Music Picks: Kraftwerk, No Age, Black Lips

Turin Brakes: See Monday.
Turin Brakes: See Monday.

fri 3/14

No Age


L.A.'s No Age takes DIY seriously. Band members Randy Randall and Dean Spunt not only made all of the music on their new album, An Object, but also hand-folded the thousands of liner notes for the hard copies. Influenced by fellow psychedelic/punk band Psychic TV, No Age have settled in on a spare sound full of fuzzing textures and smoldering guitars. A self-proclaimed "unusual" band, the duo's live performance is a mosh pit–heavy, sensation-driven experience, which grabs audience attention with deliberately out-of-key vocals and off-tempo drum lines. No Age pride themselves in taking their output beyond the sonic experience and striving for a gut-punching propulsion of sound. Most often, they accomplish it. As such, this show is your opportunity to let loose and blow the roof off. Fellow sound explorers Dunes and Peaking Lights support. —Britt Witt

Dave Stewart


One thing you can't say about Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart is that he's not busy. In addition to his famous collaboration with Annie Lennox, he's produced and co-written songs for rock and pop heavyweights including Bono, Bryan Ferry, Tom Petty and Katy Perry. Plus there's his work with Mick Jagger, et al., in the aptly titled supergroup SuperHeavy. As lauded as the man is for playing well with others, the past two years have been a prolific period for Stewart in his own right. Releasing The Ringmaster General in 2012 and Lucky Numbers last year, the now–61-year-old musician is showing no signs of slowing. And unlike many of his contemporaries, he doesn't rely on past glories; he's currently creating some of the most challenging and lauded work of his career. —Daniel Kohn

DJ Shadow, Team Supreme


Josh Davis, aka DJ Shadow, blew up the game in 1996 with his debut album, Endtroducing, an influential slab that helped put instrumental hip-hop on the map with its orchestral galaxy of all-sampled tracks mostly of the extremely eclectic and obscure variety. A natural-born trailblazer, he moved on up to other big stuff, like doing all the tracks for the 1998 U.N.K.L.E. album, Psyence Fiction, and on through his most recent album, The Less You Know, The Better. These days, Shadow does a lot of big shows with flashy lights and effects and all that kinda biz, and that's cool, but point is the man's a legend whose artistry shines in a way he never gets slack about. If you get a chance to watch Shadow up close tonight, you'll see one seriously athletic DJ earning his hardworking dollar. Also: prime mixology from L.A.'s Team Supreme crew. —John Payne

sat 3/15

Lake Street Dive


Anytime a band gets a mention on the cover of Rolling Stone, people start paying attention to them. But for Lake Street Dive, landing this prestigious spot (they were tagged "the year's best new band" on a recent issue) has been a long time coming. Formed in 2004, the Boston-formed, Brooklyn-based outfit has been lauded for melding the sounds of folk and rock with singer Rachael Price's soulful pipes. A road fixture for years, their new album, Bad Self Portraits, is paving the way for a commercial breakthrough. Besides the Rolling Stone mention, the band has appeared on both The Colbert Report and Late Show With David Letterman, plus their music was on the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack. With this sold-out show at the Troubadour looming, the arrow is trending upward for the quartet. —Daniel Kohn

Scott Kinsey Hard Ensemble


Keyboard wiz Scott Kinsey carries the legacy of the late Joe Zawinul (Weather Report) forward in his own work as leader tonight at Blue Whale in Little Tokyo. Kinsey is joined here by a young and talented rhythm section, with Tim Lefebvre (Tedeschi Trucks Band) on bass and Louis Cole (Knower) on drums. The real treat is a rare live appearance from woodwind virtuoso Steve Tavaglione, who's also one of the finest EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) artists on the planet. Kinsey will offer a different lineup on Thursday, March 20, at the Baked Potato, including percussion and vocal master Arto Tunçboyaciyan. —Tom Meek

sun 3/16

Lavender Country


Even in this presumably enlightened era, the phrases "country music" and "gay" seem to be mutually exclusive, but that didn't stop Lavender Country from releasing the first album of homosexual country songs ... way back in 1973. The Seattle quartet probably would have remained a mere footnote in country-music history if an article about gay country singers hadn't appeared in the Journal of Country Music in 2001 and sparked renewed interest in Patrick Haggerty and the band. Tunes like "Back in the Closet" and "Cryin' These Cocksucking Tears" might initially appear to be novelty songs, but they're drenched in authentically down-home fiddles and lovelorn harmonies, and the overall mood is more heartfelt than cheaply sarcastic. —Falling James


mon 3/17

Turin Brakes


South West London's Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian weigh the tenor of the times with the conflicted emotional terrain of Turin Brakes' recent We Were Here. There's a sprightly dourness dropped onto the rolling grandeur of the songs, which are graced with a pastoral luxuriance redolent of the pop- and prog-rock of the 1970s. (An extra special bonus is the great drumming and harmony vocals of High Llamas' Rob Allum and longtime bassist Eddie Myer.) While We Were Here sweeps and soars, a chin-scratching soberness runs through it all, with weighty lyrical themes such as the rape of the economy by swinish bankers and thieving pension-fund managers giving the close listener a wee bit to think about — and tap a toe to, of course. —John Payne

tue 3/18



Apart from a couple of Coachella appearances and a 2005 concert at the Greek Theatre, Kraftwerk haven't played much in Southern California during the past decade. That's about to change in a dramatic fashion over the course of four action-packed nights at downtown's Walt Disney Concert Hall. Aptly calling this series of 3-D shows "The Catalogue," the longtime German electronic wizards will perform their most popular works, playing two full-length albums at separate sets each night, starting tonight with Autobahn and Radio-Activity. It should go without saying that Ralf Hütter and gang have been a massive influence on electronic music, synth-pop, post-punk and hip-hop with their coolly arty synth textures, robotic vocals and fondness for multimedia spectacle. The major drawback is that Hütter is Kraftwerk's only remaining founding member, following the departure of Florian Schneider in 2008. Also Wednesday-Friday, March 19-21. 0x000A—Falling James

Sam Roberts Band


Sam Roberts is a superstar and his band a household name in their native Canada — if not yet across the border. Five albums strong, the group's latest effort, Lo-Fantasy, was produced by Youth, known for synth experimentation and dub electronics, but who knew enough to tap into Sam Roberts Band's strongest suit: playing live. Lo-Fantasy was recorded live in Roberts' hometown of Montreal and tampered with at Youth's El Mirador Studios in Spain, the results of which are included in the bonus version of the album in the form of remixes. Lo-Fantasy draws from the British sounds of the 80s: Think the bite of The Clash ("Angola") with the smoothness of Tears For Fears ("Hands of Love"), but updated with more recent releases, like jangly, Johnny Marr guitar rock sans the Smiths ("Shapeshifters"). —Lily Moayeri

wed 3/19

Frank Strazzeri


One of our few surviving participants in (and witnesses to) genuine, fine, mid–20th century jazz, pianist Frank Strazzeri, who's nearly 84, is a musical shaman of formidable capabilities. An artist who, despite his fealty to bop, doesn't shy away from a melody, Strazz also has a tremendous urge toward funk tendencies. He keeps things nicely chilled, even as he delivers a strong undercurrent of communicative warmth. With an eye-popping résumé that began when he was a 20-something house pianist at an East Coast jazz joint accompanying the likes of Billie Holiday and trumpet titan Roy Eldridge, his head was further enhanced by a trad New Orleans stint, roadwork in Woody Herman's Thundering Herd and, after heading west to L.A. circa 1960, a long stint with Chet Baker, among many others. At this point it's a real privilege to get an earful from such a cat, so don't squander this opportunity. —Jonny Whiteside

thu 3/20

The Black Lips


Few modern garage-rock groups have succeeded as wildly as The Black Lips have in recent years. When they started in Atlanta in 1999, they were considered more of a joke than an actual band, and they were initially more famous for onstage stunts (nudity, pissing, lighting things on fire) than for their music. Eventually, however, something unusual came out of the haze of distortion and feedback the group wrapped itself in, almost protectively — melodies and song structures. Not only was the anti-hurricane anthem "O Katrina" undeniably catchy but it also revealed that the Lips actually had something of a soul and conscience underneath it all. Refreshingly, the band has recently toured unexpected places such as Iraq in an attempt to prove that their love of fuzzed-out guitars and oceans of reverb crosses all borders, physical and otherwise. —Falling James


Ennio Morricone


NOTE: This event has been postponed to June.

Now this is big. Most casual music listeners are familiar with Ennio Morricone, even if they don't know the Italian composer by name. In an era when other composers of film soundtracks were content to mimic classical music with a mushy wash of sentimental strings, Morricone was sprinkling his scores with spaghetti Western guitar twang, lonely whistling sounds, foreboding percussion and fiery trumpets — most famously on "The Ecstasy of Gold," the theme to 1966's The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. But the Rome native has dressed up hundreds of other films with his enterprising and creative soundtracks, including Once Upon a Time in the West, Days of Heaven, Cinema Paradiso, La Cage aux Folles, Le Professionnel and Disclosure. Morricone has never performed in L.A.; tonight he finally makes his debut, backed by a 200-piece (!) orchestra and choir. —Falling James

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