Music Picks: Lila Downs, Merle Haggard, I See Hawks in L.A., Die Antwoord | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Music Picks: Lila Downs, Merle Haggard, I See Hawks in L.A., Die Antwoord 

Also, Das Racist, Gonjasufi, Roky Erickson and others

Thursday, Feb 23 2012
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fri 2/24

David Binney

BLUE WHALE

click to enlarge PHOTO BY AUSTIN YOUNG - Abby Travis: See Monday.
  • PHOTO BY AUSTIN YOUNG
  • Abby Travis: See Monday.

Location Info

His bio still says that he's one of the most prolific young jazz musicians on the scene, but the New York–based saxophonist has been around long enough and done enough scene-changing projects with a who's who of jazz to have earned seasoned-veteran status. Binney maintains his youthful similitude by hanging with the new generation, including and featuring on this show the popular L.A.– and YouTube–based electronica duo of Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi (the three of them currently are recording an album together). The fun continues with a plethora of guests from New York and Los Angeles, with all the makings of a beautiful sound orgy, just the sort of thing to maintain and sustain a virile spirit. Musically speaking, that is. —Gary Fukushima

I See Hawks in L.A.

MCCABE'S

Longtime purveyors of what Gram Parsons called "cosmic American music," I See Hawks in L.A. go all-acoustic for their latest, called New Kind of Lonely and due out March 6. It's lovely, beautifully harmonized stuff (with some sweet fiddle action by Gabe Witcher of Punch Brothers), but what distinguishes the record from others by any number of history-conscious roots acts is the Hawks' taste for the less-than-lovely, as reflected in the title track, where Rob Waller recounts the time "Randy went out, got wasted with the boys, chasing skirts and getting hurt." Later, he spins a tale in "Big Old Hypodermic Needle" you don't need me to unravel. Tonight they'll celebrate the album's release amid the appropriately instrument-jammed environs of McCabe's, with former Lone Justice/X dude Tony Gilkyson as support. —Mikael Wood

Die Antwoord

CLUB NOKIA

These South African rave-rap jokers didn't quite manage to jump from Internet fame to the real-world variety after Interscope issued a commercial version of their self-released debut, $O$, in 2010. So that's probably one reason Die Antwoord's new sophomore disc, Ten$ion, arrives not with Jimmy Iovine's backing but on the group's own Zef Records. ("Fuck you, Jimmy, I'm-a never give it back," Yo-Landi Vi$$er promises in "So What?" in apparent reference to whatever's left of their Interscope advance.) But if Vi$$er and her fellow vocalist Ninja regret their failure to crack the mainstream, you can't tell from Ten$ion, which sounds pretty much exactly the same as its predecessor — think gonzo-aggro boasts, creepy singsong hooks and DJ Hi-Tek's synthed-up, strobed-out beats. Remarkably, this show is sold out. —Mikael Wood

Atlas Sound

CENTER FOR THE ARTS, EAGLE ROCK

Seemingly able to do no musical wrong, Atlanta's Bradford Cox has consistently wowed critics and fans alike with his ability to blow past the usual limitations of experimental music. With his band, Deerhunter, he bridges art-punk to dream-pop and winds up with something that Beach Boys aficionados can dig. Meanwhile, under his solo guise, Atlas Sound, Cox has been forging his freewheeling guitar-and-tape experiments into comely bits of emotionally satisfying songwriting. His woozy, sparkling latest is Parallax, a set of fragile songs, which reveal their architect's distinct loneliness — a child of divorce born with Marfan syndrome, he's always felt and looked like an outsider — while exploring his thorny relationships with love and religion. Bits of doo-wop mingle with electronic flourishes, pensive keyboard work and inventive picking, making for a live experience that's thick with texture and aqueous hues. —Chris Martins

Also playing:

MEGADETH, MOTÖRHEAD at Gibson Amphitheatre; GRIMES at the Echo; BUDOS BAND at the Echoplex; STANLEY CLARKE BAND at Catalina Bar & Grill; JACKIE EVANCHO at Nokia Theatre; BARE WIRES at Bootleg Bar; YELLOW RED SPARKS at the Mint; CURSIVE, UME, VIRGIN ISLANDS at the Troubadour.

 

sat 2/25

Ann Magnuson

STEVE ALLEN THEATER

Ann Magnuson's taking Mayan predictions of an apocalypse later this year pretty seriously — well, seriously enough to put on her own cabaret show with frequent collaborators Kristian Hoffman and drummer Joe Berardi. The actor-columnist–performance artist-diva (who's appeared in such films as Desperately Seeking Susan and The Hunger, starred in the TV series Anything but Love and fronted disparate music projects, ranging from anti-folkies Bleaker Street Incident to heavy-metal parodists Vulcan Death Grip to psychedelic art-rockers Bongwater) will belt out end-of-the-world ditties, covers of standards by Jacques Brel and David Bowie, and wonderfully sarcastic pop originals from her most recent solo album, Pretty Songs & Ugly Stories. She's calling her humble little soiree "Drawing Room Apocalypse" in an attempt to add an air of Victorian "gentility" to the upcoming global carnage. —Falling James

Lila Downs

WILTERN

Maybe, taken independently, the elements of Lila Downs' music are nothing you haven't heard before. But her signature arrangements, combining traditional sounds of Mexican music with jazz, blues, African and some Klezmer-style instrumentation, capture a genius all her own. To call her craft wide-ranging would be an understatement. In a voice that switches easily from smoky-sultry to all-out operatic, singing lyrics in English, Spanish and several Native American languages, Downs entrances audiences. Chin out, shoulders back, stomping and smiling, she captivates. If at least one person doesn't shout, mesmerized, "Te amo, Lila!" at some point during Saturday's show, we'll be astonished. —Erica Phillips

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