Music Picks: Jake Bugg, Washed Out, Dum Dum Girls

Music Picks: Jake Bugg, Washed Out, Dum Dum Girls

fri 1/24

Wooden Shjips


Back to Land is the first album that neo-psychedelic combo Wooden Shjips have created outside their beloved San Francisco. The band's move to greener Portland, Ore., had an expanding effect on their music, and most likely on their heads. Guitarist-singer Ripley Johnson and crew strip the sound down to a free-flowing trance-boogie, with organic melodies that spring up from the fertile soil of two-chord riffs, droning fuzz-ax leads, twining organ and Johnson's muffled vocal lines. Compressing the best of the '60s and '70s into one bangin' bongload (e.g., Grateful Dead, Canned Heat and Neil Young's Crazy Horse tastily laced with The Seeds, The Velvets, Hawkwind and Neu!), the album's whole point is getting the job done artfully, directly and persuasively, not unlike the dusty old classic rock stuff that inspired it. —John Payne

Jake Bugg


Over the past few years, 19-year-old singer-songwriter Jake Bugg has been making headlines in his native England, and deservedly so. Anyone with the flair to take on boy band One Direction deserves accolades — Bugg publicly called the boy band "terrible" and a Twitter war ensued — but to be endorsed by the notoriously prickly Noel Gallagher? That's next level. With a twang that resembles Bob Dylan and a machine-gun guitar reminiscent of Johnny Cash during his outlaw days, Bugg has the unenviable task of battling the hype while trying to find himself artistically. Not that it's a problem. With two critically acclaimed albums and his brash attitude, Bugg is well on his way to accomplishing what many of his countrymen were unable to: convincing Americans to believe the hype. —Daniel Kohn

Trombone Shorty and0x000AOrleans Avenue


New Orleans jazz and funk can often come off like quaint relics of a distant era that should be locked up tight in a museum display case or trotted out once a year at Mardi Gras for besotted tourists. But Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, blasts away such nostalgic notions with the searing vibrancy of his work with the band Orleans Avenue. The grandson of singer Jessie Hill and the brother of trumpeter James Andrews, trombonist-trumpeter-singer Shorty is certainly steeped in tradition, but he also brings plenty of modern "Fire & Brimstone" in his hard-rocking and funky originals. When he lets loose on longer rambles, he bursts forth with jazzy and even psychedelic retorts that exude pure molten sunshine. Also at the El Rey Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 25. —Falling James

sat 1/25



Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington open up a Pandora's box of sounds on Darkside's recent full-length debut album, Psychic. Although the Brooklyn duo is one of the rising new forces in the world of electronica, Darkside's moody tracks are pumped up with spacey prog influences and occasional cool-grooving R&B keyboards, which infuse their downtempo passages with a little bit of industrial soul. The sprawling 11-minute album opener, "Golden Arrow," arrives with a hush of eerie synthesizers and muffled percussion, which gives way to underwater echoes and flashes of electronic fuzz before subsiding into ambient bliss. Jaar and Harrington previously flexed their subversive tendencies last year when they remixed Daft Punk's album Random Access Memories under the name DaftSide. —Falling James

Ryan Hemsworth


Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth has been making waves. While he's known for remixing the likes of Grimes, Cat Power and Frank Ocean, the former journalism major's creative blend of electronica and R&B has made him a popular figure on the underground circuit. Origins as a background singer and guitar player served the producer well in laying the foundation for his production style. However, it's his solo material, both 2011's No Plans, which landed on Spin's Top 20 R&B albums of that year, and last year's Guilt Trips, that has caught the attention of music fans abroad. Now comes the hard part. For a producer to convince his audience that he's more than the guy behind the scenes, a dynamic live show is a necessity. Let's see if Hemsworth is up to the task. —Daniel Kohn



The men of KISS seem to have their hands (and tongues) in a little bit of everything these days. The face-painted, platform-shoe fans and erstwhile rock monsters are well known for their expansive back catalog of black-and-white-and-hokey-all-over merch, not to mention cruise and mini-golf packages, but their latest venture finds them a little bit out of their league, you could say. In August, the Starchild, the Demon and company bought into the Arena Football League to launch its newest team, the Los Angeles Kiss, and though they couldn't lure Tebow, their roster is already growing. But it's another sport entirely that brings them to Dodger turf as part of the NHL's Stadium Series, which brings big hockey games to surprising spots. During a game between the L.A. Kings and the Anaheim Ducks, KISS will rock and roll all halftime. — Kelsey Whipple


sun 1/26

The Bangles


All-female rock trio The Bangles defined the 1980s with such chart-toppers as "Walk Like an Egyptian," "Eternal Flame" and the Prince-penned ballad "Manic Monday." In 1988, at the height of their success, the ladies called it quits. The band resurfaced a decade later in 1998, subsequently recording a fourth album and touring for much of the 2000s. In a June interview with Allen City TV, Vicki Peterson and Susanna Hoffs explained, "We all went into this band thinking that it was a big deal, not just a hobby or weekend band. We are all very committed. We're in it for the long haul." Their latest effort, Sweetheart of the Sun, was released in 2011. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

mon 1/27

Washed Out


Ernest Greene, better known as Washed Out, introduced himself in 2009 with the single "Feel It All Around." A quiet pioneer in the chill-wave movement, Washed Out steadily gained popularity from there, with that song being chosen as the theme for the IFC series Portlandia in 2010. But such downtempo soundscapes have since been abandoned with his most recent LP, August's Paracosm. Greene cites the rural surroundings of his home in Georgia as a major influence, offering an organic, pastoral vibe in his recent works. The complex arrangements of tracks like "Weightless" and "Don't Give Up" retain the signature hazy melodies and vocal sounds with a light psychedelic fantasy to round them out. Greene has humbly admitted to liking Katy Perry and Drake, as well as enjoying long gazes out his large office window. Local L.A. duo Kisses will open with their own swooning synths. —Britt Witt

tue 1/28

Dum Dum Girls


Dum Dum Girls is really Dee Dee Penny, although the former one-woman band has expanded with backing from a full group of musicians since starting out solo in her L.A. bedroom five years ago. Now based in New York City, Penny has seemingly evolved just as much as Dum Dum Girls have. In the beginning, Dum Dum Girls' songs were draped in thick layers of echo and reverb, like the music of her heroes, The Jesus & Mary Chain. More recently, however, Penny has moved away from the rust-laden, minimalist starkness of her early style into a more expansively lush pop sound on Dum Dum Girls' upcoming album, Too True. As usual, the latest CD was produced by Richard Gottehrer (Blondie) and Sune Rose Wagner (Raveonettes), but Penny's symphony of sighs on fuzzy opuses like "Lost Boys and Girls Club" simultaneously evokes the shadowy clangor of her past while opening up the sonic spectrum for her serenely sunny future. —Falling James

wed 1/29



Take two Swedish electronic music producers and pair them with an American singer-songwriter and you get Grizfolk, whose sound evokes dreamy notions of the epic West that sound as if they're coming from both the past and the future. Hailing from such varied backgrounds, the members of Grizfolk have formed a unique and rightly groovy sound of danceable beats that still manage to emote lyrically vivid stories. Singer-guitarist Adam Roth fronts the band, belting out his earnest vocals over the melodies. The sound becomes fully structured with the addition of a live drummer. Check their single "The Struggle" for evidence, or just come see for yourself tonight at the Troub. —Tony DuShane

David Binney


Some musicians burst rudely into collective awareness, flashing prodigious ability, youthful vigor, unbridled enthusiasm and leaving everyone astonished. How does one continue to stay afloat after such an initial splash? In alto saxophonist David Binney's case, he just keeps getting better. His 2011 masterpiece, Graylen Epicenter, would be the ultimate magnum opus to cap a career, but Binney continues to push into uncharted waters of excellence, no easy feat when many consider him one of the best alto players alive. His latest effort, Lifted Land, manages to maintain the freshness of an impromptu blowing session while exploring complex musical and emotional concepts, an intimate portrait of a master at the height of his powers. Especially powerful is his tune "The Blue Whale," a fitting title, considering its namesake is the venue where he's playing this evening. —Gary Fukushima

thu 1/30

North Mississippi Allstars


Brothers Luther Dickinson and Cody Dickinson know a little bit about rock history, being the sons of the influential Big Star producer and all-around Southern-rock kingpin Jim Dickinson. But good genes will only get you so far, and both lead guitarist Luther and drummer Cody are masterful, blues-rocking musicians who pump new life into Southern rock. Luther gets more of the attention, being a flashy former Black Crowes guitarist who can make the strings melt with his slide, but Cody is an intuitive, attentive drummer who's anything but flashy but maintains a solid, in-the-pocket groove. Sometimes Luther's roots rambles come off like a less psychedelicized counterpart to the Meat Puppets' Curt Kirkwood's soloing, and the Allstars' tunes have a similarly folksy, amiable and low-key vibe, albeit dipped heavily in bluesy, rural-Southern honey. —Falling James

Trombone Shorty: See Friday.


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