Rock Picks

BLAH BLAH BLAH

Let’s hear it for the girls!

After sincere efforts to enjoy Jenny Lewis’ solo record, I’m all the more impressed by women who never play the coy/precious card, but plain old kick ass and shoot prisoners: Witness L.A.’s Firebug (tonight, 3/16, Spaceland). This is a klassic roots-rock band with a truly special singer named Juliette Tworsey, who sings bold and tough but a little broken, smart but not wise. Minor chords and lotsa stiff-upper-lip heartbreak and slide guitars. WARNING: CONTAINS NO EMO SELF-PITY. (Looks like they also play Hangar 1018 on 3/24.) If you’re more of a Runaways/Cherie Currie fan, you gotta see Sweden’s The Sounds (the Fonda, 3/22). Talk about girl-effing-power! . . . My all-time new favorite English band, Art Brut, play the Troubadour, 3/19, and they still have the best lyric of the year so far: “We’re going to be the band that writes the song/that makes Israel and Palestine get along/We’re going to write a song as universal as ‘Happy Birthday’/That makes sure everybody knows that everything is going to be OK.” . . . Our buddies in The Prix — the ones who tracked down Emmitt Rhodes and convinced him to work with them — play the Silverlake Lounge, 3/21. Beer, organs, gang vocals. Good times. (Kate Sullivan)FRIDAY

Califone, The Books at the Getty Center

“Laughtears and Livewires” is what they’re calling this night at the Getty’s Harold M. Williams Auditorium, meaning a look-hear at two deviant elucidations of current poetic sonic form. Chicago/L.A.’s Califone are ex–Red Red Meat man Tim Rutilli’s future-rustic, backwoods-country-blues clan, whose acoustical-oriented, desert-fried or maple-leaf mellow golds come Americana correct with clunky old electric keyboards and masterful Ben Massarella’s clink-clanky tin-can percussion; their obliquely poignant tales address a litany of heartland and historical woes personal and political, but mainly they’re near genius at making the spaces between dark, spare notes speak your proverbial haunting volumes. North Adams, Massachusetts’ the Books are the duo of cellist Paul de Jong and guitarist Nick Zammuto, who’ve released several discs of computer-glitched kinda indie-pop whose collages of folk-rock-tinged rock instrumentation with obscure vocal samples produce an enjoyably unclassifiable experience of strange familiarity — or is it familiar strangeness? Also Sat. 1200 Getty Center Dr. (310) 440-7300. (John Payne)

Ollin at Spaceland “Pogue mahone (kiss my arse).” Nothing says Irish folk music more than Shane MacGowan (with that gnarly grill) and the Pogues. Described as “the brandy of the damned,” the Pogues are Celtic soul, playing traditional Irish instruments such as the tin whistle, accordion and cittern and mixing it all with a lot of liquor and punk attitude. In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, and because Mexicans and Irish fought together (see San Patricios), the Eastside’s Ollin performs the Pogues’ Rum, Sodomy and the Lash album. Hear the Rodarte brothers, along with musical guests Lysa Flores, Moises Ruiz (Slowrider), Dave Jones (Carnage Asada) and Jon Wahl (Clawhammer), jam out on “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day,” “Navigator” and other classics as they throw down some Guinness Stout. (Ben Quiñones)

SATURDAY

The Orb, Dntel, John Tejada at Disney Hall

Good thing John Adams isn’t using a rave to launch his directorship of Disney Hall’s “Minimalist Jukebox” fest, or folks’d wonder what the heck was going on. Sure, the show goes from midnight to dawn, the way raves do. And the music blares from the kinds of electronic artists who’d play raves: the dynamic, inventive and explosively lighted rhythm cycles of U.K. vets the Orb; the spare but danceable computer tweakery of locals Dntel and John Tejada along with mix buddies Dublab Soundsystem; the creepy avant hip-hop turntablism of Cincinnati’s Boom Bip. Top-tier concert visualist Vello Virkhaus provides ambient lookables, and the compound’s environs blaze with other weird stuff to gawk at. Some would call the whole thing “trippy” if this were a rave. Which it’s not. 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn. (323) 850-2000. (Greg Burk)

SUNDAY

Sisters of Mercy at House of Blues

Sisters of Mercy last played locally seven years ago and released their most recent studio album, 1990’s Vision Thing, in double that time. (And we venture to guess that lead baritone Sis Andrew Eldritch’s eyes — shades always affixed — haven’t seen the light of day since he crawled out of Leeds and formed his don’t-call-it-goth goth band.) But don’t go clutching your cloak hoping for a greatest-hits set; we can’t get through their debut without listening to the dreamy Celtic guitars of “First and Last and Always” a million times either. But a two-hour version of “This Corrosion” you can live without. The Sisters have been known to whip out B-sides, rarities and covers, including “Gimme Shelter,” “Comfortably Numb,” “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and, get this, “Jolene,” which just might be the strangest goth reworking since the Cocteau Twins’ “Frosty the Snowman.” With the Warlocks. Also Mon. (Siran Babayan)

MONDAY

Carina Round at the Viper Room

Brit brunette Carina Round crawls the sonic crevices frequented by PJ Harvey and Fiona Apple but drags a distinctive, clanking realism from her dour Black Country backdrop. Her sophomore album, 2004’s The Disconnection, left marks with its often-frosty arrangements, loitering lyrical menace and Round’s malleable pipes: a ghoulish vibrato; slinky speakeasy purr; and crisp, veiled-threat articulation (sometimes within the same phrase). Her follow-up, Slow Motion Addict (due May 23), takes a more angular, in-your-ear approach — bleak machine-shop rhythm section and stalker voice-mail vocals — yet is still punctuated by the eccentricities that keep Round (un)comfortably this side of square. Round’s picked up oodles of live experience since her rather self-conscious Spaceland show two years back: Expect a vivid revisiting of her recorded work tonight. Also at the Hotel Café, Wed. (Paul Rogers)

Metric at the Henry Fonda Theater

The world needs a new hero, so why not Emily Haines? The Metric singer sounds so inspiring on “Monster Hospital,” from the Toronto quartet’s 2005 breakthrough CD, Live It Out (Last Gang Records), taking on the entire war machine by herself. “I fought the war, but the war won,” she sings pleadingly, exhilaratingly against the dramatic backdrop of Jimmy Shaw’s surging guitars, subverting and expanding Bobby Fuller’s old lyric. Then, she cuts through the military doublespeak, political hand-wringing and punk distortion with a chillingly simple aside that brings everything (if not the troops) home: “Stop, for the love of God.” Ms. Haines is more than just an avenging angel, revealing a confessional pop side amid the gauzy swirl of her keyboards (“Poster of a Girl”), climbing the trellises of Joshua Winstead’s bass (“Patriarch on a Vespa”) and slinking subversively around the barriers of modern life (“Glass Ceiling”). Meet the new boss. 6126 Hollywood Blvd. (213) 480-3232. (Falling James)


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