Music Picks: Circa Survive, Joanna Newsom, El-P, Roots Roadhouse 

Also, Scorpions, Viza, the Park and others

Thursday, Jul 29 2010

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At a time when Sunset Strip pretty boys ruled rock's ragged roost, Germany's Scorpions made unlikely stadium-stuffers. Even as they broke America with squealy weepies like "No One Like You" and "Still Loving You" in the early '80s, they had a balding, 30-something frontman and bygone undertones (having formed in 1965 — yes, sixty-five). So their success was built on potent song craft, Klaus Meine's earnest, accented vocals, a delightfully frantic stage show and the unashamed acceptance of the fact that power ballads put metal bands on MTV. Scorpions remain, in places, staggeringly popular (their last "best of" album went 20 times platinum in Thailand), but expect as many Zippos as iPhones aloft on this farewell tour. Mostly thanks to Tom Keifer's gas-gargling rasp, fellow Reagan-era rockers Cinderella would have — without the mushroom-cloud bouffants and chummy moniker — made a worthy, bluesy bar band. (Paul Rogers)

Also playing Saturday: TEANECK FEAT. JOSé FROM OZMA AND BRIAN FROM MATT PO at the Bootleg Theater; LEVEL 42 at Club Nokia; DRAMARAMA at Coach House; REO SPEEDWAGON, PAT BENATAR, EDWIN MCCAIN at the Greek; SERGIO MENDES & FRIENDS, MORCHEEBA at the Hollywood Bowl; AS I LAY DYING, UNDEROATH at the Palladium; MALECO COLLECTIVE at Levitt Pavilion Pasadena; KINKY FRIEDMAN, MICHAEL SIMMONS at McCabe's [see Music feature]; SUBLIME WITH ROME at Pacific Amphitheatre; WEAVE, CORRIDOR, ESSAY, NO PAWS at the Smell; WOLF PARADE, MOOOLS at the Wiltern.


click to enlarge T-Model Ford: ladies' man
  • T-Model Ford: ladies' man

Location Info


Tonight's benefit for the iconic Sylmar bookstore Tía Chucha's Centro Cultural features an interesting assortment of women performers, including Perla Batalla, who used to sing backup vocals for Leonard Cohen and will reinterpret some of his songs in her headlining set. Former Tijuana No singer Ceci Bastida previews tunes from her upcoming solo CD, Veo la Marea, which is poppier and more sonically diverse than the ska-punk anthems she sang with her old band. Bastida's best songs approach the melodic sophistication of her frequent collaborator Julieta Venegas. Much of the event's titular "Fire & Soul" should come straight from the mouth of poet Wanda Coleman, whose jazzily rhythmic work in such collections as The Riot Inside Me: More Trials & Tremors and Bathwater Wine alternates between themes of social justice and more personal observations about the pleasures of food. The bill is rounded out by performance artist Kristina Wong, E.L.A. sketch comedians Las Ramonas and dancers Temachtia Quetzalcoatl. (Falling James)

There's plenty of nonurban college girls with slightly hip parents, girls who felt "weird" in high school and embraced the costumes of goth, the bleakness of Joy Division and the rants of Nietzsche, automatically declaring "French and philosophy" as majors upon arriving on campus. What makes Nika Danilova stand out from her absynthetic cohort is that she talked her parents into opera-singing lessons early on and used those skills to record a really interesting lo-fi album (The Spoils) a couple of years ago as Zola Jesus. The indierati loved it and so Danilova has now graduated to proper studios (the recent Stridulum EP) and touring a mesmerizing stage act, invoking the ghosts of Lydia Lunch, Diamanda Galas and even a little Grace Slick. Those who wish Gaga was actually weird and We Are the World a little less drum-circley should find much to like in La Jesus. (Gustavo Turner)

Also playing Sunday: MICHAEL MCDONALD at the Canyon Club; RUBEN STUDDARD, CLAY AIKEN at Club Nokia; BIZET'S CARMEN at the Hollywood Bowl; RATT, DOKKEN at Pacific Amphitheatre; WHITE ARROWS at Spaceland; CABO VERDE CRETCHEU at the Waterfront.



The pop music of Highland Park's Fol Chen is knotty by nature. It all started with the release of their 2009 album, Part One: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made (Asthmatic Kitty), which told a story about something no one was expected to comprehend, smuggling within brain-pinching attacks of textural/textual play several supremely hummable li'l toe-tappers. One suspected wry humor when one saw that video Fol Chen shot with the Laker girls, and then they covered Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" for Spin's Purplish Rain compilation, and Pink Floyd's "In the Flesh" for MOJO's tribute to The Wall. Seemingly thousands of remixes of their stuff were done by a peculiar collection of people, including the equally inscrutable Liars (with whom they've toured); along the way, the band also did their own remix of Junior Vasquez. Fol Chen's new Part II: The New December on Asthmatic continues the saga in a fascinatingly schizo slew of profusely harmonized, slightly oblique, steamily synth-strewn stew. (John Payne)

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