Rock Picks: Fol Chen, Moonrats, Brightblack Morning Light, Bachelorette | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Rock Picks: Fol Chen, Moonrats, Brightblack Morning Light, Bachelorette 

Also, the Curious Mystery, Graham Parker, Miss Derringer, Marduk and others

Wednesday, May 27 2009
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FRIDAY, MAY 29

Brightblack Morning Light at Eagle Rock Cultural Center
Brightblack Morning Light hang at the fringe of society (even by desert-rat standards), with stories of commune life and solar-powered recording sessions, a fondness for crystals and yurts onstage, and tales of performances holding Anasazi arrowheads in their mouths. I’ve even heard “Everybody Daylight” in a yoga class — but just let that go. Breathe in Brightblack Morning Light deeply and hold it, because what comes next is pure sonic bliss (and because life’s too short to be a hater, cynical hipster). When Nathan “Nabob” Shineywater (on slide guitar) and Rachel “Rabob” Hughes (on her junk-store Rhodes) supernaturally coalesce after about five minutes of playing, they conjure up a ghostly, ancient blues crawl — executed at the clip of a dirge — and it’s one of the more enlightening and enjoyable live experiences to be had. The saxophone sighs and slightly swung beats (compliments of Otto Hauser, from Devendra Banhart’s band) invoke cool twilight breezes off the Mesa and whiffs of burning sage and hash — the perfect soundtrack for an early summer’s eve. (Wendy Gilmartin)

 

click to flip through (3) Miss Derringer
  • Miss Derringer
   
 

Riverboat Gamblers, Miss Derringer at Spaceland
Riverboat Gamblers are a straightforwardly hard-rocking, punkish band from Texas who started out in 1997. At their best, on tracks like “True Crime,” the Gamblers come close to the flat-out intensity of their influences the Candy Snatchers and the Humpers. On the other hand, such recent songs as “A Choppy, Yet Sincere Apology” and “Victory Lap” reveal a distressing tendency to mimic the slap-happy emo-ish vocals and generically slick production of most modern corporate-punk bands. It’s a shame that a once-distinctive outfit like Riverboat Gamblers would suck up to the mainstream in such an obvious fashion, but the group’s notoriously rowdy live assault should at least temporarily drown out and bury such bland ambitions tonight. Locals Miss Derringer continue to perfect their stylized reinvention of ’60s girl-group pop and semi-rootsy rock on their upcoming full-length CD, Winter Hill. Considering that they’ve worked with Blondie drummer Clem Burke (as well as folks like former Avengers/Chris Isaak sideman Jimmy Wilsey and Throw Rag howler Sean Wheeler), it’s not surprising that Miss D evoke Blondie on “Bulletproof Heart” and “Death by Desire.” Noted artist-sculptor Liz McGrath is a winsome front person, and her guitarist-husband, Morgan Slade — despite some tearstained, romantic lyrics that aren’t especially memorable — pens effectively evocative retro music. (Falling James)

 

Graham Parker at McCabe’s
In the late ’70s, Graham Parker was lumped together with Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson as the “Angry Young Men” of the English new wave, a designation that ultimately seemed arbitrary and kind of silly. For one thing, Parker predates the other two; for another, he’s the only one of the trio who actually rocked. While he wasn’t nearly as fiery as Britain’s real angry young men (e.g., Johnny Rotten, Joe Strummer and Crass’ Steve Ignorant), Parker had the balls to diss his own record company with the ebulliently rebellious “Mercury Poisoning” in 1979. His records with the Rumor, especially Squeezing Out the Sparks, combined his Bob Dylan sneer and Motown pop influences with the band’s pub-rock energy. After the breakup of the Rumor in 1980, Parker continued to make fine, mostly overlooked records, but he’s had a bit of a career resurgence in the past decade after signing with Bloodshot Records. He looked back on his life with the catchy folk song “I Discovered Columbus,” and his 2007 CD, Don’t Tell Columbus, ranks as one of his best albums. Last year, he shone the searing light of reason and logic on the concept of superstitious religious beliefs, with the digital single “The End of Faith,” showing that Parker’s still testing boundaries and messing with expectations even as folks like Costello slip ever further into a comforting easy-listening obsolescence. (Falling James)

 

Also playing Friday:

BASSNECTAR, J BOOGIE, NOSAJ THING at the Henry Fonda Theater; ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, GROUPER at the Wiltern; GREG LASWELL, SAM BRADLEY, MOLLY JENSON at the Hotel Cafe; JON BRION AND FRIENDS at Largo at the Coronet; TIGA, JAMES MURPHY at Avalon; LYKKI LI at the Masonic Cemetery; KING KHAN AND THE SHRINES at the Echo; THE BRIGGS, MAJORITY LOST, TIME AGAIN, VIVA HATE at the Knitting Factory; BUTCH WALKER, PONDEROSA, SHOVELS AND ROPE at El Rey Theatre; PASSION PIT, CALE PARKS, HARLEM SHAKES at the Echoplex; VAST at the Key Club.

 

SATURDAY, MAY 30

The Flatlanders at the Troubadour
The Lone Star State’s resumé of iconic characters spans a wild gamut — Ernest Tubb, Leatherface, Gov. Ann Richards — and chief among the West Texas division are singer-songwriters Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, back in town again working as the Flatlanders, the offbeat unit with which they launched their professional careers almost 40 years ago. The Flatlanders were a gentle rabble who crafted an innovative type of post-Outlaw modern country that ranged in outlook and attitude from defiant honky-tonk desperation to interstellar philosophizing, all put over with a Texcentric emphasis and insurgent relish that’s always colored the work of each man. Hitting the bandstand with their clutch of vintage classics and a slew of new numbers from the current Hills & Valleys disc, this three-headed monster never fails to get the job done. The new set is a marvel in terms of their painstaking employ of symbolism and metaphor, and with country music roaring full-throttle in the opposite direction, the trio have achieved what, for such full-blown misfits, once seemed impossible: preservation of the peace and dignity of the idiom as a whole. (Jonny Whiteside)

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