Music Picks: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Bridget St. John, Bad Astronaut, Kings of Leon | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Music Picks: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Bridget St. John, Bad Astronaut, Kings of Leon 

Also, Lilith 2010, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Smokey Robinson, Antibalas and others

Thursday, Jul 8 2010
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FRIDAY/JULY/9

THE DONKEYS AND BIG SEARCH AT SPACELAND
The members of the Donkeys may not all be mop-topped, country-clothed hippie types, but they may as well be. The San Diego four-piece specializes in a psychedelia -encrusted brand of Americana rock that's well-worn but warmly welcome when it rolls off the edge of the stage and into a crowd of beer-soaked bodies. Think Grateful Dead meets the Eagles, with a little Flying Burrito Brothers coasting around for good measure. It's been a couple of years since the band's kinda lukewarm Dead Oceans debut, Living on the Other Side, so expect a tuned-up repertoire and, quite possibly, a song from Lost called "Dharma Lady" (it's rumored that the Donkeys and Geronimo Jackson, a fictional band referenced in the show, are one and the same). All that said, your real reason for showing up to this gig is catching Big Search, which finds Matt Popieluch — singer from Foreign Born and ax-slinger in Fool's Gold — getting his troubadour on over some excellent, layered bedroom folk. (Chris Martins)

ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI AT THE ECHOPLEX
I've never really gotten the work of this local art-pop eccentric, who always struck me as someone who was trying too hard (at least when he wasn't trying at all, that is). But the brand-new Before Today — released last month by 4AD and credited to Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti — reframes his talent, presenting him less as some sort of faux-outsider weirdo than as a guy with an undeniable knack for the kind of dreamy-creamy psych-pop once proffered by Todd Rundgren and Marc Bolan. I don't wanna diminish the centrality of Pink's vision here, but the participation of producer Sunny Levine and former Beachwood Sparks drummer Aaron Sperske seems significant. This show launches a monthlong tour of North America that winds up August 7 in Costa Mesa — if you don't get enough tonight, you know where to go for more. With the Magic Kids, whose debut on True Panther Sounds streets August 31. (Mikael Wood)

click to flip through (2) PHOTO BY WILLIAM RICHARDS - Still wailin': the Wailers (minus, obviously, Marley, Tosh, etc.)
  • PHOTO BY WILLIAM RICHARDS
  • Still wailin': the Wailers (minus, obviously, Marley, Tosh, etc.)
 
 

Location Info

THE WAILERS AT HOLLYWOOD PARK
The current lineup of the Wailers is just an echo of the Jamaican band's heyday, in the late '60s and early '70s, when it was a virtual supergroup fronted by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Not to be confused with the Original Wailers, who are led by former Marley guitarists Junior Marvin and Al Anderson, this version of the band includes only one early member, the redoubtable bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett. While Barrett attempts to update the group's sound with modern touches and Afrobeat influences, the Wailers are mainly focused on continuing Marley's legacy. The new song "A Step for Mankind," a plea to end world hunger, carries on Marley's tradition of raising awareness about social causes. (Falling James)

Also playing Friday: TODD MURRAY at Catalina Jazz Club; JORDIN SPARKS at Club Nokia; LEON RUSSELL, THE SCARLET FURIES, CONNIE RAE at Coach House; CJ RAMONE, MENTAL BREAKDOWN at Galaxy Concert Theatre; JOHN CRAIGIE at Genghis Cohen; PANCHO BARRAZA at Gibson Amphitheatre; YES, PETER FRAMPTON at the Greek Theatre; A BEATLES CELEBRATION: HOLLYWOOD BOWL ORCHESTRA WITH THOMAS WILKINS, PATTI AUSTIN, ROB LAUFER, BETTYE LAVETTE, BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL, TODD RUNDGREN at the Hollywood Bowl; TYRONE WELLS WITH ED RHEE & YELLOW LIGHT GO at Hotel Café; THE DIVINE at the Key Club; GOR MKHITARIAN at Levitt Pavilion Pasadena; PETER CASE at McCabe's; STEVE MILLER BAND at Pechanga Showroom Theatre; BOBBY LONG, HE IS WE, TROUBLE OVER TOKYO at the Troubadour; THE SPAZMATICS, BRASILIDADE, THE TOLEDO SHOW, THE SANTA MONICA JAZZ ENSEMBLE at the Waterfront; THE CHOP TOPS, FAST OTTO, KITTY CADILLAC, LONESOME BATZ at Weber's Place.

 

SATURDAY/JULY10

BAD ASTRONAUT AT CENTER FOR THE ARTS, EAGLE ROCK
On paper it may not seem like much: Singer from '90s Fat Wreck Chords punk-pop band discovers serious songwriters (Beatles, Bowie, Elliott Smith), gets inspired and rounds up the best musicians he knows (from goofy acts like Nerf Herder, the Ataris, Sugarcult), then forms a thinking man's band called Bad Astronaut. The thing is, Joey Cape — otherwise responsible for the lead whine in Lagwagon — really, truly succeeded. His new band's 2001 debut is an unsung classic of early aughts earnestry, but rather than go totally emo on Acrophobe, Cape and his crew do an exceptional job at balancing their melodic punk roots against their newfound love for artistry. They wound up recording a trilogy of albums over six years, but called it quits in 2006 after drummer Derrick Plourde, who also played in Cape's other band, committed suicide. Hence the title of the final installment: Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment. Tragic but eerie, as one of Bad Astronaut's greatest achievements was an astounding, grunge-caked version of Smith's "Needle in the Hay." (Chris Martins)

LILITH 2010 AT VERIZON WIRELESS AMPHITHEATER
Although this summer's reincarnation of the late-'90s festival Lilith Fair is reportedly plagued by slow ticket sales, the cancellation of about a dozen shows and the recent news that Norah Jones has dropped out of several concerts, you've got to give the promoters credit for at least trying to expand the stylistic range of the all-femme lineup. In the past, Lilith Fair (now just "Lilith") was dominated by white, mainstream-pop singer-songwriters who often sounded irrelevant and cautious in comparison to the era's braver and more politically active riot-grrrls. There aren't any genuinely rocking performers scheduled at this local stop on the tour, and the bill is still populated by easy-listening snoozers like Miranda Lambert, Brandi Carlile and the well-intentioned, if inescapably banal, tour founder Sarah McLachlan. However, Lilith breaks from the past a bit with the relatively daring inclusion of the gently subversive Mexican art-pop stylist Ximena Sariñana and Long Beach's Spanish-language pop princess Jenni Rivera. Country-folk matriarch Emmylou Harris lends much-needed gravity and soulfulness to the otherwise sugary proceedings. (Falling James)

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