MORE

Music Picks: Mad Decent Block Party, Weeknd, Cold War Kids

Laura Mvula: See Tuesday.
Laura Mvula: See Tuesday.
PHOTO BY JOSH SHINNER

fri 9/13

Monophonics

THE MINT

Monophonics are like a whole section of the record store come to life — especially that wall above the register, where they keep the serious stuff. The Bay Area band does acrobatic songs that loop the loop from classic funk-soul inspiration to even-more-classic funk-soul inspiration. These are the deep cuts that never quite existed during the '60s and '70s, though you'd be forgiven if you were fooled into thinking you were hearing some instrumental outtake by Sly Stone or The Meters or Mulatu Astatke or Jackie Mittoo or sci-fi library musicians like Cecil Leuter. You'd be even more forgiven if you weren't thinking about any of that because you were too busy dancing. Their last full-length, In Your Brain, came out last year and is still reverberating. —Chris Ziegler

Local Natives

GREEK THEATRE

L.A.'s own Local Natives have played festivals around the world, but the four-piece is especially thrilled about this hometown show. Fulfilling a longtime dream of playing the Greek, the indie-rock outfit will fill the amphitheater with its polyphonous rhythms and melodic melancholy during summer's final stretch. With the release earlier this year of its sophomore album, Hummingbird, the quartet expressed a gentler and more ruminative side than previous high-energy singles such as "Sun Hands" would have indicated it was capable of. Local Natives have proven themselves dynamic, sonically paralleling influences like The National and Grizzly Bear and weaving jubilant harmonies with layers of methodical instrumentation. With support from Wild Nothing, this one is not to be missed. —Britt Witt

The Battle of San Bernardino featuring Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, Sabaton

SAN MANUEL AMPHITHEATER

Spanning multiple eras of heavy metal, the cumulative effect of this epic bill should prove suitably sinister for a Friday the 13th. Formed in 1975, Iron Maiden are masters of heroic, mildly progressive hard rock personified by galloping grooves and Bruce Dickinson's much-imitated "air raid siren" wail. Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament and Overkill all were pivotal forces in the partially Maiden-inspired thrash-metal explosion of the late 1980s but have since experienced wildly divergent degrees of success (Megadeth managed six consecutive U.S. platinum albums between '86 and '97, while Overkill's 16 albums combined have yet to hit a million stateside sales.) Ostensibly this battle's odd band out, Sweden's bombastic Sabaton are a New Millennium creation, yet flaunt a Wagnerian war obsession and urgent rhythmic adventurism that trace directly back to its headliner. —Paul Rogers 

Cosmic Psychos, Claw Hammer

THE ECHO

Ross Knight is a simple, self-described "ugly-lookin'" farmer whose love of big, loud things like bulldozers, barbells and fuzzed-out bass guitars fuels the relentless intensity of his slobbering yob-rock band, Cosmic Psychos. The long-running Melbourne, Australia, trio still plays as fast as its mid-'80s peers G.B.H., Motörhead and the Too Tough to Die–era Ramones, but also likes to alternate the pummeling with midtempo fusillades of string-bending, head-pounding, Stooges-style trippiness. In the early days, Knight's raw-throated take on punk and biker rock was so distinctively elemental that it directly inspired much of the Seattle grunge scene, as detailed by Eddie Vedder, members of Mudhoney, The Melvins and producer Butch Vig in Matt Weston's new documentary about The Psychos, Blokes You Can Trust. These beer-swilling Aussies come to pillage our shores only every decade or so, which is about how often we see locals Claw Hammer, who — to put it in annoying critic-speak shorthand — are like a harder-rocking version of the Stones fronted by Captain Beefheart doing jazzy, spazzy Devo covers. —Falling James

sat 9/14

Sheryl Crow

GREEK THEATRE

You could say that Sheryl Crow's career, to borrow her words, has been a winding road. The superstar sweetheart got her start singing commercial jingles and backing up Michael Jackson before her clear, stirring voice and Everywoman lyrics hit breakthrough success — and then mainstream worship — in the early '90s. The last two decades have included seven albums and nine Grammys, and throughout Crow has cleverly capitalized on doing what she wants — tackling fun and sun right alongside personal mistakes via an easy-to-like, hard-to-resist blend of pop, folk and rock. With her eighth album, Feels Like Home, Crow's winding road has taken her down a new path altogether: straight, unadulterated country. On the LP, Crow partners with a cadre of collaborators, including dreamy drawler Brad Paisley, on songs like "Shotgun," "We Oughta Be Drinkin'" and "Stay at Home Mother," all recorded in Nashville. —Kelsey Whipple

Mad Decent Block Party

L.A. CENTER STUDIOS

Marking the end of summer is Mad Decent's Block Party. Headed up by label boss Diplo's Major Lazer — an act that brings enough twerk-inducing good times to power the party on its own — the daytime event has been crossing the country all summer long. Diversity abounds with this national/international collection of party-rocking artists. From Matt and Kim's lively hip-hop pastiche to Big Gigantic's saxophone-and-drum funky dubs, the techtronica of Mexico's 3Ball MTY, the aptly named posturing rapper Riff Raff, Diplo protégés Dutch Partysquad and their flatulent bass drops, the crunked-out Samo Sound Boy, the ballsy rhymes of rap's pretty girl, Sasha Go Hard, and local boy Clockwork, the Block Party hits the mark no matter what you need to get your party started and to keep it going nonstop. —Lily Moayeri

Earth, Wind & Fire

Hollywood Bowl

Founded in Chicago in 1971 by drummer Maurice White, the oft-sampled Earth, Wind & Fire is one of the most critically acclaimed bands in music history.  The six-time Grammy Award–winning group, originally jazz-trained, was one of the first African-American bands to achieve mainstream pop success with a distinct synthesis of funk, soul, jazz, disco, rock and gospel. Throughout their active, 40-plus years, the band has come to be characterized by a visually stunning live show and rotating lineup of stellar musicians. Although EW&F continue to grace stages all over the world, they do so sans Maurice White, who retired in 2000 due to Parkinson's disease. Tonight's performance is the last of the Hollywood Bowl's 2013 summer concert series. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

sun 9/15

Ernie Andrews, Barbara Morrison, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

ALVAS SHOWROOM

Ernie Andrews, the last of our homegrown, postwar Central Avenue jazz vocal gurus, has always had a sinuous, swinging, instantly recognizable style. Rooted in the silky, playful charms of Billy Eckstine and Al Hibbler, informed by the shout of Joe Turner and Jimmy Rushing, his gritty, soulful approach only gets better. Andrews, who cut his first record (the bluesy classic "Soothe Me") in 1945, is a stylist whose skill and mastery are rivaled only by his stunning résumé, including stints with Harry James, collaborations with Benny Carter and Cannonball Adderley and much more. Teamed with first-rate veteran Barbara Morrison and the formidable Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra for this special live recording date, the entire company is bound to deliver nonstop, profound and historic thrills. (Two shows, 5 p.m. & 8 p.m.; tickets available exclusively at latreasuresproject.com.) —Jonny Whiteside

Jóhann Jóhannsson

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

Icelandic composer/producer/sound artist Jóhann Jóhannsson creates a remotely rock-aligned new-genre sound that merges electronic music with symphonic orchestrations. That sound is then channeled through the last 50 years' history of minimalism and other new-music conceptions. As such, it's a highly individual path that has worked particularly well in a number of his film scores, including his much-praised collaboration with artist Bill Morrison on 2010's The Miners' Hymns and in his music for the upcoming Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal thriller Prisoners. Jóhannsson's eerily gorgeous Prisoners score is typically atypical in its poetic blending of lyrical string and woodwind textures with uncanny tones emanating from obscure electronic instruments like the Cristal Baschet and the Ondes Martenot. Tonight, Jóhannsson performs selections from his film works and solo albums with accompaniment by the excellent L.A.-based Formalist Quartet. —John Payne

mon 9/16

The Weeknd

GREEK THEATRE

No matter what Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, sings about, there's often an air of melancholy gliding by in the distance or welling up in the back of his voice. His vocal undulations often quiver with the urgent pleading of Michael Jackson, but the Canadian singer has so many other things going through his mind that it never feels like an imitation. Sometimes he calls out over coolly remote, new-wave soundscapes; other times The Weeknd wraps himself in a coat of sympathetic, mournful harmonies, fending off the loneliness with raw, wailing soul. Even now, on his first full-length album, Kiss Land (the follow-up to a series of lower-profile mixtapes), he retains a lost, endearingly fragile quality as a blend and blur of ghostly voices and distant orchestras wind their way around him. He's alone yet not alone. Aren't we all? Also Tuesday, Sept. 17. —Falling James

tue 9/17

Laura Mvula

EL REY THEATRE

Over the past year, Laura Mvula has established herself as one of England's most assured and inventive soul singers, but it wasn't like she came out of nowhere. The Birmingham diva previously sang in a cappella groups and gospel choirs, and you can hear some of the elaborate architecture of gospel music in the arrangements on her full-length debut, Sing to the Moon. But Mvula is too creative to be just a revivalist, and her rueful ballads ("Can't Live With the World") and buoyant pop tunes ("Green Garden") flit easily from jazz and pop to soul and folk. It's like pure, radiant sunlight when her exuberant, soaring voice bursts through the cloudy chorus of "That's Alright." —Falling James

wed 9/18

Tina Raymond

BLUE WHALE

A rule of thumb for yoga students is to not force but to know one's limit, patiently waiting to go just a little further. Drummer Tina Raymond, a certified yoga instructor, knows this, and she has dutifully waited for her career in music to stretch and extend. This patience has finally been rewarded with a full calendar of performance dates. Musicians love her lithe brush and cymbal work, supported by an iron core of time and groove. Sure, she's lovely, but yes, she will kick your ass — onstage, in the gym or elsewhere. Tonight, Raymond further displays her flexibility by leading two bands, one a hard-swinging trio featuring former NYC pianist Max Haymer and a second threesome featuring new music by pianistic sound-painter Cathlene Pineda. Guests include trumpeter Kris Tiner and saxophonist and Monk Institute of Jazz Competition finalist Danny Janklow. —Gary Fukushima

thu 9/19

The Orb

MUSIC BOX

The rather legendary electronic duo of Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann specialize, for one, in ambient dub mixes that work on headphones to near head-poppin'-off effect. Perhaps even better is to experience the magic in a vast, open space, as the masses did at The Orb's recent Glastonbury performance. Better yet is to catch the duo in an intimate concert venue, such as our very own Music Box. That's because The Orb's super-audio-therapy-like thing works a treat when one is squarshed in with a big load of like-minded seekers just like you. Bring open heads 'n' hearts and prepare to emanate a resonant energy up onto the stage, where The Orb will incorporate it into something entirely new again, and yes, they can work with your chic contempt as well, so don't hold back. The point is, The Orb's sound — both massive, Chic-funk airy and painterly when they re-mutate classik cuts like "Golden Clouds" — radiates positivity without getting all sappy about it. In 2013, that is the sound of possibility. —John Payne

Cold War Kids

WILTERN

I remember the last show before the whole indie-rock world figured out who Cold War Kids were — it was in 2006 in some Fresno-adjacent strip-mall storefront where the landlords had to leave the fluorescent lights on, and even then kids knew every word by heart. (And lemme underscore the "heart" part. That front row was one high note away from medical attention.) The next day, Pitchfork, et al., reviews would hit and away they'd go, but Cold War Kids already knew how to use that idiosyncratic, pared-down, post-punk sound to make room for their own messy (in the best way) poetry. So recent album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (named for a great book, too) isn't so much a return to form as a welcome home, with its anxious, desperate choruses you know before you hear them and sing-along lyrics that are stories as much as they are songs. —Chris Ziegler

Stars

EL REY THEATRE

The Toronto band Stars are feeling "Wishful" on their new 7-inch single, a song that bounces like an exuberant puppy over several styles in just three minutes. It starts like a reflective, slightly sad tune with Cure-style bass and a post-punk synth, but Amy Millan's wistful cooing turns it into a bubblegum-pop valentine. Then the guitars slam into a punky alt-rock chorus, even as Millan's vocals become more ethereal. For no reason, the guitars suddenly deepen and ring out majestically across spaghetti Western mesas, as the keyboards, bass, drums and what sound like celestial violins surge together and fill the canyons with a brief squall of psychedelic feedback, which quickly subsides to return once more to Millan's dream-pop yearning. —Falling James