Ah, Memorial Day Weekend, the perfect three-day break, tailor-made for chilling in the comfort of an abandoned LA. As long as you stay away from Hollywood Boulevard and the tourists imported from Hell, you can relax, go out to dinner, catch some music, sleep in, drive to the desert, take some LSD, come back, sleep in, have sex, go see some more music, share a cocktail with friends, maybe go on a picnic, see some more music, maybe get a coffee, go out and see some more music, then sleep in. And that's just for Saturday. Who knows what Sunday will hold?
So, while the gas prices remain high, hop on your bike or the bus and hit the clubz.
FRIDAY, MAY 23, WHICH HAPPENS TO BE ROBERT MOOG'S BIRTHDAY
The other night as I was walking into the Hotel Cafe,
Jessica Jesca Hoop and two of her collaborators were standing outside in a nook, conferring. They were dressed as futuristic flapper girls, and Hoop was instructing them in the finer points of harmonization for a particular one of her songs. It was a beautiful LA sight: three pretty women with pretty voices in pretty outfits working something out in the springtime breeze. It made me love Ms. Hoop even more. She plays the Roxy with a batch of Nordic singer/songwriters, including Teitur and Helgi Hrafn Jonsson, as well as Jessie Baylin.
Mago de Oz is a Celtic metal band from Mexico who are way too weird for words. If you want to hear the sound of culture clash, this one would be it. They play at the LA Sports Arena.
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone won my heart when he did a duet of Missy Elliott's "Hot Boyz." Though his voice makes distinctive songs bleed together because of its relative flatness, head knob twiddler/singer Owen Ashworth has some great ideas, and works his electronic gear/beats with impressive finesse. Here are two of his songs.
Hall and Oates are often dismissed and/or ignored from the hipster canon for some odd reason, but I've yet to figure it out. Their poppy blue-eyed soul tracks are relatively smart, melodic and, dare I say, funky. Want proof? Sneak into the highly anticipated second night of their Troubadour stint. Alas, John Oates has shaved his glorious mustache, but, unlike Samson, the loss of hair doesn't seemed to have affected his heroic rocking.
The Smell tonight has another one of their five band bills, this one headed by the Vivian Girls of NYC. They play with freak-our-shit psych-rock of Pocahaunted, Black Black, White & the Writing, and Zombelle.
SATURDAY, MAY 24, WHICH IS BOB DYLAN'S BIRTHDAY
Celebrate the laid-back life at Topanga Days, a three-day festival featuring music by Chevy Metal (Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins), Jim Lauderdale & The Dream Players (feat. James Burton & Al Perkins), Tim Easton, Johnathan Rice, Shurman, Gary Louris, Chris Laterzo & Buffalo Robe, The Living Sisters (feat. Inara George, Eleni Mandell and Becky Stark), Spindrift, Everest and others.
War are no strangers to LA, of course, but seeing them at Greek is a pretty special opportunity. Hear them conjure heaven via rhythm and celebration.
Across town at the Troubadour, the Foals, of Oxford, England, kick out celebratory dance rock that draws from Gang of Four, PiL, LCD Soundsystem and that other big band that makes funky punk. I'm not completely sold on the Foals yet, but I am more than intrigued enough to think that their live should might be killer.
SUNDAY, MAY 25 IS MILES DAVIS' BIRTHDAY!
Falling James tells the story of the amazing Sun City Girls much more eloquently than I could. Here's his pick for this week on Sunday's Brothers Unconnected show at the Echo.
As tripped out as Curt and Cris Kirkwood were in the early ’80s, when the Meat Puppets were still a crazed psychedelic thrash-spazz band, there was another pair of brothers in Phoenix who were even weirder and ultimately more musically multidimensional. Sun City Girls’ Alan Bishop (singer-bassist) and Richard Bishop (guitar) were incredibly prolific, releasing dozens of mostly cassette-only albums, such as God Is My Solar System (1987), Bleach Has Feelings Too! (1987), Exotica on Five Dollars a Day (1987) and Graverobbing in the Future (1989), where their skewed and satirically skewered takes on punk, jazz, folk, surf, world music and space rock were juxtaposed with crass jokes and performance-art goofiness. The trio was anchored by Charles Gocher, who once credited Houdini for inspiring his drumming style, which looked “like I was breaking out of manacles and a straitjacket.” Gocher died of cancer last year, so tonight the Bishop brothers will strum unplugged renditions of Sun City Girls’ anti-hits in tribute, following a screening of The Handsome Stranger, a collection of his video works. The Bishops’ new CD as the Brothers Unconnected traipses across a typically broad landscape, from sea chanteys, raw blues and a loping country song (about smothering noisy infants and blaming it on crib death!) to dreamier interludes where the acoustic guitars and even vocals drone like sitars.
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DJ ?uestlove spins at the Roxy in celebration of the new issue of Urb magazine.
Then go home and go to bed. You've got a long morning of cooking ahead if you want to get that potato salad ready for the picnic. What!? You don't have a recipe yet?!? You're screwed! No you're not. Here: