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WINTERSLEEP at the Echo; VUM, IDES OF GEMINI, THE NOCTURNES at Bootleg Bar.
In many ways, The Clean are like New Zealand's equivalent to The Urinals. Each band started in the late 1970s, releasing obscure singles that melded lo-fi production and musical backing with an art-pop aesthetic that invoked predecessors like the Velvet Underground. Both groups are better known for the famous performers they've inspired rather than for their own idiosyncratic music, and both bands, coincidently, have been cited by Yo La Tengo as a major influence. The Clean's tangled history encompasses exotic, serpentine, Stooges-style riffs ("Point That Thing Somewhere Else"), euphoric pop-punk ("Oddity"), freaky instrumental passages ("Franz Kafka at the Zoo"), Hendrix-y psychedelia ("Alpine Madness"), sunny, Beck-like folk ("Golden Crown") and hazy pop ("Are You Really on Drugs?"). The Clean's latest album, Mister Pop, is no less eclectic and just as weirdly mesmerizing. —Falling James
Dry the River, Noah & Megafauna
Dry the River have been called the next Mumford & Sons, but the British band's backstory isn't the usual folksy fare. Singer-guitarist Peter Liddle began writing songs in his bedroom while at medical school, but when he realized what he had, he traded in his scrubs for Levis and solo status for a proper band. But rather than search the English countryside for his future mates, he called up four guys he'd played with as a teen in the London ska-punk scene. Despite their checkered roots, the band members have rallied around Liddle's graceful songcraft, adding pastoral strings, close harmonies, brushed drums and more to the mix. Dry the River cite gentle giants like Bob Dylan and Paul Simon as a direct influence on their LP Shallow Bed, but they make some strikingly buff, stadium-ready folk rock, as heard on the soaring single "No Rest." —Chris Martins
JACK WHITE at the Wiltern; ONRA, RYAT at the Airliner; BUSHMAN, YOUSSOUPHA SIDIBE at the Echoplex.
Alexander Spit, CBG, Carter
Rising L.A.-to-S.F. emcee Alexander Spit worships at the throne of deceased Bay Area king rapper Mac Dre, but rather than imbue his beats with the essence of thizz (ecstasy), he's inspired by a different brand of intoxicant. Some have called what he does "shroom-bap," a combination of classic rap cadence and organic distortion. Others use the term "trap-psychedelia," where hippie shit meets the 'hood. Regardless, Spit is an ace vocalist with a silk-smooth delivery and his priorities set on such West Coast favorites as women, weed and whips. He's also a challenging producer, as apt to lay languid live guitars over a syrupy string sample ("Real RSWD") as to build beats out of spooky loops and post-punk distortion ("Facemelter"). If his much-whispered-about last mixtape, These Long Strange Nights, is any indication of what's to come, Spit's on his way to some very serious highs in the near future. —Chris Martins
Suburban Spawn, Karl
Of all the L.A. punk and new-wave bands of the late '70s and early '80s, the Suburban Lawns were truly uncategorizable. The Long Beach quintet's wickedly sarcastic "Gidget Goes to Hell" was a KROQ hit, and its video was even aired on Saturday Night Live, but these former CalArts students also crafted weirder and more mysterious songs, such as "Green Eyes" and the decadently swanky "Flavor Crystals." Not only that, but in a scene populated with iconic performers like Exene and Darby Crash, Suburban Lawns lead singer Su Tissue came off as truly unsettling, staring blankly into the crowd like a shell-shocked casualty. Tonight's tribute band, Suburban Spawn, features former W.A.C.O. violinist Rebecca Lynn, who also performs in the jaggedly arty and eclectic new project Karl? with singer-guitarist Daniel Chavez. Rumor is original Suburban Lawns member William "Vex Billingsgate" Ranson will sit in tonight. —Falling James
It absolutely shouldn't work. Melding choral vocals, glittery synths and a stand-up harp (of all things!) should not work. Harps are not cool. Neither are high, wavering falsettos. But somehow local favorite Active Child (aka Pat Grossi) has managed to put together a show that stirs the soul and, dare we say, grooves. How? Mostly because the man doesn't give a damn what you think and is going to play to the choir in his head. Grossi's ambitious debut album, You Are All I See, demonstrates his imagination, but it's not until you witness the songs live that you truly get what he's trying to accomplish. The man is making dance music for robotic angels, while managing to rock out on giant stand-up harp. You'll have to see it to believe it. —Molly Bergen