Music Picks: Amanda Jo Williams, Usher, Masaki Batoh, Procol Harum | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Music Picks: Amanda Jo Williams, Usher, Masaki Batoh, Procol Harum 

Also, Dustin Wong, Greg Dulli, Ghostface Killah

Thursday, Nov 11 2010



Ghostface Killah seemed to have carved out his niche in the rowdy Shaolin Land clan as the playboy character. Swaddled in a fur bathrobe and gnawing on a toothpick, Ghost was in the background makin' sly moves with his sleepy eyes trained on the thickest girl. Though he's still known for his lyrical bee sting — the old gang got back together again and proved they still had it at this year's Rock the Bells — these days he's more interested in spilling honey. While he and fellow Wu Tang members Method Man and Raekwon dropped the viciously titled Wu Massacre last spring, the assault was tame and trim. But a year ago, he released an R&B album, Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City, and dismissed selling crack in favor of settling down. These are Ghostface songs, not Shakespearean sonnets, and the lyrics are as hypersexual as you once imagined Hugh Hefner's mansion to be. Still, he loves women, and women love a man who makes them laugh. Ghost keeps going like this, and he won't have to worry about growing old alone. (Rebecca Haithcoat)

click to flip through (2) The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. See Wednesday
  • The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. See Wednesday

Location Info


Morrissey's blessing should hand any area indie band the keys to the Eastside (the "real" Eastside so protected by belligerent nativists), so expect Red Cortez — whom Mozza personally invited to tour last year — to be well supported at this in-the-know lounge/jazz joint in the shadow of downtown (it's a benefit show for Asaprosar, the Salvadoran Association for Rural Health). Red Cortez evoke the uncomplicated musicality, melody and melodrama of War-era U2 or pre-ubiquity Kings of Leon, but with a jangly abandon that's more backyard kegger than stadium mega. Though a song like "Western Front" is the product of organized minds, it boasts sufficient irreverent shimmer (mostly thanks to frontman Harley Prechtel-Cortez's eccentric verse delivery) to sound stream of consciousness. Red Cortez's supple, punky soul/rock is far from a train wreck, but it's not rocket science, either — and therein lies its delicately balanced charm. (Paul Rogers)


Long Beach's Free Moral Agents are under the command of Mars Volta synthmeister Ikey Owens, whose day job doesn't seem to present the kind of musical constraints you'd imagine someone rebelling against. Nevertheless, on the recently released Control This (the Agents' first effort for Chicago's Chocolate Industries indie) Owens definitely takes advantage of his side-project liberation, leading his bandmates on a freewheeling journey through big-beat soul-funk, neo-shoegaze psychedelia and shimmering space-station prog rock. The group's songwriting doesn't always impress, especially in the wake of the Mars Volta's relatively concise Octahedron, from last year; the most memorable thing on Control This is a woozy cover of Sonic Youth's "Little Trouble Girl." But the intensity of their sound is something to behold. (Mikael Wood)


It's a nice, clean typeface (also, apparently, the name of an Italian hard-core-porn studio), but for L.A.'s music-loving denizens, the word Futura is about to take on a new meaning. Once a month in Eagle Rock, fans of beat music, ambient electronics and forward-thinking orchestral forays will find a welcoming home at the Center for the Arts. That's because locals Teebs (beat architect behind the fantastically lush just-released album Ardour) and Asura (whose recent self-titled electronic LP is full of multi-instrumentalist moxie) have teamed up to launch Futura, a night that will find those two performing while none other than Flying Lotus and Strangeloop handle a steady stream of tripped-out visuals. Expect plenty of special guests, too; this kickoff event features Quartetto Fantastico, a jazz-leaning string quartet featuring virtuosic player/arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. The group recently gave a concert-length performance of John Lennon songs at Footsie's in Highland Park, so expect the unexpected, but expect to be impressed. (Chris Martins)

Also playing Friday: MASTERS OF REALITY at House of Blues; STARS at the Wiltern; MAYER HAWTHORNE AND THE COUNTRY, CHILDISH GAMBINO at Music Box; MISFITS, JUICE HEAD at Key Club; LACO$TE, BIRTH, TOE JAM at The Smell; TEITUR at the Bootleg Theater; DENGUE FEVER at UCLA; SONNY AND THE SUNSETS, THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART at the Echoplex; OVER THE RHINE at the Troubadour; FANG at Alex's Bar.




As profiled last week in L.A. Weekly's revealing cover story, Best Coast frontwoman Bethany Cosentino has had a pretty remarkable year, taking her local fuzz-pop combo from blog-scene buzz band to darling of the star-making pundits here and abroad. Still, 2010 has not been without its lowlights: "I understand that negative criticism is a part of my job," Cosentino wrote on Best Coast's blog last week, "but honestly sometimes I cannot comprehend how cruel and immature people can be." Same here, homegirl: What's up with the Best Coast hate? Maybe you're not charmed by Crazy for You's scrappy beach-punk vibe, but to our ears it seems like pretty innocuous stuff, hardly worth making the lady feel afraid to turn on the Internet. (For the record, that Converse song with Kid Cudi and the dude from a certain overhyped Brooklyn band that shall not be named was kind of wack.) In any event, the band's two Troubadour gigs are already sold out, so Cosentino is unlikely to face any hecklers tonight. Also Sun. (Mikael Wood)

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