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Rock Picks: Os Mutantes, Hall and Oates, Bat for Lashes, Davila 666, Maia Sharp 

Also, the Mars Volta, Nine Inch Nails, Gun Outfit, the Pretenders and others

Wednesday, Aug 26 2009
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FRIDAY, AUGUST 28

The Warlocks, Morning After Girls at Spaceland
Let’s face it, that descriptive term psychedelic is getting a bit tired and nebulous. But then, it’s still the right umbrella to hoist over L.A.’s veteran dark freaks the Warlocks, among the first of the second wave of “psychedelic” bands to make the scene in the ’90s. After cutting down his massive guitar army to a small core unit to record the pop market–accessible Surgery (Mute, 2005), main man Bobby Hecksher changed labels to Tee Pee and layed out 2007’s ectoplasmic stoner epic Heavy Deavy Skull Lover, sort of a benchmark for all things, well, “psychedelic.” But you gotta hear the new The Mirror Cracked (Tee Pee), a superb return to formlessness utterly drenched in the band’s trademark losing-control menace. There is no sound like the Warlocks’ draggy, dolorous peals of dissonance to better conjure the essence of a really bad acid flashback — which sounds like it’d be a bummer to hear, but it’s not; lovely melodies buried beneath the band’s echoed-out descents into hell bring a strange kind of ecstasy to these windswept nightmares. The band also plays Spaceland on Saturday with Useless Keys and Black Apples. (John Payne)

 

click to flip through (3) GRANT PETERSON - Cracked actors: The Warlocks
  • Grant Peterson
  • Cracked actors: The Warlocks
   
 

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Os Mutantes at the Echoplex
The very strange and curiously influential Brazilian fellowship known as Os Mutantes was formed in Sao Paulo in 1965 by Arnaldo Baptista, Sergio Dias and future pop diva Rita Lee with the aim of purveying a tropicalia-tinged psychedelic rock that incorporated environmental sounds and musique concrete, ultradistortion and way-out studio FX into a frenzied, sprawling, good-humored and quite toe-tapping alternative pop music. Their humorous but musically deep brand of progressive rock found favor with discerning and with-it tastemakers such as Kurt Cobain and David Byrne, the latter snatching it up for release on an essential collection for his Luaka Bop label. The rest is not exactly history, but suffice to say that general critical acclaim has ensued right up to today, when the re-formed Mutantes release their first album of new stuff in 35 years. A wonderfully resonant blend of lilting acoustic folk and exhilaratingly freaky chaos, Haih or Amortecedor (Anti-) finds leader Dias in collaboration with Brazil’s legendary surrealist sambista Tom Ze. (John Payne)

 

Also playing Friday:

GANG GANG DANCE, ARIEL PINK at the Troubadour; B-SIDE PLAYERS, ROCKY DAWUNI, ALLENSWORTH at the Roxy; J.J. GREY & MOFRO, THE WHITE BUFFALO at El Rey Theatre; PETE YORN, JULIETTE COMMAGERE, J.D. KING at Henry Fonda Theater; TOM FREUND, MATT THE ELECTRICIAN, JESS KLEIN at McCabe’s; LIZA MINNELLI at the Hollywood Bowl; TED LEO & THE PHARMACISTS, JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD at the Echo; GREAT WHITE, JANI LANE, MANDY LION, STEEL THUNDER at House of Blues; THE HONKY TONK ANGELS, ROSIE FLORES, PATTY BOOKER, JANN BROWN at the Redwood Bar; HECUBA, LUCKY DRAGONS, BEAST COP at the Smell.

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 29

Akron/Family, Howlin’ Rain, Lucky Dragons at El Rey Theatre
Akron/Family has been spending a lot of time in Los Angeles of late, most notably holding down a three-night May residency at the Steve Allen Theater, but if those shows proved anything, it’s that this trio operates without template. The results can be mixed — Dana Janssen occasionally breaks into a well-intentioned freestyle rap — but the energy is always high, and the Family’s extremes are tempered by an internal system of checks and balances fueled by Seth Olinsky’s love for jamitude and Miles Seaton’s post-punk background. The band’s new record, Set ’Em Wild, Set ’Em Free, is Akron at its best: experimental yet hummable, ruminative yet danceable (in a tribal sort of way). Oakland’s Howlin’ Rain is an offshoot of Comets on Fire (each fronted by Ethan Miller), and is steeped in the traditions of San Francisco’s vintage blues-rock. Think Wolfmother with more melody and less put-on. Lucky Dragons is far harder to pin down in terms of genre, but just as concerned with soul-stirring. Make sure to arrive early enough to participate in the duo’s interactive show. (Chris Martins)

 

Box Elders, Audacity, Tijuana Panthers at the Echo
These Omaha boys have a rep for explosive, loud shows propelled by garage-rock fuzz and sweaty energy — compliments of well-listened-to Nuggets albums, old Dinosaur Jr. riffs and classic girl-group hooks. Like Fugazi might have sounded if they were recorded and produced by Phil Spector in 1963, brothers Clayton and Jeremiah McIntyre (along with drummer Dave Goldberg) are playing fucking punk skiffle. Their new one, Alice and Friends, is less than one month old and getting loads of attention online and on college radio stations. The LP’s infectiously catchy tunes are all stand outs, but unpretentiously modest with a home-recorded, bare bones approach. Their busy fall tour is gonna expose them to loads of new fans — see them now while you can get up close. The Southbay’s Tijuana Panthers swagger to a sweet and snuggly brand of nostalgic surf rock, with just a smidge of tough guy attitude to make the girls wilt. Audacity, on the other hand, throws down spazzy, old-fashioned, snot-nosed punk. This is an early show at 4 p.m. (Wendy Gilmartin)

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