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Music Picks: Lamb of God, Miike Snow, and Hanni El Khatib 

Thursday, Oct 25 2012
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fri 10/26

Bob Dylan & His Band, Mark Knopfler

HOLLYWOOD BOWL

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"Bring down my fiddle/Tune up my strings/I'm gonna break it wide open," Bob Dylan announces on his 35th studio album, Tempest. It's the latest in a series of remarkably fertile records the legendary (and legendarily erratic) singer has released over the past 15 years, following a lengthy fallow period in the '80s and early '90s. He breaks it wide open not so much sonically — his deft band cooks up a low-key shuffle of dusty blues grooves, with lead guitarist Charlie Sexton, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and, especially, multi-instrumentalist Donnie Herron conjuring some subtly sublime settings — but in the way he sees the world at the age of 71. While the onetime folk singer still casts a wary eye at world leaders in such new tunes as "Pay in Blood" ("another politician pumping out the piss") and "Early Roman Kings" (strutting around "in their sharkskin suits"), Dylan remains most fascinated by the laws of lust and attraction in "Duquesne Whistle" ("You're like a time bomb in my heart") and the bewitchingly strange "Scarlet Town" ("If love is a sin, then beauty is a crime"). Tonight, the man from Duluth is joined by distinctively feather-toned Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler, who collaborated on several of Dylan's better albums in the late '70s and mid-'80. —Falling James

The Dagons

REDWOOD BAR & GRILL

This is the time of year when rock bands slather on face paint and cover themselves in fake blood and cobwebs, but when it comes to The Dagons, every day is already Halloween. The Atwater duo's unsettling folk-punk chansons are creepy enough to appeal to goths, but their darkly poetic lyrics and weirdly exotic music, which fuse singer Karie Jacobson's fuzz guitar with drummer/producer Drew Kowalski's bleary sitar, are too restlessly strange to fit neatly into some obvious retro genre trap. The 15 tracks on their recent album, Upon This Dull Earth, roam from up-tempo garage punk ("I Am Not Nice") and jangling, doom-ridden balladry ("The Switch") to eerily convulsive psychedelic trances ("Rose-Patterned Walls" and "The Party"). You can get the usual drenching of blood and guts from practically every death-metal band in town this week, but The Dagons practice that fine lost art of cracking open skulls and letting the gauziest and softest dreams flutter forth like drunken moths. —Falling James

Dilated Peoples

The Roxy

Considered royalty by Los Angeles' hip-hop underground, Dilated Peoples are among the few rap acts that still incorporate hip-hop's mother element: the deejay. While most widely known for their 2001 anthem "Worst Come to Worst" featuring Guru, it was the 2004 Kanye West–produced track "This Way" that catapulted the Peoples to international music stardom. Throughout their 20-year career (a rarity for a former major-label rap act), Rakaa Iriscience, Evidence and DJ Babu (Beat Junkies) have come to be globally revered for their kinetic live show. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

sat 10/27

Sophie Barker

HOTEL CAFÉ

English songbird Sophie Barker may fly solo now after first coming to attention with the coolly groovy, down-tempo group Zero 7, but her stately new pop songs are just as stirringly soulful while also revealing a greater breadth of styles. String-laden idylls like "Paper Thin" and "Paradise Lost" are simply beautiful ballads, with Barker's trademark soothing hush of vocals lingering softly in the echoes between gentle guitar chords. But the London native also lets the sun shine in amid the funky wah-wah guitar and upbeat horn retorts of the infectiously ebullient pop-rocker "Bluebell." It's an unexpected joy to see the queen of cool and restraint kick up her heels like this. —Falling James

The Neumans

MOLLY MALONE'S

Yes, '60s garage-rock trad-bearers The Neumans use vintage gear and wear old-school threads. And they sport bitchin' haircuts. But all of that pales beside the indisputable fact that these 20-something whippersnappers flat-out deliver — rocking like mad with a primitive glee and thorough, soul-deep involvement that's nothing less than flabbergasting. It's a blast of skill, bite, heat and raw talent. Also, it's enjoyable as hell. Gigging for less than a year, The Neumans' potential for continued refinement and accomplishment is downright sickening. Suck it up and see them now before they grow out of this simple, satisfying, rock & roll ruckus phase and turn into some kind of goddamn all-around artistic juggernaut. —Jonny Whiteside

Hanni El Khatib

KCRW MASQUERADE BALL AT PARK PLAZA

Some people call a guitar an ax, and that's precisely how guitarist and singer Hanni El Khatib uses his: Every song by this gregarious L.A. garage rocker goes chop-chop-chop, from his irreducibly minimal Funkadelic and Cramps covers to his own originals. Although Bo Diddley called his guitar "Lucille," he and El Khatib use the instrument in the same way, building music out of nothing but staccato rhythm and some absolutely committed singing. El Khatib found a kindred spirit in the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, who's producing his coming sophomore LP. But then again, he seems like a guy who's found a lot of kindred spirits, most probably on a lot of rare vinyl. A Halloween show like this gives him a perfect chance to really raise the dead. —Chris Ziegler

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