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Music Picks: Joan Osborne, Tears for Fears, the Cute Lepers, J. Cole, Low 

Also Bon Iver, Cerebellion, Surfer Blood and others

Thursday, Sep 15 2011
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fri 9/16

Surfer Blood

 

click to enlarge The Cute Lepers: See Wednesday.
  • The Cute Lepers: See Wednesday.

Location Info

THE ECHOPLEX

These West Palm Beach guitar guys are set to hit the road this fall as the Pixies' opening act, which is a little like Stone Temple Pilots softening the crowd for Nirvana. (Wait, did that ever happen?) On much of last year's blog-buzzed Astro Coast, Surfer Blood sound like Vampire Weekend covering tunes from Doolittle and Bossanova (though not, strangely, Surfer Rosa — that one's too sexy). Before they meet their idols, they're headlining some West Coast dates of their own in advance of Tarot Classics, a zippy little four-song EP (due Oct. 25) that moves the appealing hero worship up to Trompe Le Monde; "Miranda" is "Alec Eiffel" in all but name. Also Sat. at the Getty Center. —Mikael Wood

Peter Hook & The Light, Moby

 

EL REY THEATRE

At the time of singer Ian Curtis' death on the eve of Joy Division's first American tour, Joy Division were a rapidly evolving band creating epic magic. The band had been on a rich creative roll, even along with (and in many ways because of) Curtis' various woes, but his suicide stopped the whole enterprise dead in its ascending tracks. Ex-J.D./New Order bassist Peter Hook and his new crew will, in effect, give the American live premiere of Joy Division's finest, most heartrendingly beautiful records, Closer and Unknown Pleasures. The El Rey show will present Unknown Pleasures in its entirety. Last week, a surprise was announced via Twitter: Hook's longtime friend Moby will join the band as guest vocalist. —John Payne

Also playing:

HEAVY CREAM, THE SHRINE at Catnap; POLLS, PEK PEK at the Echo; JOSH NELSON at Blue Whale; WALT FOWLER at Vibrato; BILL HOLMAN BIG BAND at Vitello's.

 

sat 9/17

 

The Roots

 

HOUSE OF BLUES

Try convincing hip-hop purists that a skinny white dude, whose late-night show airs when most people are passed out, would help legitimize the Roots. But alas, the Philly hip-hop collective's recent work as the house band on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon has only further articulated their brilliance as versatile musical masters in a genre that often demands one look. Already risk-takers (see last year's stellar soul throwback, Wake Up!, with John Legend), this may have been their biggest gamble yet. If anything, though, their new gig — with Amir ?uestlove leading the way per usual (and putting old dogs like Paul Shaffer to shame in the process) — puts an exclamation point on an already heralded career. Thankfully, Fallon summer reruns equal a chance to see the legendary crew off-camera. —Dan Hyman

Tears for Fears

 

THE WILTERN

While Tears for Fears wasn't the most credible name to drop during the Brit band's 1980s heyday, their tunes have time-traveled well. What they lacked in cartoonish image and overt star power TFF more than compensated for with sheer singability and mainman Roland Orzabal's fastidious production. Early singles like "Mad World" and breakthrough "Shout" are as era-evocative as a Rubik's cube, yet their sheer ambition and melodrama have proved enduringly endearing ("Mad World" was supersuccessfully covered by Gary Jules 20 years later). 1989's "Sowing the Seeds of Love," perhaps the pinnacle of Orzabal's grandiose designs, likewise stands up as an ultramelodic masterstroke Oasis would die for. Tears for Fears return to remind us that the best new wave bands were, after all, triumphs of content over form. —Paul Rogers

Also playing:

KE$HA at Gibson Amphitheatre; THE DAYLIGHTS at Hotel Café; PAUL OAKENFOLD at Avalon; DELTA MIRROR, DREAM TAPES at Bootleg Bar; LAS CAFETERAS, CHICANO SON, LA CHAMBA at Echoplex; DON RANDI & QUEST at the Baked Potato; RITA EDMOND at Nola's; MARY GAUTHIER, LORI MCKENNA at McCabe's; SLIGHTLY STOOPID, SHWAYZE at Verizon Amphitheatre; DON HENLEY, LUCINDA WILLIAMS at Greek Theatre; RANA FARHAN, SHAHRZAD SEPANLOU at El Rey Theatre; ANR, WE BARBARIANS at Satellite.

 

sun 9/18

 

James Blake

 

MUSIC BOX

Whether dubstep ends up happening in the United States any more convincingly than jungle or 2-step did before it, it seems safe at this point to conclude James Blake has: Seven months after its release, his self-titled debut was nestled last week within the Top 10 of iTunes' Top Electronic Albums chart, and this weekend the English singer-producer hits L.A. for a pair of headlining shows hot on the heels of recent gigs at the Troubadour and Hollywood Forever. Whatever the dimensions of his professional success, Blake has for sure triumphed creatively; the stark electro-soul ruminations on his album had me humming even before I got to the Feist cover. A follow-up EP (including a dreamy duet with Bon Iver) is due out next month. Also Mon. —Mikael Wood

Laura Marling

 

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER

Laura Marling's songs have a somber intensity that should properly answer the echoes in the cemetery's Masonic Lodge tonight. The British folksinger's third and latest album, A Creature I Don't Know, is anchored by such contemplative ballads as "Rest in Bed" and "The Beast," where her intimate vocals bounce off little more than an acoustic guitar. On other roots-folk tunes like "The Muse" and "I Was Just a Card," Marling's freewheeling delivery is almost jazzy. And she's positively stirring when she pledges to "leave my rage to the sea and sun" on the album closer, "All My Rage," a more traditional-minded lament, where producer Ethan Johns surrounds her with a mesmerizing blur of stringed instruments. Also Tues. at the Troubadour. —Falling James

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