Music Picks: Liz Phair, DeVotchKa, Peter Murphy, Fergus & Geronimo
Holy Sons, Castanets, Dolorean
[See Music Feature]
@ CLUB NOKIA
"Nobody's crazy like me," Lemmy Kil- mister growls on Motörhead's latest album, The Wörld Is Yours. "Sometimes I wear other faces/Sometimes I sit and grieve." The fearsome singer-bassist wears at least one of his other faces in the acoustic rockabilly project the Head Cat and reveals the surprisingly genial and philosophical sides of his multilayered personas in the new documentary Lemmy, which charts his progression from roadie for Jimi Hendrix and participation in Hawkwind to forming the British hard-rock trio Motörhead. Lemmy is at his craziest with Motörhead, where his superdistorted bass lines are cranked up louder than guitars and his ravaged vocal cords celebrate the endless joys of endless touring. New ditties like "Bye Bye Bitch Bye Bye" emphasize that he's not exactly sitting around and grieving in his old age. —Falling James
Mike Watt & the Missingmen, Le Butcherettes
@ REDWOOD BAR & GRILL
Mike Watt describes his latest operatic opus, Hyphenated-Man, as "a mirror from just inside my head, shattered into 30 pieces and then stuffed in the head to show a piece of my state of mind." This fragmented, minimalist approach recalls the San Pedro singer-bassist's heyday with the Minutemen, and the album successfully merges Watt's shifting, schizophrenic perspectives thanks to the deft participation of Missingmen drummer Raul Morales and the inventive shimmers of guitarist Tom Watson (Overpass, Red Krayola). More fascinating juxtapositions are provided by the confrontational Mexico City combo Le Butcherettes, as singer Teri Geri Bender rants about sexism and sexuality over drummer Normandi Heuxdaflo's noise-punk soundscapes, which are as expansive and extroverted as Watt's new songs are condensed and shrunken down. —Falling James
Tchaikovsky's Shakespeare (With Celebrities!)
@ WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL
As with his Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, the ever-ardent Tchaikovsky had a penchant for themes that would supply the dramatic intensity that his romanticized view of musical beauty required. A great admirer of Shakespeare, he composed a trio of slightly lesser-known orchestral pieces based on the Bard's Hamlet, The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet. No slouch in the feeling department, Gustavo Dudamel is the ideal interpreter for these lushly melodicized works. For these performances, each piece is preceded by selections from the plays, with Orlando Bloom as Romeo, Malcolm McDowell as Prospero and Matthew Rhys as Hamlet. Actress Kate Burton (Richard's daughter) directs the staged excerpts and hosts the L.A. Phil LIVE broadcast on March 13. —John Payne
@ KEY CLUB
TopDawg Entertainment is strategizing the rap game like it's a war, and with two of its artists, Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar, consecutively rising to national attention the past two years, it's winning. Smart money, then, is now on ScHoolboy Q, the latest rapper to emerge from its camp. Though he will bare his teeth and spit out his lyrics, ScHoolboy Q is best when he's slouching through a song, easy charm and poignant punches rolling off his tongue, as in the breezy "#BETiGOTSUMWEED" or the hauntingly beautiful "I'm Good." TiRon and Skeme are scheduled, too, along with "special guests." Not that ScHoolboy Q needs any help — at last month's Kendrick Lamar show on the same stage, he revealed a penchant for the theatrical. See him before his shows start selling out. —Rebecca Haithcoat
Also playing Friday:
GAME at House of Blues; STARFUCKER, SKULL TAPE at the Troubadour; MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD at El Rey; YANN TIERSEN at Music Box; DATAROCK, DIRTY GHOSTS at the Echoplex; WOUNDED LION, TWERPS, G. GREEN, COLD SHOWERS at Pehrspace; FAIR TO MIDLAND at Whisky A Go Go; THE 88 at Hotel Café; THE COSMETICATORS at Redwood Bar & Grill; MR. OIZO at Avalon Hollywood; MEAN JEANS, APACHE, CLOROX GIRLS, GESTAPO KHAZI, THE CHEMICALS, WELCOME HOME at 5-Star.
DeVotchKa, Mariachi El Bronx, Hands
@ THE MUSIC BOX
Despite the fact that there's only one lady in the group, Denver's DeVotchKa take their name from the Russian word for "girl." The NPR-touted four-piece infuse their culturally hybridized music with heaping helpings of Eastern European swing, and even when their songs aren't about love's longing, they feel like yearners — the perfect tunes to soundtrack a summer spent abroad, chasing down a tryst already doomed to fail. Fittingly, their latest is called 100 Lovers. It was recorded in the Arizona desert with help from members of Calexico, which explains the strong dose of mariachi that informs the new songs, ranging from rollicking calls to dance like "Contrabanda" to pretty folksy ballads like "Transliterator." With Mariachi El Bronx on hand, expect horns galore. —Chris Martins
@ Broad Stage
[See Page Two]
HARD Weekend L.A.
@ CLUB NOKIA
The Electric Daisy Carnival disaster screwed things up mightily for L.A. promoters looking to throw dance-music fetes, but the folks behind HARD haven't let up. They're pulling out all the stops for this incredibly packed night, importing London production provocateurs Simian Mobile Disco to headline. That duo specializes in a nuanced, often tropically tinged brand of house, so count on a constant beat and bright soulfulness. Their neighbor Fake Blood takes a choppier, more technical approach but thrills nonetheless, while local Destructo is known to cut his steady grooves with gritty sound effects and vocal snippets. Get there early enough for the aqueous, off-kilter loops of Toronto's Egyptrixx and the cracked electro of Belgian crew Mumbai Science. Also, DFA dance-punk deity the Juan MacLean DJs. —Chris Martins
@ HOUSE OF BLUES
In a very graphic case of "going to 11," Tennessee's Whitechapel crafts its malevolent deathcore with three guitarists. This allows for down-tuned doom, finger-widdling flurries and punctuating false harmonic squeals to simultaneously provide context for Phil Bozeman's disturbingly possessed post-Pantera vocals and a rhythm section that attacks with a cornered, Gadhafi-esque cruelty. Last year's A New Era of Corruption is both a triumph of actual songs over pure riffs and, in the wake of the tragic death of Bozeman's mother, a monument to pessimism ("The Darkest Day of Man" and "Single File to Dehumanization"). Technically excellent yet utterly heartfelt, Whitechapel is a soundtrack for cynical teens moving out of their parents' shadow and into the world — and that's no small achievement. —Paul Rogers
Fergus & Geronimo
@ THE TROUBADOUR
Last January we tipped the secret legion of clever weirdos (Matt Groening and Gary Panter, we're looking at you) to the release of a little gem called unlearn, by Texas duo Fergus & Geronimo. It's kinda uncanny how "Wanna Know What I Would Do If I Was You" sounds like a 1968 vintage Mothers studio outtake, and the Zappatista effect is enhanced by note-perfect askew pseudo-oldies "Powerful Lovin' " and the title track. Jason Kelly and Andrew Savage hide behind the Fergus and Geronimo masks, and they are also (surprise, surprise) big Sparks fans. "We both have a natural inclination for being odd," says Savage/Fergus. We'd like to issue a full endorsement of their oddity. —Gustavo Turner
Also playing Saturday:
REVOLVER at the Satellite; UNWRITTEN LAW, THE PRICKS at the Roxy; SXSW KICK-OFF PARTY WITH MIAMI HORROR, CHAPEL CLUB, SUPERHUMANOIDS at the Echoplex; 2-HEADED BEAST FEST at CalArts; GONZALES at Mondrian/Skybar.
@ Key Club
Miss Jack Davey, the sexy-tough lead singer, and Brook D'Leau, the beatsmith who backs her as she climbs the microphone stand, are J*DaVeY, a Los Angeles duo you'd swear was masterminded by Prince. With D'Leau's viscous beats throbbing underneath Miss Jack Davey's panting vocals, the music's as seductive as their live show. Blu, L.A.'s most enigmatic, artistic rapper, joins them tonight. Although the blogosphere waits breathlessly for another album — hell, another anything — from him, he lives in a cosmos with a different address from the rest of us. But at a Boombox appearance last fall, a female DJ succeeded in drawing him back down to Earth. Every artist needs a muse, and Miss Jack Davey seems ripe for Blu's picking. Or vice versa. —Rebecca Haithcoat
@ ALEX'S BAR
Love Revisited is more than just a tribute to the late, great Arthur Lee, as the project features Love's original lead guitarist, Johnny Echols, and one of Lee's longtime backup bands, Baby Lemonade. While Love Revisited essays many Love classics, including "Alone Again Or" and "7 & 7 Is," what makes the group so fascinating is how they remake relative obscurities like "Can't Explain" and Echols' unreleased late-'60s rarity "America." Even better, it's nothing but a pure joy to hear Echols' bubbling eruption of notes on the hard-rock coda to the multipart psychedelic epic "Your Mind and We Belong Together." Although neither Echols nor Baby Lemonade's Mike Randle can sing with the same force, wit and sheer personality as the mercurial Lee, their versions will make you fall in Love again. —Falling James
@ STAPLES CENTER
In contrast with his fellow Colombian superstar Shakira (whose Sale el Sol kept his P.A.R.C.E. out of the top spot on Billboard's Latin Albums chart last December), Juanes has yet to make a move into English-language pop. But that's hardly prevented him from rousing arena audiences throughout the United States: An open-eared rocker addicted to big choruses, dude steps onstage and immediately starts transmitting the kind of charisma you need only eyes and ears to comprehend. Like all of Juanes' albums, P.A.R.C.E. contains no shortage of well-meaning issue songs about injustice and disaster. In "Segovia," for instance, he pays tribute to the victims of a politically motivated 1988 massacre in a Colombian town. As always, though, specificity somehow takes a backseat to universality. —Mikael Wood
Silk Flowers, Frank Alpine
@ THE ECHO
Though gothy electro act Silk Flowers hails from New York, they'll always sound at home in L.A. Theirs is a sound that seems spawned at our beloved DIY institution the Smell — noisy, lo-fi, dark yet playful and decidedly not for the radio. But that doesn't mean it isn't fun. Their new album, Ltd. Form, is, fittingly, out on the label owned by No Age member Dean Spunt (PPM), and though it brings to mind legendary downers like Suicide and Ian Curtis, there's a certain humor in the almost medieval-sounding vocals of Aviram Cohen, and an easy roll to the trio's unerring groove. Opener Frank Alpine is a local duo led by Rich Moreno, a minimal synth evangelist, who infuses his bedroom jams with punky effervescence. —Chris Martins
Also playing Sunday:
CAVE SINGERS, LIA ICES, FRANK FAIRFIELD at the Autry; CANDYE KANE at Redwood Bar & Grill; BEAT SWAP MEET (#13) THREE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH AWOL ONE at Grandstar; FUNERAL PYRE, THE SECRET, GRAF ORLOCK, LOW PLACES, SEVEN SISTERS OF SLEEP at the Echo; RED FANG, WEEDEATER, DANAVAN at the Echoplex.
@ MAYAN THEATRE
Peter Murphy's cameo appearance in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse may have updated his Gothfather status and reeled in some younger fans, but to many he'll forever be "that bloke from Bauhaus." Lucky them, as since the final laying-to-rest of that wonderfully gloomy group in 2008, Murphy seems to be carrying its torch more than ever (rather immodestly describing Bauhaus and himself as "the same artist in essence" last year). His much-delayed new collection, Ninth, due in June, apparently will continue where Bauhaus left off, which should mean much dark melodrama topped with Murphy's hugely Bowie-indebted inflections. Since his move to Turkey, ol' Cheekbones' music has become more exotic, esoteric and, some would say, pretentious. Expect all of this, and a consummate frontman performance. —Paul Rogers
@ THE TROUBADOUR
A great musical surprise of this 21st century is the carefully orchestrated takeover of a large chunk of pop by French artists in a diversity of styles, be it the demagogic club cool of Daft Punk, the elitist anarchy of the Ed Banger crowd or the trust-fund, car commercial–ready slickness of Phoenix. The Past, the Present & the Possible, the most recent release by veteran French indie popsters Tahiti 80, exists somewhere in the intersection of all those sounds. —Gustavo Turner
Also playing Monday:
BOWERY BEASTS at Silverlake Lounge; TUJUNGA, INJURED NINJA, FORCED INTO FEMININITY at Pehrspace; HONEYHONEY at Bootleg Theater; SPIRIT VINE, RUMSPRINGA, DANTE VS. ZOMBIES at the Echo.
The Death Set, The Gaslamp Killer, Ninjasonik
@ THE ECHOPLEX
There are shows that implore the crowd to dance, and then there are shows that beg you to shed clothing, convulse madly and slam into your neighbors with the courtesy of a drunken rhino. This is most certainly the latter. Sydney-via-Brooklyn electro-punk trio the Death Set are notorious for their raucous show, which typically finds them eschewing the stage in favor of the dance floor itself. Think the Beastie Boys in their hardcore days but siphoned through an array of modern tubes and wires, then produced by Public Enemy's Bomb Squad. New York's Ninjasonik aren't any calmer — a rap-punk hybrid known for songs with titles like "Somebody's Gonna Get Pregnant." In between, L.A.'s Gaslamp Killer will slay with a high-energy mix of aggro dubstep and heavy psych. —Chris Martins
Also playing Tuesday:
ALPINE DECLINE, RESIDUAL ECHOES at the Echo; TRIUMPH OF LETHARGY at the Smell; L.A. PHILHARMONIC NEW MUSIC GROUP PLAY UNSUK CHIN at Walt Disney Concert Hall; NOAH & THE WHALE, LUKE RATHBORNE at the Troubadour.
Liz Phair, Cathy
@ THE TROUBADOUR
After she became an indie star with her excellent 1993 debut, Exit in Guyville, Liz Phair's credibility took a massive dive as she spent the better part of a decade courting major success on Capitol Records. For years, her story was stalled. But Phair returned in 2010 with her self-released sixth album, Funstyle, and it finds the industry veteran taking some serious chances. She actually raps on the tabla-accompanied "Bollywood," and sure, it's silly, but it's nice to hear her, in her own words, "untethered from the machine." Though a couple of the tracks are built around jumpy samples and fake drums, much of the record returns to the power-pop and singer-songwriter fare of her fondly remembered past. Noisy Brooklyn alt-rock throwbacks Cathy open. —Chris Martins
Also playing Wednesday:
CLUBFOOT ORCHESTRA LIVE SCORING BUSTER KEATON FILMS at Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre; SING ORPHEUS at Que Sera in Long Beach; SPAIN at the Satellite.
@ WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL
Gustavo Dudamel winds up March's L.A. Phil events with a choice batch of works to be performed by celebrated veteran pianist Martha Argerich. The Buenos Aires–born legend is much talked about for the crisp vigor, effortless rhythmic chops and slew of spontaneous surprises she brings to her repertory, as well as for imagination and prowess that have only sharpened over the years. The bill of fare comprises Beethoven's airily grand Piano Concerto No. 1, a piece seemingly custom-designed for Argerich's sprightly joie de vivre; her stately rendering of Mozart's Masonic Funeral Music, and his more good-humored, Haydnesque Symphony No. 35, "Haffner." (Performances March 17-20.) [Ed.'s note: Argerich was also a remarkable, stylish Antonioni-style beauty in the '60s. Google her.] —John Payne
The Entrance Band, White Fence
@ The Satellite
A fantastic idea for one of the Satellite's inaugural residencies: L.A.'s unique wild jammers the Entrance Band. Every Entrance Band show is a physical workout for the psyche. Go. [Check out our interview with force-of-nature bassist Paz Lenchantin at laweekly.com.] —Gustavo Turner
Also playing Thursday:
PHAROAH SANDERS QUARTET at Catalina Bar & Grill; LE SWITCH, SOUNDS OF ASTEROTH, LAST ROUND DOWN at the Echo.
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