By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
MANIAC AT SILVERLAKE LOUNGE
Side projects can be a measure of a musician. If an offshoot act stretches a workmanlike talent too thin, the results can be wince-worthy indulgence. But for singer-guitarists Shawn Harris (from Oakland's on-hiatus the Matches) and Jake Grigg (of Aussie act Something With Numbers), their Maniac spin-off only confirms the generous depths of their inspiration. Maniac's blog-posted cover versions of current hits are fun, but its debut EP, Extended Play, shows what this colorful coming together is capable of and augurs well for their debut album, due early next year. Harris and Grigg love romantic orchestration and glossy escapism, yet remain sing-along jammy and campfire celebratory — at times evoking both Keane's kitschy anthems and a bohemian, busking Beatles. It's joyous, infectiously inclusive stuff full of head-tossing harmonies, horns, strings and (sometimes) much more besides. Expect Maniac's five-piece live incarnation (which includes Harris' sister Vanessa) to be a stomping, carefree riot. (Paul Rogers)
1822 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Region: Echo Park
Also playing Tuesday: HAWNAY TROOF, RUSTY LAZER, BIG FREEDIA at the Echoplex; PASSION PIT at the Palladium; ROB CROW, K. THIBIDEAU at Spaceland; NEIL SEDAKA at Walt Disney Concert Hall; KITTEN at the Echo; EPICA at the Key Club.
MAREN PARUSEL AT SILVERLAKE LOUNGE
Maren Parusel first came to some attention as the lead singer of an unusual San Diego band called Wild Weekend. Unlike so many tribute acts that cover obvious icons like AC/DC and Iron Maiden, Wild Weekend was a loving homage to Chula Vista punk legends the Zeros. The mostly female band's versions of Zeros classics like "Wimp" and "Beat Your Heart Out" were so charmingly stylish, there was talk that the young group would evolve and start writing their own songs — but Wild Weekend broke up suddenly before their potential was fully realized. Undeterred, the German-born Parusel reinvented herself as a solo performer, penning appealing, ethereal alt-pop tunes like "Breathe Underwater." Now this self-described "Silver Strand Dancer" and her new band craft shimmering, hazy reveries that are a million miles away from the riotous punk energy of the Zeros. (Falling James)
OMID, DEVONWHO, YUK AT THE AIRLINER
Producer Omid Walizadeh's first name is Persian for "hope," and it suits him: The dude's been a bright light in L.A.'s independent rap underground for more than a decade. In 1999, via Daddy Kev's seminal Celestial label, he released the cult-hallowed Beneath the Surface LP, which corralled dozens of the city's best MCs — members of Freestyle Fellowship, Dilated Peoples, Of Mexican Descent, Shapeshifters — into one beautifully layered, sample-driven opus. After a solo instrumental album, he teamed up with Mush Records in 2003 for Monolith, showing off a more finely honed style and expanding the rapper pool to include out-of-towners like Buck 65 and Slug (Atmosphere). Since, he's released small bits here and there but has stayed committed to his gritty scores flavored by Middle Eastern melodies, repurposed dialogue and various stringed things. Portland's Devonwho has close ties to the L.A. beat scene and a shimmering, bass-loving sound that should fit right in. Leaving Records' Yuk holds it down with warbly and warm cassette compositions. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Wednesday: DIME BAGS at the Redwood Bar & Grill; TOPHER MOHR at the Bootleg Theater; MT. ST. HELENS VIETNAM BAND at the Echo; MILLIONYOUNG, TEEN DAZE, THE GREAT MUNDANE at Spaceland; DELTA SPIRIT, DARKER MY LOVE, THE FLING at the Music Box; NATALIE COLE at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
HANNI EL KHATIB, RUMSPRINGA, HOT PANDA AT THE ECHO
Hanni El Khatib is the kind of retro that's always welcome. His Twitter profile rightly refers to his style as "knife-fight music," and distributor Stones Throw does an even better job with "malt-shop music for those who drink them spiked with bourbon." In reality, the guy is a one-man band specializing in the kind of leather-jacketed, coiffed pop that Dion and Del Shannon used to trade in. Think hand claps (not the canned kind), "wahh-oohs," shuffling bass lines, clean guitar, tambourine hits and a voice built to break hearts. It's pretty much 100 percent throwback — except for the F-bomb dropped on his first single, "Dead Wrong" — but that's not a problem, as Khatib's shtick coasts through speakers sans schlock, without a whiff of irony in the mix. In person, he gets help from a drummer, but it's still Hanni's show through and through. Supporters Rumspringa are locals who make mildly psychedelic rock with a taut but sprawling touch, while Canada's Hot Panda does quirky art pop à la Wolf Parade family. (Chris Martins)
HENRY ROLLINS AT THE ECHOPLEX
Henry Rollins' Rare Cuts and Conversation at the Echoplex is an exclusive listening party hosted by your "faithful fanatic-in-chief," currently one of KCRW's best-known DJs and an L.A. Weekly columnist, too. (Plus Black Flag and Rollins Band frontman, of course!) Rollins will be converting the Echoplex into his own private chamber of mysteries and sharing favorites from his extensive and eclectic personal collection. These are records he's spent decades collecting while traveling all over the world — he's e-mailing us from the Sudan right now, by the way — but he says they're too rare and obscure to play on his regular radio show. Besides the actual music, he'll be sharing wild stories about how he acquired each one. A legendary musician, DJ, spoken-word artist, writer of numerous books and poetry, actor and world traveler, he probably has some interesting stories to tell. Rollins agreed to do this only on condition that no photography or recording of any kind — even from the show's sponsors — be allowed. So if you don't make it out, you're out of luck. And if you've seen Rollins at Largo or Coachella or listen to his radio show, you're already going. (Lainna Fader)
Also playing Thursday: BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH at Troubadour; LE SWITCH, THE LONELY WILD, PAUL CHESNE BAND at the Redwood Bar & Grill; THE BAD PLUS at the Mint; BLEU at the Hotel Café; AIMEE MANN'S CHRISTMAS SHOW at Largo.
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