LADY TIGRA, R.A.I.D. AT THE ECHOPLEX
You all remember Miami Bass? Then you all recall the fabulous L'Trimm's "Grab It," which, even if you didn't hear directly, you heard as the "inspiration" (ahem) behind JJ Fad's megahit "Supersonic." L'Trimm did that paean to subwoofers called "Cars With the Boom" (aka "The Cars That Go Boom") as well. Sassy, sexy stuff and, some say, the prime "influence" (ahem, redux) on your megaselling stars like Ke$ha (through Uffie) and M.I.A. and even Gwen Stefani. So the duo of Lady Tigra and Bunny parted ways eventually, but our Lady still makes the rounds with that hair-curling rap of hers. Like the jingle on the Pinkberry website? That's courtesy our own Lady Tigra. And did you catch her on Yo Gabba Gabba! the other day? A big sound, a big heart, big, big fun guaranteed. Tonight you've also got the 'plex's resident dance crew R.A.I.D. (Random Acts of Irreverent Dance) strutting and humping the stage in their world-famous golden pantsuits and freakily frenzied frugging. They dance like there's no tomorrow, and maybe, just maybe, there isn't. (John Payne)
MAYER HAWTHORNE/CLASSIXX AT VICEROY
More often than not, New Year's Eve turns out to be like the balloon that bursts as you're blowing it up. Not this year. Slip on a suit (you too, girls) and shimmy the year away: In what appears to the hippest, most low-key glamorous NYE party in the city, Mayer Hawthorne stashes his honey-coated pipes in order to spin. Considering his influences range from deep-Southern soul men like Isaac Hayes to Detroit Soulquarian J Dilla, it's sure to be a smooth blend of vinyl old and new. With remixes of Phoenix, Fischerspooner and Hawthorne himself, production/DJ duo Classixx are dance-floor darlings — nightclub shutterbug the Cobrasnake even directed a video of their song "I'll Get You." Their sunny sound, which blankets you in cottony-soft synths that'll make you disco, seems just right for the Viceroy. If that's not legit enough, KCRW day-'n'-night heavyweights Jason Bentley and Raul Campos also toss their hats into the ring. Tickets include a hosted open bar, hors d'oeuvres and Champagne toast. (Rebecca Haithcoat)
THE WARLOCKS, LANTVRN AT THE SMELL
That term psychedelic is getting kinda creaky, at least if you want to do justice to the zillion new bands mining the weird gold of the great mind-bender bands of the 1960s and '70s (the Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Chocolate Watchband, etc.). But you can go ahead and call the Warlocks a psychedelic band. L.A.'s veteran dark freaks were among the first of the second wave of psych bands to make the scene in the '90s, always twisting the knife in a Velvety way — dank & dangerous — while equally inspired by the minimalist beats of Krautrock and the galactic greaseballisms of Hawkwind. Last year's excellent The Mirror Explodes (Teepee) found the band in creepily tuneful form, and they've just reissued their early Rise and Fall album on their own Zap Banana label. Also the grungy speedy messy fuktup psychedelic night mirror known as Lantvrn. (John Payne)
THE PHARCYDE AT KEY CLUB
No, there are no tiny plates of soggy hors d'oeuvres and no cheap Champagne toast at midnight, but there's plenty of funk and no frontin' at the Pharcyde's New Year's Eve show. Southern California's original "alternative" hip-hop group's 1992 Delicious Vinyl debut, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, and follow-up Labcabincalifornia, still are regarded as two of the most influential in the golden era of hip-hop's history. With Crayola-colored lyrics, legendary producer J Dilla's surreal, shuffling sound, and flows that seem to ride one breath, the group also is one of the most talented. Although the Pharcyde dissolved in the early 2000s, after reuniting for 2008's hip-hop festival Rock the Bells, they've continued to tour together. VIP packages with bottle service are available (and pricey), but to just party, this is the best (and cheapest) NYE bet for hip-hop heads. (Rebecca Haithcoat)
THE RAVEONETTES, AUTOLUX AT THE STANDARD
Danish duo the Raveonettes never repaid the $2 million that Columbia Records reportedly sank into them in 2002, but they remain (just about) hip enough to mention over a Brite Spot breakfast without some bearded blog-watcher regurgitating his coffee. Last year's In and Out of Control remains devoted to often seedy subject matter wrapped in incongruously sunny guy/gal harmonies and, while less densely Phil Spector–ish than previous releases, still sounds like the Jesus and Mary Chain scoring a 1950s B movie. The less-than-prolific Autolux (two albums and an EP in a decade) have similarly not lived up to, commercially at least, their original hype but are Silver Lake indie royalty nonetheless (or perhaps because). Their meticulously distorted, freethinking post-rock makes an odd New Year's Eve soundtrack, but expect many of the haircuts at the Standard to be resolving to form similar bands themselves in 2011. (Paul Rogers)
LUCINDA WILLIAMS AT THE VIPER ROOM
It's perhaps no surprise that country-folk singer Lucinda Williams is calling her upcoming album Blessed. Last year she married her manager, Tom Overby, who likely was the inspiration behind "Real Love," an ebulliently sincere romantic ode that anchored her previous album, 2008's Little Honey. She's clearly still basking in the glow of love, with titles like "Born to Be Loved" and "Buttercup" on the new album, which is due to be released in early March. Blessed also features "Kiss Like Your Kiss," a duet with Elvis Costello that was used on the True Blood soundtrack. Of course, just like life itself, the new album isn't completely sunny, with such downbeat tunes as "Seeing Black" (an homage to the late Vic Chesnutt) and "Copenhagen" (a tribute to her former manager, Frank Callari). Tonight's show is rather pricey, with tickets going for a hundred bucks apiece, but Williams rarely plays small clubs, and she likely has some very special guests (and song selections) planned for this intimate New Year's Eve appearance. (Falling James)
GENE TAYLOR & THE BLASTERS AT THE REDWOOD BAR & GRILL
"Let that boy boogie woogie," John Lee Hooker once sang, and it's obvious that pianist Gene Taylor's parents gave their son the same kind of understanding and musical freedom. The Norwalk native has been rolling the 88s since he was a kid, and he pounds out a rich, bluesy sound that's festive and uplifting while also shaded with an undercurrent of soul. With his hard-driving rhythms and playful feel for airy melodies, Taylor has jammed with a stellar array of blues and roots icons, including Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, Canned Heat, James Harman, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and the Blasters. The original lineup of the latter band re-forms tonight in a very rare reunion, which should provide the perfect bluesy and bittersweet soundtrack for closing out the year. (Falling James)
HARD NYE WITH MR. OIZO, CONGOROCK, BRODINSKI AT THE MUSIC BOX
Over the past three years HARD has cornered the market in multi-act mega-events for Angelenos seeking the hedonism of big beats, bright lights and massed ecstasy. Expect another long, glow stick–lit night of wide eyes and wet brows at the Music Box. Beardy Ed Banger veteran Mr. Oizo may have spent just two hours creating "Flat Beat" (and it sounds like it), but this relentless 1999 throbber — a huge hit in Europe and soundtrack to Oizo-directed Levi's TV commercials — remains his calling card. A shame, because more recent stuff like "Steroids" (featuring Uffie) burbles with much body-wave charisma. Italian producer-remixer Congorock infiltrated the scene through well-received collaborations with the likes of the Bloody Beetroots and MSTRKRFT, but it's his own cinematic fidget-house banger "Babylon" that really got him HARD this year. The eclectic, energetic blog-hog Brodinski deejays from a much broader palette than most of his Parisian peers — from serrated techno to minimal 'n' melodic — and has remixed everyone from Klaxons to Hearts Revolution. Also appearing: Destructo, Mike Messex, Harvard Bass, Sean Perry, DJ Falcon and Chris Holmes. [Ed.'s note: Please remember to rave safely. See this week's L.A. Weekly cover feature.] (Paul Rogers)
CAMP FREDDY AT THE ROXY
All-star cover band Camp Freddy make a natty New Year's Eve living jukebox: comfortingly traditional (in their choice of mostly classic-rock tunes) but with enough surprises (in terms of their special guests) to make the night unique. This time the core band will feature Billy Idol ax-slinger Steve Stevens and Cult bassist Chris Wyse in place of regulars Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney (who are away on Jane's Addiction duty), alongside usual guitarist Billy Morrison (ex-Cult, now with Idol's touring band), drummer Matt Sorum (formerly of the Cult, Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver, etc.) and actor/musician/son of the "Sunshine Superman" composer Donovan Leitch. Despite their musical professionalism, Camp Freddy's in-concert approach is genuinely chaotic: They never announce who'll be joining them onstage ahead of time (largely out of fear that they might not actually show up), but in the past everyone from Cypress Hill and Chino Moreno to Gina Gershon and Ozzy Osbourne has jumped in. The only rule is that guests cannot sing their own songs — so good thing none of them wrote "Auld Lang Syne." (Paul Rogers)
KENAN BELL, NITE JEWEL AT THE ECHO
A feeling of balance is an appropriate way with which to enter the New Year, and you couldn't ask for a more eclectic evening than tonight's bill. L.A.'s Nite Jewel, still exploring themes and sounds from the ethereal vision of rock summoned up on their recent EP Am I Real?, mix stark emotionalism with the discreetly discrete mood of holy-shit-the-carpet-is-moving. They may wield minimalist synthesizers with consummate skill, but the feeling is anything but synthesized. Kenan Bell is the hyperliterate, forthright rapper appropriately recalling nothing less than the second coming of MC 900 Ft Jesus. He released a relatively annoying video recently for "Like This," one of the finest breakup songs released this year — annoying because it's shot as though he's escaped from a dollhouse, a rather reductionist take on his meditation on loss, a massive part of the human experience. (David Cotner)
OCTAVIUS, VIOLET TREMORS AT SHOW CAVE
Like the ghost of Hamlet's father, blank funk is poised to make a significant comeback: dissonant, brutally measured and icily wondering why we can't all get along. Octavius, the vehicle since 1998 for artist William Marshall, is the prime mover of blank funk in L.A., and his are nights and noises that only maybe a few can see — or see as funk. Everyone else wonders why those few are talking to their bedclothes because they've just seen something amazing in the voice, bass and beats that exist as a wall of sound that constantly changes its mind about being solid or not. A recent appointment to CNTRL Limited as creative director means you'll hear more soon of Marshall's work publicizing the work of black American avant-garde musicians. (Does that mean we'll finally get that box set of the collected works of Darryl Hell, Ron Gittens, Barney Jones, Ben Patterson and Jair-Rôhm Parker Wells?) Violet Tremors are Jessica White and Lorene Simpson, former sex-toy saleswomen who now pump out stylish, darkly comic and disconnected examples of machine consciousness turned into machine conscience for those humans who no longer have either. (David Cotner)
Also playing Friday: GABRIEL & DRESDEN: GIANT NEW YEAR'S EVE at the Palladium (see GoLA).
BLACK VEIL BRIDES AT WHISKY A GO-GO
To the horror of cock-rock diehards (and Aqua Net shareholders), the funny-haired, androgynous Sunset Strip metal scene of the '80s is never, ever coming back. But it appears there will always be a cult following for bands like Black Veil Brides that offer a convincingly updated take on the glam-slam formula. Though their carefully cultured look loiters somewhere between vintage Mötley Crüe bobbleheads and Halloween MILFs gone wild, BVB's full-length debut, We Stitch These Wounds (released in July), includes in-the-now stylistic flourishes like furiously mechanical double kick drums and tortured screeching that are more metalcore than Metal Health. But Black Veil Brides' Winger-worthy melodies, twin-guitar harmonizing and widdly six-string solos will work well at the Whisky, the Strip's most trapped-in-time venue, and it seems entirely apt that they roll in on New Year's Day — just too late for the big party. (Paul Rogers)
PLATINUM, SLINK P, CHIZZLE AT EL REY
This one's a bit of a crap shoot, but on paper it's looking nice. The idea is there's this company called DBD BLKLYFE that's interested in, among other things, kinda putting a West Coast/L.A. rap/hip-hop scene back together. They've got an ace compilation CD out on Reverbnation called The Movement, featuring a tasty variety of our region's palette of sonic terrorists, including Wild Child, Speedy, Eastwood, Spider Loc and Charlisa. Tonight, some of the artists in their "stable" — not all of whom represent local places — hit the boards to help kick things off. Platinum Damage, aka just plain Platinum, brings a kind of tense, hypnotic claustrophobia to tracks like "Party Monster." Akron's Chizzle will be doing stuff from his new set Street to Concrete. (John Payne)
Also playing Saturday: LISA HALEY at Cafe Boogaloo.
COSMOLOGIC, JIM McCAULEY/ANDREW PASK/SCOTT WALTON TRIO AT EAGLE ROCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS
First of all, praise be to this humble yet noble little venue called Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, and perhaps higher praise even for Open Gate Theater founder Will Salmon, whose tireless work in curating and promoting the venue's fantastically progressive art is of genuine importance. Good example is tonight's lineup, featuring the boundary-pushing extempo-jazz unit known as Cosmologic, featuring Jason Robinson, tenor sax; Michael Dessen, trombone; Scott Walton, bass; and Nathan Hubbard on drums. They'll be followed with an improv set by guitarist Jim McAuley, who also plays several bowed and plucked instruments, digitally enhanced clarinetist Andrew Pask (the instrument, we mean) and bassist Walton. This show, like most events at this venue, will set you back just $10. Note the early start time,7 p.m.; try not to be late. (John Payne)
Also playing Sunday: THE PASTILLES at the Redwood; JANE MONHEIT at Catalina Bar & Grill.
RONNIE MACK'S BARN DANCE AT JOE'S GREAT AMERICAN BAR & GRILL
For 23 years, indefatigable promoter Ronnie Mack has been putting on his monthly Barn Dance concerts, lending crucial exposure to such key rockabilly, roots and country stylists as Dwight Yoakam, Rosie Flores, Mike Stinson and James Intveld. It's clearly a labor of love, with Mack seemingly motivated by nothing more than a purist's desire to present authentic Americana music in contrast to the distressing artifice spilling out of the Nashville pop factory. For tonight's special anniversary concert, he's assembled a massive lineup of the Barn Dance's longtime regulars and favorite performers. While there are too many great names to mention here, be sure to catch the evocative country-rock revisionists I See Hawks in L.A., boozy Southern-rock rowdies the Groovy Rednecks and rockabilly legend Ray Campi, who likes to jump on and thrash his curiously indestructible stand-up bass. They'll be joined by such stalwart Barn Dance veterans as Patty Booker, Rick Shea, Kathy Robertson, Rip Masters and Russell Scott, as well as Lynda Kay, whose new CD, Dream My Darling, segues seamlessly from shimmering country idylls to authentically fiery rockabilly ravers. (Falling James)
Also playing Monday: GROUPLOVE at the Bootleg; KINCH at Silverlake Lounge.
NICOLE EVA EMERY AT THE MINT
You might have seen Nicole Eva Emery around town when she sings backup vocals for madcap art-folk singer-guitarist Jesca Hoop. The latter is a fanciful songwriter who surrounds her pastoral melodies with febrile, complex vocal arrangements, but it's Emery who layers everything with ethereal high harmonies, giving Hoop's music an icily beautiful allure. Emery's own songs are similarly dreamy but with more of an introspective quietude that slowly builds its own intoxicating momentum through an accumulation of subtle murmurs and distant echoes. Songs like "Ghosts" and "Down by the Water" sound just like their titles, with soft waves of gentle guitars and keyboards bubbling under spectral melodies that float away in the air like curling smoke. The local singer may still be largely unknown, but she's already worked with Bob Dylan and Rickie Lee Jones, who recognize the incandescent power welling up in Emery's distinctively, delicately sublime phrasing. (Falling James)
JESUS MAKES THE SHOTGUN SOUND SCORING FANTASTIC PLANET AT CINEFAMILY
Jesus Makes the Shotgun Sound have come a long way from their origins as nerfcore noiseniks incessantly touring small clubs from Riverside to the Smell and beyond. The title of their latest Ah Ritualism LP, Damnant Quod Non Intelligunt, translates to "They condemn what they do not understand," which might as well be the motto of all noise music. They're noise punk's answer to Muse — textured, spacious and almost romantic in all its drama and simmering fury. Their evolution makes them suitable candidates to tackle this latest layer of their artistic onion: scoring psychedelic French animated film Fantastic Planet. No small order, this: The soundtrack to the film is already a heavy, weird trip — not so much a relic of the mid-1970s as it is one of that decade's finest examples of what the art form could become. In a very present way, Jesus Makes the Shotgun Sound's transmogrification mirrors the global shift that characterizes the class/species struggle in Fantastic Planet, so expect one world or another to undergo upheaval tonight. (David Cotner)
Also playing Tuesday: BARRIO TIGER at the Redwood; TORCHES IN TREES at Silverlake Lounge.
ANTHONY B AT THE ECHOPLEX
Casual observers of the music scene in Jamaica would think that the massive success of Sean Paul and his party clones has left no room for the political fire of a Peter Tosh, but that would be simplistic. Witness the ongoing saga of Anthony B, a Tosh-influenced Rastafarian who rode out the misogynistic "slack" trend of the '90s by sticking to the much more lasting values known as "telling it like it is." The good folk at Dub Club are bringing Anthony B to L.A. on the slowest day of the slowest week of the year musicwise, so you have no excuse not to go check out the weekly Wednesday reggae scene at the Echoplex like you keep saying you will. (Gustavo Turner)
Also playing Wednesday: WILLIE NELSON AND FAMILY at the Canyon; ALPINE DECLINE, POLLS at Silverlake Lounge.
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PETER AND THE WOLF, MOSES CAMPBELL, BLACK JESUS AT THE SMELL
Forget Peter and the Wolf. It's all about Traffique now. Traffique is the transvestite alter ego of Peter and the Wolf's Red Hunter, a mousy and repressed lesbian who sleepwalks her way through the seedier elements of life. One of the most soulfully baffling concept albums all year, Traffique's Endless Weekend Mixtape is a moody, curious adventure into an inner world usually kept hidden from waking life — life that will be lived tonight in full effect. Moses Campbell, starring members of Alt Whitman (hur hur) and ET and Me, is the latest shining star in the already stellar Tralala Media universe. And Black Jesus put Van Nuys squarely on the map with their electrified sandwich of secular gospel and spectral blues that's enough to make you rise up and shout, "Thank you, Black Jesus!" (David Cotner)
Also playing Thursday: WAIT.THINK.FAST at Largo; GRANT LEE BUFFALO at the Troubadour; ZONGO JUNCTION, TURKUAZ at the Echo.