Music Picks: Neil Young, Aimee Mann, Low End Theory Anniversary 

Thursday, Oct 11 2012

fri 10/12

Patti Smith


click to enlarge PHOTO BY SHERYL NIELDS - Aimee Mann: See Saturday.
  • Aimee Mann: See Saturday.

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In the wake of her best-selling 2010 memoir, Just Kids, Patti Smith cracks open the universe a little further on her 11th album, Banga, covering a wide range of heavy subjects on her first album of new material in eight years. "This Is the Girl" is a tribute to the late Amy Winehouse, while "Fuji-san" pays homage to victims of the 2011 tsunami in Japan. "We'll burn all of our poems/Add to God's debris," Smith declares on "April Fool," a gentle pop song in which the New York poet-singer sounds like The Motels' Martha Davis, of all people. She writes about writing ("We'll ride like writers ride/neither rich nor broke") and sees the world, and solar system, through the eyes of ancient explorers ("Amerigo") and Russian film directors ("Tarkovsky"). On the 10-minute epic "Constantine's Dream," Smith weaves a typically engrossing and slowly building incantation filled with rich historical and religious allusions, culminating in a mad flurry of violin and lead guitar. —Falling James



Behold rapper Busdriver, the polysyllabic polymath who is truly, beautifully and persistently doing his own thing, including collabs with DIY experimental punk bands and the routine dispensation of Can references. He first blinded minds with a wordcram MC style closer to a fingertap guitar solo than what conventional science might consider rap, but in the decade or so since those first releases, he discovered a space all his own in between hip-hop, pop, electronica and experimental music of the most enthusiastic kind. Recent album Beaus$Eros and companion EP Arguments With Dreams (with guest spots from Nocando and Open Mike Eagle, also playing this show) put new satellites in the Busdriver sky — all the better to beam down his messages to this, his possibly adopted home planet. —Chris Ziegler

Amon Tobin


From his perch high inside a towering 3-D art installation, DJ/sound artist/avant-garde hip-hopper Amon Tobin controls the visual score to the music from his recent album ISAM. Tobin boldly goes where no man or dog has gone before, exploring an ever-morphing black hole of wickedly beautiful sounds that veer ever further from the hip-hop DNA of his earlier animations. The visuals are synced to the music from the album's nonlinear storylines, careening through hair-raisingly gorgeous and grandiloquent flights punctuated by shocks of mighty sonic boomery. Never much concerned with how he fits into the general scheme of things, Tobin and his thrilling new-things-are-possible vision obliterate stylistic boundaries with art for the body and the brain. —John Payne

The xx


This trio's eponymous 2009 debut, released when its members were just teenagers, triggered a buzz almost religious in its fervor. Follow-up album Coexist, released last month, continues where its predecessor left off both musically (harplike guitars; lonesome boy/girl vocals; bulbous chill-out grooves) and in critical response ("Intravenous and heavenly," gushed Drowned in Sound). Exquisite in execution and efficient of expression, these Brits squander neither a note nor a percussive event, embracing traditional structures and arrangements only when they speak to the song. Any writing template is camouflaged beneath the timbres of Romy Madley Croft (breathy, wounded, gently soulful) and Oliver Sim (lightly grained, conversationally sexy), and in-band producer Jamie Smith's artful training of club-born beats into messages more of the morning after than the night before. Also Saturday at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. —Paul Rogers

sat 10/13

Aimee Mann


When a slyly witty songwriter like Aimee Mann calls her new album Charmer, you can assume that at least a little bit of sarcasm lies just beneath the ostensibly sunny title. (Her previous album, after all, was cheerfully named @#%&*! Smilers.) "When you're a charmer, the world applauds," Mann confesses amid the deceptively perky New Wave keyboards of the title track. "They don't know that secretly charmers feel like they're frauds." Fraud or not, the former 'Til Tuesday singer has delivered an album that is indeed charming. She exchanges lovelorn advice with The Shins' James Mercer on the power-pop gem "Living a Lie," finds herself living in a "Crazytown" and even takes the time to laugh at her old image in footage for "Labrador," which parodies the video of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 hit, "Voices Carry." As usual, what brings it all home so effectively are Mann's melodic and distinctively rueful vocals. —Falling James

John Daversa Small Band


Trumpet wiz John Daversa has been fronting his big band around SoCal for more than a decade, playing some of the most original and challenging arrangements anywhere. Over the last several years Daversa also has developed a small ensemble, allowing him more freedom to stretch, especially on the rarely heard EVI, a combination trumpet/synthesizer. Daversa has released his first CD with the small band, "Artful Joy," which also showcases Robby Marshall (sax), Jerry Watts Jr. (bass), Gene Coye (drums) and more. Tommy King will be handling keyboards this weekend, along with guests Renee Olstead and Katisse Buckingham. Expect a lively crowd, and even livelier music as Daversa trots out tunes like "Some Happy Shit." Also Sunday. —Tom Meek

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