Music Picks: Evelyn Evelyn, Booker T. Jones, Kaki King, Pete Rock | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Music Picks: Evelyn Evelyn, Booker T. Jones, Kaki King, Pete Rock 

Also, the National, Entrance Band, Noodles, Bunbury and others

Thursday, May 20 2010


Bronx-born DJ and rapper Pete Rock came into his own as hip-hop was coming into existence. It was old-school originator Marley Marl who gave Rock his first audience — in 1987 on the pioneering WBLS station — and three years later, the young producer made a name for himself laying down soulful beats for the Socratic lyrical excursions of CL Smooth. Despite the classic chemistry displayed on singles like "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)," the duo split in 1995, leaving Rock to follow his own path. He'd already put in work producing for Run-DMC, Nas and Public Enemy, so the leap to a solo career wasn't difficult at all. His 1998 debut, Soul Survivor featured everyone from Wu-Tang to members of the Soulquarian tribe to forefathers like Kool G Rap and mainstreamers like Big Pun. His latest album, NY's Finest, lacks some of the fire that fueled Rock through those early years, but his jazz-steeped tracks still sound good accompanied by a fresh Raekwon verse. (Chris Martins)

Judging by their recent press coverage, these mumbly Brooklyn sad sacks are set to break big with High Violet, their fifth full-length, which has earned the National high-profile spots in the New York Times Magazine and on the cover of The Village Voice. (The Times even streamed the album for several days prior to its release — a first for the Gray Lady.) Given frontman Matt Berninger's literary aspirations, you can understand why America's culture writers are falling for High Violet; he makes hunching over your laptop sound like a cool way to spend your Saturday night. But this is also the first National record that's felt bigger than the sum of its parts, with gratifyingly propulsive mope-rock grooves that do more than provide a moody backdrop for Berninger's sad-guy monologues. Here's hoping the band's Wiltern shows tap into the album's energy as well as its emotion. Also Sat. (Mikael Wood)

click to flip through (3) PHOTO BY KEITH KLENOWSKI - Brainy Brooklynites: The National
  • Brainy Brooklynites: The National

Location Info

Also playing Friday: L.A. WEEKLY'S L.A. WEEKEND at Saban Theatre; THELMA HOUSTON, JIMMY WEBB at the Grammy Museum; FRANCIS & THE LIGHTS at the Echo; OK GO at the Music Box; EVEREST, MINUS THE BEAR at the Glass House; FAR at the Troubadour; JOHN BUTLER TRIO at House of Blues; GLEE LIVE! IN CONCERT! at Gibson Amphitheatre; SWEETHEAD at Alex's Bar; YOON SEUNG CHO QUINTET at Blue Whale; THE UNTOUCHABLES at Brixton South Bay; THE DAN BAND at Club Nokia; HYPERCRUSH at Roxy; FEEL FREE at the Smell; THE DAMN SONS at Spaceland; THE KENNY DENNIS TRIO at LACMA; OLMECA at El Cid; JACK SHELDON ORCHESTRA at Catalina Bar & Grill.



Here's a nifty double bill featuring the L.A.-based progeny of two country-music greats: Waylon Jennings' son Shooter and Willie Nelson's kid Lukas. (Ironically, Jennings and Nelson opened their 1978 joint effort Waylon & Willie with "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" — advice neither of their wives made much use of.) Jennings debuted with a bang in 2005 with the appealingly raucous, endearingly profane Put the "O" Back in Country, on which he voiced his discontent with Nashville (snooze) but actually rocked hard enough to justify his complaint. His new one, Black Ribbons, rocks pretty hard, too, though it also bogs down with loads of spoken-word concept-album bullshit courtesy of guest star Stephen King — pray that King declines to show tonight. Nelson's singing voice bears a crazy-strong resemblance to his dad's, but his musical tastes tend toward Ben Harper–style jam-band fare. (Mikael Wood)

When Kaki King first came to attention by busking solo in New York City subways, she was primarily an instrumental guitarist who dazzled commuters with her elaborate fret-tapping techniques and the way she pounded on her acoustic for percussive emphasis. Clearly, the Atlanta native wasn't your typical folkie panhandling for change. King's 2004 CD, Legs to Make Us Longer, was a mostly instrumental affair, with feverishly tangled workouts like "Playing With Pink Noise" scattered amid such gently expanding art-prog soundscapes as "All the Landslides Birds Have Seen Since the Beginning of the World." On subsequent albums, she's added breathy vocals and arty lyrics to her music, formed a full electric band, and experimented with loops and layering effects. As her fame has grown, she's collaborated with Tegan & Sara and even managed to make such generic rock dullards as the Foo Fighters sound adventurous. King's latest CD, Junior, sparkles with her trademark guitar flourishes, such as the celestially shimmering plucking that adorns "Spit It Back in My Mouth," but ultimately the album is more about songs than flashy guitar pyrotechnics. (Falling James)

The Ventures are the standard-bearers of twang, that quintessential electric-guitar sound found in everything from country to surf and from punk to spaghetti Westerns. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have sold 100 million instrumental records worldwide over the last 50 years, and hits include"Walk Don't Run," "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" and "Hawaii Five-O." Originally the band's bassist, Nokie Edwards became lead guitarist in 1962. Revered by George Harrison and John Fogerty (among many others), Edwards is a thrilling, aggressive player who used a fuzz tone when Jimi was still Jimmy and an electric 12-string before the Byrds had wings. Backing Edwards up tonight, as well as playing their own miniset of Ventures rarities, are Venturesmania!, a tribute band of hotshots featuring another fret monster, Deke Dickerson. Dickerson and his group the Ecco-Fonics open the show with over-the-speed-limit rockabilly, honky-tonk, and Western swing. His most recent album, King of the Whole Wide World, is an all-American feast, finding Dickerson dabbling in doo-wop and bluegrass and mastering whatever he touches. (Michael Simmons)

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