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Music Picks: Foxygen, Tomahawk and Nick Cave 

Thursday, Feb 14 2013
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fri 2/15

Foxygen

ECHOPLEX

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If you add up the ages of Foxygen's 20-something Sam France and Jonathan Rado, then subtract that total from the current year, you will verge on the era from which the duo's album, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, takes its cues. There isn't a '60s reference point that isn't included in the group's hiss-filled, throwback, classic folk-rock. Foxygen dip into a funk swing on "Oh Yeah," heavy, densely layered rhythms on the instrumental "Bowling Trophies" and lazy poetic strumming on "No Destruction." The amalgamation of styles is fully realized in the inventively arranged psychedelic title track. Listen carefully for biting, tongue-in-cheek lyrics thinly veiled in whimsical, floating, dandelion spores of melody. For example, "There's no need to be an asshole/You're not in Brooklyn anymore." —Lily Moayeri

Eels, Nicole Atkins

The FONDA THEATRE

Eels' 10th album is a burst of raw sunshine — and a welcome clearing in a forest of tangled emotions — after the ponderousness of the Los Feliz group's previous three albums (the interconnected trilogy Hombre Lobo, End Times and Tomorrow Morning) and morbid early releases like Electro-Shock Blues. Of course, even a joyful title like Wonderful, Glorious is subverted by the album-cover art of a warplane spitting out bombs, but the record is nonetheless about as close as lead singer Mark Everett ever comes to a sincere expression of joy. He romps around the garden and chews up the flowers of the fuzz-rocker "Peach Blossom" like an overgrown puppy — or an unrepentant fool newly in love. While lyrical insights sometimes feel secondhand, there's no denying the disarming, romantic vulnerability of the hushed and languidly lovely idyll "I Am Building a Shrine." Brooklyn chanteuse Nicole Atkins' candied ballads swell with even grander, more melodramatic orchestration and her intelligently passionate girl-group arrangements. —Falling James

Turtle Island Quartet With Tierney Sutton

ZIPPER HALL

Tonight, the double-Grammy-winning, San Francisco–based Turtle Island Quartet make a stop at the downtown Colburn School of Music's Zipper Hall. Turtle Island's 2007 interpretation of John Coltrane's seminal A Love Supreme won their latest Grammy Award for Best Crossover Album. For more than two decades, Turtle Island have reworked music from Bach to Hendrix to Clapton, taking on musical collaborators along the way. Vocalist Tierney Sutton, as evocative as any singer in contemporary jazz, has garnered four Grammy nominations, the latest for her 2012 album, American Road. Zipper Hall at downtown's Colburn School is one of the area's finest venues of fewer than 500 seats and should provide an apt setting for this Jazz Bakery–sponsored event. —Tom Meek

sat 2/16

David Friesen, Larry Koonse, Storm Nilson

BLUE WHALE

Many years ago in Seattle, a musician took a beautiful girl out on a date and left his bass at her house. Her brother saw it and thought, "What an ugly instrument, I'll never play one of those." Yet somehow David Friesen became an exceptional bassist, playing with musicians from Johnny Griffin to Joe Henderson to Chick Corea. Hidden comfortably in Portland, Ore., for decades, he occasionally makes it down to L.A. to play with old friends like guitarist Larry Koonse, who (like Friesen) has local cult-hero status. They share a common disciple in Portland guitarist Storm Nilson, who once was mentored by Koonse and now is a favorite bandmate of Friesen's. This will be an interesting trio. Oh, and that sister of his? Dyan Cannon. —Gary Fukushima

Mouse on Mars

EL REY THEATRE

If dance music's predictable repetition is a kind of fulfillment of low expectations, Mouse on Mars seem intent on dashing them. Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma practice a form of electronic music that is equal parts progressive-art experimentalism and a philosophical excursion into the nature and purpose of sound. But then, they've also filled dance floors in Europe, the United Kingdom and beyond with state-of-the-art beats and their own mutated, melodious funk 'n' soul. Their sound links them to the club-music scene, as do their many remixes and collaborations with members of the dance-music world, an association that has always seemed tenuous, seeing how placing electronic flies in the aural ointment is part and parcel of Mouse on Mars' methodology. Hear how all this plays out on their crucial recent album, Parastrophics. —John Payne

Rich Medina

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Dublab regular and vinyl gunslinger extraordinaire Danny Holloway is the promoter behind the Blazin' 45s night, and if you don't recognize the Holloway name, know that he's a guy whose box of records opens up and sends out the same searing, bright light as the briefcase in Pulp Fiction or the Ark in Raiders. Will there be face-melting? Yes, there will be face-melting! Each installment of Blazin' 45s features a world-class DJ selecting and spinning nothing but vinyl singles, some of which surely are worth more than your used car. This time it's a two-hour, all-45s set by the legendary Rich Medina, globe-trotting master of pretty much any genre ever stamped on wax. Afro-beat, soul, funk, rare groove ... oops, outta space! Put it this way: If you're looking for something you've never heard but are gonna love from the first note, Medina is your guy. —Chris Ziegler

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