Music Picks: NKOTBSB, Mixed Message, Earthless
Paul Collins, Audacity, Garbo's Daughter, Pangaea
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Jessica 6, Love Grenades, Vice Cooler
Named after the refugee heroine in Logan's Run, Brooklyn trio Jessica 6 deploy frothy pop melodies over bubbling disco rhythms. "Let me see you dance/Put me in a trance," former Hercules & Love Affair singer Nomi Ruiz implores on "White Horse," from the group's new album, See the Light. Such lyrics aren't the deepest philosophical statements, but her partners, Andrew Raposo (bass) and Morgan Wiley (keyboards), give Ruiz's pleas a sense of dance-floor urgency. The local tribe Love Grenades also pump up some infectiously danceable grooves, but singer Elizabeth Wight's clever lyrics are imbued with a wistful restlessness that's ultimately more ambitious. Don't miss Oakland electronic whiz Hawnay Troof in his Vice Cooler persona. —Falling James
Earthless, Joy, Green & Wood
Earthless, the San Diego masters of long-form psych-metal that qualifies as either dirges or epics, haven't released an album since 2008, although they do have a split 12-inch with Danava and Lecherous Gaze that came out in February. In accordance with the alchemy of their spiky Tokyo-by-way-of-Berlin groove, the B-side of that 12-inch is the sound of a motor revving. That doesn't mean that revisiting "Cosmic Prayer" and "Rhythms From a Cosmic Sky" isn't a beautiful way to zone out, but you get a little antsy when you're cut off from the teat of transcendence. They're on the same bill — touring incessantly as they do — with Joy, another San Diego combo plowing the fertile fields of what they call "ectoplasmic rock." Green & Wood round out the bill, a Los Angeles quartet playing "hippie all-star apocalyptic acid grunge," so ignore them at your absolute peril. —David Cotner
The Growlers bring the party wherever they go, and tonight they go to the Troubadour with Some Days and TRMRS. They've been building a loyal following for the last few years, packing venues across L.A. and O.C. for quite a while with their dark psych-surf-rock tunes, bizarro stage props and hand-screened CD-Rs. 2009's psychedelic monster Are You In or Out? was followed by 2010's Hot Tropics, an EP full of what sounds like B-sides from their debut — but in a good way. See them live, because lead singer Brooks Nielsen puts on quite a captivating show. He's got energy like Jim Morrison meets Ian Curtis and he'll pull you under with him like a nighttime riptide. —Lainna Fader
Amedeo and Simone Pace, identical twin brothers from Italy, frame a sort of mysterious woman from Kyoto, Kazu Makino. Amedeo on guitar or bass and vocals and Simone on very hard-rocking idiosyncratic drums weave around Makino's dramatized guitar shards and breathy, not-so-guileless sighs. Their sound keeps evolving, growing sleek, cinematic, exploding with new tone colors and curiously dense emotions, wrenching a formerly lonely and alienating sound into genuinely revelatory realms, where dark flowers brim with strangely sweet nectar. Their new album, Penny Sparkle, is, if possible, even more heartbreaking than their 2004 masterpiece, Misery Is a Butterfly. Also at El Rey Sat., July 2. —John Payne
A nine-headed teen-pop hydra formed by the decidedly unteenage members of New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys, NKOTBSB is the summer's hottest ticket for mother-daughter duos looking for a night of cross-generational cheer. Reports from the road indicate a tag team–style revue, with a handful of joint performances interspersed among the likes of "Step by Step" and "I Want It That Way." (A combined greatest-hits album featuring several new collaborative tracks came out in May; one of the fresh cuts, "Don't Turn Out the Lights," sounds exactly like "In My Head" by Jason Derulo.) Whatever they play, though, expect to hear more squealing than at a Jonas Brothers show. With goody-goody American Idol champ Jordin Sparks. —Mikael Wood
DAN BERN at Bootleg Bar; OTHER LIVES, ROSEBUDS at Satellite; TAKING BACK SUNDAY and THURSDAY at House of Blues; SO MANY WIZARDS at the Smell; NEGATIVLAND (Symposium) at Cinefamily.
Like the true believers they apparently are, singer Lisa Kekaula and guitarist Bob Vennum have been pushing their singular, scorching brand of Stax-style soul and garage rock since the early '90s. With the addition of guitarist-songwriter Tony Fate, the band have further complexified their unholy brew of Detroit punk, R&B, psychedelic rock and gospel. All of which gets yanked outta the textbooks and hurled at the sun with the band's improv-jazz 'tude of making the music in the moment. It's called the sound of spontaneity, and it's hard to find. The Bellrays deliver on it with real brains, wicked chops and true passion, an ecstatic assault heard to thrilling effect on their new album, the appropriately titled Have a Little Faith. —John Payne
Moses Campbell, Zorch, Peter Pants, Batwings Catwings
Moses Campbell's debut, Who Are You? Who Is Anyone?, was one of the top releases of 2010, a fantastically conceived pop record the teenagers put out on the Smell's imprint olFactory. They're returning to the Smell for probably the 50th time since then, joined tonight by Zorch, Peter Pants and Batwings Catwings. Austin duo Zorch are synth experimentalists bending noise rock and building mind-shattering atmospherics. L.A.'s Batwings Catwings, a psychotic girl trio, and garage-punk Pehrspace staple Peter Pants round out the night. —Lainna Fader
Minimalist techno-/electro-house digitician Richie Hawtin is a lot of things — a DJ, a producer, a record label owner and, not least, a big booster for his beloved Detroit's underground scene. That city's acclaimed innovators in electro/dance inspired the English-born, Canadian-raised Hawtin to take his own clean-lined and minimalist yet subtly detailed mixes into intriguing unknown worlds, where the sound seems to burst in crystals around supremely danceable beats and utterly amazing low-frequency muscle massage. Hawtin's big-beat body work gets internalized and cerebralized when he issues his thoughts as alter ego Plastikman, though tonight he'll be cranking the heat. So bring your body and your brain. —John Payne
The Dark Horse — formerly Bordello — is finally open for shows again; in the last couple weeks, the schedule has been stacked with killer lineups. Headlining tonight are Portland punks Mean Jeans, who just last month graced the cover of L.A.'s best punk zine, Razorcake, with the band shredding in front of a meatball-spewing volcano and wading through globs of bright orange lava. These guys breathe new life into late-'70s to mid-'80s punk on their Are You Serious? LP for Dirtnap Records — you can hear the Ramones in about every other guitar lick — where they sing about drugs, partying or messes arising from too much drugs or too much partying. The Underground Railroad to Candyland, Clorox Girls and White Night support. —Lainna Fader
Hall & Oates ... and fireworks!
Kick it old-school under the stars at the Bowl with the one and only Daryl Hall & John Oates, who'll join the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for a night of mellow gold like "She's Gone," "Rich Girl," "Kiss on My List," "Private Eyes," "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," "Maneater" and "Out of Touch"! So many ... wait, how about "Sara Smile," "One on One" or the utterly righteous "Say It Isn't So"? Hall & Oates are like the ultimate guilty-pleasure kind of thing, except in hindsight one can clearly see that there's nothing to feel guilty about. The orchestra also will play a selection of old-tyme Americana gems to celebrate the USA's 235th birthday, and did we mention fireworks? Yes, there will be fireworks! Also Sun.-Mon., July 3-4. —John Payne
THE HOOTENANNY at Oak Canyon Ranch; SOUTHERN TORNADOES BENEFIT with SUE SCROFA, HI HO SILVER OH, COUNT FLEET, SAINT SEA HAT at Echo Country Outpost; BLONDE REDHEAD, LUYAS and BASS DRUM OF DEATH at El Rey.
Catwalk, Sea Lions, Sweater Girls
Oxnard's in the house tonight, as Nick Hessler brings his jingle-jangly pop band Catwalk down south. A million miles away from the aggressive Nardcore of old punk bands like Ill Repute and Dr. Know, Catwalk have a tuneful dreaminess in songs like "One by Love." Fellow Ventura County visitors Sea Lions take a wispy, lo-fi pop approach on such cheeky originals as "I Wish I Was Lou Reed" and their alt-garage remake of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody." The local coven Sweater Girls wrap their fuzz-pop bonbons in a cottony gauze of reverb guitars and Jesus & Mary Chain haziness that's often quite beguiling. —Falling James
Mixed Message, Quarteto Nuevo
@CENTER FOR THE ARTS, EAGLE ROCK
The brave and bold Open Gate Theatre brings you another evening of far-reaching and relevant musical adventure. Mixed Message is founder Will Salmon's collaboration with pipa (Chinese lute) virtuoso Jie Ma, accordionist/composer Daniel Corral and dancer Heather Rhea Dawn. The excellent, eclectic Quarteto Nuevo — Christopher Garcia, percussion; Jacob Szekely, cello; Kenton Youngstrom, acoustic guitar; and Damon Zick on soprano saxophone and alto flute — perform original compositions and interpretations of music by such artists as Egberto Gismonti, John Bergamo, Milcho Leviev and Frank Zappa. Admission is a measly $10, students, seniors and past series performers half-price; plenty of free parking. More info: (626) 795-4989. —John Payne
BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY at House of Blues; JAIL WEDDINGS, SWAHILI BLONDE, GANGI at Alex's Bar; WHITE PANDA at the Glass House.
Long Beach's psychedelic Crystal Antlers have come a long way. Their label Touch and Go — one of the last big independents — went under just after releasing their first LP. The band's bad luck continued when all their gear was stolen. But then they regrouped with a retreat to Mexico for a recording session in a barn, returning with a self-released single. Just a few days ago, they released a video for "Summer Solstice," off their upcoming full-length Two-Way Mirror, produced by Ikey Owens of Free Moral Agents and the Mars Volta. Two-Way Mirror is due out July 12 via Recreation LTD. For the first night of their Monday Echo residency, Crystal Antlers bring with them Bleached, Bass Drum of Death and Fidlar. —Lainna Fader
RACES at the Bootleg; LA FONT at Silverlake Lounge.
Most people use their summertime to embrace a wet and humid kind of annihilation — not musician Jessica Catron. Usually seen around town with Jeremy Drake and Corey Fogel in the experimental powerhouse known as Missincinatti, for her latest project, "Disassembled String Ensemble," a string quartet will try to perform together while interspersed around the terraces of the museum. It's a new manifestation of the Hammer Museum's Public Engagement program, which strives toward a more interactive kind of art space in which the passive is passé and all aspects of the museum collide to create experiences instead of exhibitions. Her last piece, "Insect Ensemble," involved the same kind of remote hearing, in which a loose-knit ensemble roamed around the grounds and made bug noises with mouths and hands. Who says you can't just crash the action and bring a cello bow to play the staircase railing? No one, that's who. —David Cotner
CHUCK DUKOWSKI SEXTET at the Prospector.
Holly Miranda, Rachael Cantu
Holly Miranda's enchanting vocals float through a shiny sea of swirling synth tones and layers of shimmering atmospherics on her latest album, The Magician's Private Library, which was produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. The ethereal soundscapes often evoke the Cocteau Twins, but Miranda puts her own distinct stamp on such engrossing interludes as "Waves" and "Slow Burn Treason." A track like "Joints" comes off like a Pink Floyd reverie, but it's brightened by Miranda's airy vocals, thoughtful lyrics and compellingly feminine mystique. The O.C. native Rachael Cantu has a more straightforward pop-folk style, but her songs are more intelligent than most waiflike singer-songwriters, and her spare version of Tom Waits' "San Diego Serenade" is both intimate and haunting. —Falling James
Lucky Dragons, Ezra Buchla, Whitman, Cigarette
Folktale Records Night lands at the Smell with the record launch of the latest Whitman LP, I'll Be Waiting (200 on black vinyl and 100 on blue), co-released by olFactory, the Smell's in-house label; Am Discs; and Talking Helps. Lucky Dragons, who redefine touch tones, take a break from a solid year so far of touring, working on videos and other ways to break down the walls between artist and performer. Ezra Buchla, fresh off a trip to Rio de Janeiro, inhabits a kind of sonic head space where electronics are made from sunsets, imparting a warmth aligned with waves of heat simmering on the sidewalk in June. Cigarette, from Arlington, Va., round out the night with dusky and nostalgic takes on guitar music, a sound floating in over the horizon in such a subtle way that you'll feel like you woke up in a cloud instead of a puddle. —David Cotner
The Grouch & Eligh
@BORDERS THOUSAND OAKS
Knowing that the site of a former Borders bookstore was going to sit vacant until new tenants move in this fall, landlord Larry Janss decided to use the venue to host the summerlong Open Borders Festival as a way to raise funds for the nonprofit group Regenerate Films. A pleasingly diverse lineup of performers — including Ozomatli, Pinback, Daniel Johnston and Meiko — is scheduled to appear, and tonight Living Legends' Eligh and the Grouch wax poetic on everything from things that are "Chronic" to the pleasures of "Highwire Love." The Grouch's rapidfire rhymes are shrouded in multilayered beats that are otherworldly and yet also come back down to Earth with elaborate, confessional insights into relationships: "We need balance in life and hip-hop." —Falling James
NEW MASTERSOUNDS at the Troubadour.
Darwin Deez, Dirty Gold
It's a big year for quirky pop-giant-in-the-making Darwin Deez, and he's here to show you how it's done. The Myrtle Beach, S.C., lad seems to have been born with the gift of — well, at least belief in himself, and his admittedly persuasive, unjaded enthusiasm probably does give him the ability to write such superpositive and goofily heartbreaking choons like "Radar Detector" and "Constellations," from his May self-titled debut album. His artfully constructed songs (with a lotta nicely weird chords, too) are one thing, but most likely it's his vibrant-to-the-10th-power stage persona that has caused all the critics and those who love them to grant the boy extremely loud clapping sounds and an effusion of praise now approaching the moon. —John Payne
COUNT FLEET, YELLOW RED SPARKS at Lot 1; BIXBY KNOLLS at the Viper Room; DEPARTURE LOUNGE with BEN MILSTEIN, VOLUM, TL SMITH at Medusa Lounge; JANET KLEIN & HER PARLOR BOYS at Steve Allen Theater.
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