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Music Picks: Tame Impala, Deftones, DJ Quik 

Thursday, Nov 15 2012
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fri 11/16

Simone White

THE BOOTLEG THEATER

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Simone White traffics in shadows. Her songs are a blurry series of murmurs, sighs and whispers wrapped up in a soft blanket of sparse acoustic guitar and muted percussion. The Echo Park singer is best known for touring with Andrew Bird and being a part of Damon Albarn's Honest Jon's Revue in 2008; "The Beep Beep Song," from her 2007 album, I Am the Man, was used in several European car commercials. The Hawaii native continues to cast fragile spells on her new CD, Silver Silver, such as the aptly titled "Never Be That Tough," where her delicate voice is wreathed in ethereal harmonies. White even anticipates the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy when she coos on the title track, "Wide, wide ocean tide/busted banks gone and swallowed my pride." —Falling James

Lianne La Havas

THE ROXY

"Come upstairs, and I'll show you where all my demons hide from you," Lianne La Havas croons in a majestic yet wounded voice. "You broke me and taught me to truly hate myself." The English singer-guitarist recently released her debut full-length album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, following a series of well-received EPs. La Havas is far more than a victim, though, revealing the full breadth of her emotions and musical range on such tracks as the glittery, enigmatic pop-rock puzzle box "Forget," where she warns her wayward partner about seducing her with insincere love songs ("So please don't try to serenade me/I am a one-man band"). She switches gears completely with the folk-soul ballad "Age," where her mixed feelings about an older lover are disguised by the tune's jaunty, sunny bounce.

—Falling James

Tame Impala

THE EL REY

Might as well come right out with it: Australian band Tame Impala's Lonerism is as good as people say, and as psychedelic as people say, and as "refreshing" and "retro-but-not-retro," and every other phrase floating around out there in the online adjective-o-sphere. It's Sgt. Pepper or S.F. Sorrow with synths, sure, but that's a reverent compliment. The songs here seem like they came into existence perfectly formed, with every twist and surprise and loop-de-loop coming just when your subconscious demands it. One of the best things about the psychedelic classics of the olden '60s days is the way those bands pushed luck and inspiration and modern technology to their limits, and that's just what Tame Impala do in 2012. Head music's not dead! —Chris Ziegler

Green Velvet

AVALON HOLLYWOOD

Only 4 U: The Sound of Cajmere & Cajual Records 1992-2012 celebrates 20 years of dance-floor benchmarks from Curtis A. Jones, aka Cajmere, aka Green Velvet. Jones and his Cajual imprint are standard setters for the Chicago house sound — and the usually formulaic 4/4 house beat has never sounded less so. On the first disc, Jones' assertive approach toward this accessible style of electronic music results in chugging, rump-shaking numbers, such as the forceful signature track "Percolator" and an inspired Derrick Carter collaboration, the chunky "Dream States." The second disc features even beefier cuts with a dose of Detroit techno injected into the solid house structure, exemplified by Green Velvet Presents Jamie Principle's "LaLaLaLaLa (inside my mind)." No matter how far back the original release date, the timelessness of these compositions stands out. —Lily Moayeri

sat 11/17

Key Club

The barks of Ghostlimb band leader Justin Smith pack just as much bite and snarl as those of his other band, grindcore outfit Graf Orlock. With Ghostlimb, though, there is equal emphasis on song structure, so you can get caught up in shouting along with catchy choruses as you mosh your ass off. The newest record from this beacon of L.A.'s hardcore scene, Confluence, is tightly packed with stellar metallic riffs, mixed within a melodic hardcore shell. The subject matter is a bit more grounded in reality than Graf Orlock's signature action movie–inspired flights of fancy. Ghostlimb don't troll in tough-guy hardcore, either. Lyrically, the group has a strong emotional core that feels inclusive and welcoming for everyone ready to unleash their demons in the pit. —Jason Roche

A Pretty Mess, Brainspoon, Death on the Radio

THE VEX

When Dee Skusting howls rabid rants like "Going Nowhere Fast," she could also be describing the reckless trajectory of her band, A Pretty Mess. Ms. Skusting (probably not her real name) and her crew may be going nowhere, but they're definitely getting there fast, with Dee's surging guitar riffs slamming into Meghan Mattox's brutally efficient bass lines. A Pretty Mess are part of an estrogen-heavy lineup tonight, billed as "Femme Fatale: The Not-So-Gentle Sex" at this newly reopened East L.A. punk-rock bastion. Brainspoon have more of a hard-rock approach, with singer Daphne Vandervalk contrasting Michelle Balderrama's seedy guitar riffs with glam-punk melodies on swaggering anthems like "Bleeding in Black & White." Death on the Radio are another fast and furious local punk squad, but lead singer Bloody Mary Powers also likes to twist things up, wailing soulfully over an unexpectedly metallic cover of the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer." Plus the Blob and Hari Kari. —Falling James

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