Live in L.A.: Mumford & Sons, Free Kutmah benefit, Fitz & the Tantrums, Death by Stereo
Mumford & Sons don't add up. Four tidy West London boys doing achy, dusty Americana -- why, that's almost as suspect as four preppies from Columbia University embracing world beats in their pop music, isn't it? Indeed, Marcus Mumford and compatriots Ben Lovett, Country (!) Winston and Ted Dwane are suffering some Vampire Weekend-like backlash right now, their debut "Sign No More" so pristine in its pop-bluegrass constructs that it's almost cloying. None of which matters to the spines tingled by "Sigh's" jaunty banjo and mandolin, or its soaring harmonies, or its Arcade Fire-like cathartic swells. Even amid a folk-music revival that borders on binging -- I'm not sure Americana has been this raging since gas was 34 cents a gallon -- "Sigh No more" stands out. So if this particular gravel road leads to West London, might as well follow. Mumford & Sons, with buzzy Australians the Middle East in tow, play tonight and Friday at the Music Box.
Elsewhere: The Free Kutmah benefit -- proceeds go to defray the legals costs that L.A. artist/DJ Justin McNulty (aka Kutmah) is incurring in his immigration woes -- goes off at the Echoplex with Dam-Funk, Daedelus, Gaslamp Killer, Samiyam and Teebs, along with a DJ set by Mayer Hawthorne. ... Local neo-soul phenoms Fitz & the Tantrums kick off a Thursday night residency at Spaceland. ... And Canadian indie-rockers Born Ruffians hit the Echo.
Also: Dan Black at the Roxy; Death by Stereo at the Troubadour, Why? at the Glass House in Pomona; Wounded Lion and Dunes at the Smell; Terraplane Sun and Bear Face at the Silverlake Lounge; Spotlight, Floodlight at the Bootleg Theater; and Rachael Sage and TD Lind at the Hotel Cafe.
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