By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Also playing Saturday:
WATKINS FAMILY HOUR at Largo at the Coronet; MONICA MANCINI at Royce Hall; WE ARE THE FURY at the Knitting Factory; TUCK & PATTI at the Catalina Bar & Grill; BLUE OCTOBER, OURS, STARS OF TRACK AND FIELD at Club Nokia; THE ADICTS, BILLY BONES, THE SPOOKIES at the Key Club.
SUNDAY, MARCH 22
DROOG, DAMIAN LAZARUS, CLIVE HENRY, JAMIE JONES, LEE FOSS at the Standard (downtown); VOODOO ORGANIST at Spaceland; TUCK & PATTI at the Catalina Bar & Grill; FACTORY RECORDS NIGHT WITH PART TIME PUNKS at the Echo.
MONDAY, MARCH 23
There aren’t enough mournful waltzes about California, for sure, and certainly not enough by PJ Harvey, whose new collaboration with guitarist John Parish, A Woman a Man Walked By, features the gorgeous, floating one-two-three ballad of lost love, “Leaving California.” In a sentiment most of us have uttered at one time or another, she confesses, “I don’t know why I’d stay/I think it’s time to leave.” Critical superlatives at this point are meaningless when it comes to one of rock’s great vocalists/songwriters/instrumentalists/charismatics, but it wouldn’t feel right not telling you that A Woman a Man Walked By is Polly Jean Harvey at the peak of her powers, a rich, velvet-upholstered 10-song creation featuring humming church-organ ballads (“April”); defiant, emasculating indictments (the title track features the amazing lines: “He had chicken liver balls/he had chicken liver spleen/he had chicken liver heart/made of chicken liver parts/lily-livered little parts/lily-livered little parts”); a mandolin dream-ditty riddle about a soldier’s sorrow, “The Soldier”; and seven other equally thrilling and complicated songs. Bonus for this El Rey show: Opener Howe Gelb, best known as the king of Giant Sand, is a longtime collaborator with both Harvey and Parish; the combination, either merely on the bill or, hopefully, in some sort of onstage get-together, bodes well for a great night of music. (Randall Roberts)
Also playing Monday:
DARK MEAT, LONG LEGGED WOMAN, IN RETROGRADE at the Smell; NICO STAI, THE TEMPER TRAP, OH LAND, ROSIE AND THE GOLDBUG at Spaceland.
TUESDAY, MARCH 24
An Horse at the Echoplex
Despite being saddled with an awkwardly bland name, the Australian duo An Horse come up with some appealing twists to the indie-rock formula on their new full-length CD, Rearrange Beds. Drummer Damon Cox chops up singer-guitarist Kate Cooper’s confessional love songs like “Camp Out” with rattling tempos and an effectively simple drive. “I can live through this/I can live through worse,” she sings, trying to put on a brave front. “So play it back in verse/My hips won’t give anything away ... I’m surprised how we fit together.” Cooper’s guitar strumming ranges from jangly pop to a more surging intensity, which provides a coolly angular contrast to her yearning, lovelorn vocals. Tegan & Sara more or less discovered An Horse at a record store in Australia and brought them along on a U.S. tour last year. That was all it took to raise domestic expectations for Rearrange Beds, which fulfills the embryonic promise of their 2008 debut CD, Not Really Scared. (Falling James)
T-Model Ford at the Echo
A man who didn’t really get his start in music until he was in his 70s, T-Model Ford has nonetheless poured a life full of hard living and hard knocks — including serving time for murder — into his songs. Now in his 80s, the Mississippi singer-guitarist plays a raw, stripped-down combination of rural roadhouse stomps and Chicago electric blues, accompanied onstage only by his drummer, Spam. His version of the blues on “Come Back Home” (from his second album, 1998’s You Better Keep Still) is much closer to the primal earthiness of Howlin’ Wolf than the slick superficiality of Robert Cray, and he’s inspired garage-rock bands like the Neckbones, who did a riotous cover of “Nobody Gets Me Down.” Despite his minimalist, no-nonsense approach, Ford has occasionally messed with expectations — much like Fat Possum label mates Paul Jones and R.L. Burnside — by throwing psychedelic hip-hop accents into remixes of songs like “Pop Pop Pop.” But most of the time, it all comes down to the gruff observations of this “Wood Cuttin’ Man,” and the way T-Model’s jumpy riffs flop and wriggle underneath the basic thwack of Spam’s drums. Also at Alex’s Bar, Wed. (Falling James)
Also playing Tuesday:
SPINTO BAND, MAPS & ATLASES at Spaceland; DESTRUCTION, MANTIC RITUAL, KRISLIN, TAKING OVER at the Key Club.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25
Marnie Stern, Starfucker at the Echo
New York guitarist Marnie Stern’s technique would be dazzling all by itself, as she casts out casually dexterous, intricately threaded finger-tapping solos, but her songs also have a crazed, arty inventiveness that takes her proficiency to another level. The barrage of hammer-ons on “Steely” has a heavy-metal power, but there’s also a delightful prog-punk eccentricity to the supercaffeinated sugar rush of layered vocals throughout her new Kill Rock Stars album, This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That. As the title might suggest, the nonstop assault of Stern’s ideas — whether expressed on the frets or through her words — can sometimes be wearying to mere mortals, but it can also be richly rewarding if you take the time to slow them down and pry them apart, as if you were deciphering the language of dolphins. This is the kind of music Kaki King might make if she were more into hard rock, or that Eddie Van Halen would come up with if he only had a brain. The Portland band Starfucker set the night up with colorful indie-pop songs like “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” and such breezy new-wavey interludes as “Myke Ptyson,” from their recent self-titled CD. (Falling James)