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Music Picks: Gilles Peterson, Boris, Gothic Tropic

Lissie: See Tuesday.
Lissie: See Tuesday.

fri 5/24

Lupillo Rivera

NOKIA THEATRE

Talk about larger than life. Chicano singing star Lupillo Rivera, who rose from the absolutely nowheresville Long Beach barrio to conquer the highly charged realm of traditional Mexican corridos (managing it all with an admirable swagger and a set of powerhouse pipes), has survived both a devastating car accident and mysterious volleys of gunfire, yet he's never faltered. Along the way, his sister Jenni rose to an equal measure of fame, only to perish in that ghastly 2012 Monterrey plane crash. (Last month, Lupillo purchased several acres of land at the crash site to build a home for her children and erect a museum). It's all part of a wild, tragic, tuneful legacy that was begun by the Riveras' father, Pedro, himself an indie record man who spearheaded the narcocorrido genre and gave Lupillo his first crack behind the mic when a singer failed to make a session. But all that soap-opera tumult aside, Rivera remains a riveting stylist, one who imbues every song with an impressive sweep of expressive, emotional information, invariably put over with impressive polish and passion. —Jonny Whiteside

Boris

ECHOPLEX

Japanese experimental rockers Boris have spent their entire 15-year career making sure that their fans are unable to predict what will come next from the band. One album could consist of thrashing heavy rockers (2011's Heavy Rocks), the next could consist of dreamy, atmospheric, shoegaze-laden pop. (Check Attention Please, also released in 2011.) Psychedelics are pretty much the only constant in each incarnation of Boris' musical output. The group will be doing two nights in a row at the Echoplex. The first evening (Thursday, May 23) will be an "all-time classics" set. For us, though, the real draw on Boris' trip back to L.A. is the second night, during which the band will focus on the heavy doom and drone-metal that first brought them attention by performing their 70-minute 2000 slow-builder, Flood. It will be a patience-testing set at times, but we're in it for the long haul. —Jason Roche

The Detroit Cobras

THE DOWN & OUT

Not since The Rolling Stones got their start in the early '60s has a mere cover band made as big an impact as The Detroit Cobras have. Of course, the Stones eventually went on to write their own songs, but the Cobras have zealously stuck to reinterpreting both certified soul classics and R&B obscurities. Guitarist Mary Ramirez doles out her riffs with punky, garage-rock raw power, keeping the Cobras' remakes from sounding nostalgic or wimpy. But what really makes The Detroit Cobras unique is lead singer Rachel Nagy, who belts it out with a fiery intensity like a grown-up-all-wrong hybrid of Little Eva and Dusty Springfield. When she's not purring like a hellcat, Nagy boozes it up and dispenses salty, sagely sarcastic advice like a modern-day Janis Joplin. Also at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana on Sunday, May 26. —Falling James

sat 5/25

Subhumans

THE VEX

In the early days of punk rock, two different bands with the same name emerged. Making things more confusing, both groups were fiercely radical, with ultra-leftist politics and lyrics, and both were massively influential in the punk underground in their own strikingly different ways. The Canadian version of Subhumans actually started a year or two earlier, in the late 1970s, but their British counterparts, who are invading town tonight, were no less subversive. Whereas a member of the Canadian Subhumans was part of a radical ecological group that bombed a munitions factory in Ontario, the British Subhumans, led by singer Dick Lucas, channeled their anarchist-punk activism into less violent approaches, decrying the endless futility of war on such albums as 1983's The Day the Country Died and 2007's Internal Riot. Lucas also is part of the more recent ska-punk band Citizen Fish, but he's at his most intense with Subhumans. —Falling James

Gilles Peterson

theLIFT AT CLUB 333

DJ and culture curator Gilles Peterson has what the pros call a "real sweet gig": Go strolling around the world, pry undiscovered and awesome records out of attics, dollar bins and possibly shipwrecks, then play them for audiences, and stand back and smile at the fireworks, as minds across the world explode. (Foodies, this is our Anthony Bourdain.) Peterson's Digs America compilations on Luv n' Haight were the ones that clued me in on a whole stack of 45s I'll probably never find — like Dee Edwards' fuzz-soul or Darondo's heartbroke funk. I'm sure everything else on Peterson's résumé, from his old-school pirate radio sessions to his BBC 6 show to his Brownswood Recordings, has done the same for a lot of other people. This rare and welcome L.A. appearance will leave both record scholars and discriminating dancers delirious. —Chris Ziegler

Fleetwood Mac

HOLLYWOOD BOWL

Given their jam-packed treasure box of pop-rock smasheroos, it'd be hard for the reunited Fleetwood Mac to disappoint their legions of fans, now wouldn't it? The core unit of drummer-founder Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, guitarist-singer Lindsey Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks will focus on the group's midperiod to later material, including all that Rumours stuff and most likely a few items from the famously "experimental" album Tusk. Longtime vocalist-keyboardist Christine McVie opted to retire from active service a while back, and her gracefully cool harmonizing will be missed. But Nicks will coo and haunt and twirl, and the Mick & John rhythm section (one of the greatest ever — pay attention) will effortlessly lope and thump while that wildman Lindsay Buckingham will ... well, he'll be playing the role of Lindsay Buckingham, yowling genius of pure pop craft. And lest we forget, respect and R.I.P. to the late Bob Welch, the ex–F. Mac'er who contributed so much to the band's success. —John Payne

sun 5/26

The Damned, 45 Grave

EL REY THEATRE

As their overly obscure Live Shepperton 1980 album ably demonstrates, The Damned were one of first-generation Brit punk's most compelling concert draws. Raucous and irreverent yet musically deft, they were capable of everything from confrontational, violence-inciting chants to meandering instrumental adventures. Though that was a long time and many members ago, half of the band's classic lineup (vampiric frontman Dave Vanian and clownish guitarist Captain Sensible) and, more importantly, its spirit and sonic suppleness remain. Whether delivering the bass-driven adolescent thrust of 1979's "Love Song" or later kitschy goth-pop like "Grimly Fiendish," The Damned are still distinguished by Vanian's haunting croon and Sensible's sometimes silly yet deceptively accomplished six-string salvoes. The surf-rinsed horror stories from storied local dark-punkers 45 Grave, all told in Dinah Cancer's menacing deadpan, should make an entirely apt appetizer. —Paul Rogers

Christian Scott

BLUE WHALE

New Orleans–based trumpeter Christian Scott has been charting his own path since being "discovered" by major label Concord Jazz in 2005. Scott's bent trumpet is reminiscent of the late great Dizzy Gillespie's but is of his own custom design. Scott also has been one of the few young jazz musicians consistently noted for his fashion choices, even making it into international editions of Vogue. Scott was an Edison Award winner in 2010 and 2012 and a Grammy nominee in 2006. In recent years he has been part of the highly regarded Ninety Miles project, which brings together American jazz and Cuban music. Tonight's show marks the end of what's certain to be a standing-room-only, three-night weekend run at Little Tokyo's Blue Whale. Also Friday-Saturday, May 24-25. —Tom Meek

mon 5/27

Gothic Tropic

BARDOT

Echo Park–based trio Gothic Tropic join Chris Douridas' distinguished School Night to showcase their quirky psych-pop. Currently recording the full-length follow-up to their 2011 Awesome Problems EP, the group's instinctive, down-to-earth mindset carries into their music, establishing a pleasantly unpretentious vibe. The synthesis of surf punk and an ambient punchline, Gothic Tropic's enthusiasm is best captured live. Their often barefoot sets bring a fierceness that is merely suggested on an EP. Deliberate, electric guitar plucks overlay distorted yet poised vocals that sound like the love child of Bethany Cosentino and Zooey Deschanel. Frequent collaborators with fellow locals HOTT MT and past openers for artists including Florence & the Machine and Foxygen, Gothic Tropic will have you hooked faster than you can Google "Krautrock." —Britt Witt

Troy Walker

VIVA CANTINA

Troy Walker is one of the Los Angeles music underworld's most gleefully infernal practitioners. This rafter-rattling, big-voiced, outrageous, gender-bending entertainer first flipped wigs along the Sunset Strip some 50 years ago, when his fans included Gregory Peck, Ethel Merman and Elvis Presley. This mad, rad showstopper still delivers enough voltage to jolt you into the next dimension. Combining foul-mouthed satirical spontaneity with an excruciatingly perfected balladeer style, Walker's schizophonic mix of country, soul, standards and rock & roll make for an invariably dizzying and thrilling earful. Sorta of like a demented mixture of Roy Orbison, Frankie Laine and Kay Starr, he is a one-of-a-kind sensation: Openly, outrageously queer, he nonetheless became an in-demand regular fixture at country music shrine the Palomino in the mid-'70s — that's how good he is. The ability to win over the hearts and minds of movie stars and drunken rednecks alike is rare indeed, and, decades later, Walker remains a peerless local treasure. —Jonny Whiteside

tue 5/28

Lissie

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY 

When Elisabeth Corrin Maurus first came to attention with early releases Catching a Tiger and EP Why You Runnin', her folk-pop songs had a restlessly rootsy intimacy. Lissie's arrangements were relatively stripped down, moving from stark country folk to more overtly poppy settings. At her best, Lissie revealed unexpectedly moving and poignant revelations into her heart. On her new single, "Shameless," from her upcoming second album, Lissie's bitter lyrics are adorned by ringing electric guitars and more expansive production. "I stole your magazine/The one with the beauty queen on the front/I see her look at me/I swear that it is mockingly," she rails, going on to claim that she doesn't "want to be famous" and intends to "keep my identity." The irony is that the single's backing is more slick and ambitiously commercial than on her previous releases. Let's hope Lissie doesn't lose the personal touch that made her stand apart from generic pop careerists. —Falling James

wed 5/29

Inara George, Van Dyke Parks, The Brazil You Never Heard

LARGO AT THE CORONET 

Van Dyke Parks is the celebrated arranger-pianist best known for his collaborations with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, although he's also worked with everyone from Tim Buckley to Frank Zappa and has attempted to create his own hybrid of distinctively American pop and classical forms. Tonight the focus will be just as much on Parks' frequent musical partner, Inara George, who'll coo songs from the pair's 2008 project, An Invitation, with backing from a mini-orchestra. George, who's part of the band Merrick and folk-pop supergroup The Living Sisters, also will bring to life the honeyed pop confections of her group The Bird & the Bee — but with a uniquely South American twist. For those songs, she'll be backed by Marcel Camargo's The Brazil You Never Heard, who'll put a coolly jazzy and orchestrated spin to George's wistfully dreamy melodies. Also Tuesday, May 28. —Falling James

The Kids

LOS GLOBOS

One of their best songs was "This Is Rock & Roll," but Belgium's Kids were as punk as it gets — especially on their first two, relentless 1978 LPs, which matched The Damned's velocity with Ramones-style, punch-in-the-gut riffs. Ludo Mariman was more a flamethrower than a singer, and whether it was a king, a cop, a Nazi, an old DJ or just persistent youth unemployment, he was against it with gusto. The Kids played fast, stayed furious and burned their silhouette across European punk history before breaking up in the mid-'80s. They then reconvened in the mid-2000s, when they played their first U.S. shows. Tonight's show will be their first L.A.-area appearance — happily timed to coincide with a 7-inch reissue on New York indie Sing Sing. Expect serious punk catharsis in the front row. Also Saturday, June 1 at Alex's Bar. —Chris Ziegler

thu 5/30

Junip

TROUBADOUR

Jose Gonzalez's voice is more recognizable than the singer himself. With his group, Junip, the Swedish (by way of Argentina) troubadour's signature hollow tenor expands its folktronic reach. Bandmates Tobias Winterkorn's dark synthesizers and Elias Araya's understated percussion bring layers of definition, but it is still Gonzalez's haunting tones and his expressive guitar that are the centerpiece of the trio's second, self-titled album. Whether it is on the rallying (if dirge-like) "Your Call" or against the buzzes of "Walking Lightly," Gonzalez always sounds slightly miserable but trying to make the best of it. The uber-sparse "Said and Done" speaks volumes with acres of space that allow for the deepest breathing. It is the inclusion of rumbling electronics, such as on "So Clear," that make Gonzalez sound ever more poetic. Also Wednesday, May 29. —Lily Moayeri

John Talabot

ECHOPLEX

Spanish producer John Talabot exists in a sort of DJ-world sweet spot, having earned the respect of critics and peers (ahem, James Murphy) and the admiration of dance-music audiophiles while maintaining a position as an innovator of the electro-world underground. An established scene hero in his native Barcelona, Talabot's name became far more internationally esteemed with the release of his much-buzzed-about 2012 debut LP, Fin. With all of its sexy, low-simmer, body-moving production, the album sounds like a warm, late night on the Mediterranean coast, meaning that if there was ever music for dance-floor seduction, Fin is it. (Check the especially lush stunner tracks "Destiny" and "Depak Ine.") Talabot's just-right balance of synth-pulse shimmer, Afro beat, Detroit techno, Chicago house and "cosmic disco" earned him a spot opening for The xx on their 2012 fall tour, and with this current string of solo dates, he'll surely cast an alluring spell at the Echoplex. Be there. The chance to see Talabot in a venue so intimate probably won't happen much again after this tour. —Katie Bain


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