By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
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Garland Jeffreys is a longtime performer whose songs capture slices of New York street life as definitely as the work of his peers Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen. The Brooklyn native's latest album, The King of In Between, is as lively and diverse as the City That Never Sleeps, bursting with jaunty reggae ("Roller Coaster Town"), poetic acoustic ballads ("In God's Waiting Room"), soul-rock anthems ("I'm Alive"), shadowy funk ("Streetwise") and the sparkling thrum of Dylanish evocations ("Coney Island Winter"). Over the years, his insightful songwriting has plumbed the depths of love and racism, and his 1973 single, "Wild in the Street," has been memorably covered by the Circle Jerks and Chris Spedding. A true New York icon, Jeffreys was glimpsed up close in Wim Wenders' documentary film The Soul of a Man. —Falling James
BLEACHED, NEVEREVER at Bootleg Bar; METH LEPPARD at Cobalt Café; SNAKEOIL at Blue Whale; KURT ROSENWINKEL at Musicians Institute; UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, WHITE ARROWS at the Echoplex; PHIFE DAWG & FRIENDS at Key Club.
Cate Le Bon
One needn't start a campaign in order to Keep Wales Weird, but if such a movement existed, Cate Le Bon would no doubt sit high in the ranks. She has collaborated with the vanguard, members of both Super Furry Animals and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, and her new album, Cyrk, is a vintage-sounding kaleidoscopic slab of chanteuse-psych that channels Nico and Os Mutantes with equal aplomb. Blown-out guitars and keys reign amidst Krautrock grooves and thick atmosphere, with stopovers in modernity: a little Of Montreal here, a little Stephen Malkmus there. Though her 2009 debut was a concept record about dying pets, this latest batch of songs revels in nature themes and spiritual breeziness. This guitar-shop gig offers a rare chance to witness Le Bon unspool her strange magic up close and personal. —Chris Martins
PSYCHIC TV at the Echo; LAURA VEIRS at Largo; ARCHERS OF LOAF, HOSPITALITY at the Troubadour.
Abby Travis is almost too talented for her own good. The singer-bassist first came to attention in the mid-'80s with Redd Kross spinoff the Lovedolls, and her solidly melodic bass playing has backed a virtual galaxy of stars, including Elastica, Vanessa Paradis, Beck, KMFDM, Exene Cervenka, Gibby Haynes, Eagles of Death Metal, Masters of Reality, even Spinal Tap. Travis is in such demand as a guest musician that her solo albums sometimes get overlooked. Her latest release, IV, belies its plain title with a glittery assortment of glam-rock epics and introspective cabaret-pop idylls. In the past, Travis' only weakness was her songwriting, but the new album is much more satisfying and sophisticated, with memorable, Sparks-style tunes such as "Mr. Here Right Now" and "Lulu." It's almost unfair that the eternally glamorous chanteuse now has the songwriting chops to match that gorgeous voice. —Falling James
Harry Smith was a visionary in the truest sense, exploring questions of humanity and philosophy through fantastically diverse means. Weekly Music section readers will know his culture-changing Anthology of American Folk Music, but Smith had kaleidoscopic talents and taste in music, art, film and more. As many have said, his life itself was a work of art. In 2010, L.A.'s electronic producer Flying Lotus, a similarly ravenous philosopher and polymath, first performed a new live score for one of Smith's hallmark films, the hand-painted, symbolic collages animated into life in the '60s as Heaven and Earth Magic. The result was something between revelation and resurrection: two seekers united in conversation, the years between dissolved away. The word cosmic can be used one rightful last time to describe this night, and then it must be happily retired forever. —Chris Ziegler
With indie rap ensconced in its punk phase, every buzz-worthy lineup is a chance to witness one of two entertaining extremes: best show ever, or total train wreck. But these headliners are seasoned showmen with a love for both drama and comedy. Das Racist may have kick-started their career with a lowbrow chuckle ("Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell"), but they've since proven to be social satirists of a higher order, couching brainy treatises on cultural commodification and race relations within a framework that thoroughly bangs. Heems' beastly rapping more than makes up for Kool A.D.'s affected mumble, and hype man Dapwell could fluff an audience full of geriatrics. Also hailing from Brooklyn is rising star and Danny Brown's best bud Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, an affable old-schooler who raps like a long-lost member of the Wu. Berkeley's Young L comes from the same hypercolored crew that spawned Internet phenom Lil B. —Chris Martins
The Claudia Quintet
Drummer-leader John Hollenbeck's spiky modernists bring the West Coast debut of songs from their highly acclaimed 2011 album, What Is the Beautiful? A deliciously curious pairing of avant-jazz with the poetry of proto–Beat writer Kenneth Patchen, the set features otherworldly vocal stylist Theo Bleckmann. Hollenbeck is a gratifyingly unclichéd composer who crosses over into uncharted areas strewn with madly inspired melodic/harmonic surprises and slippery, hard-pumping counter-rhythms. Music of great power and originality, 'nuff said, and emotionally deep, too, laid out by an ace batch of edge-music's best: bassist Drew Gress, vibes man Matt Moran, accordionist Red Wierenga and clarinet/tenor sax wiz Chris Speed. —John Payne
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