Music Picks

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Magic Christian — featuring Cyril Jordan of the Flamin’ Groovies, Prairie Prince of The Tubes and music archivist Alec Palao — make pretty cool, harmony-laden pop-rockin’ rock & roll old-fashioned goodness (www.magicchristian.net/media/MC-No_Time_To_Cry.mp3). Their music is most heavily influenced by the Beatles, their name is clearly a Beatlish reference and they’re playing next Thursday, May 25, at the Echo! But wait — there’s more! They’ll be playing with local melodic poppy-rockers The Shakes, Candypants and something called Squiddo, whose music is much sweeter and more readily consumed than squid, though undeniably chewy. Speaking of underwater creatures, the Eels play the same damn night at the Roxy, with the indie-rock sister-girls of Smoosh, who still look like Hanson (which is a major compliment). Also on the harmony-happy indie-rock front: Irving (who have some nifty new sing-alongs) play Friday, May 19, at the Echo with Kind Hearts & Coronets, Kelley Stoltz, and The Little Ones. And if all that sugar makes you sick, baby, hold on, because Eddie Money’s at the Canyon that same night. Rock! (Kate Sullivan)

THURSDAY, MAY 18

Alice in Chains at the Roxy

Artistically, this reunion of Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney and Mike Inez is pointless. Item: Ax god Cantrell has a serious solo career. Good albums, great in the few times he plays live. Heavy, jangly, depressed — sounds like . . . Alice in Chains. Item: Cantrell, who was half of the AIC vocal team, can doom-croon as well as good old self-destructed Layne Staley. No need to replace him with William Duvall of Comes With the Fall, who sounds like Ian Astbury, so why not get Astbury if you’re gonna bother? Oh yeah, Ian is Jim Morrison. And in the Cult again. Well, at least it’s not, as rumored, Phil Anselmo. Item: What happened to Cantrell’s projected team-up with Glenn Danzig? So: This is pointless artistically. Emotionally...? (Greg Burk)

 

Charlie Musselwhite at Temple Bar

Blues-harmonica elder Charlie Musselwhite wields his instrument with deadly accuracy, throwing down sharp-toned flurries and long, low notes that strike at the heart like a well-aimed harpoon. It’s an ingrained skill that he essentially could not help but master, as the very geography of his upbringing — born in Mississippi, attaining majority in 1950s Memphis, then drifting north to Chicago — found him making stops at every classic locale along the traditional American blues route, and he made the most of each step along the way. From a teenage alliance with Bluff City master Furry Lewis to Chi-Town sit-ins with that blue heaven’s dazzling constellation of stars, he absorbed much more than technical facility, and since the release of his 1967 debut, Stand Back!, Musselwhite has never faltered. Don’t expect him to start now. (Jonny Whiteside)

 

 

FRIDAY, MAY 19Esthero at the Roxy

This young Canadian singer’s 2005 album, Wikked Lil Grrrls, didn’t receive the notice it deserved, perhaps because it’s called Wikked Lil Grrrls and contains stretches of supremely iffy spoken-word poetry. Despite those drawbacks, Esthero — like Pink and Nelly Furtado, both of whom have found more commercial success with a similar anti-formula — makes daring polyglot pop full of nods to, well, just about everything: Wikked mashes up trip-hop atmospherics, big-band horn arrangements, teen-pop choruses and hints of world-music exotica in songs that are maddeningly catchy and appealingly quirky enough to excuse Esthero’s knee-jerk claim in “We R in Need of a Musical Revolution” that all MTV and the radio play is boring crap. Hasn’t she heard that new Furtado joint? It’s bananas! (Mikael Wood)

TUESDAY MAY 23

George Clinton & Parliament at House of Blues

Funk spearhead George Clinton works at a remarkably tall artistic level, much the same altitude as the aurora borealis — one where flabbergasting displays of artful momentum can reach a near-hallucinatory scale. Almost 50 years into an extraordinary career (which began with the doo-wop group the Parliaments), Clinton has fused long-enduring Afro-American vernacular music with his own drastically flamboyant brand of stratospheric syncopation and created an unrivaled musical force, one that reaches back even as it stakes bold, new claims. Clinton’s phenomenal strut, lurch and grind has stewed up some crucial, if not immortal, records (“Atomic Dog,” “One Nation Under a Groove”), songs so groove intense, so rhythmically irresistible, that they allow Clinton — and his mad, maxi-shock troupe Parliament — to run their funk party on a positively epic scale. Non-participation is strictly forbidden. (Jonny Whiteside)

The Concretes at the Troubadour

As produced by Rilo Kiley/Bright Eyes cohort Mike Moggis, the Concretes’ new In Colour (Astralwerks) becomes a very, very relaxed, sunny-afternoon-type affair, the Stockholm band’s artfully melodic pop candy coated even in folksy sawing fiddles, steel guitars, churchy organs, bells, tambourines, and horn sections that lazily honk sweet-&-low soulful — or, in brief flashes, rankly gloomy. In fact, so utterly mellow and agreeable is all this stuff — no doubt created in some kind of intensely Swedish (oxymoron?) reaction to their country’s frosty darkness — that by contrast the even tones of Björkish singer Victoria Bergsman hint at dread irony, as if nowhere on Earth could really be so utterly nice . . . Nah, don’t spoil it by thinking too much. (John Payne)

THURSDAY, MAY 25

Los Lobos at the Conga Room

Will the wolf survive? Ask L.A.’s seminal band Los Lobos. We know Los Lobos’ music will survive — they’ve been rockin’ for 30 years now — but the question is whether the Conga Room, L.A.’s premier Latin-music venue, will. Before the doors close at the club’s current location (it’s scheduled to reopen in a year or so at a new home across from Staples Center), don’t miss the O.G. Eastside band Los Lobos performing classic hits like “A Matter of Time” and “One Time, One Night.” How bad are these Wolves? Their debut album, How Will the Wolf Survive, was on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time — not bad for four Mexican kids from Garfield High. Don’t be surprised if Conga Room part-owner/actor-comedian Paul Rodriguez, who attended rival Roosevelt High, is in attendance; he’s always down for a good neighborhood party! (Ben Quiñones)

Petra Haden & the Sellouts at the Troubadour

Former That Dog singer-violinist Haden is setting out with the Foo Fighters on an international acoustic tour that launches July 10, but before she leaves town she’s gracing us with a live presentation of her creepy yet beautiful a cappella music: stuff from Imaginaryland, her 1999 solo debut, and last year’s Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out, a true feat of vocal cunning on which she played the entire Who album with her mouth. Tonight she appears with the Sellouts, a nine-piece band of backing-vocal ladies that includes Haden’s sister Rachel, who’s going on tour herself in July with a reconstituted version of That Dog’s old sister band the Rentals. (Mikael Wood)

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