What should a veritable hip-hop legend do after 40? In Rock's case, the answer is, "Never stop working, never stop evolving." The East Coast producer, known for perfect beats that used jazz-funk and soul samples and for his own trademark blend of moving and edgy, has lately been on a roll. After collaborating with Kanye West, DJ Premier (a long-rumored joint album) and former partner CL Smooth, he has just released a fantastic mixtape with Camp Lo, 80 Blocks From Tiffany's, and his production for Smif-N-Wessun, Monumental, is about to drop. Expect virtuosity and class. —Dave Parkman
Like so many other Canadian punks, the guys in D.O.A. are obsessed with beer and hockey, but their shout-along anthems are also about social change. Although they've worked with Jello Biafra and supported various environmental and antiwar causes, the Vancouver trio are too cynical to trust any authority figures. Singer Joey Shithead and his ever-changing crew revel in slaughtering such obvious sacred cows as George W. Bush and David Lee Roth, but they've also taken the piss out of unexpected targets, like the Clash. Their war cry, "Talk Minus Action Equals Zero," may seem a little corny, but Shithead (a former Green Party candidate in British Columbia) has used the phrase as the title of two separate albums, including D.O.A.'s latest. He still means it, man. —Falling James
PETER MURPHY at Pappy & Harriet's (Pioneertown); U2 at Angel Stadium; DITTY BOPS at McCabe's; DAEDELUS, NIT GRIT at Hummingbird Nest Ranch; AESOP ROCK, KIMYA DAWSON at the Troubadour; AYWKUB THE TRAIL OF DEAD, RINGO DEATHSTARR at the Echoplex: NICK WATERHOUSE, ALLAH LAS at Del Monte Speakeasy; GRANT-LEE PHILLIPS, SECTION QUARTET at Largo; FOLLOW THAT BIRD at the Echoplex; MARK SULTAN, LAMPS, TRMRS, DEATH HYMN NUMBER 9 at Blue Star; MY PET SADDLE, DIRT DRESS at the Smell.
Graham Reynolds & the Golden Arm Trio
[See Page Two.]
Baths, Mexicans With Guns, Shlohmo
The Friends of Friends label/collective brings three of the best in beats 'n' blends. L.A.-based producer Baths is the channeler of beat-driven orchestral meltdowns disguised as thumping pop ditties. His acclaimed debut, Cerulean (Anticon), was a dream-glitch wonderama boasting an assuredness that belied the classically trained artist's tender years. Mexicans With Guns is San Antonio's quasi-vato Ernest Gonzalez, musician, culture remixer, shaman, ace; his just-released album Ceremony finds the computer whiz hacking hip-hop, club stuff and Latin music — and it doesn't sound clichéd. L.A. boy Shlohmo's parents know him as Henry Laufer; his new kind of rhythm & blues is a sample-based, song-oriented style nicely mishmashing lo-fi, hip-hop, trip-hop and dubstep, plus some wickedly weird sound design. His Bad Vibes full-length debut is out in August. —John Payne
@HOUSE OF BLUES
Whetting appetites a couple months ahead of their flagship summer festival blowout, the dance-music dons at HARD bring Odd Future to the House of Blues for a one-off gig sure to put the upscale West Hollywood venue's crowd-control policy to the test. (The local hip-hop hell-raisers are scheduled to headline HARD Summer alongside Duck Sauce, Chromeo, Ratatat and plenty of others.) It's a testament to the accelerated pace of our always-on gossip culture that the mainstream media's obsession with Odd Future has diminished dramatically over the weeks since Tyler, the Creator's Goblin dropped. But these guys always seem like they're a single prank away from evening-news ubiquity. Rest assured, they're not done making trouble. —Mikael Wood
The Love Me Nots
"It could happen tomorrow," Nicole Laurenne warns between Michael Johnny Walker's window slams of guitar. "There will never be a guarantee that the end will come in an easy way." Her urgency is convincing, and not just because the stylishly mod Phoenix singer recently survived cancer. The Love Me Nots attack '60s garage tropes with a hard-rock drive on their latest album, The Demon & the Devotee, with Laurenne's circus-y Farfisa organ spinning circles around Walker's buzzing swarm of bees. The up-tempo collection lets up momentarily for "She's Nothing Like Me," whose spare, deceptively sweet verses camouflage the euphoric rush of the chorus and Laurenne's serene, above-it-all vocals. Later, her funereal keyboards and shadowy singing, under a blaze of bleary Morricone trumpet, transform "Trouble" into an exotically modern answer to "House of the Rising Sun." —Falling James
Hunx & His Punx
We already recommended this Girl Group Gone Gay punk outfit when they came to the Echo Park halls, but the vibe was a little off there (too indie). Nomad Gallery, also featuring Mexican wrestling, should be a much better venue to witness the fractured, glittery doo-wop of these Oakland retro fiends. Their recent album Too Young to Be in Love has been delighting Ramones and Shirelles freaks alike. If you think Best Coast and La Sera should grow a pair of (sweaty) balls, go check this out in deep, dark Frogtown. —Gustavo Turner
THE CHECKERS at the Redwood; BRETT DENNEN, DAWES at the Orpheum; MATTHEW SWEET at McCabe's; SIMA BINA & LIAN ENSEMBLE at UCLA; numerous bands at Make Music Pasadena; DENGUE FEVER at Getty Center; WARBRINGER at Cobalt Café (Canoga Park); DREAMTAPES at Origami Vinyl; HM157 SUMMER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL at HM157.
@HOUSE OF BLUES
It's hard to see the stitches when these lamé-suited Brits graft Motown's supple swagger to synthy new-wave gloss. This perfect storm of pop genres should be a slick Trojan horse for Martin Fry's weighty opinions on love, lust and greed; instead, the polished glare of the music often obscures the message. Though delivered by the carefully coiffed Fry and a band of hired hands of late, maybe tunes like 1983's "United Kingdom" and '85's "(How to Be a) Millionaire" will resonate as originally intended in today's post–credit crunch economy. Relentlessly melodic and majestic, ABC can leave you both loving life and wanting to make the world a better, fairer place in which to live it. —Paul Rogers
CHIP TAYLOR at McCabe's; SWERVEDRIVER at the Echoplex; SHE WANTS REVENGE, NICO VEGA at Canyon Club (Agoura Hills); HM157 SUMMER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL at HM157.
What is Britney Spears in 2011? She's been giving interviews to Entertainment Tonight and the like leading up to her newest Femme Fatale tour and she seems sedated and a little confused, talking about a security pillow she carries around and her most prized motivator — a complete DVD set of Sex and the City episodes. Is she the Brian Wilson of the '10s, her personally trained husk being trotted out by guardians and conservators all around the world while her fragile ego plays in the sandbox of her mind? Who cares! Girls' night out! —Dave Parkman
The Kid named Cudi grew up fast after storming the stoner set with the trippy ambience of "Day and Night." After appearing on big ballers Kanye West and Jay-Z's tracks, he became "Mr. Rager" for his sophomore album and got arrested for felony and possession of liquid cocaine. But prepare for a bright-eyed performance: Cudi recently claimed to be sober. —Rebecca Haithcoat
Though they've recorded a dozen studio albums since, for many fans of these guilty-pleasure gods the band reached both its creative zenith and the end of an era with 1981's Moving Pictures. So expect Rush-head rapture when that disc is performed in its entirety tonight (and not so much when selections from the upcoming Clockwork Angels are aired). With Pictures, this earnest Canuck trio reached a tantalizing crossroads of prog-rock curiosity, pop melody, synth-assisted headphone hedonism and drummer Neil Peart's conversation-starting libertarian lyrics. Peart's paranormal dexterity and Alex Lifeson's cinematic swathes of guitar are central to the album's allure, but it's the deceptively sensitive banshee croon and high-fiber bass playing of Geddy Lee that made this band, at the height of its powers, sound like nothing before or since. —Paul Rogers
DUNCAN SHEIK at Largo; THE ONE A.M. RADIO at the Satellite; HENRY WOLFE, JENNY O, FERRABY LIONHEART at Bootleg Bar; DUNES at the Smell; DANTE VS. ZOMBIES at the Echo.
This nine-man Norwegian electro-jazz ensemble makes music infinitely funkier — and far freakier — than that Onion-worthy description implies. On One-Armed Bandit, their most recent full-length, Jaga Jazzist sound like Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention covering the collected works of Minimalist master Steve Reich; it's a bustling, appealingly hectic record full of riffs, licks, blips and digital tricks. The band tour the United States irregularly enough that they announced their current trek (which kicks off here in L.A.) on their website with a YouTube clip of one of the dudes hyperventilating with joy. Don't miss this rare opportunity to see nine people try to fit on the Troubadour's tiny stage at once. —Mikael Wood
THE SOUL OF JOHN BLACK at Little Temple; CORRIDOR, PAPERCRANES at Harvard & Stone.
My Morning Jacket
Kentucky's finest deliver another set of trippy cosmic-country psychedelia on the just-released Circuital, which finds frontman Jim James informing listeners that he and his bandmates are "right back in the same place where we started out." (Presumably he's referring to Circuital's lack of an '80s-style funk-metal track à la "Highly Suspicious," from 2008's tellingly titled Evil Urges.) Although My Morning Jacket's mind-expanding live show is a matter of indie-scene fact, you can be doubly sure they'll raise the roof tonight, fresh from a headlining gig at Bonnaroo. If you wanna experience the band's softer side — and provided you possess the requisite strings to pull — you might consider checking out MMJ's sold-out, KCRW-sponsored performance Tuesday night at West L.A.'s intimate Village Studios. —Mikael Wood
HORACE ANDY at the Echoplex (Dub Club); HAROULA ROSE at Bootleg Theater.
Flying Lotus, Teebs, others
@THE MUSIC BOX
He's Alice Coltrane's great-nephew, so maybe Flying Lotus, aka Steven Ellison, has the transcendence in his blood. The long-serving hip-hop/electronic/big bass–aligned master has come full flower, judging by that jaw-droppingly heavy Cosmogramma album of his. It's a wondrously varied work of bass nirvana, analog grit and sheer sonic glory, with vast sound realms blown through with percussive blasts like the end of this world and the entryway into a much more beautiful one. That's right, Radiohead dug F. Lotus' head so much they begged him to remix "Reckoner" from In Rainbows; Stereolab jumped on the bandwagon as well. Meanwhile, Teebs is a true young monster in the soundgasm stakes; his debut disc, Ardour, came out on Flying Lotus' superfine Brainfeeder label (a trademark of quality). —John Payne
The Fleshtones have been proudly and fervently exhuming old-time rock & roll since 1976. Somewhere along the way, the Queens quartet became garage-rock icons themselves and one of America's favorite party bands, although they don't tour out here as often as they did in their '80s heyday, when singer Peter Zaremba even got to host his own show on MTV. The Fleshtones' take on garage rock is more zealously stylized and purposefully retro than younger counterparts like the Love Me Nots', although both groups have an organ-based sound mixed with punk and hard rock. Zaremba and guitarist Keith Streng do a lot more covers, such as their garage-punk reduction of Jimi Hendrix's "I Don't Live Today," which ends up sounding like a boozy New York Dolls brawl by the time they're done with it. —Falling James
The singer's latest album, PRO*WHOA!, is a departure from the slinky brand of soul she became known for back with 2001's Everybody Got Their Something and its runaway hit, "Like a Feather," but every artist must progress to stay fresh. Having been in the business since she was old enough to walk — her father, producer Don Costa, is the legendary arranger for Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra — Costa is one smart cookie. Though the album does migrate into poppier territory, her voice, breathy on the Prince-inspired "Head First" and throaty on the electro-rock "Nylons in a Rip," is expressive enough to rise above radio bubblegum and reassure her fan base. —Rebecca Haithcoat
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Alison Krauss' collaboration with Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant over the past few years revealed a previously unseen side of the bluegrass singer-fiddler's musical personality, but it also came at something of a cost. She wasn't able to work much with her regular band, Union Station, after the release of 2004's Lonely Runs Both Ways. Now they're finally back together with a new album, Paper Airplane, a collection of originals with scattered covers by Jackson Browne and Richard Thompson. As ever, Krauss' pure, birdlike voice and her gang's intricate knitting work best when they dig themselves deep inside of a country-roots tradition. The state of their Union is much less interesting when they wander off into generic easy-listening pop lullabies. —Falling James
PUSHA T at the Key Club; THE KOOKS at the Troubadour; MANA at Staples Center; BOMB ZOMBIES, DARKHORSEMEN, LABWASTE at the Echo; THE MOUNTAIN GOATS at El Rey Theatre; WAR TAPES at Bootleg Theater; 6BLOCC, NOBODY, DADDY KEV at the Echoplex; OKKERVIL RIVER, TITUS ANDRONICUS at the Wiltern.