Rock Picks: Daedelus, Peanut Butter Wolf, Femi Kuti, Isis 

Also, The Choke, Nouvelle Vague, Wilco, Sunset Rubdown and others

Thursday, Jun 18 2009


LoveLikeFire at the Bootleg Theatre
Emotional for sure, but call them emo and you will not get too far with LoveLikeFire’s singer, Ann Yu. Loaded with contrasts, the band got together in the dead heat of Las Vegas (with some sonic and personal six-degrees-of-separation to Sin City’s Killers) but they flourished in the lushness of Fog City, S.F., and you can tell. “William,” the title cut of their latest E.P. (out of three to date) has more layers than a body-conscious shoegazer at the Hard Rock Hotel’s “Rehab” pool party, but “My Left Eye” seems confident and relaxed in its acoustic sparseness (except for the unsettling sound of an ambulance siren creeping through from the street). They already had a gas across the Pond, where Heist or Hit Records will release their first full-length this summer, but you can bet you will be hearing much more about them before the summer’s over. This Bootleg show is the makeup date for the canceled Spaceland gig we hope you didn’t drive to. (Daniel Siwek)


click to flip through (3) Nouvelle Vague
  • Nouvelle Vague

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Grizzly Bear at the Wiltern
What’s perhaps most surprising about Grizzly Bear’s new album, Veckatimest, is all the frantic rhythms and circling melodies, considering the band these days is best known for gorgeous vocal harmonies. But that’s the beauty of Grizzly Bear: comprising four guys who are quite obviously passionate students of American pop and rock, the Brooklyn band steals and borrows and otherwise co-opts from across the canon, creating a mix of so many sounds that are so familiar with us that they’ve nestled themselves into our consciousness almost immediately. A little Simon and Garfunkel melody here; some Brian Wilson harmonies there; some Van Dyke Parks–esque arrangements coupled with Phil Spector’s wall-of-sound beauty. Which isn’t to say it sounds retro; on the contrary: These dynamics, so ingrained in our consciousness, so of this world, take on a whole different meaning when coupled with synths, rhythms and many, many layers. New backgrounds change the foreground. New sounds change the old ones. Grizzly Bear. (Randall Roberts)


Also playing Friday:




Nouvelle Vague at the Henry Fonda Theater
This sly French outfit has unexpectedly outlasted the boutique-hotel utility of its self-titled 2004 debut, on which multi-instrumentalists Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux, along with a cast of freelance femme-fatale vocalists, put a tasty bossa nova spin on such post-punk classics as Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Too Drunk to Fuck” by the Dead Kennedys. This month brings the release (in Europe, anyway) of Nouvelle Vague’s third studio set, NV3, and in seeming acknowledgment of the way the band has stuck around long enough to prove it’s not just a gimmick, the new set expands on the cutesy NV template with a rootsier sound and guest appearances by some of the folks who originally sang the tunes being covered; especially fine is a twang-rock rendition of Depeche Mode’s “Master and Servant” featuring Martin Gore. An American issue is in the works for later this year, but show up tonight for a sweet sneak preview. (Mikael Wood)


Martin Bisi at Relax Bar
Brooklyn singer-guitarist Martin Bisi might be best known for his production and engineering work with Bill Laswell, Sonic Youth, John Zorn, Swans, Jim Thirlwell, Ramones, Cop Shoot Cop, Herbie Hancock and the Dresden Dolls, but his own music is often quite fascinating, and frequently overlooked. He issued such strangely engrossing solo CDs as Creole Mass and Dear Papi, I’m in Jail on New Alliance in the late ’80s and mid-’90s, which encompassed arty weirdness, Latin-rock psychedelia and indigenous folk soundscapes. A high point was “Brava!,” a duet with Boss Hog’s Cristina Martinez from 1993’s All Will Be Won that married swirling guitar jangle with swaying tidal rhythms and tempestuous Spanish-language passion. It’s already been a decade since Bisi released Milkyway of Love , but he’s finally followed up that CD with another bout of uncategorizable experimentation, Sirens of the Apocalypse (Black Freighter Records). Crooning in English with a mush-mouthed voice that unwittingly evokes Jonathan Richman and the Alley Cats’ Randy Stodola (remember him?), the Argentine native pays alternately baleful and sarcastic Zappa-tastic homages to such apocalyptic sirens as “Mary Maudlin,” “Buddhist Girl” and “Goth Chick ’98.” A circusy prog-cabaret vibe runs through the album, broken up by Bisi’s occasional demented spoken-word skits. While Sirens doesn’t always reach the dizzying heights of songs like “Brava!,” it doesn’t sound like anything else out there today. Bisi also appears at Vacation Vinyl, 4679 Hollywood Blvd.; Sun., 5:30 p.m. (Falling James)


Also playing Saturday:

SHELLAC, ARCWELDER at the Echoplex; PJ HARVEY & JOHN PARISH at the Wiltern; THE ENGLISH BEAT at the Canyon; ME WITHOUT YOU, THE DEAR HUNTER, BEAR COLONY at El Rey Theatre; DE LA SOUL at the Galaxy Theatre; CHAIRLIFT, DUBLAB DJS at the Getty Center; DEAN & BRITTA at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre; THE QUEERS, THE MANSFIELDS, HOT TODDIES, ATOM AGE at Alex’s Bar; OREN LAVIE at the Mint.

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