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Music Picks: Foxygen, Tomahawk and Nick Cave 

Thursday, Feb 14 2013
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sun 2/17

The Gears

VIVA CANTINA

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Punk rock doesn't get any more elemental, or fun, than it does with The Gears. Rather than being obsessed with saving the world (like the Clash), or destroying it (à la the Sex Pistols), The Gears have always been more interested in the eternal things that really matter: chasing high school girls, smoking pot, going to the beach and dancing during a nuclear apocalypse. This evening, Axxel G. Reese and crew draw a direct line between punk rock and early rock & roll by backing the legendary late '50s/early '60s singer Freddy Cannon ("Palisades Park," "Tallahassee Lassie"). Other highlights on this free bill include the rambunctious, bone-rattling, garage-punk wreckages of San Pedro hellions Bombón, the punky/new wave diva Pearl Harbor (who used to tour with the Clash), eternally sodden country-rock rowdies Groovy Rednecks and garage rockers Thee Teepees. —Falling James

Graveyard

EL REY THEATRE

Sweden's Graveyard are at the forefront of a movement to make rock sound evil without resorting to Cookie Monster vocals or blast-beat drumming. Instead, this quartet puts together haunting, classic-rock ditties that take inspiration from the blues-oriented portions of the Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin songbooks. Vocalist/guitarist Joakim Nilsson has a psychedelic howl that calls to mind the range of Deep Purple's Ian Gillan during that band's early-'70s peak. The vintage-sounding production on Graveyard's newest album, Lights Out, is supplemented by lyrical subject matter that calls to mind the darkness of Vietnam War–era rock & roll. This wicked combination, added to some damn catchy songwriting, makes for a listening experience that's far more haunting than anything shat out by generic, brutal death-metal band No. 5,346. —Jason Roche

mon 2/18

Om

CENTER FOR THE ARTS, EAGLE ROCK

Om's Al Cisneros is a cosmic explorer of the highest order, the kind of guy whose every musical effort is one more step along a spiral path to ... ultimate truth? Ultimate beauty? Something too ultimately primal and sacred for the guy who writes picks in L.A. Weekly to even comprehend? If ever anyone could peel back the veil of reality with just an electric bass, a killer drummer, a new guitarist and aspirations toward the infinite — which means songs that unfold like fractals, revealing just the tiniest glimpse of forever — it's gonna be Cisneros and Om. They're basically mantra incarnate, as the name suggests. It's heavy like a flower is heavy, man — and if you get what I mean, you're already in the front row of this show. —Chris Ziegler

tue 2/19

Tomahawk

THE MAYAN

Tomahawk are composed of Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle, Faith No More), John Stanier (Helmet), Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard, Unsemble) and Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Fantômas). Like their namesake, they're heavy, powerful, even animalistic. Tomahawk repurpose and rebuild in ways never before imagined, incorporating everything from metal to Native American influences. Their music feels chaotic, even when it's making sense. The madness of wild drumming, squealing synthesizers, solid guitars and heavily distorted vocals comes together like a stellar collision that is simultaneously violent and alluring. —Diamond Bodine-Fischer

Rainbow Arabia, Ryat

LOS GLOBOS

As their name implies, Rainbow Arabia create an ebullient, electronic-based sound that's mixed with exotic strains of Middle Eastern and North African influences for a combination that's truly unusual and engrossing. Actually, the husband-and-wife duo (keyboardist Danny Preston of Wiskey Biscuit and singer Tiffany Preston) prefers the term "ethnotronic" to describe the funky mélange of clattering percussion, chanting voices, slinky guitars and thumping synthesizers. Either way, there's no one else in L.A. making music quite like this, with Tiffany's airy vocals darting in and out of the beats like a trilling bird while Danny pumps out throbbing dance-floor grooves. The electropop diva Ryat also has a heavy, percussive sound that's layered with her ethereal vocals and shiny synthesizers. The enigmatic track "Superficial Friction" is simultaneously arty, freaky, poppy, danceable and febrile. —Falling James

wed 2/20

Warm Soda

THE SMELL

Oakland's Matthew Melton is the man of a thousand riffs. He's played with at least three or four bands, each of which has delved successively deeper into the world of the almost-punk outfits that played fast but weren't ever gonna give up their guitar solos and harmonies. Stiv Bators of The Dead Boys was the main dude for this sorta thing, with a solo album that was basically one evil boy's take on Cleveland legends The Raspberries. Melton's got just the same style. His newest band, Warm Soda, writes songs that are dripping with hooks and heartbreak but which still go roaring along just like classics by The Real Kids or The Nerves. Debut single "Reaction" is basically as perfect as it gets — plenty of pop but plenty of power, too. —Chris Ziegler

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