Music Picks: Amy Kuney, Whispertown, the Civil Wars, Jake Bellows, Plan B | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Music Picks: Amy Kuney, Whispertown, the Civil Wars, Jake Bellows, Plan B 

Also, Thom Bresh, Pictureplane, James Intveld and others

Thursday, Jan 6 2011



Although the club formerly known as Spaceland has new management and now is called the Satellite, there's still a handful of upcoming shows scheduled at the venue by the old bookers, Spaceland Productions. The company appears determined to end its 15-year run at the Silver Lake bar with a smashing finale, including this January residency by stoner-grunge icons the Melvins. The influential Washington band has expanded from a trio to a quartet in recent years, but founding members Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover still lay down torturously slow punk-metal dirges that are convulsively cathartic and impressively sludgy. Every Friday this month, they'll perform one of their old albums; tonight they plan to pummel through their 1992 release Lysol as well as a reworking of their synth-heavy 2001 experiment, Colossus of Destiny. The following week, they'll rummage through the carcass of their 1993 major-label debut, Houdini, before closing out the residency with exhumations of Bullhead and Stoner Witch. Bring earplugs. (Falling James)

click to flip through (2) Whispertown. See Wednesday.
  • Whispertown. See Wednesday.

Location Info


If your battle strategy is being in the right place at the right time, your ammunition better be talent. In 2005, while still in high school, Detroit rapper Big Sean maneuvered his way into the local radio station where Kanye West was promoting his latest album. West gave Sean 16 bars' worth of his time, and within a year, a recording contract with his label, G.O.O.D. Music. Big Sean's first album, Finally Famous, will drop this year at last, and when it does, expect production and guest appearances from every branch of West's expansive musical family tree. Big Sean's been busy in the meantime, though, posing in the lookbook for Billionaire Boys Club, the clothing line of Pharrell Williams and Nigo (of A Bathing Ape); and hopping on a handful of Kanye's supersavvy G.O.O.D. Friday weekly music giveaways. He also has released three mixtapes, the latest of which featured big guns like Bun B, Curren$y and Drake. Speaking of Drake, he and the entire Young Money crew borrowed (and credited) Sean's signature one-word-punch-line rapping style for their huge radio hits "Forever" and "BedRock." Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery. (Rebecca Haithcoat)


In Tha Dogg Pound's g-funkdified beginning, there were Daz Dillinger, Kurupt Tha Kingpin, Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg and Soopafly — until Snoop's 1993 Doggystyle, and then there were two, Daz and Kurupt. But the Wild West's most gangsta'd-up collective is loyal: Despite a web of rifts that rivals any soap opera's, Daz and Kurupt are back together, and Snoop, Soop and Nate all make frequent appearances on their projects. Daz and Kurupt have stayed faithful to the sound that made Los Angeles famous — funked-up, banging bass lines laced with just enough blunt-blown vocals to mesmerize both your drive and the dance floor. And though their last few albums were largely overlooked both critically and commercially and some dismiss Tha Dogg Pound as a throwback act, they proved they still know how to get the crowd going at this year's Paid Dues and Rock the Bells festivals with lyrics about Chevys, sex and chronic. (Rebecca Haithcoat)


The Smell is one venue that seems more like a living organism than merely a stylish hole that happens to put on shows. It isn't that outlandish to think of the Smell's 13th anniversary as the bar mitzvah of someone you've witnessed growing up and whom you wouldn't miss for the world. Over two days, you'll experience new bands and old favorites: Veterans Sir David Scott Stone and cyber-dance punkers Laco$te highlight the first night, playing with Thrill Jockey rising stars High Places, Manimal's Ghost Animal and Pit er Pat drummer Butchy Fuego. The following night you get Smell stalwarts Captain Ahab, Deathbomb Arc superstars I.E. and soulful glitch architects Nero's Day at Disneyland, along with Canadian breakcore band Square Root of Evil. As always, there will be surprises and the people you always see at the Smell (perhaps the next Bethanies Cosentino?), interspersed with the friends you haven't seen in forever, walking through the door as though they were drifting back home at last. (Also Sat.) (David Cotner)

Also playing Friday: LITTLE DRAGON at the NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM (see Music feature); BILLYGOAT at the Bootleg.




Little Dragon's Machine Dreams on the Peace Frog label is a spacey slice of electronicized eclectica, whose coolly eccentric marriage of R&B, classic soul and dance hall is a futuristic flight from the pumping pop of their critically praised eponymous debut, released in 2007. The Gothenburg, Sweden, band's hefty album sales and ballooning fan base were aided immeasurably when fan David Sitek of TV on the Radio invited the band to open shows on his 2009 U.S. dates; getting the track "Twice" played on ABC hit Grey's Anatomy didn't hurt, either. Little Dragon's tireless roadwork included an appearance at last year's Coachella fest with Gorillaz, with whom they'll be collaborating on an upcoming European tour. They've got a third album coming in June. Opener Billygoat is the duo of David Klein and Nick Woolley, who make a captivatingly strange stop-motion animation that will be projected onto a wall-sized screen as the duo play their equally charming arrangements for harp, keyboards, accordion, glockenspiel and electric guitar. (See Music feature.) (John Payne)

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