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Rock Picks: Camper Van Beethoven, Cass McCombs, AC/DC 

Also, Twilight Circus Dub Sound System, Magda, Hedgehog, Mos Def and others

Wednesday, Sep 2 2009
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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

The Happy Hollows, the Health Club at Spaceland
The Happy Hollows are the kind of musicians who like to set up and play at spontaneously chosen locations around town — underground tunnels, parking lots, oil fields, an urban pumpkin patch — as they did last fall, when they were part of the Guerrilla Fest. The trio’s new full-length CD, Spells, is likewise full of surprises that crop up in the strangest places, such as the way that the giddy bubblegum pop of “We Will Find You” suddenly switches gears into a post-punk art-funk stoniness. Sarah Negahdari chirps sweetly enough at the fuzz-punk beginning of “Lieutenant,” but soon she’s bending her ethereal voice and manically intricate guitar riffs around the song’s proggy twists and turns like Marnie Stern. Similarly, “Monster Room” is pretty and weird, with its combination of Breeders harmonies and sideways-raining Urinals guitar. The Hollows cast their Spells out into the great, big world at tonight’s record release, supported by the Pity Party, the Boxing Lesson, and the Health Club, another local trio with a penchant for turning post-punk riffs inside-out. (Falling James)

 

click to flip through (4) The Happy Hollows: We will find you.
  • The Happy Hollows: We will find you.
     
 

Also playing Friday:

IDYLLISTS, COSIO, JUDSON MCKINNEY at the Bootleg Theater; FRANK SINATRA JR. at the Canyon Club; JON BRION at Largo at the Coronet; UDACHI, BREAKDOWN, DEATHFACE, PAPARAZZI at El Rey Theatre.

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Jay Electronica at the Hollywood Palladium
Even hardcore Mos Def fans had to have been worried about the health of the actor-rapper’s career for the past few years: First he releases the supremely half-assed True Magic, an album so uninspired it came without cover art, then he stars with Jack Black in Be Kind Rewind, Michel Gondry’s high-concept VHS-nostalgia dud. Fortunately, Mos came back strong earlier this year with The Ecstatic, a dense slab of brainy-gritty boogie-down widely praised as his finest since his landmark solo debut, Black on Both Sides. (Dude also cropped up in a nice episode of House.) Tonight’s show is the final date of his North American tour in support of the new record, and for the occasion he’ll be joined by Erykah Badu, who should never be missed; Badu reportedly plans to release the sequel to 2008’s New Amerykah before the end of the year, so perhaps she’ll provide a preview. Blog-rap buzz baby Jay Electronica opens. (Mikael Wood)

 

Long Beach Blues Festival at Rainbow Lagoon Park
Summer’s almost gone, and nothing says goodbye better than the blues. Don’t let this festival’s bucolic seaside setting fool you. There’ll be plenty of bittersweet romantic despair and existential soulful loneliness piercing the salty afternoon air, along with the occasional saving grace of gospel exultation. Saturday’s lineup includes the Funky Meters (New Orleans’ heirs to the Meters’ tradition), blues-guitar dazzlers Johnny Winter and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and the passionate Detroit ’60s soul singer Bettye LaVette, who’s thriving in the wake of belated critical recognition in the past decade. LaVette is a stirring vocalist, whether she’s bringing new life to Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” or turning Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” into an austere piano ballad. (“One thing’s for sure: I was the only black chick in the ghetto singing it,” she says about covering the latter tune in the mid-1970s.) Sunday’s bill features the legendary vocal group Blind Boys of Alabama, Louisiana slide guitarist Sonny Landreth, recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Womack (whose “It’s All Over Now” was covered by the Rolling Stones), and Mavis Staples, who is also having a bit of a resurgence in her long and storied career. The inspirational Staples Sister is resolved to take you with her down that swampy “Freedom Highway,” and she won’t brook any argument: “Made up my mind/And I won’t turn around.” (Falling James)

 

Also playing Saturday:

NINE INCH NAILS, HEALTH at the Wiltern; BUYEPONGO at Juanita’s; THE AVETT BROTHERS, SALLIE FORD & THE SOUND OUTSIDE at the Orpheum Theatre; CRAWLSPACE, SACCHARINE TRUST, PEG LEG LOVE at American Legion Post 206; THIS IS THE STATE, LISA DONNELLY at the Bootleg Theater; TANDEMORO, THE VOYEURS, THE BREAKUPS at Spaceland; BOB WEIR & RATDOG, JACKIE GREENE at the Greek Theatre; BUSHWALLA, BIG GIGANTIC at the Mint.

 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

Angel City Jazz Fest with Bennie Maupin, Wayne Horvitz, Dave Douglas, The Nels Cline Singers at John Anson Ford Amphitheatre
It’s billed as “L.A.’s Only Alternative, Non-Commercial Jazz Festival,” and you really ought to be grateful for the progressive plateful of heavy hitters shreddin’ the boards for your new thing–seeking pleasure. This is a chance to experience the very best in the more modernist spheres of jazz-aligned new music. Certain highlights are Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker’s jam with the Nels Cline Singers, featuring superax from Wilco guitarist Nels (and not a singer in sight); Nels’ bro, drummer-composer extraordinaire Alex Cline, brings his Band of the Moment; revered nu-jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas debuts his alternatively arranged Brass Ecstasy; woodwind player/composer Bennie Maupin and an all-star crew present Dolphyana, West Coast premieres of newly discovered compositions by Eric Dolphy. Also, pianist Wayne Horvitz’s extraordinary Gravitas Quartet, pianist Motoko Honda and butoh master Oguri, the Gathering, featuring woodwind player Jesse Sharps and vocalist Dwight Trible, and many others. Also Mon. (John Payne)

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