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RADARS TO THE SKY at the Satellite; NEW LOS ANGELES FOLK FESTIVAL at the Smell; YEMEN BLUES, WATCHA CLAN at Grand Performances; DISASTER RADIO, CAPTAIN AHAB at the Smell; TIM LEFEBVRE QUARTET at Blue Whale; SUSAN JAMES at the Mint; ARNOLD MCCULLER at Baked Potato.
Drunk on Crutches
Jen Whittenburg is a down-to-earth singer with an appealing voice and intelligent pop-country tunes on Drunk on Crutches' recent album, People Places Things. "I've been busy striking matches," she declares. "Lord, I wish that I was stoned." She strikes sparks with seemingly simple songs that neatly sum up the complexities of relationships. The Georgia native also is ambivalent about her new hometown in tracks like "California, You'll Have to Wait" and "Using Me Up," where Hollywood's bright lights and sirens keep her up all night. A cover of Neil Young's "L.A." fits seamlessly with the album's themes of dislocation and restlessness. Drunk on Crutches play a free, early-evening set at the Grand Ole Echo's country-roots roundup. —Falling James
JOSE MALDONADO at Echoplex; TORCHE, BIG BUSINESS, THRONES at Troubadour; EXHUMED, CEPHALIC CARNAGE at Key Club; ALL THE APPARATUS at the Mint; HUEY LEWIS at Pacific Amphitheatre.
Though they practically bleed frequent-flier miles, jam-lifers Phish surprisingly haven't touched down in Tinseltown since 2003. (If you don't count their three-day Halloween blowout two years ago in Indio.) Stranger yet, Monday also marks the foursome's first gig at the Bowl. For their grand return, expect the classics. There's no album to promote (Phish makes studio albums?!), but the Vermont noodlers are aiming for new material by year's end. New cuts, for better or worse, are probable. Refilling the "migraine" medicine early this week is advised; local dispensaries are facing an (un)expected shortage on supply. —Dan Hyman
THE SEIZURE, MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY at Pehrspace; ROBERT FRANCIS, PAPA, CAVE COUNTRY at Bootleg Theater.
Upon first listen, Deerhunter's latest effort, Halcyon Digest, sounds like its title: a mellow, slow burn that's better suited for a carefree drive, and a notable departure from the tumultuous shoegaze of their previous three works. But listen closer, and you'll discover a study in empty nostalgia and complicated memories. The band's idyllic '60s-pop beats ring just a little too happy to be honest. On "Basement Scene," frontman Bradford Cox, who struggles with life-threatening complications from Marfan syndrome, sings, "It could be the death of me/Knowing that my friends will not remember me/I wanna get old." Live, their music only gets more haunting and cathartic — heavy doses of reverb, extended outros and Cox's enchanting vocals. Bring tissues. —Andrea Domanick
Armed with his 1713 Stradivarius violin, Bowl Hall of Famer Joshua Bell leads the L.A. Philharmonic in a piece ideally suited for a fresh re-listening under the stars. Vivaldi's The Four Seasons opens the evening with its highly visual depictions of the moods and colors of time's passage and the vagaries of Nature. Bell's virtuosic hands will no doubt give the concertos — ubiquitous staple items in elevators from here to Timbuktu — an intelligently exploratory performance. In his Bowl debut, former Dudamel Conducting Fellow Perry So conducts Tchaikovsky's lushly tenderhearted Serenade for Strings, another popular piece seemingly custom-crafted for enjoyment in wide-open spaces. Also Thurs. —John Payne
The Wallburds, Loch & Key, Black Kettle
The annual International Pop Overthrow festival continues here and at other venues around the Southland, and tonight's lineup is loaded with a diverse variety of musicians working within the loose confines of the power-pop genre. Local trio the Wallburds alternate between smart, not-necessarily-retro pop-rock anthems like "Moments Before Midnight" and such intimate ballads as "Kindergarten Crush." The L.A. duo Loch & Key aren't strictly poppy, although Sean Hoffman used to play bass with the respected Bay Area alt-rockers American Music Club. Leyla Akdogan is an engaging chanteuse on the pair's generally mellow songs, which glide from bossa nova idylls to dreamy balladry. Openers Black Kettle purvey sunny pop songs that are distinguished by cheery, ultrafemme harmonies. With Cannoneers and Ansel. —Falling James
ALLAH LAS, FARMER DAVE, THE TYDE at the Echo.
This Philly-reared R&B songstress is riding high enough right now that she probably could headline the Gibson on her own: June release The Light of the Sun, Scott's first album since 2007, debuted at No. 1, a career best for the singer who's spent much of the past few years pursuing a successful acting career. (She was terrific in HBO's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.) As it happens, Scott hits town with a Budweiser-sponsored package called Jill Scott's Summer Block Party, which includes Anthony Hamilton, the great Southern soul singer with a guest spot on Light of the Sun; Mint Condition, the long-running Minnesota soul-funk group; and DJ Jazzy Jeff, Scott's fellow Philadelphian from back in the day. Doug E. Fresh hosts (and presumably will do the Dougie). —Mikael Wood