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

Thursday, Oct 11 2012
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Bill Frisell

ROYCE HALL

The watery disasters of Katrina, Indonesia and Japan are recent reminders of nature's indiscriminate tyranny over our fragile humanity. One notable historical example is the Mississippi River flood of 1927, which devastated the South and caused another flood of people to migrate all the way to Chicago, among them Delta blues musicians whose exodus we have to thank for the evolution of blues, jazz, R&B and rock. The event is re-examined in a new film by Bill Morrison, set to live music by guitar legend Bill Frisell. Morrison specializes in displaying ancient, damaged film as a kind of found art, and for this Frisell is the perfect score writer: He's a master at excavating new conceptions in traditional roots. With trumpeter Ron Miles, bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen. —Gary Fukushima

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

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sun 10/14

Smashing Pumpkins

Gibson Amphitheatre

The Smashing Pumpkins are a rock band, make no mistake. Billy Corgan may write rich, artful music, but his songs have rock & roll heart. And that's true even in the Pumpkins' latest lineup, which features Corgan along with new members on bass, drums and guitar. Their album Oceania is true to the Pumpkins' classic sound, which isn't surprising, considering Corgan was long recognized as the band's songwriter — it's full of great tracks with no cutting-room-floor filler. The Smashing Pumpkins' live shows have always been driven by powerful sound rather than relying on things like pyrotechnics and lighting trickery. Sometimes there's flash and madness onstage; other times it's just musicians playing good music. From beginning to end, the show is never short of extraordinary. —Diamond Bodine-Fischer

mon 10/15

Joyce Manor

CENTER FOR THE ARTS, EAGLE ROCK

South Bay punk-pop band Joyce Manor have gone from house parties to festival shows pretty damn quick, but what can you do? They have charisma, hooks, the decorum you need to keep going even when your fans get obsessive, and of course they've got the songs, too. Recent album Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired is the kind of smart, suburban punk you'd be proud to rep with a sticker on the back window of your used hatchback — a little Descendents, a little less Smiths and a lot of heart and velocity. If you ever heard a little record by Lifetime called Jersey's Best Dancers, you'll get what this is instantly. If not, you'll wanna make sure to commit every lyric to instantly shoutable memory for the very next show. —Chris Ziegler

tue 10/16

Ellie Goulding

TROUBADOUR

Befitting its title, "Anything Could Happen," the new single from Ellie Goulding's upcoming album, Halcyon, practically exudes hope and wonder, as layers of exuberant Kate Bush–style vocals dance over waves of shiny synthesizer and chirpy beats. Yet, underneath all that gloss, the British singer allows that the world is full of darkness and that wars lurk just beyond her lover's embrace. But it takes the relatively harsh declamations of guest rapper Tinie Tempah to contrast Goulding's airy cooing on "Hanging On," giving the song's poppy dreaminess some unexpected and much-needed emotional heft. While Goulding's radio-friendly tunes will likely never be as inventively aggressive as her boyfriend Skrillex's jumbled sonic architecture, she's at her most interesting when she strays from the middle of the road and takes unexpected detours on shadowy side roads. —Falling James

Abandon All Ships

ROXY

If you thought Auto-Tune had been elevated to quasi-instrument status only by hip-hop and R&B artists, these young Canadians confirm that metalcore, too, has succumbed to the charms of pitch overcorrection. While Jersey Shore–esque lead growler Angelo Aita keeps his utterances organic, guitarist Martin Broda's "clean" interjections are vocodered into oblivion. And the quintet's odd urban obsession doesn't end there. The title track from this year's Infamous features, between brutal verses, a superprocessed "whoah-oah-oah" refrain just made for roof-raisin'; a cameo from Toronto rap duo A-Game; and a video full of blingy Escalades and fist-bumping homey togetherness. Though visually contrived, musically, Abandon All Ships offer one of the more interesting attempts at rap-metal marriage since Anthrax first proposed to Public Enemy back in '91. —Paul Rogers

wed 10/17

Low End Theory Six-Year Anniversary

THE AIRLINER

How young we was, right? Back in '06, the Airliner was unexplored territory and people used to say stuff like, "No one cares about hip-hop on the Eastside!" Well, Low End Theory cared about hip-hop and then some. From the very start, it was the spot where every forward-thinking music freak could find something to love, whether dub or homegrown L.A. beatmusic or psych or prog or hip-hop or who knows what else. Basically, it was all about the bass, uniter of all humans since music began. Now, after six years, godfather Daddy Kev and his superteam of residents (Nobody, Gaslamp, Nocando and D-Styles) have made this little Eastside club an international institution — incubator for such future legends as Flying Lotus and the scene of surprise sets by Thom Yorke and Erykah Badu. It's Low End's birthday, but we get the gift. —Chris Ziegler

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