Music Picks: FIDLAR, Muse and Lady Gaga 

Thursday, Jan 17 2013

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Wayne Kramer


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By 1975, Wayne Kramer was going nowhere fast. His main band, The MC5, had broken up three years earlier in a haze of drugs and declining popularity, and it would be several more years before the Detroit hard-rockers would receive belated recognition for influencing much of the punk generation. Meanwhile, the guitarist languished in a Kentucky prison, serving two years for selling cocaine. Kramer eventually cleaned up and turned his life around, working briefly with Was (Not Was), Johnny Thunders and even G.G. Allin, but he didn't fully get it together again musically until the '90s, when he released a series of unexpected and expansive solo albums that fused jazz and spoken word with his trademark hard-rock rambles. He hasn't forgotten his prison days and works now with the Jail Guitar Doors organization to provide guitars to inmates. If there's anyone who believes in second chances and the redemptive powers of a few, good loud power chords, it's Brother Wayne. —Falling James



FIDLAR's Kuehn brothers are only now entering their 20s, but drummer Max and guitarist Elvis have already been in the punk-rock biz for more than 10 years, going back to their days in The Diffs. Yet the music on their recent single "No Waves" sounds as bratty and energetic as any band of preteens just starting out. If anything, there's even more of a subterranean garage-rock primitiveness to the single's equally negative flip side, "No Ass." Much of that insolence comes straight from Zac Carper, who sings as if he's always sneering — and trapped inside a beer bottle. A band of brothers hasn't been this properly wild and cranky since the early era of Redd Kross. Catch FIDLAR now at this early-evening in-store set before they grow up/sober up and start playing more dignified and mature forms of music. —Falling James

Nir Felder


Plenty of guitarists graduate from Boston's Berklee College of Music, but those who end up at the top of the heap are to be commended. In the nine years since his graduation, all Nir Felder has done is become a phenomenon in New York, playing with everybody, most notably alto sax sage Greg Osby. Felder cites John Scofield as an early influence, as shown by a willingness to explore guitar palettes trending more toward rock and blues. He also shreds like a rocker, albeit with a harmonic savvy that divulges his jazz training. You'd think at this point, someone this good would have his own album; stay tuned. With Felder are a fellow New Yorker, drummer Zach Danziger, and two Angelenos, both Kneebody cognoscenti: Adam Benjamin on keys and bassist Kaveh Rastegar. —Gary Fukushima

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