Music Picks: Gilles Peterson, Boris, Gothic Tropic 

Thursday, May 23 2013

fri 5/24

Lupillo Rivera


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Talk about larger than life. Chicano singing star Lupillo Rivera, who rose from the absolutely nowheresville Long Beach barrio to conquer the highly charged realm of traditional Mexican corridos (managing it all with an admirable swagger and a set of powerhouse pipes), has survived both a devastating car accident and mysterious volleys of gunfire, yet he's never faltered. Along the way, his sister Jenni rose to an equal measure of fame, only to perish in that ghastly 2012 Monterrey plane crash. (Last month, Lupillo purchased several acres of land at the crash site to build a home for her children and erect a museum). It's all part of a wild, tragic, tuneful legacy that was begun by the Riveras' father, Pedro, himself an indie record man who spearheaded the narcocorrido genre and gave Lupillo his first crack behind the mic when a singer failed to make a session. But all that soap-opera tumult aside, Rivera remains a riveting stylist, one who imbues every song with an impressive sweep of expressive, emotional information, invariably put over with impressive polish and passion. —Jonny Whiteside



Japanese experimental rockers Boris have spent their entire 15-year career making sure that their fans are unable to predict what will come next from the band. One album could consist of thrashing heavy rockers (2011's Heavy Rocks), the next could consist of dreamy, atmospheric, shoegaze-laden pop. (Check Attention Please, also released in 2011.) Psychedelics are pretty much the only constant in each incarnation of Boris' musical output. The group will be doing two nights in a row at the Echoplex. The first evening (Thursday, May 23) will be an "all-time classics" set. For us, though, the real draw on Boris' trip back to L.A. is the second night, during which the band will focus on the heavy doom and drone-metal that first brought them attention by performing their 70-minute 2000 slow-builder, Flood. It will be a patience-testing set at times, but we're in it for the long haul. —Jason Roche

The Detroit Cobras


Not since The Rolling Stones got their start in the early '60s has a mere cover band made as big an impact as The Detroit Cobras have. Of course, the Stones eventually went on to write their own songs, but the Cobras have zealously stuck to reinterpreting both certified soul classics and R&B obscurities. Guitarist Mary Ramirez doles out her riffs with punky, garage-rock raw power, keeping the Cobras' remakes from sounding nostalgic or wimpy. But what really makes The Detroit Cobras unique is lead singer Rachel Nagy, who belts it out with a fiery intensity like a grown-up-all-wrong hybrid of Little Eva and Dusty Springfield. When she's not purring like a hellcat, Nagy boozes it up and dispenses salty, sagely sarcastic advice like a modern-day Janis Joplin. Also at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana on Sunday, May 26. —Falling James

sat 5/25



In the early days of punk rock, two different bands with the same name emerged. Making things more confusing, both groups were fiercely radical, with ultra-leftist politics and lyrics, and both were massively influential in the punk underground in their own strikingly different ways. The Canadian version of Subhumans actually started a year or two earlier, in the late 1970s, but their British counterparts, who are invading town tonight, were no less subversive. Whereas a member of the Canadian Subhumans was part of a radical ecological group that bombed a munitions factory in Ontario, the British Subhumans, led by singer Dick Lucas, channeled their anarchist-punk activism into less violent approaches, decrying the endless futility of war on such albums as 1983's The Day the Country Died and 2007's Internal Riot. Lucas also is part of the more recent ska-punk band Citizen Fish, but he's at his most intense with Subhumans. —Falling James

Gilles Peterson


DJ and culture curator Gilles Peterson has what the pros call a "real sweet gig": Go strolling around the world, pry undiscovered and awesome records out of attics, dollar bins and possibly shipwrecks, then play them for audiences, and stand back and smile at the fireworks, as minds across the world explode. (Foodies, this is our Anthony Bourdain.) Peterson's Digs America compilations on Luv n' Haight were the ones that clued me in on a whole stack of 45s I'll probably never find — like Dee Edwards' fuzz-soul or Darondo's heartbroke funk. I'm sure everything else on Peterson's résumé, from his old-school pirate radio sessions to his BBC 6 show to his Brownswood Recordings, has done the same for a lot of other people. This rare and welcome L.A. appearance will leave both record scholars and discriminating dancers delirious. —Chris Ziegler

Fleetwood Mac


Given their jam-packed treasure box of pop-rock smasheroos, it'd be hard for the reunited Fleetwood Mac to disappoint their legions of fans, now wouldn't it? The core unit of drummer-founder Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, guitarist-singer Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks will focus on the group's midperiod to later material, including all that Rumours stuff and most likely a few items from the famously "experimental" album Tusk. Longtime vocalist-keyboardist Christine McVie opted to retire from active service a while back, and her gracefully cool harmonizing will be missed. But Nicks will coo and haunt and twirl, and the Mick & John rhythm section (one of the greatest ever — pay attention) will effortlessly lope and thump while that wildman Lindsay Buckingham will ... well, he'll be playing the role of Lindsay Buckingham, yowling genius of pure pop craft. And lest we forget, respect and R.I.P. to the late Bob Welch, the ex–F. Mac'er who contributed so much to the band's success. —John Payne

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