Music Picks: Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Prince, Ricky Martin, Carrie Rodriguez, The Low Anthem, Mogwai 

Also, Gutbucket Chamber Orchestra, Pegi Young, Mike Stinson and others

Thursday, May 5 2011

fri 5/6



click to enlarge PHOTO BY SARAH WILSON - Carrie Rodriguez: See Sunday.
  • Carrie Rodriguez: See Sunday.

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Scoff if you must, but Ms. Rose $ebert knows how to put on a show. "How's that?" you ask. Why, with fishnets and crotch-thrusting and gigantic, glitter-covered penises and waify men dressed as trailer park sluts, of course. The 24-year-old bleach-blonde pop star is sassy dynamite, frankly — a strutting, vamping, rapping, dancing, lowbrow genius who's taken all of the trashiest, most unpredictable elements of Britney Spears' career and distilled them into a character worthy of a cult following. "We're dancing like we're dumb/Our bodies going numb," she sings on one of her numerous No. 1 hits, "We R Who We R," and it's a fair assessment of the live experience. If you don't dance to this, you're thinking too hard. —Chris Martins

J Mascis, The Black Heart Procession


Mascis you know from his front-grump gig in Dinosaur Jr., the noisy Massachusetts trio he's led for the better part of the last quarter-century. In a typically perverse twist, though, Mascis has chosen this very Dinosaur-influenced moment (see Yuck, Cage the Elephant, et al.) to release his first solo studio disc, Several Shades of Why, on which he dials down the grunge-pop distortion and indulges his inner AM-radio folkie. It's all very pretty, especially when folks like Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses show up to add vocal harmonies. Tonight Mascis will play tunes from the record all by his lonesome, though an informed source says he might be joined for a song or two by Black Heart Procession's Pall Jenkins, who also turns up on Why. —Mikael Wood

Mike Stinson


The Virginia-born singer-songwriter who futilely banged his head against our glittering walls for years before walking away in dire frustration comes screaming back to Hollywood with a whole new musical trick bag. He is rightly revered by his local cult following as a honky-tonk auteur of the highest order; his 18 months in Houston have seen an extraordinary creative bloom, and when he hits the bandstand, expect some mind-bending new sounds. He's working a rich mess of rocked-up, blues-acknowledging, brand-new numbers, and he's also brought out his entire Houston band — a combo capable of delicious ferocity quite removed from what we've previously been treated to. This date's an intensely legitimate cause for celebration, not only because tonight's his birthday but also for the chance to experience a fresh new jolt of Stinson voltage. —Jonny Whiteside

Ricky Martin


The one-time bonbon-shaker gets surprisingly serious on his latest album, Música + Alma + Sexo, his first since coming out as a gay man in 2010. Over music that easily pairs throbbing club beats and sleek synths with power-ballad guitars and traditional Latin instruments, Martin describes his identification with marginalized people and promises to be true to himself from here on out. Even "The Best Thing About Me Is You," a bubbly English-language duet with English soul singer Joss Stone, delivers a message that seems shaped by Martin's recent experience: "Life is short, so make it what you wanna." Expect plenty of righteous fist-pumping at the Nokia tonight, but don't be surprised if he loosens up and lives a little vida loca as well. Also Sat. —Mikael Wood

Also playing Friday:

JUNIP, ACRYLICS at El Rey Theatre; CRYSTAL STILTS at the Natural History Museum; WOOLLY BANDITS, LADYKILLERS at the Redwood; THE ATOMIC BOMB AUDITION at the BLVD.; BLACK LABEL SOCIETY at House of Blues; RAVEONETTES, TAMRYN at the Troubadour; DESSA at the Roxy; GURF MORLIX at McCabe's; DIRTY VEGAS at the Echoplex; DUDAMEL CONDUCTS BRAHMS, DUTILLEUX at Walt Disney Concert Hall.


sat 5/7



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Insanely great Brazilian vocalist with a long-standing presence Stateside (she's the Sergio Mendes of the 21st century, except cuter and not a midget). She has recorded for Starbucks' label, but you shouldn't hold that against her: She gets mad props from serious jazz cats and latte mommies alike. —Dave Parkman

Avi Buffalo


This precociously talented Long Beach psych-folk band inked a record deal when main brain Avi Zahner-Isenberg was 18, then made good on the hype with last year's stunning eponymous debut. Songs like "Truth Sets In" reveal a subtle ear for unexpected melodic turns and virtuosic guitar play that never seems showy. Even "What's In It For," a memorable yearner in the vein of Shins and Sleepy Jackson, is unostentatious with its hook, a tribute to youthful slack and self-obsession: "What's in it for someone with nothing to do?/What's in it for me?" Live is where things get gloriously gaudy, when an emotionally off-kilter number like "Five Little Sluts" is transformed into a dizzying 10-minute trip. Pack a psychotropic picnic. —Chris Martins

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