Chicago Underground Duo at Bootleg Theater
The Chicago Underground Duo is composed of two musicians whose other gigs aren't so underground: Cornetist Rob Mazurek has played with Tortoise and Stereolab, while drummer Chad Taylor currently serves as stick man in the killer full-band version of Sam Beam's indie-folk act Iron and Wine. Together, Mazurek and Taylor get off on pushing at the boundaries between improvised and composed music, between jazz and rock, between what happens onstage and what happens in the studio. Their latest Duo album, Boca Negra, came out last month on Thrill Jockey and works best in aptly titled tracks like "Confliction," where they establish a humid deep-funk groove inspired by electric-era Miles Davis, then set about trying to destabilize it. (Mikael Wood)
Pearl Harbor at Space 15 Twenty
It's hard to imagine a better setting for the swooning, beachy sounds of Lincoln Heights' Pearl Harbor than that of the Valentine's extravaganza being thrown by Space 15 Twenty. Though singer Piper, the elder of the Kaplan sisters, is old enough at 22 to have nurtured a wee bit of cynicism toward the year's drippiest holiday, guitarist Skylar is only approaching her sweet 16. And taken together — long, golden locks swaying as they harmonize over shimmering songs about unrequited love — the Kaplans look like harbingers for the brokenhearted, sad angels sent by Cupid to either make amends or deliver the bad news. Young as the group may be, Pearl Harbor has a hotly tipped (and sold-out) EP out on excellent NYC vinyl label Mexican Summer, titled Something About the Chaparrals. Here, the band will be soundtracking the festivities — both performing live and deejaying — which include cookies, lollipops, romantically themed retail and a kissing booth that promises a keepsake photo. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Friday:
THE CRYSTAL METHOD at Avalon; MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO at Largo at the Coronet; CHRISTIAN DEATH at El Rey Theatre; FITZ & THE TANTRUMS at the Echo; SHADOW SHADOW SHADE, TWILIGHT SLEEP, MARVELOUS TOY at Spaceland; BOOGALOO ASSASSINS, CHICO MANN at the Mint; MOON DUO, POCAHAUNTED at Synchronicity Space; SHAWN COLVIN, NICOLE GORDON at the Canyon; THE BEAT JUNKIES, J. ROCC, BABU, RHETTMATIC, SLUM VILLAGE, MR. CHOC at the Echoplex; MISS DERRINGER at the Troubadour; THE RAVISHING, THE PASSPORTS, THE IDYLLISTS at the Hotel Cafe; DOG, THE CRYSTELLES, ACTUARY at the Echo Curio; BILLY BOY ON POISON, PAPER ZOO, VANDELAY INDUSTRIES at the Viper Room; DEVILDRIVER, SUFFOCATION, GOATWHORE at House of Blues; JAMES MCMURTRY at McCabe's; BIG GIGANTIC, ELIOT LIPP, DEVENWHO at the Roxy.
Moon Duo at Showcave
San Francisco's Moon Duo seem kinda fearless, unafraid to hop on a riff and ride it right on into the sunset. Specialists in a sort of cross between the Krautrockian trance trips of Neu and the tougher, vintage garage aesthetic of, say, Davy Allen and the Arrows circa "Blue's Theme," the duo, Sanae Yamada and Erik Johnson (Wooden Shjips), make a fuzzed-out, echoed-out, grainy and greasy sound that's both hypnotic and a bit ominous. They chew off this epic noise with merely guitar, keyboards, percussion and vocals, usually a lot less. They made two great records in 2009, a 12-inch called Love on the Sea (Sick Thirst) and the Killing Time EP (Sacred Bones), and now their Escape album on Woodsist has arrived. It sounds like the best '60s biker-barbecue tunes you never heard. Psychedelic, some call it. (John Payne)
The Album Leaf, Magik*Magik String Quartet, Sea Wolf at El Rey Theatre
San Francisco's "modular orchestra" Magik*Magik claims that its ranks include no fewer than 100 classical players, and considering the reach of the young organization, founded in late 2008, it's not hard to imagine that being true. Chunks of the Magik*Magik Orchestra have appeared on various stages up and down the coast backing respected acts as diverse as indie rocker John Vanderslice, left-field jazz act Tin Hat and German electronicist Hauschka. Here, a string quartet hailing from this motley collective will accompany the Album Leaf, the long-running project of San Diego's Jimmy LaValle. On record, LaValle's ambient-flavored electro-acoustic compositions have historically been crafted by him alone, but the Album Leaf's new Sub Pop release, A Chorus of Storytellers, sees his live band getting in on the action. The result is a series of sweeping, mellow post-rock songs spurred on by bits of glitch and LaValle's subdued singing. This also means that Saturday's show should feature no fewer than 10 individuals bringing those pastoral epics to life. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Saturday:
KOOL KEITH, FATLIP, RYAN HEFFINGTON, LADY TIGRA at the Church; DANIEL LANOIS' BLACK DUB at Spaceland; THE DELFONICS, THE INTRUDERS, THE PERSUADERS, JOE BATAAN at Gibson Amphitheatre; DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND at the Mint; ALICE IN CHAINS, CREATURE WITH THE ATOMIC BRAIN at the Hollywood Palladium; WEST INDIAN GIRL, POLLYN at the Bootleg Theater; G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE, REDEYE EMPIRE at House of Blues; WOOLEN, TREMBLEXY at Synchronicity Space; BLUE JUNGLE, SPIDER PROBLEM, BESTIAL MOUTHS, DIVA DAMAS at L'Keg Gallery; AL STEWART at McCabe's; SAINT MOTEL, YOUNG THE GIANT at the Roxy; LACOSTE, REPETITIONS, I.E., ESSAY at the Smell; THE GOAT & OCCASIONAL OTHERS at Three Clubs.