MORE

Music Picks: Icona Pop, NOFX, Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer: See Sunday.
Amanda Palmer: See Sunday.
PHOTO BY KAMBRIEL

fri 12/13

Rob Zabrecky

TAIX

Rob Zabrecky had the world by the tail in the mid-1990s. As lead singer of new wave–inspired pop group Possum Dixon, he was one of the prime instigators in transforming once-sleepy Silver Lake into the indie-rock capital of the universe. But when Possum Dixon broke up in 1999, Zabrecky made an interesting career detour. Instead of cashing in on his fame with Possum Dixon, which at one point seemed poised for major commercial success, he began performing in small clubs and dives — as a magician. At first, his sleight-of-hand presentations were more awkward than mysterious, but Zabrecky eventually garnered enough cred to become a mainstay at the Magic Castle. The actor-writer-auctioneer has continued to create music with such luminaries as Human Hands, Petra Haden, Beck and Ric Ocasek, but it's a neat trick indeed whenever this master showman reappears for a full set of his own songs. —Falling James

The Weirdos

THE ECHOPLEX

Inspired mightily by the first Ramones LP, L.A.'s beloved and brilliant Weirdos would arguably — as argued by me, here, with inappropriate enthusiasm — go on to transcend their influences to become one of the best American punk bands ever. Songs like "Destroy All Music," "Life of Crime," "Neutron Bomb," "Solitary Confinement," "Teenage" and more are classic beyond classic, and if The Weirdos had broken out of a singles-only discography and recorded a major-label LP in 1978, it would have been as momentous as if the similarly formidable Screamers had recorded a major-label LP in 1978. (That's fucking momentous, trust me.) In my weird world, every history book on punk would have a giant chapter on these splatter-painted lunatic geniuses from Hollywood. Get to this too-rare hometown reunion show and (as the song says) get the message now! —Chris Ziegler

sat 12/14

Cate Le Bon

THE BOOTLEG

Cate Le Bon is a Welsh witch who lives now in Los Angeles, but she still reconnects with her homeland by singing occasionally in Welsh, as well as English. On her third full-length album, Mug Museum, she duets with Perfume Genius on the watery ballad "I Think I Knew" and coos jangling folk-pop tunes like The Smiths–style "Are You With Me Now?" But she's even more engaging when she unfurls her geometric-patterned riffs and casts them like a net over such tracks as "I Can't Help You." Le Bon's melodic, almost formally restrained vocal delivery on "No God" adds a sweet layer of frosting atop the sunny and shimmering, Television-inspired guitar parts that spin around her. Beyond the new album title, she's really crazy about mugs; dozens of her handcrafted wares are for sale on her website. —Falling James

Nolan Porter, the Mercury Wheel

GRAND STAR JAZZ CLUB

Soul singer Nolan Porter is one of Los Angeles' great native talents, a cat whose lustrous, honey-toned pipes convey a seductive, drastically relaxed R&B pathology that's absolutely irresistible. His handful of early-'70s classics ("If I Could Only Be Sure," "Keep on Keepin' On") displays a wealth of skill, passion and depth that was woefully underappreciated, despite the fact that he collaborated with the fertile likes of Lowell George and Rick James (yes, THAT Rick James). Furthermore, more than a few of his singles reached the Top 40, yet Porter never gained traction serious enough to break out and fulfill his formidable potential. Faced with the ol' frustrating can't-get-arrested-in-his-own-hometown-yet-is-revered-in-Europe syndrome, Porter, as the subject of a new British documentary and with this hyper-rare local date, hopefully is going to attain, at long last, the glory and recognition he so richly deserves. —Jonny Whiteside

sun 12/15

Amanda Palmer

THE ECHOPLEX

Life is a circus for Amanda Palmer. Certainly, her world is merry, and there's plenty of glamour and face paint as the former Dresden Dolls leader slips in and out of an interconnected series of stages and backstages with an ever-evolving cast of carnies, musicians, stilt walkers and collaborators, including her husband, graphic novelist Neil Gaiman. But circuses can be scary and lonely, and Palmer never veers away from uncovering their darkest secrets, even when she's disguising them in cheery, major-key melodies. The singer-pianist never lowers herself to perform anything as dull as a simple set or a mere gig. Instead, each concert is a theatrical spectacle, and tonight at the "celebratory event" A Total Disruption she's joined by filmmaker Ondi Timoner screening new shorts, Reddit's Alexis Ohanian and DJ Shepard Fairey. —Falling James

mon 12/16

Jeff Tweedy

LARGO

Fun fact: Wilco are now 20 years old. That might make you feel old, but it just makes Jeff Tweedy, the band's disheveled, occasionally cantankerous and regularly charming creative core, seem that much wiser. At 46, the singer-songwriter has spent more than twice the amount of time with his best-known band as with his shorter-lived first act, Uncle Tupelo. Fans have stopped listening to neither. It should be noted that all four of Tweedy's L.A. appearances this month are sold out. And for good reason: Although Yankee Hotel Foxtrot might be Wilco's loveliest and best-loved work, Tweedy and company proved only two years ago with The Whole Love that the group's golden age is impossibly long-lasting. The man who helped to define alt-country has a lot to be proud of, and early set lists suggest he's mining much of it this tour, including material from side projects Loose Fur and Golden Smog. —Kelsey Whipple

 

The Herbert Bail Orchestra

THE SATELLITE

Herbert Bail Orchestra lead singer and guitarist Anthony Frattolillo credits his mentor, Juan, a janitor and apparent musical genius from Chile, for his ax-playing skills, and for instilling the need to put true life into his songs' expression. Juan taught the young Frattolillo that his music ought to tell stories that come straight from the heart, and that if he's gonna play it all, he's gotta be really feeling it. As evidenced by his band's album The Future's in the Past, Frattolillo learned his lessons well, as he and accordion player/trombonist Andrew Katz deliver their wryly humorous narrative soundscapes with fervid glee and, better yet, painterly detail, aided by an ensemble of violin, trumpet, trombone, banjo, keys, bass and drums. This band is only getting better with time. —John Payne

tue 12/17

Anna von Hausswolff

THE BOOTLEG

Intoning songs like "Death Bed" and "Funeral for My Future Children," Anna von Hausswolff probably isn't the happiest camper in her native Sweden. But she builds movingly beautiful soundscapes that combine her dramatic keening with swells of churchlike organ and grandly rolling tom-toms. On von Hausswolff's latest album, the aptly titled Ceremony, her voice hovers reverently over still, spacious musical settings, whether she's literally worshipping the sun on such ballads as "Sun Rise" and "Red Sun" or moving away from total darkness on "Liturgy of Light." She even has a way of making her soft flecks of guitar sound like falling ashes. —Falling James

NOFX

HOUSE OF BLUES

Compared with many of the punk bands to emerge from Los Angeles in the 1980s, NOFX is an anomaly. Few of their peers have been able to survive, nevertheless NOFX maintain many of the key elements (and band members) that have kept this quartet relevant well into its third decade. Led by Fat Mike, the group has grown more political in its latter years, unapologetically railing against government, homophobia, sexism and religion and supporting various left-wing causes. By maintaining an anti-commercial stance (they never signed to a major label), as well as with their oftentimes surly relationship with the media, NOFX are among the few bands to live and die by the punk ethos that marked the early days of the genre. With 12 albums to their name, NOFX have become punk-rock legends, a title they'd likely vehemently deny. —Daniel Kohn

Icona Pop

THE FONDA THEATRE

After delaying their summer tour due to illness, Icona Pop are alive and well and ready to get you on your feet. The Swedish duo, best known for hit "I Love It," brings high-level energy with those European party beats. When Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo introduced Icona Pop at the Culture Collide music festival in 2012, they stole the spotlight, holding nothing back and turning every stage they played into a buzzing club. Their electro-house bursts with classic pop melodies and girl-power lyrics. How do these ladies "do this all night" every night? Jawo explains, "You just decide to have a party tonight, and then you are the party." Their most recent single, "Girlfriend," pulls the beats back and tones down the sexuality, replacing it with the kind of true love only your best friend understands. This is girls-night-out power pop. Local rapper K. Flay kicks off the evening with her electronica-tinged hip-hop. —Britt Witt

wed 12/18

Juliette Commagère

BOOTLEG THEATER

Thus far Juliette Commagère has resided in that sort of parallel world where gifted artists follow their muses, stay true to their instincts and still manage to create musical magic that routinely tops the pop charts. In the real world, megastardom hasn't come quite yet for Commagère, a supremely gifted singer/composer/multi-instrumentalist who has sung and played with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold and Puscifer and, more importantly, issued three solo albums of extraordinary beauty, depth and high-grade pop craft. Her latest is Human (out via Aeronaut), an electro pop–tinged meisterwerk wherein the crystalline-voiced Commagère explores deeply personal tales re: the lasting value and sheer power of love in a world of material distraction. The album features Commagère's drummer /husband, Joachim Cooder, and her father-in-law, Ry Cooder. —John Payne

thu 12/19

Camp Freddy

ROXY THEATRE

While many an all-star cover band has come and gone over the past decade, Camp Freddy keeps packing 'em in (these three Roxy shows sold out in nine minutes), thanks largely to its only sporadic activity and the unpredictability of just what will happen at any given show. Consisting of a core lineup augmented by celeb guests who hop onstage for a song or two, Camp Freddy's backbone for this annual Christmas residency will be Billy Idol guitarists Steve Stevens and Billy Morrison, former Guns N' Roses/Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum, actor Donovan Leitch and Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Chris Chaney (a different lineup will grace the Roxy on New Year's Eve). Guests are seldom revealed in advance, but past Campers have included Ozzy Osbourne, Slash and even actress Gina Gershon. Also Friday and Saturday, Dec. 20-21. —Paul Rogers


Sponsor Content