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Rock Picks: Fuck Buttons, Exene Cervenka, Imogen Heap, John Fogerty 

Also, HEALTH, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Múm, Leon Russell and others

Wednesday, Nov 4 2009
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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Quintet, Madlib at the Echoplex
The eight brothers of Chicago’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are a very big, very ba-a-a-d gang of horns boasting a fine lineage, having been personally tutored from age 3 by their father, Phil Cochran, who played with Sun Ra’s legendary Arkestra. The brothers learned from an early age to play ferociously tight, hard-hip-hoppy jazzy-funk joy. A few months ago they released an absolutely ripping self-titled album on Damon Albarn’s label, Honest Jon’s, a high stamp of approval, but dig that they too claim Barack Obama, David Byrne, Q-Tip, Jay-Z and Erykah Badu among their big-time fans. The top news is that the HBE — along with Mos Def and Fela Kuti’s renowned drummer, Tony Allen — will compose the new Gorillaz band. What more do you need? Plus live sets by local composer-arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson’s quintet, and deejaying courtesy of Coleman, B+ and Madlib. (John Payne)

 

click to flip through (3) RYAN OBERMEYER - Imogen Heap, just as the acid kicks in
  • Ryan Obermeyer
  • Imogen Heap, just as the acid kicks in
   
 

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Múm, Sin Fang Bous, Hildur Guðnadóttir at El Rey Theatre
One likes to imagine that Iceland owes its strange charm in part to its uncanny lunar landscape, and perhaps to 900-odd years of isolation. Whatever, so much of the island’s music is essentially undefinable stuff characterized by an innocent oddity that invites the curious ear. Múm, originally comprising Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Smárason, has morphed ectoplasmically into a large-ish commune of like-minded seekers who tootle, twinkle, rumble and coo new arcane folktales strewn with rounded-edge electronics, ukuleles, cello, flickering percussive bits and parakeets. Their new Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know (Fatcat) is a fantastic dream, pretty but a tad melancholy, and even a trifle scary. The group’s cellist, Hildur Guðnadóttir, will do a probably darker, dronier solo set drawing from her excellent recent Second Childhood album (Touch Music), a collaboration with B.J. Nilsen and Stilluppsteypa. The gently experimental “pocket symphonies” of Reykjavík’s Sin Fang Bous round out the bill. (John Payne)

 

Leon Russell at Brixton South Bay
With his long, snow-white beard, the Oklahoma singer-pianist Leon Russell looks like Father Time, which is somewhat fitting, since he’s been involved, in one way or another, with some of the biggest names in rock, pop and blues over the past five decades. He’s written hits for Joe Cocker and the Carpenters, was a session musician for Phil Spector, and has recorded with everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and George Harrison to B.B. King, Glen Campbell, J.J. Cale and Badfinger. (The local band Concrete Blonde even got their start hanging out in Russell’s studio.) Russell’s own songs, especially on his classic 1972 album, Carney, are a rich blend of funky blues, old-timey serenades, fiery gospel and rambling rock & roll — all of it delivered via his rollicking piano riffs and topped off with his trademark sandpapery vocals. Far from an oldies act, he and his excellent longtime band pump out fat, juicy hunks of prime Americana with a heartfelt, down-home immediacy. Also at Pappy & Harriet’s, Sun., 4 p.m. (Falling James)

 

Also playing Friday:

JIM KWESKIN at Coffee Gallery Backstage; PIXIES, RAIN MACHINE at Hollywood Palladium; JULIAN CASABLANCAS at Palace Theatre; IAN ANDERSON at the Wiltern; YVONNE REYES & JOE HAJEK at Genghis Cohen; NEW MAXIMUM DONKEY at Labrie’s; JON BRION at Largo; RUPA & THE APRIL FISHES, OLLIN at the Mint; DUANE PETERS GUNFIGHT, A PRETTY MESS at the Redwood Bar & Grill; EEK-A-MOUSE at the Roxy; HAWNAY TROOF, PANTHER, DAVID SCOTT STONE at the Smell; KARMA TO BURN, TOTIMOSHI at Spaceland; JOE BAIZA, BLACK WIDOWS at Taix.

 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7

LMFAO, Shwayze, Space Cowboy at the Hollywood Palladium
Provided that CBS isn’t planning a Two and a Half Men marathon, you won’t find a dumber way to spend your Saturday night this weekend than at the hometown stop of LMFAO’s six-week Party Rock Tour. But you might not find a more enjoyable way, either: On their recent major-label debut, these local club-rap kings throw down a nonstop barrage of infectiously goofy rhymes over slick ’80s-inspired tracks that make even less use of nuance than the stuff on the Black Eyed Peas’ latest. Just as stupid but a bit more stoner-attuned, Shwayze have a new record out called Let It Beat, on which the Malibu duo join forces with the erudite likes of Snoop Dogg, Ric Ocasek and Darryl Jenifer of Bad Brains. Of course, its cover still features a bikini-clad babe without a head. Hip-hop purists up in arms over the form’s transformation from socially conscious to social lubricant — this shit will infuriate you. With Space Cowboy, whose last gig was as Lady Gaga’s DJ. (Mikael Wood)

 

Ramayana performed by Gamelan Burat Wangi at REDCAT
An ensemble of 25 gamelan players and 14 dancers, the Balinese Gamelan Burat Wangi brings to life the story Ramayana, an ancient Hindu drama which came to Bali from India more than a thousand years ago. The tale involves all the things we like — love and lust, war and redemption — and the cast (dressed like birds, monkeys and warriors, who just might actually be kings and gods) features special guest artists from Bali, including drummer I Wayan Budha, dancers I Made Dwi Putra Yoga as Rama and Anak Agung Gede Rahma Putra as Hanoman. Ethnomusicologist Sue Carole DeVale gives a multimedia presentation on the aesthetics of Hindu-Balinese performing arts one hour before each show. Also Fri. and Sun. (John Payne)

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