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Rock Picks: Quantic and his Combo Bárbaro, Elvis Costello, Rock & Roll Summer Circus 

Also, Flaming Lips, Clipse, Silk Flowers, the Muffs and others

Wednesday, Aug 12 2009
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FRIDAY, AUGUST 14

Rock & Roll Summer Circus featuring Henry Clay People, Fol Chen, Flying Tourbillon Orchestra, others at the Echoplex
The fact that Highland Park’s Fol Chen made this record called Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made (Asthmatic Kitty), a nauseatingly unholy admixture of disparate stuff that really shouldn’t go together and still taste good but does, shouldn’t be all that mind-blowing. But it is — their joyfully strange couplings of slinky punk-funk and hardcore thrashy sludgehammer rifferini and plastique-pop ditty and Krautrock arcaneness/angular art-rock pointy-headedness and pumping electro-dance are one thing, but when you add it all up, you get, sheesh, you get Led Zep. ... You’ve gotta hear their version of Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones” on Spin’s Purplish Rain compilation; it’s kinda sick, but that’s a good sick. Glendale’s power-pop/punk upstarts Henry Clay People, who have organized this night at the Echoplex, keep it way loose, classic-rock rootsy and just super-super unpretench. They’ll be returning from their debut Lollapalooza performance. Also on the bill are solo acoustic sets from the Damselles, Les Blanks, Eli Monolator and others. (John Payne)

 

Babyland at the Smell
“Let’s ignore every sound that we made before,” Dan chants on Babyland’s ninth CD, Cavecraft (Metropolis), as his “good cop” partner, Smith, fires up his banks of noise machines. “This was the plan/It was always meant to hurt.” And it hurts so good, as the local electronic junk-punk duo rattle up a fearsome racket of synthesizers, programming, percussion, “flint axes, animal skins and fire.” They apply a punk-rock attack to electronic tracks like “Rimer Drive Tiger” and “Search and Rescue,” whereas such soundscapes as “Low Relics” and the harrowing noise-fest “The End of All Summers” trip out into heavier, weirder territory. Babyland have been subverting expectations since 1989, when they were one of the stranger, less-doctrinaire bands on the punk label Flipside. As they declare on their MySpace page, “We utilize machinery twisted through misuse and human error to aggressively address our audience with empathy and concern.” And what’s next for the ever-changing pair? Cavecraft closes with a typically forward-thinking lyric: “Possibility and evolution remain.” Babyland perform a benefit tonight for the Cancer Wellness Center, joined by BARR and This Song Is a Mess But So Am I. (Falling James)

click to flip through (3) Babyland: subverting expectations since 1989
  • Babyland: subverting expectations since 1989
   
 

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Also playing Friday:

DOES IT OFFEND YOU, YEAH? (DJ SET) at Avalon; STACY EARLE & MARK STUART at McCabe’s; IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE, CHINO XL, DIABOLIC, MYSTIC at the Knitting Factory; THE DAN BAND at Club Nokia; LIL WAYNE, YOUNG JEEZY, SOULJA BOY, PLEASURE P, DRAKE at the Honda Center; LAKESIDE, MIKI HOWARD, MICHAEL COLYAR at the Ford Amphitheater; JOE BAIZA’S CONGRESS OF, KAT ARTHUR & THE HELLCATS at Taix; BANCO DE GAIA at Social Hollywood; DICKEY BETTS & GREAT SOUTHERN at Brixton South Bay; GREAT WHITE, NINTH CIRCLE, 2 CENTS at the Canyon; TRANSIT STUDIO, THREE DATE THEORY, JACK LEFT TOWN at the Dakota Music Lounge; JON BRION at Largo at the Coronet.

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 15

Quantic and his Combo Bárbaro, J.Rocc, Nu-Mark, Sake One, Ganas at the Echoplex
Prolific British native William Holland, a.k.a. Quantic, has long dwelled (creatively speaking) in a land far more funky than Merry Old England, so it comes as no surprise that he’s carved out a home for himself in Cali, Columbia, so-called “Capital de la Salsa.” Since relocating there in 2007, the multi-instrumentalist has established his own analog studio and released three albums under three of his various pseudonyms/band permutations. Quantic and His Combo Bárbaro have just released their debut LP, Tradition In Transition, on Tru Thoughts, the label that has hosted the majority of Holland’s forays into soulful Latin-influenced jazz-funk. Malcolm Cotto himself (he of Stones Throw outfit Heliocentrics) plays drums in this group of barbarians (which is what the band name translates to), and this night promises some “very special guests.” The DJ lineup alone is enough to fulfill that claim: Beat Junkie extraordinaire J.Rocc and Jurassic 5 grad Nu-Mark accompanied by San Francisco’s Sake One and Poo-Bah Records associate Ganas. (Chris Martins)

 

Abney Park at the Knitting Factory
They aren’t from the future, nor are they from the past, but the crew of the HMS Ophelia, otherwise known as the electronic-rock band Abney Park, are ready to touch down on L.A. once again. Conceived as a band of wanderers sailing the skies in search of adventure, the Seattle-based outfit combines steampunk-styled imagery and storytelling with postapocalyptic, perhaps Burning Man–inspired elements. Musically, Abney Park draws liberally from the goth-industrial school of rock. Big, dark synthesizers meet with Captain Robert Brown’s dramatic vocal deliveries and Middle Eastern percussion for a sound that is as theatrical as the band’s performance style. Onstage, Abney Park leaves no detail unattended. Gothic belly-dancing routines (and, occasionally, aerial routines) will captivate the crowd as the band jams away on gear modified to look as though it had been designed by Jules Verne. Expect a spectacle. (Liz Ohanesian)

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