings behind X’s John Doe on their new Yep Roc covers CD, Country Club, roaming rootlessly like an unfaithful lover between the warring camps of Nashville and Bakersfield. But the deft way the Sadies collaborate with other folks shouldn’t obscure their own music, such as the sublime collision of spectral echoes that resonate at the end of “The Trial,” from their 2007 CD, New Seasons. They’re touring with Vancouver’s Black Mountain, whose relatively heavy songs vary from Black Sabbath psychedelic storminess to hazier “healing” rambles. (Falling James)

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