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Kurt Vile, Santigold, Rusko 

Also, Star & Dagger, Charli XCX, Church of Misery and others

Thursday, May 31 2012
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fri 6/1

Krautrock Classics

FORD AMPHITHEATRE

click to enlarge Star & Dagger: See Saturday.
  • Star & Dagger: See Saturday.

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Barring a reunion of Ege Bamyasi–era Can, which would involve a resurrection, it's hard to imagine a more exciting event for L.A.-area fans of Krautrock, the '60s-born German experimental movement that continues to deeply inform most progressive music today. The Dublab crew and Teutonic cultural org the Goethe-Institut have assembled a veritable who's who of local left-fielders — including Dntel, Daedelus, Sun Araw, White Magic, Pharaohs, David Scott Stone, Carlos Niño and many more — to cover songs from the era. While one set each will be devoted to the music of Popul Vuh and Ash Ra Tempel's Manuel Göttsching, respectively, the highlight of the night will come with the cosmic closer. Eastside art-pop icon Nite Jewel will team up with Peanut Butter Wolf, Eddie Ruscha, Nedelle and Ariel Pink collaborator Cole MGN to perform Kraftwerk's Computer World in its entirety. —Chris Martins

Santigold

CLUB NOKIA

It's almost comical to label an artist as groundbreaking in today's rinse-and-repeat musical landscape. But in 2008, when Santi White, better known as Santigold, emerged with her dub-inflected eponymous debut stuffed with polyrhythmic electro pulses and whiplash rhymes — not to mention an overarching punk-rock purpose and a well-crafted urban-chic aesthetic to match — it was hard to imagine the then–31-year-old would do less than continue fighting against the bloated mediocrity plaguing the industry. While it's far too simplistic to believe that the Philly native's recently released sophomore turn, Master of My Make Believe, fell altogether flat, there's no denying the oomph that catapulted this singer-rapper into the spotlight has been diminished. Perhaps the Gagas and Minajs of the world stole some of her shine. Whatever. As she proved at Coachella, the girl puts on a damn good, albeit slightly less wacky, show. —Dan Hyman

Rusko

PALLADIUM

He's got a string of upcoming festival dates (including Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas) and a collaborative EP with Cypress Hill due out June 5. But first Rusko hits the Palladium tonight for the final date of his North American tour in support of this spring's Songs. As that title suggests, the L.A.-based dubstep don is embracing his love of pop these days: "Thunder" features vocals by Top 40 songwriter Bonnie McKee (who's worked with Katy Perry and Adam Lambert), while "Somebody to Love" could easily pass for something by England's Sugababes. Will you feel that devotion to tunecraft as you rub sweaty shoulders with a couple thousand 19-year-olds desperate for the drop? Probably not. —Mikael Wood

Vital Information

CATALINA JAZZ CLUB

Not long after becoming a member of the soon-to-be-superstar band Journey in 1978, drummer Steve Smith began what has become jazz fusion's longest-running ensemble, Vital Information. It has developed into one of the genre's most successful groups under Smith's consistent hand. Trained at Boston's Berklee College of Music, Smith also has shown a fondness for legendary big-band drummer Buddy Rich. Through the past four decades, Smith has earned a reputation as one of the most respected drummers anywhere in both rock and jazz. The current lineup of VI includes bassist Baron Browne, guitarist Vinny Valentino and the superb former Santana keyboardist Tom Coster. Vital Information celebrate the 30th anniversary of their first album on both Friday and Saturday. —Tom Meek

Also playing:

XIU XIU, YAMANTAKA at Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock; TYCHO at Troubadour; VAN HALEN at Staples Center; EMILE SANDE at El Rey Theatre.

sat 6/2

Charli XCX

BOOTLEG BAR

Though she's only 19, London's Charli XCX peddles a dark but infectious brand of synthesized pop that seems destined to fill arenas in the near future. The sultry and charismatic future star is taking a break from opening for Santigold's tour to play this intimate headliner in honor of her upcoming EP, You're the One, for L.A. indie powerhouse IAMSOUND. The songs contained therein showcase a deep affection for a decade she's only learned about secondhand — the '80s, natch — but perhaps that's why she's able to avoid tired retread. Charli effortlessly sidesteps the era's cheesier inclinations via a mix of arty sass à la Lykke Li and shadowy creep that seems derived from the so-called witch house movement (see Pictureplane, Salem, et al.). Considering she's been collaborating with producers Patrik Berger (Robyn) and Ariel Rechtshaid (Glasser), expect an even mix of neon buzz and organic gloom. —Chris Martins

Star & Dagger, The Hangmen

EL CID

It might be hard to remember now, but Sean Yseult was the bassist back when White Zombie were actually a somewhat terrifying hard-rock ensemble, before leader Rob Zombie took the act in a safely cartoonish and more predictable direction. Now Yseult is back in black with the new band Star & Dagger, whose heavy stoner-rock riffs are drawn from Black Sabbath (of course) but melded with the serenely witchy imprecations of lead singer Von Hesseling. Yseult's spiny bass lines are buttressed further by doom-ridden chords from guitarists Dave Catching (Earthlings?, Eagles of Death Metal) and Donna She Wolf, who rocks with more authenticity here than she did in her somewhat silly former group, Cycle Sluts From Hell. Despite numerous lineup changes, The Hangmen's primal Cramps-meets–Johnny Thunders sound hasn't changed much since lead singer Bryan Small moved out here from Boise, Idaho, in the late 1980s. The song may remain the same, but Small continues to write thunderously catchy, elegantly wasted anthems on The Hangmen's latest album, East of Western. —Falling James

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