Music Picks: Adele, Wanda Jackson, Bootsy Collins, Buffalo Springfield, Gayngs, Amor de Dias
After stints in San Francisco and New Orleans (which they escaped mere hours before Hurricane Katrina hit), the Dagons have been based in Los Angeles for several years, although they rarely play their adopted hometown. But the coed duo are here to celebrate the release of their new album, Upon the Dull Earth, with a set of baleful goth-folk-punk chansons whose fuzzily mesmerizing exoticism should provide the perfect soundtrack for this venue's decadently swanky ambiance. Singer Karie Jacobson's blurry guitar riffs merge with Drew Kowalski's febrile sitar melodies, creating a strangely intoxicating brew that evokes the Stones' "Paint It Black" and the Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs" as sung by a nightmare-addled Sylvia Plath. Better believe it when Jacobson confides in an eerie, childlike voice, "I am not nice but I am true." —Falling James
@NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Around this time last year, a mysterious little album called Relayted, credited to "Gayngs," started doing the usual Pitchfork/Stereogum/etc. rounds with little fanfare. The original spiel heralded it as the work of Minneapolis producer Ryan Olson and two members of Solid Gold, plus assorted collaborators from the worlds of indie hip-hop, jazz and alt-pop. Oh, and a chunk of Bon Iver, including frontman Justin Vernon, with everyone shooting for a 10cc/Godley & Creme vibe. Shockingly, the album sounded nothing like Bon Iver and only vaguely like "I'm Not in Love" — it's been a sleeper for initiates, who by year's end were raving about it as one of the best albums of 2010. A few weeks ago they gained even more converts at Coachella; if you missed them there, this is your chance to be initiated into the Gayngs. You won't regret it, particularly if you miss the Beta Band (and who doesn't?). With Dirty Beaches. —Gustavo Turner
The Antlers, Little Scream
@EL REY THEATRE
Blessed with a ghostly falsetto and an impeccable ear for delicate yet evocative arrangements, Antlers mastermind Peter Silberman has a real knack for silencing a room. His band specializes in electronics-fed chamber pop, but rather than overrun the senses à la Sufjan Stevens or DM Stith, the Antlers use wide open space to enthrall and ultimately enslave ears. This taut atmospheric grace is clearly heard on the group's widely acclaimed new album, Burst Apart, which ditches Silberman's earlier interest in crafting concept records for a series of heartbreakingly earnest songs about losing love. Similarly aligned is opener Little Scream, aka solo singer-guitarist Laurel Spregelmeyer. She's earned her fair share of praise for The Golden Record, on which her haunting folk is dressed up in lush instrumentation, grinding guitars and ambient haze, making for a gorgeous exercise in contradiction. —Chris Martins
If James Brown was the Father and George Clinton is the Son, Bootsy should be a shoo-in for the Holy Ghost of the Funk religion. The iconic bassist returns with a flashy new album, The Funk Capital of the World, featuring a veritable cavalcade of stars, from the predictable (P-Funk's maestro Clinton, Snoop) to the strange (shredder supreme Buckethead, who gets inexplicably preferential billing) to the dead (Jimi effin' Hendrix???). Still, we're talking about American music royalty here, and the swank Nokia cabaret should be a good venue to enjoy Bootsy's out-of-this-world jams. —Gustavo Turner
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., EMA
Though their choice of name is unfortunate, Detroit duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. are neither pop pranksters nor NASCAR knuckleheads. Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott are, in fact, quite gifted when it comes to creating easy, breezy and seemingly sincere songs like single "Nothing but Our Love." As on the rest of their just-released debut LP, It's a Corporate World, this summery nugget comprises a winning mix of lightly fuzzed guitar, programmed drums, gauzy synth work and sleepy-headed vocals. Far harsher is the sound of L.A. resident EMA, aka Erika M. Anderson, who cut her teeth in psych-folk acts Gowns and Amps for Christ before embarking on an acclaimed solo career that stands precariously atop a mountain of shredded chords and bleak lyrics. Prepare to be as impressed as you are depressed — it's that good. —Chris Martins
ARCTIC MONKEYS at Hollywood Palladium; HOLCOMBE WALLER at Hotel Café; TANDY LOVE at Verdugo Bar; GROUPLOVE, WALK THE MOON at the Satellite.
Amor de Dias, Damon and Naomi
This not-so-secret psych-folk tropicalia supergroup formed three years ago between Alasdair MacLean, singer of the London-based, hypnotizing psych-pop band the Clientele, and Lupe Núñez-Fernández from U.K. Spanish indie-pop duo Pipas, plus a handful of friends. Their debut LP, The Street of the Love of Days, recently came out on Merge, featuring a range of guests, including French singer Louis Philippe, folk-rock combo Damon & Naomi — who join them tonight at the Satellite — and Brooklyn indie-rocker Gary Olson. Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang have been making music together as Damon & Naomi since 1991, but they are best known as two thirds of dream-pop forefathers Galaxie 500. —Lainna Fader
For what it's worth, it's a shame that the surviving members of Buffalo Springfield are reuniting now, four decades after the garage-country-folk supergroup broke up in 1968. Drummer Dewey Martin and bassist Bruce Palmer died earlier this decade, and it was Palmer's intuitive bass lines that helped to unify the sometimes disparate contributions of singers Richie Furay, Neil Young and Stephen Stills. Drummer Joe Vitale and Young's dependable bassist Rick Rosas will fill in as the rhythm section for these reunion shows, and it should be a nostalgic kick to hear Young growl the paranoid garage-rock nugget "Mr. Soul" and the gently sublime ballad "On the Way Home" with his old mates. Let's hope Young's ornery restlessness will kick up the energy level of the terminally mellow Furay and the erratic (if talented) Stills. Also Sun. —Falling James
@EL REY THEATRE
Just skirting the too lushly conceived side of prog-pop is Blackfield, the collaboration between Porcupine Tree mainman Steven Wilson and Israeli singer/multi-instrumentalist Aviv Geffen. The pair just released Welcome to My DNA, their third set of wide-screen epic anthems served up crisply focused and cliché-free. Underpinned with heavier lyrics than the genre is normally capable of, this is sumptuously arranged music that comes off very listener-friendly without panderingly dipping into the saccharine. Blackfield's delicate splendors come tightly wound, an effect owing much to Wilson's immaculately detailed production wizardry, which has flourished on so many recent endeavors, including Swedish prog-metal band Opeth's albums and the King Crimson catalog reissues; he also was Grammy-nominated for Best Surround Sound Album for Porcupine Tree's The Incident. —John Payne
THE BIRD & THE BEE at Bootleg Theater; LARRY KARUSH QUINTET at Blue Whale; LITTLE CAESAR at Key Club; KROQ WEENIE ROAST: RISE AGAINST, THE STROKES, LINKIN PARK at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (Irvine); ANDY VOTEL, DAVID HOLMES, MAHSSA, JACKIE HOODOO, KEVIN FITZGERALD at Bordello.
Sea of Bees
British folkie heartthrobs Stornoway get the top billing here (they're catchy, cute and should go well with the Mumford crowd), but what you really don't want to miss is opener Sea of Bees. Collecting the early DIY songs of innocence of one Jules Baenziger, a quirky young lady from the California Gothic land known as "the Central Valley," Sea of Bees' inspiring 2010 album Songs for the Ravens blew us and many others away. Grandaddy's Jason Lytle praised its "mysterious, wonderful and addictive qualities," and who are you to disagree with a guy who made one of Bowie's favorite albums? Get there early. —Gustavo Turner
You won't find a more brilliant pop songwriter in town this week than Neil Innes. The British singer-guitarist is best known for the satirical ditties he composed with Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Monty Python and spot-on Beatles parody group the Rutles. But you'd be a fool to dismiss Innes as a mere jokester. Songs like "Blue Suede Schubert" and "Cheese & Onions" are wickedly clever, but other ostensible satires, such as "How Sweet to Be an Idiot" and "Let's Be Natural," trigger much deeper emotions and are mounted on the spines of gorgeous, sometimes heartbreaking melodies. It's no joke to say that some of Innes' Beatles homages are better than the real thing, and it's to his credit that he's finally moving away from indulging his fans' lust for a cheap Beatles fix and focusing instead on his wealth of underrated solo tunes. —Falling James
14 Iced Bears
Living in Brighton, England, in the late '80s, these mop-haired local lads were being mentioned in the same breath as Ride and even My Bloody Valentine. But while those bands mumbled their way into the mainstream, the Bears (like so many of their C86-y peers) stalled at shoegaze cult status before drifting apart in 1992. So there's a suitably psychedelic sense of déjà vu about their reformation, with their debut album lineup intact, and sudden spate of stateside shows. That their unruly guitars, unpretentious beats and skewed yet oddly optimistic melodies hold up so well after so much time suggests these were sincere expressions rather than cynical fashion statements the first time around. —Paul Rogers
Kaoru, G.E. Stinson, Alex Cline; Brad Dutz Quartet
@CENTER FOR THE ARTS EAGLE ROCK
Voice/percussion artist Kaoru returns from a long sabbatical to join electric guitarist G.E. Stinson and superdrummer Alex Cline for a re-look at the collective improv soundscapery they achieved on the Cloud Plate's Cryptogramophone several years ago. Kaoru employs various electronic boxes to extend the group's sound into fascinating, faraway places. The somewhat similarly inclined Brad Dutz Quartet features the percussion/marimba master along with Paul Sherman on English horn and oboe, Jim Sullivan on clarinets and cellist Chris Votek. Dutz is a virtuoso player and gifted composer whose frameworks for his daring ensembles always bring out a really far-reaching yet toe-tappingly hummable kind of new music. This show costs a paltry $10 for students and seniors, $5 for series performers, and there is plenty of free parking. —John Payne
SARAH JAFFE at the Coach House; STORNAWAY at the Troubadour.
Adele, Wanda Jackson
Some bills are the product of backstage machinations and the corporate politics of industry networking, but tonight's lineup is an inspired pairing of two divas from different eras and genres. The young British songstress Adele is an engaging soul-pop stylist whose vocals reveal real warmth and charisma. Instead of mimicking her idols, Adele knows how to sell a song persuasively and intelligently without resorting to nostalgic tics. She's also wise and confident enough to allow country-rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson to open for her. Ms. Jackson is on a bit of a career resurgence thanks to her recent collaboration with Jack White, but the Oklahoma native has always been a fiery performer, from her days touring with her old pal Elvis Presley through to her more recent work with the Cramps and Elvis Costello. —Falling James
Vice Cooler, The New Dreamz, Secret Friends, Kroyclub
A Vice Cooler show can be a lot of things — a striptease, an art exhibition, a multimedia audiovisual feast, a mosh pit with a rapping/dancing dynamo in its middle — but no matter what shape it takes, it is always entertaining. To wit, Peaches has dubbed him "the world's greatest performer," and the Alabama-born L.A. resident makes a good case for it. As Hawnay Troof, he combines clangy, nontraditional beat-making with lyrics that range from existential musings about life ("Connection") to goofy raps about sexual exploits ("Dry Hump"). And with his other main gig, fronting noise-punks XBXRX, he's known for captivating crowds by shouting apocalyptic come-ons. Though this all-ages gig should lean toward the former, Vice's deep connections to this city's bustling underground leave room for a star-studded cast of experimentalists to help shape the night. —Chris Martins
RACHEL GOODRICH, BAND OF SKULLS at the Bootleg Bar; DANTE VS. ZOMBIES at Echo; HENRY WOLFE at the Bootleg Theater.
[See Page Two.]
All-Star Crass Tribute Band
"Do they owe us a living?" British anarcho-punks Crass once asked. "Of course they do!/Of course they do!" even if it was never clear just who "they" really were. Do Crass owe us a full-fledged reunion tour? Of course they do — but it's probably never going to happen. But, coming on the heels of founding member Steve Ignorant's own recent nostalgic tribute to the fiercely non-nostalgic Crass, members of such crucial indie-punk and riot-grrl bands as Bratmobile, Mika Miko, the Need, the Sharp Ease, Dunes, Peter Pants and Auto Da Fe will attempt to re-enact Crass' seminal (pun probably intended) Penis Envy, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the album's original release. So get ready for plenty of "Systematic Death" and cheeky musical questions like "Where Next, Columbus?" —Falling James
ANNA CALVI at the Troubadour; RACHEL GOODRICH, BAND OF SKULLS at the Bootleg Bar; MOSES CAMPBELL at Silverlake Lounge; DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE at El Rey Theatre.
@THE BOOTLEG BAR
There's something timeless about the big chords and universal themes of great power pop, and Sloan knows this better than any band. The Canuck quartet has been rocking mightily for 20 years, weathering not only low stateside sales but grunge, gangsta rap and nearly every other evolution in music that seemed tailor-made to drive listeners further away from their exuberant, earnest rock & roll. Better yet, they've kept the same lineup, which may explain their staying power among an always slowly growing cadre of loyal fans. Each member not only writes songs but sings and shreds over his own compositions, resulting in a body of work that stays true to the medium's lean, '60s-saluting arrangements and hooky hit-making. Their just-out 10th album, The Double Cross, is rightly more of the same, with the knowingly cheesy themes that wink to the past Sloan's fans live for. —Chris Martins
DIEGO GARCIA, JENNY O at the Echo; CORREATOWN at the Satellite; FREDDIE McGREGOR at the Echoplex.
Nearly 20 years ago, Grammy-winning jazz-rap giants Digable Planets dropped Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space), a record best known for schooling us on how to be "Cool Like Dat." Digable's Butterfly — aka Ishmael Butler — moved on to electro-funk as Cherrywine, and now, as Palaceer Lazaro, he rules Shabazz Palaces' carefully constructed, closely guarded universe of dense, blasted beats and gritty caustic dirges with airtight rhymes. The most exciting hip-hop act to come out of Seattle in decades, Shabazz Palaces released two mini albums in 2009 (s/t and Palaces of Light) and their debut LP, Black Up, will be out next month on indie-rock powerhouse Sub Pop. —Lainna Fader
From afar, Sweden seems too serene to be spawning so many worryingly livid bands like this one. Though from Gothenburg, known for its melodic death metal, Miasmal owe more to the Stockholm scene's crusty bastardization of the genre. Their cantankerous, spare-some-change? vocals are nicely offset with incongruously slick instrumentation: seamless blurs of riffs; juicy, hair-tossing guitar solos; and beats born more of punk's primitive groove than metal's octopus dexterity. In fact, what makes Miasmal worth a listen is their carefree dipping into almost every era of angry guitar music, from late-'60s Sabbath, through '70s punk and the new wave of British heavy metal, to endless varieties of post-Venom thrash. —Paul Rogers
ADELE at Hollywood Palladium; AN HORSE at the Satellite; OAK & GORSKI at Hotel Café; FORBIDDEN at Whisky a Go Go.
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