LIARS AT THESEX
Sometimes a band becomes that much more interesting due to the company it keeps — not its influences and not its label mates but instead the people it entrusts to reimagine the sounds that are so fundamentally part of its being. The companion disc to Liars' fifth and latest album, Sisterworld (Mute), features remixes by Atlas Sound, Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead, Tunde Adebimpe, Boyd Rice, Thom Yorke, Melvins and Carter Tutti of Throbbing Gristle. Sisterworld is an album shot through with vast and remote wide-open spaces, insular interiors exploding into untold cosmos-spanning richness and, as ever, lead singer Angus Andrew imparting the notion of the listener floating up Shit Creek in a barbed-wire canoe. It's an album as much about Los Angeles as it is (via the remixes) about how outsiders see Los Angeles — a place in which rhythms of rain are more often replaced by rhythms of car crashes, streets unfold into other worlds in the space of a city block, and a band like Liars can follow its own star in relative anonymity, even while that star goes supernova. (David Cotner)
ALOE BLACC AT THE ECHO
Listening to "I Need a Dollar," the intro song for HBO's How to Make It in America, you wouldn't know that Blacc's appearance on the soul scene is fairly recent. The rich timbre of his voice, along with lyrics reminiscent of Gil Scott Heron's "The Bottle," leads you to believe that maybe Donny Hathaway or Sam Cooke had a song tucked away in some catalog you'd never heard before. Seeing Blacc outfitted in butterfly-collared shirts and natty driving caps doesn't do much to correct your misjudgment, either. Yet Blacc, who began his career as an MC in the duo Emanon along with L.A.'s mad beat scientist Exile, has just barely crossed over into his 30s. He has an old soul, though, further evinced by Good Things, his latest release on L.A.'s ever-stellar Stones Throw label. Acting as artistic eyewitness, he sings of the shady underbelly of a capitalist society, and of the litter the latest economic recession left behind. But don't let the subject matter get you down. Just like the golden-voiced gods of soul that came before him, he makes even the struggle sound sublime. (Rebecca Haithcoat)
Also playing Friday: ATLAS SOUND at the Echo; BRENDAN BENSON and THE POSIES at Club Nokia; ICE CUBE, RICK ROSS, CHRIS BROWN, WAKA FLOCKA at Key Club; CHARLIE HUNTER TRIO at the Mint; LOWER HEAVEN, EXPLODING FLOWERS, JASON SIMON, LANTVRN at the Satellite.
DAYLONG VALLEYS OF THE NILE, DUNES, DIVA AT THE SMELL
Nascent new wave post–punk rock dominators Daylong Valleys of the Nile got their shaky start when Lavender Diamond guitarist Jeff Rosenberg got together with LD's keyboardist Steve Gregoropoulos in order to write punk songs for wee shavers. Gregoropoulos' first song submission was "Drugs Are for Your Parents" — which tune, after giving it some thought, the pair deemed not quite appropriate. But somehow things evolved into an art form a tad more grown-up. (Just a bit.) Now it's reams of great, smart pop tunes finely drizzled with that tasty early-'70s glammy prog sauce. Songs like "Gossamer Station" and "Nick of Time" boast close attention paid to the fine art of the wildly leaping chord change and to the band's complexly shaded vocal harmonies — a bit arch, goofy and sincere, à la Eno's Warm Jets. The grassy walls of electric guitars twining chipper eighth-note pianos/synths/high hats are funny but gorgeous — full of life, larger than life, even, or at least larger than your living room. Lo-fi/big-space soundweavers Dunes include veteran L.A. punk potentates Kate Hall of Mika Miko and Stephanie Chan of Finally Punk. (John Payne)
MOSES CAMPBELL, SLUMBER BEAST, LITTLE TEETH, FOOT FOOT AT PEHRSPACE
L.A. folk-punk sextet Moses Campbell is due massive recognition any day now. Sure, the band's composed of teenagers who only just released their debut full-length on the Smell's scrappy little imprint olFactory Records, but Who Are You? Who Is Anyone? is a fantastically conceived pop experiment. Singer Sean Solomon, often backed by Daniela Jimenez, coos in a twee-tinged bucolic mumble landing him somewhere between Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst. Meanwhile, the songs underneath range from jangly ("Annabelle") to noisy ("And It's Over"). Some are more shambolic than others, but it's mostly an acoustic bluster played with guitar, accordion, glockenspiel, singing saw, violin and drums. Where's Saddle Creek when you need 'em? Also local is Slumber Beast, who employ viola, cello and guitar to make darkly dreamy and emotively packed whispers of songs. (They also cover the Misfits and Billy Idol, so go figure.) San Francisco's Little Teeth is another oddly enticing collision of classical instrumentation and folksy warmth. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Saturday: JENS LEKMAN at Mondrian/Skybar; MARCO BENEVENTO at the Mint; SWAHILI BLONDE at Space 15 Twenty; STRAIGHT NO CHASER at the Wiltern; GRAVITY WAS EVERYWHERE BACK THEN screening with live score by members of Fugazi and Giant Sand at Cinefamily.