Loading...

Rock Picks: Jon Brion, Andrew Bird, Tortoise, Vice Squad 

Also, Beyonce, the Datsuns, the Veils, the Germs and others

Tuesday, Jul 7 2009
Comments

FRIDAY, JULY 10

Jon Brion at Largo at the Coronet
It’s easy for Angelenos to take for granted that Jon Brion is going to be performing at Largo. After all, he does it most Friday nights, which you might note, as we often do, cruising past the theater on the way to the Sunset Strip or Hollywood. The pianist and songwriter composes in the office above, comes down to perform, then goes back up (at least, in our imagination, that’s how it works). This ubiquity, then, dictates the occasional reminder that, ahem, Jon Brion plays at Largo nearly every Friday night. The composer’s production work with Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Kanye West (he co-produced Late Registration), Brad Mehldau (the amazing Largo album) and Dido (her recent, underrated Safe Trip Home) combines to create an oeuvre that will remain relevant decades hence. His film scores for Paul Thomas Anderson (most notably Magnolia, but equally awesome is his work on Punch-Drunk Love), David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees) and Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York) suggest he’s comfortable working with strong cinematic personalities, but caresses their output with graceful, melodic scores. All this is just fodder for your brain-decider as you plop down on your couch and bemoan the volume of disposable music at L.A.’s hipster clubs. Brion’s Largo nights are usually filled with some of the town’s best session players, and at this point he’s so relaxed in front of the intimate crowd that it feels like we’re all camping out inside his muse. (Randall Roberts)

Andrew Bird at the Greek Theatre
Violin-toting Andrew Bird is one of the new breed of classically trained, technically accomplished yet musically open-minded singer-songwriters who let their hearts wander over accessible terrains of prettified indie-folk-rock while their heads hover in the sonic clouds. His latest, Noble Beast (Fat Possum), finds Bird in a gently experimental mode, hodgepodging whimsically structured and lyrically ambiguous tunes touching on the road, past lives, modern tech and chilling in the country. Sung in oddly parsed phraseology and a kind of odd nuance, and decorated with ornately wide-screen assemblages of acoustical surprise, the album’s songs are loaded with Bird’s very fine fiddle playing, often looped and filtered to shimmeringly haunting effect. Live, he pulls it all off with the aid of pedal-board samplers that mound and weave his violin, guitar, stomps, cries and whistles into misty mountains of sound. (John Payne)

click to flip through (2) Jon Brion
  • Jon Brion
 
 

Related Stories

Also playing Friday:

SARA LOV, BIG ORGAN TRIO at the Mint; EEK-A-MOUSE at Hollywood Park; MIXMASTER MIKE at the Viper Room; THE O’JAYS, RUSSELL THOMPKINS JR. & THE NEW STYLISTICS, THE DELFONICS & WILLIAM HART, JERRY BUTLER, HAROLD MELVIN’S BLUENOTES at the Gibson Amphitheatre; L.A. PHIL, BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL, DAVE GRUSIN, MONICA MANCINI at the Hollywood Bowl; THE RURAL ALBERTA ADVANTAGE at the Echo; OLETA ADAMS at Catalina Bar & Grill; FOREIGN BORN, WARPAINT at the Hammer Museum; BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY at the Ventura Theatre; THE TUBES at the Canyon; JOE, CHICO DEBARGE at the House of Blues; STEVE WYNN & THE MIRACLE THREE at Redballs Rock & Roll Pizza; TYRONE WELLS at the Troubadour; VICE SQUAD at Alex’s Bar.

 

SATURDAY, JULY 11

Tortoise at the Troubadour
Chicago’s veteran posteverything band Tortoise keeps coming up with unheard-of ways to smash the walls between progressive jazz, Reichian minimalism and other contemporary “serious music” concepts, mash-upping all comers in heavy, dense pools of post-hip-hop, electro noise, dubby space and mathy rock & roll. The just-out Beacons of Ancestorship (Thrill Jockey), their first in five years, adds to the intrigue of their non-genre meltdowns in tastefully radical ways. The group’s no-one-solos/everyone-solos spontaneous compositions unfold as complexly structured things made hummable and toe-tappable courtesy of equal nods toward melody, texture and rhythm. A powerful live proposition, Tortoise are too utterly slamming to be summed up as an electric-chamber ensemble. What matters is how these innovative multi-instrumentalists mutate their varied source materials into something entirely unlike anything you’ve ever heard before — until you heard Tortoise.  (John Payne)

Foot Village, Softboiled Eggies, Gowns, Lucky Dragons at the Smell
Percussion-heavy cuckoo birds Foot Village will be screaming again tonight for London label Upset the Rhythm’s band-appreciation night at the Smell. UTR is the home of now-famous L.A. Smell scene dudes No Age and loads of other smart indie bands of the era, in case you were wondering. The bill includes the constantly roster-changing Lucky Dragons, with their love of wind-chime sounds and group participation. Also playing tonight are intense folkies Gowns and all-girl, free-rock mess-makers T.I.T.S. But it’s Softboiled Eggies who make it look easy when they pull off cutesy electronica, badass new wave, fat slabs of noise and spinoffs of influences as far-flung as New Age Steppers, the Leopards, Beat Happening and Blondie. Thanks to their technical chops (Janet Kim majored in musical composition at Northwestern), Softboiled Eggies can imaginatively re-engineer all of them within their encyclopedic grip and thoughtful implementation of post-punk themes and rough, melody-driven songs. (Wendy Gilmartin)

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Check Out Our Metro Gold Line Bar Crawl

    Recently Thrillist published a Metro rail bar map. This heroic effort identifies a watering hole within a 10-minute walk of each station in the entire Metro rail system, minus a few that, tragically, lack any booze within walking distance. We’re big fans of public transportation and efficient drinking, so we decided to...
  • What to Expect at FYF

    In the 11 summers since it sparked its first mosh pit, FYF has morphed from a free and feral punk festival into a beloved August ritual within the L.A. music archipelago. Its 2014 lineup might be the strongest yet. Headliners The Strokes and Phoenix are signed to major labels, but...
  • Public Transpo Is Getting Good in L.A. and I'm Proud

    I consider myself a connoisseur of public transportation. My mother worked for MTA when I was a kid, which kept my young neck draped those in those yearly bus pass lanyards. I took the Red Line on the first day it opened; I was proud that my city had gotten...
    12
Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows