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
Mari Iijima coos the sugariest songs imaginable, but she's more than just a fluffy pop singer. She came to widespread attention in her native Japan in the early '80s after voicing anime character Lynn Minmay in the popular television series The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, but she gained more critical respect in her solo pop career when she collaborated with the estimable pop wizard Van Dyke Parks and worked with Yellow Magic Orchestra mastermind Ryuichi Sakamoto. Iijima has been living in Los Angeles for the past 20 years, and her most recent album, Echo, is an often-affecting update of Ovid's tragically romantic tale of Echo and Narcissus. The title track is especially moving, as Iijima's airy, lost-little-girl voice wends its way yearningly through a thicket of somber violins and cellos. —Falling James
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Region: USC to South L.A.
TRIO MEDIAEVAL at Bradbury Building; FREE MORAL AGENTS at Origami Vinyl; DIEGO GARCIA at McCabe's.
With song titles like "Wake Skate Bake" and "Stoked and Broke," it's pretty clear what Fidlar are all about. But in case the L.A. scuzz-punks' M.O. is still vague, singer Zac Carper spells it out in "Max Can't Surf" when he growls, "Eating Del Taco and sleeping in, playing video games." The quartet's name is an acronym for "Fuck It Dog, Life's a Risk," and they fit in with new-school noisemakers like Ty Segall and Black Lips just as easily as they could open for a resurrected Black Flag. Of course, their lifestyle is distinctly informed by this city's historical relationship with slackerdom under the sun, so don't expect political screeds or art-school ideologies. Instead, any who attend this gig are liable to wind up drenched in sweat, booze and, with any luck, a little blood. [See Music feature.] —Chris Martins
CENTER FOR THE ARTS, EAGLE ROCK
We need to thank our lucky stars we've got this valuable source of relevant new sounds right here in Los Angeles, a city that sometimes is referred to as the center of the "music industry." One of our last strongholds of advance-guard contemporary music, the venerable Open Gate presents artists who tread that gratifyingly uneasy line between jazz, avant-rock, improvisational, new-world and contemporary classical. Tonight's big bash features sets by founder Will Salmon and his co-curator, drum visionary Alex Cline, in combined spontaneous excursions with a heavyweight gang of new-thing vets, including sax/flute ace Vinny Golia, tuba king William Roper, percussion/drums innovators Brad Dutz and Joe Berardi, guitarists Steuart Liebig and G.E. Stinson, pipa piper Jie Ma, vocalist Kaoru and pianist Wayne Peet. Free food and beverages promised, so what have you got to lose? Nothing! —John Payne
"I've got three cities stuck in my heart / And a broken arrow shows me the way to go," Jolie Holland declares on her most recent album, Pint of Blood. The pop-folk record reads like a stash of confessional love letters, moving from dazed confusion ("I can't believe you're treating me like all those girls") and sadness ("If disappointment was like a drug / I overdosed again") to a kind of redemptive nostalgia ("I got drunk on an old photograph of you"). The Texas native, who counts Tom Waits among her earliest supporters, should give these lovely love songs an especially intimate feel tonight with backing by a stripped-down trio. The mysterious Fort Bragg singer Emily Jane White conjures delicately shimmering pop soundscapes like "Black Silk," a haunting series of sighs that's tinged with melancholy and anointed with ethereal vocals. Look for her poetically titled new album, Ode to Sentience, in May. —Falling James
Drake, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar
Galen Center, USC
Expect USC's student body to be on the verge of sheer mayhem when Drake, A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar, three of the hottest young voices in hip-hop, tear down the Galen Center. However, in an age where a diploma guarantees nothing but mountains of debt, excuse the performers if they can't relate to this audience: The first two dudes were signed to seven-digit record deals before ever dropping an official release. Nonetheless, this is undoubtedly a can't-miss megarap spectacle. The Weekly crowned king Lamar's Section.80 the best L.A. album of 2011; Drake's Take Care, one of the finest hip-hop offerings of 2011, should be fully developed in the live setting by showtime; and Rocky, fresh off the release of last fall's mind-melting mixtape LIVELOVEA$AP — not to mention a $3 million deal for him and his "A$AP" cronies — is only at the start of something truly special. —Dan Hyman
The Twilight Sad
It would be cranky to dismiss the Twilight Sad as merely a shinier, slicker Joy Division rip-off. The Scottish ex-shoegazers now plumb the industrial depths on their just-out No One Can Ever Know, an invigoratingly gloomy little affair whose broody muse departs from the band's previous My Bloody Valentine fixation to a much harsher, grimier Manchester milieu. Sparse and exceedingly hooky, the songs boast a grubby, rather ill-tempered air whose shreds of distorted guitar shrieks, coiling vintage analog synths and drum machines worm around lead singer/doomsayer James Graham, who intones with such forlorn foreboding that you'll find yourself quiverin' in your boots — even if ye canae oonerstan wa wee laddie's sayin'. So, yes, it's bleak, depressing stuff, and the question is, why does it make us happy? —John Payne