Music Picks: Laurie Anderson, Onibaba, Superchunk
FOUR TET, JON HOPKINS AT THE MUSIC BOX
Kieran Hebden's earliest albums as Four Tet — 1999's Dialogue, and 2001's Pause — were among the first to infuse cold computer music with loads of acoustic warmth, stemming from his own background as an able multi-instrumentalist. If there was a single negative associated with those records, it was journalists' invention of the term "folktronica," a noose Hebden would lithely slip anyway as he transitioned from the lush soundscapes of Rounds (2003) to the harsh jazz-infused environs of Everything Ecstatic (2005). He then took some time off to work with legendary hard-bop drummer Steve Reid, record with dubstep innovator Burial and reunite his post-rock band Fridge, before returning with his magnum opus, this year's There Is Love in You. It's both Hebden's danciest and darkest to date, a true work of beauty that holds up in headphones as well as it does in a crowd. (Chris Martins)
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, HOT CHIP, SLEIGH BELLS AT HOLLYWOOD BOWL
The official Bowl season may have come to an aurally explosive end with Pavement, Sonic Youth and No Age, but that doesn't mean that incredible trilogies of that caliber (well, almost) need to stop any time soon. New York's LCD Soundsystem is currently in its prime: Mastermind and DFA Records head James Murphy has nurtured his playful and überhip project into a six-piece indie disco extravaganza where, live at least, the beat is king. On the group's new album This Is Happening, however, that percussive pulse is at least equaled by Murphy's wry wit, which takes on love ("I Can Change"), gossip columnist Michael Musto ("Pow Pow") and drunk girls ("Drunk Girls") over layers of synth. Meanwhile, with their fourth album, One Life Stand, Leeds electro act Hot Chip soldier on, having shucked the excellently executed ironic stance of their 2005 debut, Coming On Strong, for a sophisticated brand of dance-pop that includes inescapable ear worms like the angular new single, "Take It In." (Also Sleigh Bells; see Music feature.) (Chris Martins)
KRUDER & DORFMEISTER AT CLUB NOKIA
This influential Austrian duo is on a rare North American tour in support of Sixteen Fucking Years of G-Stone Recordings, which, as its title suggests, offers a primer on the plush down-tempo sound championed by Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister and the various acts they've signed to their
Vienna-based label. Here in the overstimulated age of Flying Lotus, K&D's stuff can sound a little monotonous. Given the right head space, though, those blunted breakbeats and laser-show synths do the job quite nicely. At Club Nokia the duo will be joined by two vocalists: Ras MC T-Weed and acid-jazz eccentric Earl Zinger, as well as by projectionist Fritz Fitzke, who'll provide the visual excitement that two dudes milling around behind a bunch of gear simply can't. (Mikael Wood)
DUDAMEL CONDUCTS MESSIAEN AT DISNEY HALL
The L.A. Phil brings us a long-overdue savoring of the French composer Olivier Messiaen, a true giant of 20th-century music. Messiaen's intensely personal ideas about composition were equally indebted to his Catholicism, his incorporation of rhythms and tonalities drawn from Asian sources, and his love of birdsong. His Turangalîla-Symphonie is one of his most unusual and challenging pieces, a 10-part, 80-minute paean to love (inspired by the Tristan and Isolde story) featuring massive orchestral forces that include the otherworldly tones of the early electronic instrument Ondes Martenot. The title of the piece comes from the Sanskrit for "love song and hymn of joy, time, movement, rhythm, life and death." Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Ondes Martenot specialist Cynthia Millar do the honors. Also Sat. and Sun. (John Payne)
BLOWFLY AT ALEX'S BAR
Many black performers of a certain age claim to have invented rap, but in Blowfly's case, the claim might be not completely spurious. Soul songwriter Clarence Reid used his "party records" alter ego (allegedly named by his grandma — "You is nastier than a blowfly," said Granny) throughout the '70s to turn the traditional African-American dozens into a weird pornographic freak show, backed by disco, funk and other sounds of the era. All the old-school hip-hoppers grew up on Blowfly's dirty routines, and he's outlived and outlasted most of them. Respect. (Gustavo Turner)
Also playing Friday: SLANT at the Troubadour; LTJ BUKEM at House of Blues; MIIKE SNOW at the Wiltern; ELISA, LA BLANCHE ALCHIMIE at Hit Week (Italian fest) at Ford Amphitheatre; KILLSONIC PRESENTS at the Echo Curio; DAVID BAZAN, WYE OAK at Spaceland; SAHARA SMITH at the Hotel Cafe; NICOLE ATKINS at the Echo; WARPAINT at the Mondrian; MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK, SAY ANYTHING at Avalon.
SMOKEOUT FESTIVALAT NOS EVENTS CENTER
Cypress Hill's annual "all-day mind-opening festival" has always been a welcome collision of rap, hip-hop, rock, R&B and reggae styles, but this year's lineup might be the most thrilling assemblage of disparate performers yet. The pot-friendly South Gate hip-hop crew intends to reprise its eponymous 1991 debut album, and also will present a new festival attraction — an on-site "consumption area" for medical-marijuana patients. Other potential main-stage highlights (with the emphasis on "high") include Calabasas alterna-rockers Incubus; New York City rapper Nas, continuing his collaboration with reggae scion Damian Marley; the aptly named Cali hip-hoppers Living Legends; and the relatively lightweight San Diego reggae rockers Slightly Stoopid. In the "Massive Stoned Garden," festival-goers can breathe deeply and hold it in to the danceable sounds of Canadian progressive-house subversive Deadmau5, British trance DJ Paul Oakenfold, MGMT and a DJ set from London house duo Basement Jaxx, among others. Meanwhile, the contemplative and inventive soul singer Erykah Badu, Mexico City rock en español veterans Maldita Vecindad and the reunited and genre-defying Living Colour rock it up on the Indonesia Stage. Best of all, the French-Spanish singer Manu Chao — who's worked with Tijuana No and directly inspired Gypsy-punk bands like Gogol Bordello — makes his first SoCal appearance in more than three years, pumping out the uplifting rebel-music anthems and romantic wanderlust chansons from his frenetic live album Baionarena. (Falling James)
ITALIAN "HIT WEEK" AT EL REY
Sponsored in part by the Italian Ministry of Culture, "Hit Week" is a big, tasty and wide-ranging batch of the latest and possibly greatest pop/rock/DJ/other musical culture our Italian friends have currently got going on — and there's a lot of it. Among the standouts are Negrita, a sort of pancultural funk/blues/rock band with a genuinely heavy load of riffalicious guitar-led jams and one very impressive rhythm section, mixing up melodies and polyrhythms culled from African, Latin American, Jamaican and Spanish sources. You might consider pumping your fists to their (apparently) hard-hittingly political lyrics sung in Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Also Apres La Classe, a ska-punk combo from Puglia who recently charted in Italy with their anthemic "Mamma l'Italiani"; and the ingenious big-band sounds of trumpeter Roy Paci & Aretuska. (The Hit Week events run at various venues in Los Angeles October 13-17 and are plentiful and nutritious; see hitweek.it for complete schedule.) (John Payne)
Also playing Saturday: DUDAMEL CONDUCTS MESSIAEN at Disney Hall; DUBQUAKE with MICHAEL ROSE, etc. at the Echo; KENAN BELL, HESTER PRYNN at Bootleg Theater; THE NATIONAL at Fox Theater; THE BATUSIS at Alex's Bar.
DIE ANTWOORD AT THE MUSIC BOX
There's nothing I can tell you about this South African rave-rap outfit that's not better demonstrated by their bat-shit music videos: First watch "Enter the Ninja" if you haven't already seen it, then check out the just-released "Evil Boy," in which Ninja signs a fan's nipple-less breasts and Yo-Landi Vi$$er seduces Diplo (who produced the track) while rocking a hoodie made of fluffy white rats. What I will say is that $O$, Die Antwoord's new Interscope debut, is better than its BuzzFeed buzz might suggest. Outré visuals are undoubtedly a huge part of the group's appeal (and for sure the key to its speedy viral ascent), but they've also got a sense of tunecraft that gives their gross-out factor legs. The outfit's rep says an appearance here by "Evil Boy" guest MC Wanga is a possibility, provided his passport issues can be worked out in time. (Mikael Wood)
HOODOO GURUS AT THE VIPER ROOM
Perhaps it's the geographic distance and the high price of airfare, but many of Australia's greatest rock bands rarely tour in the United States. Punk pioneers Radio Birdman have been to Los Angeles exactly twice in their 35-year history, and Chris Bailey's Saints haven't done a proper local show since the late '80s. Similarly, such crucial groups as the Celibate Rifles and the New Christs frequently tour Europe while avoiding the U.S. altogether. Hoodoo Gurus aren't as hard-rocking as those punk legends, but the longtime power-pop outfit is relatively popular here, having scored several KROQ hits (including "Death Defying" and the terminally compelling "I Want You Back") in the mid-'80s. Making their first L.A. appearance since 2007, the Hoodoos are back in fine form with an excellent new CD, Purity of Essence (mixed by Ramones producer Ed Stasium), which ranges from the trademark perky pop bounce of "A Few Home Truths" to more rocking tunes like "What's in It for Me?" and "Crackin' Up." Faulkner spruces up his yearning melodies with festive horn arrangements on "Burnt Orange," and original guitarist Brad Shepherd's sparklingly sizzling solos prevent the poppy tunes from coming off as wimpy. (Falling James)
ONIBABA, ALEX CLINE, VINNY GOLIA, GEORGE McMULLENAT CENTER FOR THE ARTS, EAGLE ROCK
A real jewel of a series in the best new-thing/nu-jazz/progressive music L.A. has to offer, Will Salmon's programs at Eagle Rock's Center for the Arts are valuable — and fun, too, so don't go just out of obligation. Tonight it's Onibaba, featuring avantish woodwind ace Vinny Golia, George McMullen on trombone/electronics, guitarist Scott Collins, bassist Daren Burns and drummer Craig Bunch, along with live video projections by Kio Griffith. And then there's Salmon's Open Gate Theatre band featuring Golia and McMullen along with superdrummer Alex Cline (superguitarist Nels Cline's twin brother) and Kathryn Nicole Nockels on bassoon and tuba, joined by Joe Schenck, Argenta Walther and Heather Rhea Dawn in a bit of the old "dance/drama." (John Payne)
CLIPD BEAKS, HOLY FUCK, INDIAN JEWELRY AT SPACELAND
Less "bro rock" than "little bro rock" — which is to say they look like shaggy younger brothers of older, more refined musicians — Oakland's Clipd Beaks continue their reign of shambolic de-rezzing with songs from their latest album, To Realize (Love Pump United), the musical equivalent of watching your little brother make faces in the mirror for about an hour. Holy Fuck, summoning up both ecstasy and apprehension in one swell foop with their latest offering — the Latin LP (Young Turks) — meld up-tempo electronica with melodic downstrokes, the overall effect of which involves some combination of the words "fuck" and "holy." Texas urgh-psych merchants Indian Jewelry — completing the trifecta of reasonably worthwhile new releases — play tracks from their Totaled album on We Are Free. (David Cotner)
JONSI AT THE WILTERN
This year's Coachella had so many vavoom moments (MGMT, the xx, fucking Muse) that Sigur Ros main man Jonsi's quirky solo set was a little underappreciated. The Icelander's eskimo psychedelia might have been too unexpected for a hot afternoon in a desert oasis packed with massive acts, but this fall evening might do the trick. Jonsi is charming and very smart and can offer many more facets beyond the "ethereal" stereotype of his band. Be ready to be surprised. (Gustavo Turner)
Also playing Sunday: DUDAMEL CONDUCTS MESSIAEN at Disney Hall; DUBQUAKE at the Echo.
JASON DERULO AT HOUSE OF BLUES
If you listen to pop radio, you know Jason Derulo's songs: "In My Head," "Ridin' Solo," "What If" — and, of course, "Whatcha Say," the Imogen Heap–sampling jam he took to No. 1 last year. Yet despite the fact that he introduces most of his songs by singing his own name, you may not know that Derulo is the guy who performs them. Next to Taio Cruz (aka the "Dynamite" dude), he's the Top 40's most mysterious presence right now. Pop-phobic types love to talk about how Ke$ha and Katy Perry lack personalities — a demonstrably absurd claim, obviously — but Derulo genuinely does seem like an Auto-Tuned voice unattached to a flesh-and-blood person. Who is he? Where did he come from? Tonight's show should provide an interesting opportunity to find out. (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Monday: MUMFORD & SONS at the Palladium; FOALS, EBSEN & THE WITCH at El Rey; RADARS TO THE SKY, WAIT.THINK.FAST at Spaceland; BLOODY RED SHOES at the Bootleg Theater.
SCOUT NIBLETT AT THE ECHO
The English singer Scout Niblett stirs up an intriguing alt-rock sound even though she's backed only minimally with austere guitars and drums. Much of the magic in her music comes from noted Chicago producer Steve Albini, who imbues her songs with shadowy, suggestive adornments. On the title track of her new album, The Calcination of Scout Niblett (Drag City Records), she murmurs bluesy lyrics as grungy guitar chords slam down and bookend her declarations with contrasting heaviness. This combination of airiness and raw power is often quite mesmerizing, even if her tunes rarely pay off with sugary hooks and easy choruses. With Niblett, it's more about creating a mood, such as the older song "In the Sine Wave," where she coos dreamily over sparse Native American tribal tom-toms, which sound like a heartbeat pulse, as electronic wind sounds slither around her enchantingly. (Falling James)
SUPERCHUNK, THE VASELINESAT THE MUSIC BOX
Broken up over the fact that Pavement's seemingly endless reunion tour has finally wrapped? Console yourself, then, with this solid double bill pairing two recently revived college-rock greats. Superchunk's new Majesty Shredding, the North Carolina band's first album since 2001, reveals an undimmed knack for tuneful, high-energy pop-punk. If frontman Mac McCaughan has aged since the days of "Skip Steps 1 & 3" and "Driveway to Driveway," his still-boyish yelp doesn't betray it. Reports from the road indicate that McCaughan and his bandmates are still summoning the old vigor onstage, as well. The Vaselines' new one, Sex With an X, comes a full two decades after the Scottish indie-pop duo's last studio disc. But Eugene Kelley and Frances McKee (who are currently being backed by dudes from Belle & Sebastian and the 1990s) were excellent last year at El Rey. Expect plenty of lusty hilarity tonight. (Mikael Wood)
BANG ON A CAN at DISNEY HALL
The five programs in the 2010-11 season of L.A. Phil's new music series Green Umbrella focus on American music performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group led by guest conductors. Launching a tantalizingly heavyweight season that includes the music of George Crumb, Korean composer Unsuk Chin, Thomas Ades and György Ligeti, tonight's opener stars the one and only Bang on a Can ensemble, presenting a bill called "The New Yorkers" that features works from its member composers Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and David Lang. The program includes Gordon's Weather 1; Wolfe's Dark Full Ride and Early the Summer; and Lang's "Heroin" from Songs for Lou Reed (accompanied by video by Doug Aitken) and Pierced. Each of these composers has been rightfully championed as a real innovator in contemporary music — most notably Lang, whose The Little Match Girl Passion (commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Paul Hillier's vocal ensemble Theater of Voices) was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for music. (John Payne)
Also playing Tuesday: MILKTOOTH at Silverlake Lounge; BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE at the Wiltern; DEER TICK, J. RODDY WALSTON, THE BUSINESS at El Rey; KAT ARTHUR, CARNAGE ASADA at the Redwood.
HUGH CORNWELL AT EL CID
Hugh Cornwell was the voice of the British punk-prog-pub band the Stranglers during their late-'70s heyday. Although the group continued with other singers after his departure in 1990, they were never really the same, especially because his rudely witty lyrics and Doors-style guitar licks were such a major component of their sound. Cornwell seemingly didn't look back for many years, collaborating with Captain Beefheart drummer Robert Williams and releasing solo albums that were markedly different from his work with the Stranglers. And yet he comes to terms with his past with a new double live CD, New Songs for King Kong, which pairs his recent solo album Hooverdam with versions of songs from the Stranglers' debut LP, Rattus Norvegicus IV. "It's a delightful nightmare," Cornwell croons, summarizing his lifelong "morbid fascination" for things that are both scary and funny. On this American tour, he's backed by Blondie drummer Clem Burke for a set of new oddities and old Stranglers rants. (Falling James)
RAVI SHANKAR, ANOUSHKA SHANKAR at Disney Hall
In celebration of his 90th birthday, a very rare appearance by the man who put Indian classical music on the map and almost single-handedly transformed the Western musical landscape as a result: sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar. He is his country's most renowned musical ambassador, crossing cultural and musical boundaries (and yes, George Harrison regarded him as our greatest living composer). But on this night, just you witness the extraordinary finesse, depth, clarity and boundless imagination with which he now explores the ragas; it is an experience of enormous profundity. Shankar's daughter Anoushka has become a serious contender in her own right. Having been tutored by her father from a very young age, she's reached a level of fiery technical prowess and keen musical intelligence that has earned her a rightful spot as heir to the throne. The Shankars will be accompanied by Tanmoy Bose, tabla, and Ravichandra Kulur, flute. (John Payne)
Also playing Wednesday: ODD FUTURE at the Airliner (see Music feature); SLEIGH BELLS, PICTUREPANE, THE SUNDELLES at El Rey (see Music feature); RA RA RIOT, VILLAGERS, GIVER at Music Box; YG at Key Club; FLYLEAF at House of Blues.
BIG DICK, THE PUKES AT SPACELAND
The first thing you need to know: Big Dick does Little Richard. No, that's not a headline from a satire piece or muckraking exposé; it's a statement of fact. Big Dick is a blazing L.A. funk-soul septet featuring the searing vocals of Kate Flannery — yes, a lady. But when she sings, "Baby, don't you need a man like me," your response will undoubtedly be, "Yes." (And besides, Richard is more than a bit of a gender-bender himself.) Hardly the stuff of an ironic covers act, Big Dick plays worthy tribute to the Architect of Rock & Roll, counting among its arsenal two honking saxophones, some madly tinkling ivories and Airborne Toxic Event's Darren Taylor on drums. Fittingly, the Pukes is a long-running project founded by Airborne bassist Noah Harmon, who here steps into the spotlight as the black-clad and utterly lewd lead singer of his very own country & western Misfits cover band. Their membership has been known to swell to 10 or so, including folks from acts as disparate as M83 and Mariachi El Bronx. (Chris Martins)
LYRICS BORN, CHALI 2NA AT THE ROXY
People, let's talk about 1993. It was an incredibly seminal year for hip-hop music around the country. Among the stunning debuts alone: Wu-Tang Clan, the Roots, Black Moon, Onyx, Digable Planets ... the list goes on. But on the West Coast, something extra special was happening. The underground was bubbling with rap acts inclined toward scholarly musing, melodic infusion and, um, wearing backpacks. The Bay Area had the Hieroglyphics crew and Blackalicious' Quannum Projects, while L.A. had the Good Life Café, which fostered the growth of the Project Blowed fam and a little project called Jurassic 5. Fast-forward nearly two decades and the cream of that incredibly ripe crop remains. Hailing from Berkeley is Lyrics Born, whose gravelly singsong raps rose to prominence within the conscious duo Latyrx. These days he's signed to Epitaph, while former J-5 member Chali 2na — he of the strikingly baritone flow — is doing his thing on buzzing indie-rap label Decon. Both have solid solo records out, but the real reason to attend: time-traveling back to hip-hop's second golden age. (Chris Martins)
KEVIN BLECHDOM, EUGENE CHADBOURNE, COREY FOGELAT THE SMELL
Self-reflexively wacky Kevin Blechdom rockets even further away from her roots as one half of nerfcore electronic band Blectum From Blechdom — lately she's interested in banjos, a cappella singing and all the assorted weirdness from last year's album on Sonig, Gentlemania. It's a never-ending onion with Blechdom's art — some of it makes you cry, and some of it just plain stinks. Eugene Chadbourne, atavistic polyglot and jazz spazz extraordinaire, has at least two new albums out this year: Jazz School, on Poland's Monotype Records, with New Zealand improv guitarist Greg Malcolm; and The Great Prova, with Italian folk-jazz combo Arbe Garbe. He'll be 60 next year and shows precisely zero sign of slowing down — even though he's admittedly scaling back the available CDs in his back-catalog due to the decline of that format and the continued sterility of its presentation. The improvised percussion of the resolutely resolute Corey Fogel brings the room together; his drums really only sound thrashed — it's the intent and the delivery that are pristine. (David Cotner)
JAGERMEISTER MUSIC TOURAT THE GIBSON AMPHITHEATRE
Metal will reign (blood) and the streams of Jäger will flow. New York's lovable — that's right, lovable — Anthrax will join their West Coast thrash brethren Megadeth and Slayer for one of the most intense nights of metal L.A. has ever seen. Slayer will be performing 1990's Seasons in the Abyss while Megadeth will be performing 1990's Rust in Peace. This begs the question, will Anthrax perform "Persistence of Time"? As of now that's not the plan, though they are going to bring back lead vocalist Joey Belladonna. For metal fans over the age of 30, it's the best part of high school all over again. For younger generations, it's an opportunity to get a glimpse into what many consider the greatest era of metal. Here's your opportunity to bask in the glory of Kerry King's brain helmet, get lost in Dave Mustaine's mane, check on the current status of Scott Ian's goatee and drink enough Jäger to forget it all in the morning. (Diamond Bodine-Fischer)
LAURIE ANDERSON AT UCLA
It's probably a coincidence, but the UCLALive series features within a few weeks two of Lou Reed's smartest musical collaborators. After John Cale, now it's Laurie Anderson's turn, presenting her newest performance piece, Delusion. The show is announced as "a series of short mystery plays, combining violin, electronic puppetry, music and visuals" and eccentric 18th-century novelist Laurence Sterne is named as inspiration. Anderson is one of a kind, and it's always a thought-provoking kind. If Björk or PJ Harvey were gateway drugs, Anderson would be the hard stuff. (Gustavo Turner)
Also playing Thursday: CHRISTOPH HEEMANN at ResBox (see Music feature); FILM SCHOOL at the Echo; BORN RUFFIANS at the Troubadour; FRANK FAIRFIELD, AMANDA SHIRES, SHAKEY GRAVES, WAYNE HANCOCK at Redwood Bar & Grill.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Los Angeles, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.