Music Picks: Rome, The xx, Aretha Franklin 

Also, Cannibal Corpse, I See Hawks in L.A., Smokey Robinson and others

Thursday, Jul 19 2012

fri 7/20

The Zeros, The Muffs


click to flip through (2) PHOTO BY MARY ANN HALPIN - Jennifer Leitham: See Thursday.
  • Jennifer Leitham: See Thursday.

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It's going to be a "Wild Weekend" once The Zeros get going tonight. The Chula Vista quartet, who were still teenagers when they formed in 1976, were never as manically poetic as The Germs or as relentlessly political as The Clash. Instead, the Zeros played a fun, high-spirited version of punk rock that drew heavily from Johnny Thunders, topped with power-pop hooks on such anthems as "Wimp" and "They Say That (Everything's Alright)." Guitarist Robert Lopez later went on to greater infamy as El Vez, but The Zeros have never lost any of their swagger during their occasional reunions and on underrated comeback albums like 1992's Right Now. The Muffs, who do a memorably intense cover of The Zeros' "Beat Your Heart Out," are another punk-inspired pop band who match Ramones-style riffs with lovelorn and insatiably catchy, fuzzed-out melodies. —Falling James

Cannibal Corpse


Approaching their 25th anniversary next year, these Buffalo, N.Y., death-metal godfathers still seem able to raise eyebrows (and blood pressure) with charming song titles like "Meat Hook Sodomy" and album artwork deemed too disgusting to be even displayed in certain countries. But an emotionally stunted gore obsession alone won't sell millions of albums worldwide (despite almost zero mainstream airplay), so give some credit to Cannibal Corpse's unwavering musical vision: a demented yet super-disciplined blur of speed-freak beats and angry-gnat guitars topped with the disturbed gurglings of some bloke called "Corpsegrinder." They'll likely never fill American stadiums but, judging by their recently released 12th studio album (Torture), CC's real achievement has been a careerlong middle finger to compromise — and how many veteran bands can truly claim that? —Paul Rogers



M.O.T.O. — "Masters of the Obvious" — is Paul Caporino and pals playing punk 'n' rock 'n' roll, and since it's 2012, he's probably just celebrated his 30th anniversary of being an unstoppable force of nature. Like most things that search and destroy, M.O.T.O. moves around under the radar, spitting out singles and LPs that could make a whole record collection all their own, and drawing from best records that should be in everyone else's collection anyway. You know all those bands that heard The Ramones in, like, '77 and reacted with two and a half minutes of their own teenage mind-blow? Teenage Head, The Trend, Forgotten Rebels, early Zero Boys, the chunk of the Bomp! roster that was more power than pop — that's where M.O.T.O. was born and where it lives yet. Unrestrained P-U-N-K. —Chris Ziegler

Also playing:

LA SERA, MAGIC TRICK at the Echo; TALIB KWELI at the Roxy; ALAN JACKSON at Greek Theatre; NICK 13, TRIPLE CHICKEN FOOT at El Rey Theatre.

sat 7/21



Luxembourg artist Jerome Reuter founded the avant-garde folk project Rome in 2005. Despite the somewhat recent start, Rome have put out a sizable catalog, the latest being 2011's Die Aesthetik der Herrschaftsfreiheit. This Saturday, Bar Sinister hosts an intimate Rome performance, and fans are already starting to arrive from all across North America for it. Some critics have a hard time classifying Rome's music, dubbing it apocalyptic folk, industrial-folk, martial industrial, cold wave and an assortment of other obscure, hyphenated subgenres. On more than one occasion Rome's music has been described as "challenging" to listen to. But, like a perfectly blended cabernet that is rife with sediment, the same complexities that make it challenging also make it great. The beauty of Rome's work comes from the many fluid layers, unfolding throughout the musical experience. —Diamond Bodine-Fischer

DJ Hype


For more than two decades, the U.K.'s DJ Hype has been representing the machine-gun blasts of quality drum 'n' bass. Whether it is via his True Playaz record label, his radio show on London's seminal KISS or his monthlies at that city's Fabric venue — not to mention his globe-trotting DJ sets — Hype is the embodiment of that genre's upfront, jump-up style. Bassrush brings his purist jungle beats, helmed by classic rhymes courtesy of MC Armanni Reign, to this House of Blues show. Co-presented by Los Angeles' long-running drum 'n' bass weekly Respect, its Junglist Platoon DJs Machete and Scooba alongside MC XYZ, as well as Circuit, will be supporting Hype. Wear comfortable shoes: This is where you are going to burn off all the calories from the week. —Lily Moayeri

Smokey Robinson


Is it possible to have a bad time at a Smokey Robinson show? Casual scientific research suggests not: We distinctly remember one gig at New York's Carnegie Hall a few years ago in which even a dude punctuating Robinson's every song with loud-ass cries of "Go Smoke!" failed to diminish the pleasure this soul-music legend routinely purveys. Robinson no doubt will stick to the hits here, but don't fret if he starts going on about how much his new stuff means to him. Timeless Love, from 2006, might be one of the prettiest late-career standards albums you'll hear, while 2009's Time Flies When You're Having Fun demonstrates his still-sharp songcraft. Also Fri. —Mikael Wood

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