Music Picks: Gary Numan, Ana Moura, Mark Sultan, XBXRX
MARK SULTAN AT SPACELAND
Last year, this wildly prolific Montreal garage-punk guy released records with both the King Khan & BBQ Show and the Almighty Defenders, the latter of whom play Coachella on Saturday. But tonight Mark Sultan concludes a tour under his own name in support of $, a just-released solo disc whose dollar-sign title may well reflect how much it cost to make (i.e., one buck). Sultan's love of lo-fi sonics hardly sets him apart from the zillion other retro-garage acts toiling in Jack White's shadow. What differentiates his stuff is his genuine sense of tune-craft — $cuts like "Go Berserk" and "Status" boast nearly Ramones-grade melodies, while "I Get Nothin' From My Girl" shows off a disarmingly tender side that should rope in Zombies fans along with all the Tav Falco nuts. (Mikael Wood)
BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY AT GIBSON AMPHITHEATRE
Just think: a night of fast-paced, old-school gangsta rap out under the stars. As stomach-churning a concept as it may be to some of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony's earliest fans, the reunited Cleveland quartet has earned the right to play to a few thousand looky-loos sipping on wine and chomping on garlic fries. The group has persevered through some truly challenging times, maintaining its artistic cachet even though it hasn't had a Hot 100 chart-climber since 1997's vexingly pro-peace PSA "If I Could Teach the World." Chalk it up to the enduring relevance of Bone's game-changing 1995 album, E. 1999 Eternal, which found the uniquely talented Krazy, Lazie, Bizzy and Wish espousing the escapist benefits of smoking pot, consulting Ouija boards, collecting welfare and authoring hyperviolent lyrical narratives. Like so many of their peers, Bone cast the modern ghetto as a postapocalyptic urban nightmare, but they did so with a virtuosic, harmonic and devilish flair that has yet to be bested. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Friday: COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL (see feature); OLETA ADAMS at Catalina Bar & Grill; ANDY CLOCKWISE, GEORGE STANFORD, VIENNE, JOHN TORRES at the Hotel Cafe; MOSES CAMPBELL, PROCESSORS, OSTRICH EYES at the Smell; MARK KNOPFLER at the Pantages; TOSCA at the Sheraton Pasadena Hotel; MICACHU at the Echo; REPEATER at Alex's Bar; P.J. MORTON, DEJUAN TURRENTINE at the Roxy; JOSH RITTER at Fingerprints; BLUE SCHOLARS at Viper Room; JAMES INTVELD at Arcadia Blues Club; FIVE FOR FIGHTING, THE DAN BAND (CHILDREN MENDING HEARTS FUNDRAISING GALA) at the Henry Fonda; NAT ADDERLEY JR. at Spazio; JACQUES LESURE TRIO at Red White + Bluezz; WHISPER KID, ODNILA G, BLUE TAPE RED TAPE, W.H.I.T.E. at Echo Curio; JESSICA FICHOT at El Cid; LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC at Disney Hall; THE EAGLES at the Hollywood Bowl.
RECORD STORE DAY AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS
The third annual Record Store Day (see Go L.A.) presents a cornucopia of daytime enter.tainment for the music-obsessed Angeleno who hasn't headed out to the desert for a certain little music festival. Start your morning at Amoeba, where a preorder of Smashing Pumkins' upcoming EP, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope Vol. 1: Songs for a Sailor, will gain you entry to an early in-store by the legendary alt-rock band. Stick around for T-shirt screenings from Dangerbird Records, not to mention a CD signing from Slash, and a DJ set from Salt-n-Pepa's Spinderella (!). Or, leave early to ensure a good sight line for the Pumpkins' 4 p.m. performance at Space 15 Twenty (prepurchase wristband required). Alternately, you could just camp out at Origami Vinyl from 2 p.m. on and catch a mind-boggling array of excellent bands playing in a very small space: surf-poppers Dum Dum Girls, garage-rockers Male Bonding, serene electronicist the One AM Radio and the legendary Lou Barlow. Looking for something chiller still? Head over to Vacation Vinyl, where graphic novelist Tom Neely, at least one member of Pelican, and possibly Wes from Cold Cave will be deejaying. (Chris Martins)
JEFF BECK AT THE NOKIA THEATRE
One of the original English guitar heroes, Jeff Beck has been in a nostalgic state of mind lately. In January he led a tribute to old-school six-stringer Les Paul at the Grammy Awards, then headed out on the road for a string of arena dates with fellow Yardbirds alumnus Eric Clapton. This week, though, Beck arrives in Los Angeles behind something new: Emotion & Commotion, his first solo album since 2003, on which the guitarist tackles such wide-ranging material as Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" and Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" with help from a handful of singers (including Imelda May and Joss Stone) and a 64-piece orchestra. According to Beck's rep, he'll be joined at the Nokia by a local 22-piece orchestra (a one-off on his current tour), so expect a set long on bombast. (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Saturday: COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL (see feature); LOS DAREYES DE LA SIERRA at the Wiltern; OLETA ADAMS at Catalina Bar & Grill; THE CRYSTELLES, ON THE 5, SO MANY WIZARDS at the Smell; MARK KNOPFLER at the Pantages; JJ, DELOREAN, BACHELORETTE at the Echoplex; SISU at Pehrspace; BAD VEINS at Spaceland; DON RANDI AND QUEST at the Baked Potato; DIBLO DIBALA at Dakota Music Lounge; ARCHEOLOGY at the Prospector; ROMMEL, BLUE, ODE TO ANTONY at Rainbow Bar & Grill; ROB MICHAELS, GIDEON SCORCH at the Roxy; TIMONIUM at Echo Curio; LA VIE, WHITTON at Hotel Cafe; SHAWN DANIELS at Viper Room; BARRY MANILOW at Ahmanson Theatre; MICACHU & THE SHAPES at Getty Center; LEE ROCKER at Indian Motorcycle LA; FAIR TO MIDLAND, KARNIVOOL at the Troubadour; LUNAR SWAY, THE SCARLET FURIES at the Mint; THE ENGLISH BEAT at the Canyon; LA OPERA at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC at Disney Hall; THE EAGLES at the Hollywood Bowl.
DUM DUM GIRLS, RAMONA GONZALEZ, TAN DOLLAR AT ECHO CURIO
Singer Kristin Gundred (aka Dee Dee) and her Dum Dum Girls are all leather jackets, major hair and tuff-titty 'tude, ripping through '60s-style rock & rebel melodramas like chain-saw–wielding punks while also crooning like heartbroken angels. Produced by "My Boyfriend's Back" co-writer Richard Gottehrer, the Girls' recent Sub Pop debut, I Will Be, comes fully loaded with Brill Building–worthy tunes of craft and is built solid and classy, like a '57 Chevy. Prone to lo-fi party sounds with a brainy twist, Ramona Gonzalez of Nite Jewel makes with the funky teen beats and itchy-hummy synth melodies. Straight outta Irvine, Tan Dollar call themselves "experimental" pop, though their two-sheeny-synths-'n'-drummer trip comes off like New Order redux — a bit shaky thus far, but ambitiously larger than life. (John Payne)
Also playing Sunday: Also playing Sunday: COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL (see feature); ARCTIC MONKEYS at Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace; OLETA ADAMS at Catalina Bar & Grill; LOVE IS ALL, WEAVE, LOVE GRENADES at the Echo; DOÑA NICHA at Alex's Bar; ROB MICHAEL at the Roxy; PARADE OF LIGHTS at Spaceland; RIDIKULE at the Viper Room; L.A. JAZZ COLLECTIVE at Vitello's; SOPHIE-VÉRONIQUE CAUCHEFER-CHOPLIN at Disney Hall; IT'S CASUAL at the Dragonfly; CASEY HURT at the Mint; PATT BRITT & THE ALL-STARS at the Cat & Fiddle; MALE BONDING at the Smell; "BANANA SPLIT SUNDAES" at LAX; L.A. OPERA at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC at Disney Hall.
XBXRX AT PEHRSPACE
Spiky, spazzy left-field punk crew XBXRX got its start in Mobile, Alabama, but its identity has fully merged with the group's current Bay Area digs. Not only does XBXRX draw strength from Oakland's rich, frenetic punk history, but the band is actually a collective of artists exploring a hugely diverse field of music across its oeuvre. Lead screecher Vice Cooler is, in his other life as Hawnay Troof, an accomplished emo-rapper and electronic producer. Contributor Weasel Walter once led cult avant-garde jazz outfit the Flying Luttenbachers and now splits his time between XBXRX and a new hardcore-metal band. Guitarist Steve Touchstone moonlights in garage-rock band Kit. All of that cross-pollination goes a long way to explaining why XBXRX's own music is so unique. Sounding like an amalgam of the Blood Brothers, Deerhoof and Sonic Youth, the group presents a perfect storm of fucked-up futurism and old-school experimentation. Don't believe us? Check it out yourself: XBXRX is offering its latest album, Un Usper, as a free download. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Monday: NOFX at Saint Rocke; FIREBALL MINISTRY at the Troubadour; STEEL ROD at Cinespace; HELEN STELLAR, TWILIGHT SLEEP, MEETING PLACES at Spaceland; STEEL PANTHER, PAPERBACK HERO, BLACKPOOL at House of Blues; WAKING SLEEP at the Echo; LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH at the Whisky a Go Go; PHIL ALVIN at the Redwood Bar & Grill.
EARTH, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, LORI GOLDSTON AT THE ECHOPLEX
Seattle's Earth are as well-known today for their connections to other bands as they are for their music: Leader Dylan Carlson was one of Kurt Cobain's closest friends, while the celebrated underground outfit Sunn O))) reportedly named themselves after the brand of amplifier Carlson favors. But there's no denying the impressive power of Earth's music, which tends toward the more thoughtful, atmospheric end of the doom-metal spectrum; on their most recent full-length, 2008's The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull, no less a guitar legend than Bill Frisell showed up in a guest spot. The band's current incarnation includes Olympia indie-scene staple Karl Blau on bass and cellist Lori Goldston, whose deep résumé includes Nirvana's MTV Unplugged. Goldston will open tonight's show along with Wolves in the Throne Room, a well-regarded young group with an outspoken environmentalist agenda. (Mikael Wood)
CALIFORNIA E.A.R. UNIT AND SONIC BOOM PERFORM METAL MACHINE MUSIC AT REDCAT
Lou Reed's 1975 Metal Machine Music has long been the subject of one of the more humorous debates in the rock book. Widely assumed to be a cynical hack job dashed off to put the coffin nail in Reed's record-label deal, the album's indisputably (in hindsight) complex masses of gargantuan amplified guitar feedback and overall nihilistic tone-mangling have come to be regarded as a masterpiece of new music. Sonic Boom (Ulrich Krieger) has made a career out of demonstrating MMM's deeply hidden sonic wonders, which he will attempt to prove again in collaboration with L.A. new-music ensemble the California E.A.R. Unit. Starts promptly at 8:30 p.m. (John Payne)
MR. GNOME AT SILVERLAKE LOUNGE
For a band with just two members, Mr. Gnome sure crank up a lot of sound. Drummer Sam Meister powerfully hammers down loud, heavy rhythms as singer-guitarist Nicole Barille churns out distorted chords while floating her ghostly vocals over everything. The Cleveland duo are too weird and arty to be considered metal, but sonic landslides like "Slow Side," from their 2009 album, Heave Yer Skeleton, are too cathartically pulverizing to be lumped in with the work of lightweight indie rockers. And yet, for all of the sound and fury of tracks like "Plastic Shadow," Mr. Gnome have a distinctly pretty, softer side as they mix in dreamily febrile interludes among the savage riffage. This particular juxtaposition of light and darkness is quite unusual, especially the way such songs as "Spain" unfold with interstellar echoes bouncing among the hazy corridors of Meister's keyboards and Barille's trapped-at-the-bottom-of-a-well vocals. Mr. Gnome are still fairly obscure on this coast, but Heave Yer Skeleton was one of last year's most impressively original releases. (Falling James)
Also playing Tuesday: BEAR HANDS, HOLLOYS, RANDOM PATTERNS at the Echo; SPESUS CHRIST, SOAP COLLECTORS at Echo Curio; AMANDA JO WILLIAMS, SHAKEY GRAVES, CASEY NEILL at Bootleg Theater; THE BRONX at El Rey Theatre; JOHN BROWN'S BODY at the Roxy; WARPAINT, DUNES at Occidental College; THE KISSAWAY TRAIL at Spaceland; TAYLOR HAWKINS & THE COATTAIL RIDERS, DIOS MALOS at the Troubadour; RESONANT HEADS at the Hotel Cafe; OVER KILL at House of Blues; THE STATE OF MUSIC at Cat Club; EMANUEL AX at Disney Hall; RATT at Key Club; THE EAGLES at the Hollywood Bowl.
GARY NUMAN AT EL REY THEATRE
Let's just get this out of the way: Latter-day Gary Numan sucks. Sounding like some sort of ill-advised mash-up of Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and the Deftones, 2006's Jagged is music for the diehard devotees alone. So what if those three bands would've been nothing without the man's contributions to darkly tinted synthesizer music? It's a good thing, then, that this gig finds Numan performing the entirety of his indispensable 1979 classic, The Pleasure Principle. That album contains the new-wave hero's lone U.S. hit, the claustrophobic and still-relevant "Cars," plus an assortment of quirky-cool, angular tunes whose depiction of life among androids was as Philip K. Dick as it was wholly punk-rock. And unlike so many other period pieces chock-full of space-age effects and dense atmosphere, The Pleasure Principle doesn't feel the least bit dated. Instead, it sounds like the sound track to a future we've yet to see, even as its lessons manage to resonate quite well in the here and now. (Chris Martins)
MICHAEL ROSE, DUBTONIC KRU AT THE ECHOPLEX
In the celestial order of reggae vocalists, Michael Rose ranks among the highest, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Bob Marley and Burning Spear. The charismatic, evocative singer works a rich mixture of slow burn and passionate intensity that's as arresting as it is distinct. Rose's powerfully delivered messages of protest and spirituality ring with authority, and (unlike many peers) he never falls into self-important scolding or sanctimonious proselytizing. That veracity has served him well, even as a teenager going the talent-show and hotel-lounge route in mid-'70s Jamaica. Producer Niney the Observer plucked him from that world to launch what became a phenomenal recording career. Several years later, as the lead proclaimer of vocal trio Black Uhuru, Rose stupefied the reggae world with their masterpiece Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, a stunning disc featuring the incomparable Sly & Robbie that represents an artistic peak still unmatched (every song on the album was composed by Rose). Beholden to none, doing strictly as he pleases, Rose — backed now by superb Jamaican band Dubtonic Kru — remains one of the music's most remarkable stylists, a fact that he'll make quite apparent tonight. (Jonny Whiteside)
Also playing Wednesday: MEGAFAUN, BREATHE OWL BREATHE at the Echo; SASHOMON at the Mint; SEMI PRECIOUS WEAPONS at Roxy; FOZY SHAZAM, BAD RABBITS at the Troubadour; BITCH, ANGIE EVANS at Spaceland; THE KEVIN EUBANKS GROUP at the Baked Potato; DELTA NOVE at Alex's Bar; "LOW END THEORY" at the Airliner; L.A. OPERA at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
GROUPER, JOHN WIESE, ILYAS AHMED, INFINITE BODY AT THE SMELL
Boys are for noise, the girls are too: Grouper is Portland's Liz Harris, whose bleakish reveries in electro-acoustic ambience coalesce via guitar, Wurlitzer and wraithlike vocalese veiled in damp sheets of reverb/delay. Local new-sound stalwart and Merzbow collaborator John Wiese deals in clashing clusters of sonority whose radical rewirings of sampling softwares, digital/analog effects, obscure radio transmissions and mic punishment can be brutal, literally painful and, like Merzbow's, cleansing. Pakistan's mysterious Ilyas Ahmed brings a genuinely psychedelic brand of electronic ragas/drones and sonic meltdowns, heard to unnerving effect on his recent The Vertigo of Dawn (Time Lag). Also Zen-simple electronic-keyboard mysticism courtesy Kyle Parker, aka Infinite Body. (John Payne)
ANA MOURA AT SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER
Count Mick Jagger and Prince among the many fans worldwide who've been seduced by the distinctive style of sad, romantic Portuguese balladry known as fado. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say that these notorious horndogs are really fans of the singer Ana Moura. After seeing the attractive fadista sing in a nightclub, Jagger asked her to join him in a duet of "No Expectations" at a 2007 Rolling Stones concert in Lisbon. Last year, Prince approached the Portuguese singer after another local gig. "He came from the U.S. just to watch the show," she claims. "He heard my records and wants to collaborate on something that he didn't reveal." It's easy to see why such celebrities are smitten. Moura intones songs of loss and longing in an achingly pure, melodious voice on her fourth and latest album, Leva-me aos fados (World Village), accompanied by little more than delicate, classical-style acoustic guitars. She puts it best when crooning Amélia Muge's "Não É um Fado Normal" ("This Is No Ordinary Fado"): "May someone break this spell/for I no longer answer for myself." (Falling James)
BONOBO AT EL REY THEATRE
Some people and some acronyms are so intertwined that the brain just blurts the connection reflexively. John Peel? BBC! Eazy-E? N.W.A! Bonobo? IDM! Poor Simon Green, the man behind Bonobo, who's been saddled with the "Intelligent Dance Music" association since he emerged with those popular Tru Thoughts releases in the early 2000s. The show he's bringing to L.A., pegged to the release of his fourth album, Black Sands(Ninja Tunes), promises to be the opposite of a visually dull "guy and his laptop" setup. The new record also aims for the much-coveted soul-jazz vibe (aided by sultry vocalist Andreya Triana), as Green attempts to stretch his art beyond what his press material calls "any dusty subgenre of dance music." Bonobo's new creation is still the opposite of dumb, you can certainly dance to some of it, and it's a music lover's delight. Just stay clear of acronyms! (Gustavo Turner)
Also playing Thursday: PRINCETON, ACTIVE CHILD, POCAHAUNTED at the Troubadour; HOLE at the Henry Fonda Theater; SHELBY LYNNE at the Roxy; AWESOME COLOR, DUNES, HAIR POLICE at Spaceland; TRAMPLED BY TURTLES at the Mint; THAT NOISE at the Viper Room; THE ORPHICS at Whisky a Go Go; JOHN CROOKS ENSEMBLE at Blue Whale; MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL at Royce Hall.
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