Rock Picks

Blah Blah Blah

Today, Thursday, Feb. 9, the long-closed Huntington Beach club known as Safari Sam’s reopens after a long dark season. It will still be known as Safari Sam’s, only this time it will be located along the Thai Town–Scientology fulcrum, at 5214 W. Sunset Blvd. And it’s all ages, kids, which means you, yes, YOU WITH THE MEXICAN VICODIN, can attend the opening-night gig, TONIGHT, featuring The Sex Pistols Experience, a cover band who will also be on Jonesy’s Jukebox today. I tell ya. Can’t decide which is more post-ironic: this, or the Germs using an actor to perform as Darby Crash at their gigs. Saturday, 2/11, Nashville Pussy play at the Knitting Factory, a band whose sole usefulness is as an alternative to Bonnie Raitt and the Donnas when debating whether chicks can shred on guitar. Sunday, 2/12, Part-Time Punks (at the Echo) continues its mission of bringing unpretentious garage rock/punk to those who need it most (Eastside hipsters, that is) with a gig by NYC’s The Witnesses and S.F.’s Magic Bullets. Go forth and rock. (Kate Sullivan)

Thursday, Feb. 9The Click Five, Big City Rock at the Roxy

Six or seven years ago, the Click Five would’ve been a boy band à la ’N Sync or the Backstreet Boys: They’re handsome in a non-threatening way, they sing about finding just the girl they’re looking for, and they’ve toured with Ashlee Simpson and, well, the Backstreet Boys. Today, though, in a world of Death Cab cuties and My Chemical romantics, the Boston-based group of Berklee College of Music grads are a rock band with matching suits and designer-guitar fuzz. Don’t tell let the secret out: Greetings From Imrie House, the Click Five’s wham-bam debut, still makes for a blast of high-octane teen pop, from the freshly scrubbed vocal harmonies down to the highly processed synthesizer cheese. Six or seven years ago, local openers Big City Rock would’ve been the Wallflowers. (Mikael Wood)

Friday

Meat Beat Manifesto, Dälek at the Knitting Factory

Electronic-music groundbreaker Jack Dangers has propelled his Meat Beat Manifesto through expansive electro-acoustical dimensions in recent times. His latest discs, Off Centre and At the Centre (both Thirsty Ear), bring in such prog-jazz heavies as drummer Dave King, flutist Peter Gordon and keyboardist Craig Taborn to merge densely textured otherworlds with subtly complex polyrhythmic dance-thump and deep-space analog-synth sallies. Do not miss Dälek, the scary industrial crew who make something like a hip-hop equivalent of a slasher flick, ill-harmonized claustrophobically in evil-tongued raps, barbed-wire screetchez, scratchez and sonicus interruptus for even wickeder massed guitar samples, like the barbed wire on your future. Their new disc, Absence, is on Mike Patton’s essential Ipecac label, and you should buy it, experience it and burn in hell — you owe that much to yourself, don’t you? (John Payne)

Ariel Pink, Gris-Gris, Indian Jewelry at the Echo

Bursting forth nearly fully formed from the foothills in the headlands of Los Angeles, Ariel Pink has a star-making story à la Kate Bush; his home-recorded pop debut, The Doldrums, was distilled from his 8-track/beatboxing/keyboard demos sent to red-hot pop feral children Animal Collective and released on their Paw Tracks label. Skimming his MySpace profile is an exercise in discovering new angles in music; there’s a cover of the Smiths’ “This Night Has Opened My Eyes,” and Pink is perhaps the only person apart from Lester Bangs to recommend ’70s German agit-pop theatrical troupe Floh de Cologne. Also tonight: the electric organism moving the echoey psychedelia of Gris-Gris and the chunky rhythms and whirlwind mantras of Indian Jewelry. (David Cotner)

Bob Mould, Curt Kirkwood at the Troubadour

Indie-rock loyalists will forever prostrate themselves before the altar of Bob Mould’s Hüsker Dü, because in the ’80s the band did indeed kick pre-emo rump in righteous ways (still brings a tiny nostalgic tear to the eye). Mould’s next band, Sugar, was a more musically inclined power trio with a beautifully dense sound that in retrospect seems way underrated. Mould, growing up and out of limited punk rock parameters, followed with solo albums that combined his heartfelt, intelligent songwriting, fiery electric guitar and ardent singing with explorations in electronics, to varying degrees of success, such as his similarly underrated Modulate (Red Ink). Tonight, Mould performs solo versions of material from his latest work, Body of Song (Yep Roc), another slamming, searing set featuring Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty and Sugar bassist Dave Barbe. Another rock form-smasher, ex–Meat Puppet Curt Kirkwood, opens with a look at his roots-rocky new solo disc, Snow (Little Dog). (John Payne)

Saturday

Rocky Dawuni, Leon Mobley, Ashley Maher at Temple Bar

One native son, one child of the diaspora and one naturalized citizen of the motherland, all seeking the eternal resonance of Africa. Rocky Dawuni, L.A. resident and child of Ghana, cultivates root-stock hybrids, nurturing West African groove, reggae and soul into fresh sound plantings on his latest CD, Book of Changes. An impresario as well, Dawuni jets back to Accra a few days after the show to prepare his annual Independence Splash happening, which honors A.B. Crentsil and other Ghanaian heroes of highlife this year. Leon Mobley, best known as Ben Harper’s high priest of percussion, channels the rumble of the ancients through his supple-strong hands. Ashley Maher, celebrating the release of Flying Over Bridges, entwines singer-songwriter craft with Afro-jazz funk and some Richter-registering dance moves. When Africa calls, we all gotta listen. (Tom Cheyney)

 

Dos, Chuck Dukowski Sextet, Carla Bozulich at Safari Sam’s

SST Records punk circa 1979 rethinks and regrinds. Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski has Frankensteined a new version of his sextet featuring exotic femme vox and the woodwinds of Cruel Frederick’s Lynn Johnston, a topnotch improvisational conceiver — you know this won’t be formula. Two bassists who’ve lurked inside each other’s heads for a quarter-century, Mike Watt and Kira Roessler, are Dos to the max. And Carla Bozulich may have arrived on the South Bay scene a little later than the rest, but she’s made equal impact with Ethyl Meatplow, Geraldine Fibbers, her Red Headed Stranger tribute, the Night Porter, etc.; lately she’s been invading realms of noise and vocal abstraction. Arrive fortified. 5214 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd. (323) 666-7267. (Greg Burk)

Mason Jennings, Chad VanGaalen at the Troubadour

Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter Mason Jennings is who Jack Johnson would’ve become if Johnson had grown up a brainy Midwestern lefty instead of spending his college years as a Santa Barbara surf bum. Like Johnson, Jennings plays neatly arranged folk-pop ditties about life and how to live it, a skill that’s earned him a devoted following of relatively amiable fraternity brothers. (Both men also wear tidy, close-cropped haircuts.) Jennings has just become the first artist signed to Glacial Pace, a new Epic Records imprint headed by Modest Mouse front man Isaac Brock; expect an album with drummer Dave King of the Bad Plus this spring. Canadian indie guy VanGaalen is Sub Pop’s latest sensitive post-emo crooner; his stuff is more assertive than Iron & Wine’s, but somewhat less memorable, too. (Mikael Wood)

Sunday

Jeff Tweedy at the Henry Fonda Theater

With Wilco on a brief hiatus, Jeff Tweedy must be feeling restless again. This year he’s revisiting the myriad side projects that often confound fans of his critically slobbered band: another record with his Albert Ayler–meets–Poco trio Loose Fur, another whimsical collaboration with Scott McCaughey’s Minus 5, and another back-porch jam session with alt-rock supergroup Golden Smog. Tweedy’s ever-changing set lists on this brief solo tour have thus far unveiled new tunes like “Is That the Thanks I Get?” and “The Ruling Class” as well as Smog faves, underplayed Wilcoia, Uncle Tupelo chestnuts and a cover of Mott the Hoople’s “Henry and the H Bombs,” a song he’s been doing since Wilco’s first tour in 1995. Tweedy’s band mates open both shows: drummer Glenn Kotche on Sunday night and prodigal-son guitarist Nels Cline on Monday. 6126 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd. (213) 480-3232. (Matthew Duersten)

Eleni Mandell at Tangier

Eleni Mandell comes in many guises. There’s the noirish underground romantic from such early albums as Thrill and Snakebite, her languorous phrasing accented by her softly decisive acoustic-guitar strokes. Then there’s the warmly inviting down-home cowgirl of Country for True Lovers, contrasted by the late-night jazzbo captured on 2004’s smoke-filled Maybe, Yes EP. The local singer-songwriter reveled in her breezy pop side on Sex, Fashion and Money, the 2005 debut CD by the Grabs, a side project with Blondie’s Nigel Harrison and W.A.C.O.’s Steve Gregoropoulous. Miss Eleni even rocks out on occasion, as with her seductively glammed-up version of Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris,” from Paris Hilton’s notorious burger-chain TV ad. At heart, though, Mandell is an unrepentantly dreamy balladeer with a gift for cinnamon-streaked, horchata-sweet melodies. Expect to meet all of these personas during this monthlong Tangier residency, where she’s backed by a full band. (Falling James)

Tuesday

I See Hawks in L.A. at Safari Sam’s

These freewheeling lords of California psych country approach their music almost as if it were a portal, an unseen threshold that, once crossed, promises a wholly unpredictable experience. Based on an instinctive, atavistic fixation with primal forces and the beauty of nature, the Hawks’ singular style always operates on an epic scale, exploring weird panoramas of hallucinatory metaphor with a sound as much traditional hillbilly as it is accelerated lysergic-rock spontaneity. With high doses of surrealism from the twisted brain trust of maverick songwriters Rob Waller and Paul Lacques and the solid country foundation provided by veteran bassist Paul Marshall and brilliant fiddler-mandolinist Brantley Kearns, any flight taken with the Hawks assures a view to startling new perspectives. Up, up and away. 5214 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd. (323) 666-7267. (Jonny Whiteside)

 

Dntel, The Long Lost, Becky Stark, Winter Flowers at the Echo

Tonight’s music is designed quite explicitly to make you want to kill yourself and fuck the body. Along with local gloom merchants Dntel, the Long Lost, Becky Stark, Winter Flowers, and black-crack dealers of “depressing discos” Tommy DeNys, Frosty, Nobody and Jimmy Tamborello, you also get free teardrop face painting at Give Up’s “A Violet Valentine.” Ay, La Sad Girl! Started three years ago at the Bigfoot Lounge by Mark “Frosty” McNeill and Tamborello, Give Up salons sprang from McNeill’s and Tamborello’s “frustration [at] deejaying to crowds demanding dance-floor action. Everyone listens to sad music but rarely hears it when they go out. This year, we thought what better day to get sad than Valentine’s Day?” And this is the day you’ll look so sad that the corners of your mouth meet and everyone thinks you’re whistling. (David Cotner)

Wedenesday Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings, Tony Joe White at the Viper Room

Long before she hooked up with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter was already a certified rebel rouser, marrying and touring with twang maestro Duane Eddy. Never one to go the conventional route, Colter sang with a powerful, plaintive style that subsequently made her a key figure in the ’70s Outlaw country insurrection, but she has not been heard from much for 20 years. With her new album, Out of the Ashes, Colter has staked an impressive 21st-century claim with as much artful audacity as ever, and this show, featuring participation from surging country-rock scion Shooter, and a set from incomparable country swamp-funk genius Tony Joe White (who has a whole hell of a lot more than “Polk Salad Annie” going on), several hours of genuine misfit greatness is guaranteed. (Jonny Whiteside)

Thursday, Feb. 16Action Action, Something for Rockets, Men Women & Children at the Roxy

Action Action’s 2004 debut was warmed-over synth rock that seemed to attack other dance-punk third-stringers for committing the same sins of fashionability as Action Action. An Army of Shapes Between Wars, the New York band’s glammy, power-poppy new one, is much more enjoyable; they sound less concerned with getting laid on tour, a development they hopefully don’t come to regret. Locals Something for Rockets make warmed-over synth rock that’s kind of fun anyway. Formed by guitarist Todd Weinstock (an ex-member of Long Island emo-metallists Glassjaw), Men Women & Children are worth showing up early for. On their forthcoming debut, they play flashy, hard-edged disco-funk that wisely reminds you that “you don’t need a reason to get out on the dance floor.” (Mikael Wood)


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