Music Picks

BLAH BLAH BLAH

Cough, cough, puke

Apparently, polluting L.A.’s airwaves just wasn’t enough for Nic Harcourt. Now the KCRW DJ/über-“tastemaker” is literally tainting air quality as the voice for Land Rover’s new ad campaign, as reported by Automotive News (and witnessed during last week’s Dodger telecasts!). It’s not like we needed another reason not to buy a Land Rover — besides all that gas-guzzling, road-hogging, environment-destroying, costs-$56,000 stuff. Did you know that, according to EPA figures, the ’06 Range Rover Sport emits around 12 tons of greenhouse gases per year? It scores a three out of 10 for air pollution, with 10 being best. Hmmm . . . Wonder what score the EPA would give Harcourt faves Coldplay, She Wants Revenge, or U.K.’s The Boy Least Likely To. That last group, an ickle-cutesy emo-girlyman outfit, headlines Spaceland Saturday; fortunately, garage-power-pop group The Eames Era open. Hailing from Baton Rouge, this scruffy coed shindig is doing all it can to sweeten the air with tight little melodies, dual ’lectric guitars and old-fashioned girl power. Might appeal to fans of Dressy Bessy, but they’re less self-consciously retro. Yes, they probably fall somewhere along the emo spectrum, but waaaay over in the bubblegum wing. (Saturday, April 8, at Spaceland; The Boy Least Likely To will be on Harcourt’s show Friday morning, by the way. We warned ya . . .) (Kate Sullivan)

THURSDAY, APRIL 6

Subtle, Jel, Fog at the Knitting Factory 

A lotta DIY types are intent on quirking us to death with their bedroom experiments. Oakland sextet Subtle — featuring the tireless Doseone — are nerds in theory only: The freak-rap indie-rock damage of Wishingbone (a companion piece/remix of their ’04 debut, A New Whit, including a DVD of videos) is a seductive pop experiment executed with the same light touch their name implies. Jel, who programs the beats in Subtle, pulls off a similar if more polished feat with Soft Money, a mongrel of instantly likable melodic drizzlings and supersmart verses with cameos by a far-flung cast of characters (none of whom appear tonight). Still with us? Then you’ll be feeling Minnesotan Andrew Broder — a.k.a. Fog — whose free-jazz glitch-guitar-drone clusterfucks make you go, “Oh, no, he didn’t.” (Andrew Lentz)

 

The Flesheaters at the Echo

The Flesheaters, one of the late-’70s Hollywood underground’s most extreme and uncategorizable bands, always work at boiling point. Careening across a turbulent musical ocean of ferociously heavy art-metal grind, singer Chris D drives the band with a demented Captain Ahab–like focus and lyrics that ooze a mixture of tormented passion and surrealistic imagery; the master of a singularly expressive, choked-up vocal squall, he made sure that the band’s albums — Forever Came Today; A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die among them — went far beyond anything their renegade colleagues had proposed. Bursting forth from a self-imposed exile, the Flesheaters are certain to uphold a bizarre rock & roll tradition that is theirs alone. (Jonny Whiteside)

Fruit Bats, Amandine, Sam Jayne at the Troubadour

Fruit Bats are two, three and sometimes four nice people originally from Chicago, now based mostly on the West Coast. They do a broad patchwork of folk-tinged pop that strums, thumps and warbles like it should but more recently is found sprawling out multi-instrumentally in cinema-screen Americana epics, usually delivered with wry sincerity by an incredibly good singer named Eric Johnson, the ex-Califone guitar and banjo player who’s also Fruit Bats’ main songwriter. Like about 95 percent of other indie rock, the Bats’ new disc, called Spelled in Bones (Sub Pop), is whimsically bittersweet, but shot through with a smart sunshine given much heft by finely shaded ’70s-rock touches. Also, weighty American roots-type folk-rock homaging from Sweden’s Amandine; and a solo set by Sam Jayne of Sub Pop’s Love as Laughter. (John Payne)

THURSDAY, April 13 Thomas Dolby at the Key Club

Ever pop’s contradictory Luddite — with his vintage Jaguars, synth-pop dictated through evolved British accents, and Freudian couch confessions even while his polyphonic ringtones pay his upkeep — Thomas Dolby descends gently upon Los Angeles precisely as YouTube–fueled nostalgia is on the upswing and catchy melodies are on the decline. Little doubt remains that he’ll play the hits — “She Blinded Me With Science,” “Airhead,” the criminally underrated “Hyperactive” and possibly even selections from his work with Lene Lovich and George Clinton on the film Howard the Duck. He launches his springtime Sole Inhabitant Tour with neither the gentle farting deflation of postmodern irony nor the arch humoring of one-time Durannies or New Romantics. He brings something to the fore that remains vital yet elusive to 1980s pop stalwarts: a sense of hew-mah. (David Cotner)

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