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Music Picks: Eagle Rock Festival, New Order, Madonna

Metric: See Tuesday.
Metric: See Tuesday.
PHOTO BY JUSTIN BROADBENT

fri 10/5

Ariel Pink and Dam-Funk

HENRY FONDA THEATER

Dam-Funk and Nite Jewel's 2009 team-up, Nite Funk, turned out to be such a natural match that the world wondered aloud, or at least in retro-future fever dreams, How long must we wait for the ultimate collaboration of Pink Funk? Both Ariel and Dam are in absolute command of their alternate-world aesthetics, with sound and songs from a planet where R. Stevie Moore replaced R.E.M. and Steve Arrington's Slave got to be in charge of Saturday Night Fever. And now Pink Funk are here — both live and on record! In fact, on their collab on Ariel's new album — a cover of Donnie and Joe's "Baby" — Ariel and Dam find their perfect overlap. The original is an idiosyncratic left-field labor of love that deserves to be a hit. You know what? That's true for Ariel and Dam, too. —Chris Ziegler

She Wants Revenge

ROXY THEATRE

The San Fernando Valley has spawned countless bands, but few have celebrated their other-side-of-the-hill pride with the cinematic craft that She Wants Revenge summoned for last year's album, Valleyheart (even having "Valley Girl" actress Deborah Foreman star in the video for the U2-ish "Must Be the One"). That makes what are being billed as the darkwave duo's final L.A. shows (following an "indefinite hiatus" announcement in July) all the more poignant. SWR's marriage of numb new wave and bass-heavy post-punk to deceptively butt-shaking beats on their android-sexy 2006 debut, Perfect Kiss, has been much mimicked but seldom bettered. Though never recapturing that album's commercial clout, She Wants' two subsequent releases grew increasingly intriguing and eclectic, while Warfield's sinewy presence and visceral, brooding stagecraft shames posturing pretenders. Also Saturday. —Paul Rogers

sat 10/6

Eagle Rock Music Fest

CENTER FOR THE ARTS, EAGLE ROCK

Eagle Rock's entry into the world of neighborhood music festivals always turns out to be particularly adorable. It's got that community street-fair feel everybody wants on a balmy Saturday afternoon while pushing their stroller down what's basically Main Street U.S.A., even though it's really Colorado Boulevard. And it's got a comprehensively diverse overview of local music from northwest L.A., balancing such Low End Theory stalwarts as Thundercat and Daedelus with Zevon/Westerberg rockers The Henry Clay People, Latin soul-fun stormers The Boogaloo Assassins and an all-day Stones Throw Records stage, bouncing from roots reggae band The Lions to post-punk wildman Vex Ruffin and polymath label head Peanut Butter Wolf. A $10 donation gets you in and reveals the other 60-some bands that we didn't have space to mention here. —Chris Ziegler

Anthony Wilson, Larry Goldings & Jim Keltner

REDCAT

Rhythm-section sidemen can stitch together a healthy career without ever needing to become the star of the show. But when the stars you play for are people like Diana Krall (guitarist Anthony Wilson), James Taylor (organist Larry Goldings), and Lennon, Clapton, Dylan and everyone else (drummer Jim Keltner, of course), your own light gets pulled into a new nebula. This organ trio has enough gravitas to create a black hole in downtown L.A. To many musicians these are the real stars that shine underneath the fireworks — much like their venue, a secret, black-box theater buried in the bowels of a hall named after Walt Disney, himself no stranger to fireworks or stars. This show is part of the excellent Angel City Jazz Festival, and just might be the highlight. —Gary Fukushima

sun 10/7

Laura Marling

HOTEL CAFÉ

Laura Marling might be young, but the 22-year-old English singer-guitarist is very much a part of a long tradition of folk singers whose music sounds curiously timeless and unaffected by ephemeral pop trends. Yet there's nothing fussy or dustily academic about her songs. Tracks like "Sophia," from her 2011 album, A Creature I Don't Know, have breezy pop hooks and are pushed along by a full rock band, but they're also suffused with smart lyrics. "God's work is planned/I stand here with a man that talked to me so candidly, more than I'd choose," Marling says on the uptempo shuffle "The Muse," as elegant strains of piano and violin wrap around her. "My lips once rouged/I feel again the blues of longing, ever longing, to be confused." On this "working holiday tour," the restless singer flies solo, keeping things simple and stripped down. —Falling James

New Order

GREEK THEATRE

Following 2011's Live at the London Troxy, living legends New Order reunite and return to North America for a short tour. (The current lineup is missing bassist Peter Hook but features original keyboard player Gillian Gilbert.) Other than a one-off appearance at this year's Ultra Music Festival in Miami, the group hasn't performed on these shores in seven years. Their groundbreaking electro-pop sound, exemplified by the seminal track "Blue Monday," has been the blueprint for every dance-synth band since 1980. With the high production level of today's dance-act shows, New Order's pared-down presentation and vocalist Bernard Sumner's deadpan, static delivery is a welcome return to bare-bones EDM basics. —Lily Moayeri

 

Angel City Jazz Festival

JOHN Anson FORD AMPHITHEATRE

Promoter Rocco Somazzi's Angel City Jazz Festival returns for its fifth year, with events scheduled both this weekend and next. The festival's signature event is Sunday's show at Hollywood's John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. The evening opens with drummer Peter Erskine's New Trio, including nephew/bassist Damian Erskine and pianist Vardan Ovsepian. Next up is bassist Mark Dresser's Quintet, followed by the highly regarded young trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (a USC grad who's now joined the faculty). Akinmusire also will guest with the evening's closing band, led by saxophonist Archie Shepp, who's making his first L.A. appearance in more than 20 years. Shepp's free-jazz explorations are respected enough to earn him collaborations with the likes of John Coltrane, Horace Parlan and Cecil Taylor. —Tom Meek

mon 10/8

The Raveonettes

EL REY THEATRE

Danish pop duo The Raveonettes might not have the most original sound, but there's something charming about the way Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo blend their influences. Like so many bands, they started out by drowning their enigmatic love songs in a Jesus & Mary Chain–style sea of reverb, but on their new CD, Observator, they move into a sunnier and less derivative (if also less distinctive) brand of pop. Wagner reportedly found inspiration for the album while on a three-day bender in our very own Venice, and chose to record at the legendary Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, hoping to get a contact high from his heroes The Doors by nostalgic osmosis. Despite that background, the music is generally light instead of heavy. As usual, the best songs are sung by Foo, whose honeyed voice elevates The Raveonettes' California dreaming. —Falling James

Superhumanoids

THE ECHO

L.A.'s Superhumanoids make pop songs out of star parts — like the glow, the heat, the empty space and of course the wisps of fire that make NASA scientists curse every time a space probe gets singed by the stuff. This is heavenly stuff, with singer Sarah Chernoff's vocals adrift in the darkness between reverb and synth-strings and digital drums, making for a sound somewhere in the territory left unexplored by the much-missed Rentals (especially on a song like "Geri," which is Superhumanoids at their most riled-up) and a cover of The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" that is itself a calmative of the highest order. 2010's "Hey Big Bang" was their big hit so far, but new songs like "Too Young for Love" reveal exactly the depth and sophistication you'd hope for from a band like this. Destined for stardom, in the most beautiful sense of the word. —Chris Ziegler

tue 10/9

JEFF The Brotherhood

TROUBADOUR

Don't worry: They really are brothers! And now that you've officially met Jake and Jamin Orrall, you won't feel awkward as their band happily tramples you flat. Originally debuting on their own Infinity Cat label, run in conjunction with their dad, the two-piece punk-and-then-some JEFF The Brotherhood spent years doing can't-say-no-to-a-killer-show tours and putting out records on gatekeeper labels like Jack White's Third Man (where they backed Insane Clown Posse!) and OC's Burger. Now officially on a major, their new Hypnotic Nights (produced with surprising amounts of sitar and synth by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys) finds these crazy kids smashing Pinkerton-era Weezer into The Wipers and Dinosaur Jr. on deadpan stoner-punk songs that admit, "Sometimes I wish that someone might punch me in the throat." Aww ... you had me at "punch," guys. —Chris Ziegler

Tav Falco & the Unapproachable Panther Burns

THE SATELLITE

There are legends, and then there's Tav Falco. The Arkansas native is so much more than just the righteously revered missing link between rockabilly pioneers like Charlie Feathers and the messier garage-punk ravings of The Cramps. The singer-guitarist's ever-evolving band Panther Burns once included the late Memphis power-pop savant Alex Chilton, and Falco's strangely intoxicating blur of blues, country, garage and punk has directly influenced such disparate musicians as Jon Spencer, Southern Culture on the Skids, the Gories, Spaceman 3, Jack Oblivion and Cuban Rebel Girls. Among many other things, he's a tango dancer and a respected actor who's appeared in Great Balls of Fire, Downtown 81 and Dans le Rouge du Couchant. As a writer, he cobbled together a fascinating, nontraditional and multilayered history of Memphis, Ghosts Behind the Sun: Splendor, Enigma & Death. Ironically, this master of American music lives now in Europe, where he's vastly more popular. —Falling James

Metric

GREEK THEATRE

Not so many years ago, Metric were playing tiny clubs like the Silverlake Lounge. Now the Canadian alt-rock band take the stage at their largest L.A. venue yet, and deservedly so. It isn't surprising that singer-keyboardist Emily Haines is a good lyricist (her late father, Paul Haines, was a respected poet), but it's the contributions of bassist Joshua Winstead, guitarist James Shaw and drummer Joules Scott-Key that turn Haines' incisive words into supersonic rushes of musical delirium. Despite its title, Metric's new album, Synthetica, feels more organic than synthetic, with Winstead's buoyantly propulsive bass and Shaw's surging guitars illuminating such tracks as "Youth Without Youth" and "Artificial Nocturne." On "Speed the Collapse," Haines coos, "We auctioned off our memories in the absence of a breeze/Scatter what remains," as icy sheets of synthesizer wash over her. Metric even manage to pull off the neat trick of getting the reclusive Lou Reed to guest star on "The Wanderlust." —Falling James

 

Grimes

EL REY THEATRE

Seemingly laboratory-created for the Coachella crowd, Claire Boucher (aka Grimes) gently inflates an enveloping, carefully curated cloud of various in-vogue sounds: quirky, elusive and lyrically vague voices; spartan, floor-fillin' beat-box grooves; textured electronic basslines; and squelchy, rave-recalling synths. The stare-out-the-window-on-a-rainy-day, Liz Fraser–y introspection of her main melodies largely (and mercifully) trumps the Starbucks-ready, Enya-esque oohs and aahs with which these often overlap and intertwine. But what keeps this Canadian credible is the sense that all of her stylistic hipster-hopping is in fact unconscious, almost fated. If you go to only this one gig this year, you'll save yourself 12 trips to the Bootleg to see bands tackling just one facet of Grimes' kaleidoscopic sound, and with just an ounce of her honesty. —Paul Rogers

wed 10/10

Madonna

STAPLES CENTER

Madonna burns brightest when her fearsome work ethic leads to polished, effervescent pop yet doesn't betray itself through over-production, jaded vocal delivery or self-conscious wordplay. In her latest album, MDNA, mostly succeeds, though, like the majority of her recordings, it's more a mirror than a maker of fashion. Reuniting with producer William Orbit for the first time in more than a decade (on half of MDNA) helped create Madonna's most lucid collection since 1998's Ray of Light, also largely Orbit-helmed. Madge's current show features characteristically extravagant production numbers. The ones that work best are injected with the unexpected: Basque trio Kalakan lending old-world exotica, a dig into (and/or at) Lady Gaga in "Express Yourself," a minimalist, waltzing take on breakthrough romp "Like a Virgin." Also Thursday. —Paul Rogers

thu 10/11

Betty LaVette

TROUBADOUR

Excuse the cliché, but veteran soul singer Bettye LaVette is nothing but gritty. Her just-out album, Thankful N' Thoughtful, is another stunner on her midlife comeback trail, a burning, boiling, slinking litany of trials and tribulations via well-chosen songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, the Black Keys, Sly and the Family Stone and Gnarls Barkley. LaVette doesn't just sing these songs, she wrings the juice right out of them, plumbing the depths with such brazen truth that it's damn painful to experience — and truly satisfying. If you want to know more about the wild and beautiful life of Bettye LaVette, pick up a copy of her autobiography, A Woman Like Me (see GoLA). Much like she sings, it just hurts so good. —John Payne


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