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Rock Picks: Sunset Rubdown, Alela Diane, Pelican, Rose Melberg 

Also, Yacht, the Woolly Bandits, Linda Ronstadt and others

Wednesday, Oct 21 2009
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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23

Yacht at 740 Club
YACHT’s new album, See Mystery Lights (DFA), is the oft-hilariously brilliant brainchild of Jona Bechtolt, formerly half of the Blow. YACHT (Young Americans Challenging High Technology) rose from the ashes as a duo, Bechtolt now joined with Claire L. Evans, a science writer, artist and noise-art specialist. Inspired by paranormal phenomena in the West Texas desert, the spookily cheery Mystery Lights is a glittering jewel bag of extremely catchy electro-pop delights stuffed with enough brain-warping new-digital sonic scrappage to keep you scratching your head for months to come — you can dance at the same time, can’t you? If these are club anthems, it’s a new kind of club for the curious only, and that, of course, ought to be all of us. (John Payne)

 

click to flip through (2) The Woolly Bandits. - See Thursday.
  • The Woolly Bandits. See Thursday.
 
 

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Ben Gibbard & Jay Farrar, John Roderick (The Long Winters) at El Rey Theatre
As the story goes, Death Cab for Cutie main man Ben Gibbard and Son Volt singer Jay Farrar got together to bang out a couple of tunes for an upcoming Jack Kerouac documentary and wound up parting ways with an album between them. One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur is both the film and the record, and musically speaking, it’s hard to imagine a better way to pay tribute to the seminal Beat poet — this project, by nature, might just be the perfect mix of sensitivity, Americana and spontaneity. The Gibbard/Farrar LP comprises 12 minimal, mostly acoustic tunes whose lyrics are pulled directly from Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur. The two share vocal duty, and are accompanied live by players from each of their bands, as well as Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster (also, “other surprise material” has been promised). John Roderick opens, also performing without his usual outfit, the Long Winters. The Seattle indie rocker is adept on both guitar and piano, so expect a full night of intimate storytelling by way of song. (Chris Martins)

 

Kurt Vile and the Violators at Spaceland
Philadephia-based Vile is one of a handful of scrappy young garage-rock dudes with buzzy new records out on Matador; in his publicity photos he looks quite a bit like Jay Reatard, who himself could probably pass for the longhaired guy in Girls. Vile’s early stuff inspired lots of comparisons to the dad-approved likes of Tom Petty and Bob Seger, but that’s not really his vibe on Childish Prodigy, which goes artier and more textural, climaxing in a synth-soaked instrumental called “Goodbye, Freaks” that sounds like a dudes-in-a-room version of Kraftwerk. Elsewhere on Prodigy Vile drowns his slashing guitars in woozy reverb (“Hunchback”), layers on the AM-radio static (“Dead Alive”) and stretches his Krautrock approximation past the seven-minute mark (“Freak Train”). He’s playing here with his band; expect a good deal of noise. (Mikael Wood)

 

Also playing Friday:

BEN GIBBARD & JAY FARRAR at El Rey Theatre; AFRIKA BAMBAATAA, PRINCE WHIPPER WHIP at Amoeba Music; JOAN OSBORNE, THE HOLMES BROTHERS, PAUL THORN at the Alex Theatre; SKILLET, THE LETTER BLACK, HAWK NELSON, DECYFER DOWN at Club Nokia; HEART, THE BANGLES at the Greek; MIKA, GARY GO at the Palladium; CYPRESS HILL SMOKE-OUT FEAT. GOODIE MOB, GETO BOYS, DEVIN THE DUDE, OTHERS at San Manuel Amphitheatre; TIGER ARMY, THE CREEPSHOW, COMBICHRIST at the Wiltern; DRAGONETTE at the Echo; JON BRION at Largo at the Coronet; DAIKAIJU at Relax Bar; JEREMY JAY, SEA LIONS at the Smell; SPINDRIFT at the Viper Room.

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24

Gal Costa at UCLA Live at Royce Hall
Is there a word for “diva” in Portuguese? Maybe not, but there are definitely two words for the term in Brazil: Gal Costa. The hands-down mother of modern Brazilian music drifts into town for a very rare performance tonight, and after last year’s canceled-and-never-rescheduled shows at Walt Disney Concert Hall, that’s great news. Ms. Costa’s gorgeous voice has sung it all: counterculture protest rock, clubby disco, hippie funk, roots rock, basic bossa nova and Tropicalismo (the political movement manifested not only in music but in literature, painting and activism), which wouldn’t have happened without her — along with dear pals Caetano Veloso, Os Mutantes and Gilberto Gil. Costa continued to record their songs and served as the movement’s PR machine while Veloso and Gil were exiled to England for their politically rabble-rousing lyrics in the ’70s. David Byrne can also thank her for turning everyone on to world music in the ’80s, with her contributions to his Brazil Classics compilations. Imagine a handful of our own American female cultural icons — Joan Baez, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand — rolled into one and you get a better idea about Gal Costa’s all-encompassing effect on Brazilian music. Her show tonight features a quiet, intimate performance with virtuoso guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves. (Wendy Gilmartin)

 

Weezer, Wax at the Hollywood Palladium
Opening for Blink-182 last month at the Verizon Wireless Theater in Irvine, Weezer were as appealingly weird as they’ve ever been: Rivers Cuomo did his self-loathing/self-aggrandizing rock-star thing; drummer Pat Wilson played guitar instead of drums; the whole band took the stage wearing white Adidas tracksuits. In short, they totally ruled. Next month Weezer are set to release Raditude, which from all available appearances promises to take the weirdness to an even higher level. In addition to a cameo from Lil Wayne, who, Cuomo recently told Pitchfork, earned the singer’s admiration after he rapped about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in his song “Kush,” Raditude also features a track co-written by Jermaine Dupri, and a version of “Love Is the Answer,” which first appeared on this year’s Sugar Ray reunion album. Can’t wait. With Wax, a blast from the SoCal alt-rock past. (Mikael Wood)

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