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Music Picks: Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Bad Religion, Non 

Also, The Wedding Present, Phil Alvin and others

Thursday, Apr 1 2010
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FRIDAY/APRIL/2

THE WEDDING PRESENT AT THE TROUBADOUR
In 2007, this long-running U.K. guitar-pop outfit hit the road for a European trek celebrating the 20th anniversary of George Best, its delightfully acerbic studio debut. Three years later, the Wedding Present's continued influence is cropping up in the work of a new breed of fuzzy-jangly indie acts (Surfer Blood, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart). To show the kiddies how it's done, front man (and part-time Angeleno) David Gedge and his mates are touring North America 21 years after the release of the band's sophomore disc, Bizarro, which they'll play at the Troubadour in full, along with a handful of other tunes from Gedge's lengthy songbook. A 2001 reissue of the album tacked on righteously amped-up covers of Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual" and Pavement's "Box Elder"; cross your fingers for one (or both) of those tonight. (Mikael Wood)

 

click to flip through (4) Sunbaked visionaries: Gram Rabbit
  • Sunbaked visionaries: Gram Rabbit
     
 

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GRAM RABBIT AT THE ECHOPLEX
From deep in their hutch out in faraway Joshua Tree, Gram Rabbit present for your listening pleasure something you didn't know you needed, or wanted, even: the sound of surprise. This subtly bizarre band's sound runs a gamut from slanted electro-pop and oddball country stylings to arcanely freaky rock psychedelicism that in its recombinant future-primitive urges recalls that of similarly sunbaked visionaries like Captain Beefheart and Harry Partch. Led by charismatic vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jesika von Rabbit and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Todd Rutherford, the Rabbit are in fact a thrillingly unclichéd band with a refreshingly singular path, heard in its best form on 2007's Radio Angel & the Robot Beat. That album goosed the goods higher by mockingly worshiping the excesses of big-rock-guitar rifferama interspliced with some fine, sultry loads of quiet-campfire R&B. The wise and witty way they sift through and polish the unloved detritus of pop — without metal detectors — should be an inspiration to us all. (John Payne)

 

Also playing Friday:
MICHIKO HIRAYAMA
at Redcat; FIRST FRIDAYS featuring the BREAKESTRA at the Natural History Museum; KENNY WERNER QUARTET at Catalina Bar & Grill; LEBOWSKI FEST at the Wiltern; CAPTAIN AHAB at the Smell; LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC at Disney Hall; TORCHES IN TREES, SWEATER GIRLS, TREMELLOW at the Echo; LAURA GIBSON AND ETHAN ROSE at Echo Curio; ALKALINE TRIO, CURSIVE, THE DEAR & DEPARTED at House of Blues; LAMB BED, STILL CHAOS, JULY CRUISE at Rainbow Bar & Grill; J-DAVEY, U-N-I at the Roxy; AL STEWART at Brixton South Bay; THE WEBB BROTHERS at Spaceland; ART OF SHOCK at the Cat Club; THE DAN BAND at Club Nokia; JAY POUNDERS & THE BRADS at Molly Malone's.

 

SATURDAY/APRIL/3

PAID DUES FESTIVAL AT THE NOS EVENTS CENTER
For this year's installment of his annual indie-rap blowout, Los Angeles MC Murs cast the net a little wider than usual, booking a handful of putatively above-ground acts that he defends in a video on the Paid Dues Web site as instrumental architects of West Coast rap. When those acts include Ice Cube, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, and Kurupt and Daz Dillinger's Snoop-sanctioned Dogg Pound, only a fool (or a killjoy) would take issue with his choices (or his reasoning). Other Californians on the bill: Dilated Peoples, People Under the Stairs, and Freestyle Fellowship, back in action after a lengthy hiatus in which Aceyalone became an indie-rap hero in his own right. But that's not all, folks! You also get Raekwon (fresh off last year's Only Built for Cuban Linx ... Pt. II and his brand-new Wu-Massacre disc with Method Man and Ghostface Killah), blog-rap buzz baby Jay Electronica and, of course, Murs himself, joined here by his frequent collaborator 9th Wonder. Yes, yes, y'all. (Mikael Wood)

 

PANDIT SWAPAN CHAUDHURI AND USTAD AASHISH KHAN AT REDCAT
Whether or not you're a North Indian classical-music aficionado with detailed knowledge of its myriad forms and techniques, there could be no more edifying and exhilarating experience than witnessing tabla master Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri in action. A much-honored player of simply unbelievable speed and dexterity, his performances of the music's often hair-raisingly difficult forms (e.g., the dhir dhir chalan) are notable as well for his perfectly pitched drum tuning and breathtakingly precise finger work, which give his tablas a most melodious clarity. The 12-piece CalArts Tabla Ensemble joins Chaudhuri for a piece that draws from the repertoire of traditional and contemporary music for Hindustani tabla. Duos by Chaudhuri and equally revered sarod master Ustad Aashish Khan comprise the second half of the program. (John Payne)

 

BAD RELIGION, LIGHTNIN' WOODSTOCK, MISS DERRINGER, DEL TORO AT HOUSE OF BLUES SUNSET STRIP
It's difficult to imagine a time when L.A.'s Epitaph Records was a high school operation. The biggest indie in punk made its considerable millions in 1994 (with key releases from the Offspring, NOFX and Rancid) when the punk revival broke through to the mainstream. But Epitaph's real strength comes from the band at the heart of it all: Bad Religion — guitarist Brett Gurewitz started the label in 1980 in order to release the records produced by his brand-new band. With an untitled 15th album due out later this year, Bad Religion is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, three whole decades of maintaining against the grain. It's easy to take the remarkably consistent group for granted. Not only does their music go down easily — informed as it is by equal parts Black Flag and Elvis Costello — but it has inspired a generation or two since to add melody and lyrical sharpness to the hardcore equation. Don't squander this chance to witness the original article onstage in all of its glory. SoCal pride is welcome. Also Sun. (Chris Martins)

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