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Rock Picks: Leonard Cohen, Wavves, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Britney Spears 

Also, The Henry Clay People, Vetiver, Mad Professor and others

Wednesday, Apr 8 2009
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FRIDAY, APRIL 10

LOS FABULOSOS CADILLACS AT GIBSON AMPHITHEATRE

After a seven-year hiatus, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs are finally touring again, despite the loss of percussionist Gerardo “Toto” Rotblat, who died last year, shortly before rehearsals for the reunion. Their latest CD, La Luz del Ritmo, might at first seem like a tentative return, with only five new songs alongside two covers and six remakes of early classics, but it’s supertight and supergrooving, and ultimately emphasizes the Buenos Aires group’s ongoing importance in the rock en español (and plain old rock, for that matter) scene. As ever, Vicentico croons over Señor Flavio’s supple bass lines on a danceable-but-diverse set of moods, ranging from pop wistfulness (“Nosotros Egoístas” and “Hoy”) and sad ska (“Basta de Llamarme Así”) to slinky disco-funk (“El Genio del Dub”) and spaghetti Western rock grandeur (“El Fin del Amor”). Like many older Latin-rock bands, Los Fabs (who started in 1985) are heavily influenced by Two Tone ska and British new wave. While they’re not as politically and musically confrontational as countrymen Todos Tus Muertos or Mexican ska-punks Tijuana No, they still crank out some energetic Spanish-language reinterpretations of the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and Ian Dury’s “Wake Up & Make Love With Me.” (Falling James)

click to flip through (5) After a seven-year hiatus, the influential Argentinian band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs returns.
  • After a seven-year hiatus, the influential Argentinian band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs returns.
 

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MONOTONIX, THE MAE SHI, ANAVAN AT SPACELAND

The local sonic terrorists Anavan have come a long way since their early days as an abrasively noisy outfit. There are still suggestions of art-punk bands like the Screamers and the Deadbeats in such tracks as “Pregnancy Test” and “Queen,” from their new CD, Cover Story (Slanty Shanty Records), but there are also perky, shiny electro-pop workouts “Take It Back” and “The Perfect Sound,” which come off like ’80s-era Sparks. Transformation is a recurring theme on Cover Story, particularly the wonders of plastic surgery, as touted in the hyper new-wave anthem “Skin Like Heather,” whose lyrics promise a “better life when you go under the knife.” Some kind of surgical intervention — disastrous or otherwise — is hinted at in the post-punk interlude “Traumatology” with its cryptic refrains of “The mirror reminds me” and “Let me see what you have done.” As wild as Anavan are, they’re just the start of an evening that includes similarly bent locals the Mae Shi and the savage-rock Tel Aviv trio Monotonix, who literally climb the walls at their gigs. (Falling James)

 

Also playing Friday:

KODE 9, FLYING LOTUS at the Echoplex; TRAVIS, THE REPUBLIC TIGERS at the Wiltern; DARK STAR ORCHESTRA at El Rey Theatre; SEASONS, KARIN TATOYAN, THE HECTORS at the Echo; THE DISCO BISCUITS at House of Blues.

 
SATURDAY, APRIL 11

LEONARD COHEN AT NOKIA THEATER

A lot of ink has been spilled about Leonard Cohen and his classic songs over the years, but little of it has been dedicated to a stormy 1977 collaboration the singer, songwriter and poet had with producer/murder defendant Phil Spector. The push/pull between the two strongheaded auteurs has become the stuff of Hollywood legend. Cohen and Spector’s method of teamwork reportedly involved an armed and volatile Spector locking lyricist Cohen out of the studio while the producer crafted the music. The result, Death of a Ladies’ Man, is a wonderfully uneven eight-song album, which, in hindsight, could be seen as a portent re: the death of Lana Clarkson. Song titles include: “True Love Leaves No Traces,” “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On” and “Fingerprints,” all key themes in the Spector murder trial. In fact, had the producer paid closer attention to Cohen’s refrain for “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On,” Spector may have avoided a whole heap of trouble. Sings Cohen (with Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg on backing vocals): “Don’t go home with your hard-on/It will only drive you insane/You can’t shake it (or break it) with your Motown/You can’t melt it down in the rain.” Also Fri. (Randall Roberts)

 

MARK OLSON, GARY LOURIS, TEDDY THOMPSON AT LARGO

Former Jayhawks bandmates Mark Olson and Gary Louris have been touring as a duo over the past couple of years, playing stuff from the Jayhawks songbook and from each of their solo records. This time through town, though, they’ve got something new in tow: Ready for the Flood, their first studio collaboration since the Jayhawks’ 1995 Tomorrow the Green Grass. (This summer the Green Grass lineup will reunite for a show in the band’s hometown of Minneapolis.) Produced by Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes (who also helmed Louris’ Vagabonds, from last year), Flood finds these alt-country journeymen operating right in their sweet spot, harmonizing handsomely over strummy roots-music arrangements long on dusty-window atmosphere. Opener Teddy Thompson (the son of English folkies Richard and Linda, of Shoot Out the Lights fame) has spent the past decade working as a sideman for the likes of Rufus Wainwright and Marianne Faithfull and recording a string of excellent but sadly underappreciated folk-rock discs. (Mikael Wood)

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