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Music Picks: Lord Huron, Matthewdavid, Smell 15th Anniversary Party 

Thursday, Jan 3 2013
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sun 1/6

Saccharine Trust, The Deadbeats

THE ECHO

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Punk rock has become homogenized and increasingly irrelevant in recent years, with mainstream acts like Green Day and Blink-182 whining about insipid topics in fake English accents and churning out watered-down approximations of Johnny Ramone's mighty guitar sound. The funny thing is, the original punks were a far more diverse and intellectual lot than the campy, empty-headed characters trotted out in Billie Joe Armstrong's Broadway reduction of the punk movement. In the late 1970s, punk rock encompassed everything from The Germs and The Sex Pistols to Blondie, Devo, Television and The Slits. By the early '80s, the most adventurous punks were branching out into post-punk, art-rock, electronica, dub, reggae and jazz. The Deadbeats are most often remembered for their sarcastic 1978 attempt to start a cultural war, "Kill the Hippies" ("Send them back to San Francisco!" lead singer Scott Guerin cheekily suggested). But the oddball L.A. band took just as much delight in defying the expectations of early punks by blasting out art-jazz noise. Similarly, South Bay group Saccharine Trust fused a punk ethos with guitarist Joe Baiza's jaggedly funky jazz chords and singer Jack Brewer's Morrisonesque poetry. —Falling James

mon 1/7

Feeding People

THE ECHO

Feeding People, who are in residency at the Echo this month, are barely weeks away from the February release of their second LP, Island Universe, and the few tracks out so far underscore exactly how cosmically one-of-a-kind this record will be. Universe so far sounds like Nikki Sudden and his freaky friends making their own version of 13th Floor Elevators' Bull of the Woods, with a girl who sings in one of those "trick voices" that Nick Tosches wrote a whole book about. (Out of breath? That's just one song!) They might not even all be 21 yet, but they've found a sound all their own, one somewhere between idiosyncrasy and schizophrenia. They use the studio (with help from producers Hanni El Khatib and Crystal Antlers' Jonny Bell) less as instrument than Ouija board. If any L.A. psych band proves we aren't alone in the universe, it'll be this one. (They're in residency at the Echo Mondays in January.) —Chris Ziegler

tue 1/8

27th Annual Elvis Presley Birthday Celebration

THE ECHO

More like a stagger down a surrealistic carnival midway than a rock & roll show, the annual Elvis Presley birthday bash packs so much obsessive, fetishistic disorder that the cumulative effect is comparable to suffering a case of big-beat psychosis. This, the 27th edition, will be enlivened by a rare appearance from bubble-gum paragon Donna Loren, the former Reprise Records artist who was seen in no fewer than 27 episodes of swinging-'60s, small-screen staple Shindig (not to mention three of Frankie and Annette's AIP Beach Party movies), along with such reliable Presley acolytes as the startlingly superb Lisa Finnie, the mad-dog, mob-groomed teen idol Jimmy Angel, the incomparably bizarre South Bay Surfers, legendary Sunset Strip/Palomino taboo-smasher Troy Walker, honky-tonk demons Groovy Rednecks and an army of additional hip-swiveling, Presley-venerating miscreants. Long story short, they ain't never caught a rabbit, but they are still friends of his. —Jonny Whiteside

Thorcraft Cobra

BOOTLEG THEATre

Thorcraft Cobra is an unabashed power-pop band that has perfected the seemingly lost art of combining big, radio-friendly hooks with big, classic-rock guitars. Actually, Thorcraft Cobra is more a duo than a band, but it still has a full sound, as singer-guitarist Billy Zimmer harmonizes with singer-drummer Tammy Glover on such catchy tunes as "True Love." Zimmer downshifts occasionally into more reflectively spacey, Beatles/Big Star–style tracks like the hazy "Another Day," but most of the time he belts out such harder and heavier anthems as "Count Me Out," riding the waves of Glover's stormy cymbal-bashing. Glover's serenely sweet vocals frost Zimmer's gruffer delivery with an icing of sugary melodicism that distinguishes Thorcraft Cobra from most rock bashers. On the pair's upcoming full-length album, Count It In, they're joined by guest stars including Sabrosa Purr's Will Love and even the fairly reclusive Russell Mael, Glover's former bandmate in Sparks. —Falling James

wed 1/9

Trophy Wife, Whore Paint, Bastidas

THE SMELL

There's another, more popular group called Trophy Wife that hails from England, but the band in question tonight is a guitar-drums duo from Philadelphia with the same name. While the British Trophy Wife purveys sleepy, mellow ballads that kind of fade anonymously into the wallpaper, the Philadelphia version slams out hard, aggressive, post-punk rants that are anything but background music. The two women in Philly's Trophy Wife — guitarist Diane Foglizzo and drummer Katy Otto — exchange brutal riffs that come off like hardcore punk rock before switching into more moodily melodic passages. They're on tour with their pals Whore Paint, a Providence, R.I., trio that cranks out caustically feral and noisy No Wave soundscapes of "political discontent, borderline social anxiety [and] occasional violent outbursts." Both touring interlopers are well matched by the dour and seedy sonic eviscerations of L.A.'s Bastidas. —Falling James

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