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Music Picks: Sasha & Kazell, She & Him, Efterklang, Xiu Xiu 

Also, Holly Miranda, Les Blanks, Mumiy Troll and others

Thursday, Mar 11 2010
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FRIDAY/MARCH/12

HOLLY MIRANDA AT BOOTLEG THEATER
Followers of B-list Brooklyn indie-rock acts might remember this sultry-voiced singer-songwriter from the Jealous Girlfriends, with whom she made a pair of albums that earned placements on Grey’s Anatomy, The L Word and CSI: Miami. Now Holly Miranda is out under her own name supporting an impressive solo disc, The Magician’s Private Library, which was produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio and features no shortage of the swirling psych-soul atmospherics he’s brought to records by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Scarlett Johansson. In fact, a little shortage might have been nice, since Library doesn’t always showcase Miranda’s Cat Power–ish vocals in the way they deserve. (Google “Holly Miranda Ex-Factor” to see her do a gorgeously stripped-down version of that Lauryn Hill song in the back of a cab.) At the Bootleg, she’ll perform accompanied by a three-piece backing band; with any luck, they’ll give the singer the room she needs. (Mikael Wood)

QUASI AT SPACELAND
Fans of drummer Janet Weiss’ old band Sleater-Kinney might be surprised by her longtime project Quasi. Whereas Sleater-Kinney combined riot-grrl energy with distinctively soulful belting, the Portland trio Quasi are freakier and more eclectic on their eighth album, American Gong (Kill Rock Stars). Singer Sam Coomes (who’s also Weiss’ ex-husband) contrasts psychedelic hard-rock rambles such as the epic “Bye Bye Blackbird” and the bubblegum fuzz of “Repulsion” with relatively sparse, somber piano ballads like the deceptively titled “Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler.” The latter is anything but a good time, as Coomes howls hippie-ish lyrics into a lonely void like a PacNorWest John Lennon: “We’re all children of the selfsame star/All adrift on the selfsame boat.” By the end of the song, Coomes is supported by a swell of angelic harmonies, Joanna Bolme’s pendulous bass, and faintly trippy Flaming Lips–style orchestration as he murmurs about “The receding taillights of a teenage dream.” There are occasions when one wishes that Coomes’ lyrics were less sarcastic and facile and more personally revealing, but most of the time his clever asides are matched by Weiss and Bolme’s stormy rock dynamics. (Falling James)

Also playing Friday:
ADOLESCENTS, YOUTH BRIGADE, THE CROWD at El Rey Theatre; AGENT ORANGE, THE GEARS at Alex’s Bar; BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB at Amoeba Music, 6 p.m., and at the Echoplex, 8:30 p.m.; BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY at the Canyon; DR. KNOW at Cobalt Café; AMPS FOR CHRIST at Echo Curio; TRUTH & SALVAGE CO., THE PARSON RED HEADS, BASIA BULAT at the Hotel Café; PACK A.D., SYMBOL SIX at the Redwood Bar & Grill; JUCIFER, PHILM at Relax Bar; ANNA OXYGEN, DUNES at the Smell; HAPPY HOLLOWS at the Troubadour; MICHAEL MONROE, VAINS OF JENNA, THE BINGES at Viper Room.


SATURDAY/MARCH/13

click to flip through (3) Sailing to nowhere: Broken Bells
  • Sailing to nowhere: Broken Bells
   
 

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A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW AT THE MINT
You might say that A Sunny Day in Glasgow has a most satisfyingly perplexing pop aesthetic. On the one hand, the Philadelphia-based band does indeed yearn to pump out the joyous, dreamy teen beat, full of nagging melodic hooks that plague the brain and keep the toes a-tapping, but it all comes in weird angles, like smeared shards of pop’s past mirrored in a thousand nonlinear images and sounds. At least that’s what you get on their latest album, Ashes Grammar, and especially their new EP, Nitetime Rainbows (both on the band’s own Mis Ojos Discos), which do all of the above by drawing supposed inspiration from modernist composers such as Arvo Pärt and Alvin Lucier, where the tones themselves are as important as the sum import of the “music.” While these days that sort of conceptualizing can come off as tedious, ASDIG is anything but: There’s sheer glee in everything they do. (John Payne)

SASHA & KAZELL AT AVALON
Whether he’s making originals from scratch or reconstructing and remixing submissions, Sasha (aka Alexander Coe) is always in command of what’s coming out of the speakers and what’s moving and shaking out on the dance floor. Among the U.K.’s most revered trance and progressive-house DJs, he’s made several U.S. cities his own (see the Global Underground series), and branched out stylistically with success. Like a top chef with his Ginsus and a spice rack, there are a million ways he can slice, dice and manipulate the flavor of beats and melodies. He’s sort of like Willy Wonka: Right under your feet, he can take some ambient and give you minimal house (a subgenre he hates); in the blink of an eye (or a hundred, because it happens in a REM-like dream state), he can turn a percussion-heavy break beat into sexy electro-house. Often paired with John Digweed (who’s booked for next week), tonight he’s playing with Avaland resident and local hero Kazell. Also a U.K. native, DJ Kazell came for the sun but stayed to steadily rock venues like Spundae, Giant and Avalon. (Daniel Siwek)

E-40 AT THE KEY CLUB
There are the rappers who get famous, and then there are the rappers who write the blueprint that other groups use to get famous. Northern California hip-hop godhead E-40 is decidedly of the latter variety — a true auteur whose considerable body of work has had an immense impact on rap’s last 20 years, even as his sales pale in comparison to those of his stylistic, ahem, students (let’s just say he created the “-izzle” that a certain Dogg bit). But despite the man’s infinite bragging rights, E-40 has been content in the role of influencer, founding his own indie label back in 1990 and using it to: (a) release the music of his quite talented blood relatives; (b) retain creative control of his own work while working with various major labels; (c) jump-start the Bay Area’s hyphy movement a couple years back. E-40’s 11th album, Revenue Retrievin’, is due out later this month, and its first single, “The Server,” seems to promise another record’s worth of raps and beats made to innovate. (Chris Martins)

Also playing Saturday:
THE BANGLES at La Salle High School; THE LIVING SISTERS at the Getty Center; VINICIO CAPOSSELA, SARA LOV at El Rey Theatre; CHOIR OF YOUNG BELIEVERS, GREAT NORTHERN at Bootleg Theater; THE BLACK WIDOWS at Copro Gallery; LA GHOST, THE HEALTH CLUB, COSMONAUTS at Pehrspace; THE DECADES, PAT TODD & THE RANKOUTSIDERS at Second Street Jazz; DEATH SENTENCE PANDA, AUTO DA FE, FOOT VILLAGE at the Smell.

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