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Music Picks: Steve Aoki, Chvrches, Jessie Ware

Chvrches: See Monday.
Chvrches: See Monday.
PHOTO BY ELIOT HAZEL

fri 11/15

Beats Antique

THE FONDA THEATRE

There's a lot going on during Beats Antique's live shows, but the single most important element might be dancer Zoe Jakes' hips, which have become a staple of the band's exotic live shows and are one of many reasons why Beats Antique sets are more performance art than just rote performance. Founded in 2007, the Bay Area band's backstory reads like the plot of a road movie; Burning Man, belly dancing and a tour around the country in a veggie oil–burning van all factored into the musical synthesis of the hip, hippie trio and its cross-cultural fusion of Afro-beat, Middle Eastern folk, electronica, hip-hop and kitchen sink. The group's old-world aesthetics, Jakes' moves and the guys' moody Gypsy music all regularly transform the stage into a bewitching blend of lights, music and sensual physicality. —Kelsey Whipple

Steve Aoki

SHRINE AUDITORIUM

Whether supporting then–mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti at City Hall events or doing "Aoki jumps" across the globe (he's jumped into more than 500 audiences), EDM monarch Steve Aoki always throws one hell of a fiesta. Famous for his relentless touring, the Grammy-nominated DJ also keeps himself busy with his record label, Dim Mak, and musical collaborations with artists including Tiesto, Bloc Party, MSTRKRFT and, as most recently rumored, Big Sean. This year, Aoki's tour has developed a new aesthetic, which the DJ describes as "neon future technology" in preparation for his forthcoming album, Neon Future. Stage props include CO cannons, confetti blasts, Champagne sprays and Aoki's one-of-a-kind glowing headdress and matching, light-up shoes. Performing in his hometown of L.A., Aoki's special guests tonight include Iggy Azalea, Waka Flocka Flame, trap trio Keys N Krates and Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, all ensuring a wild and sonically well-rounded dance party. —Britt Witt

Charles Lloyd & Friends

ROYCE HALL

Saxophonist Charles Lloyd has been a fixture in jazz since the late 1960s, when he became the first jazz act to appear at the legendary Fillmore West in San Francisco and was one of the first U.S. artists to play independently in the Soviet Union. Lloyd's musical career has seen numerous twists and turns, while his bands have been proving grounds for musicians who have gone on to stellar solo careers, including Keith Jarrett and French pianist Michel Petrucciani. Tonight at UCLA's Royce Hall, Lloyd gathers together Americana guitarist Bill Frisell along with the young rhythm section of bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland for his latest explorations of avant-garde jazz mixed with music from around the world. —Tom Meek

sat 11/16

Nik Turner's Space Ritual

THE SATELLITE

Space is still the place for Nik Turner, who traveled freely across the galaxy in the '70s and early '80s with the English psychedelic troupe Hawkwind before leaving the solar system altogether via various outré solo projects in the ensuing eons. For the past decade, the singer-saxist-flutist has been conducting his Space Ritual — named after the 1973 Hawkwind album — with several key ex-members of Hawkwind, who are featured on his aptly titled latest adventure, Space Gypsy. With its whooshing rocket sounds, whirring synthesizers, punk guitars, free-jazz sax and Turner's low, mournfully alien vocals, the new single, "Fallen Angel," comes off like Joy Division and Roxy Music joining forces to reinterpret "Space Oddity." Sinister guitars creep out of "Time Crypt," while Turner's bubbling sax washes like lava over the cold, remote starlight transmissions of "We Ride the Timewinds." —Falling James

Brett Dennen

TROUBADOUR

Following the success of 2011's Loverboy, Brett Dennen retreated to the mountains of Northern California for some reflection. Upon returning from his self-imposed sabbatical, Dennen joined forces with producer Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars) and headed to Nashville to record his fifth album, Smoke and Mirrors, with many of the songs inspired by his time spent in the great outdoors. The result? A diverse mix of the redheaded singer's lyrically driven songs, which combine elements of the delightful acoustic rock that has been his calling card with the delicate melodies that have made him a favorite with the coffeehouse types. Returning to Los Angeles, Dennen is refreshed and recharged, proving that taking time off after a half-decade of relentless recording was a wise decision. —Daniel Kohn

sun 11/17

Wire

THE ECHOPLEX

It's a rare-ish thing for a band to improve with age, and in Wire's case that's saying a lot, since the English art-punk godfathers have been smashing boundaries since their now-canonical first album, Pink Flag, came out in 1977. A searing, 21-song suite of rude aggression and simultaneous cool detachment, the critically hailed (and low-selling) LP was enormously influential; most every punk band in the Minor Threat/Minutemen/Black Flag mold lifted at least a little something off it. But core members guitarist-singer Colin Newman, bassist-singer Graham Lewis and drummer Robert Grey (aka Robert Gotobed) changed direction following Pink Flag's release, with subsequent albums departing punk's rigid formats via complexly structured and synth- and effects-laden investigations that almost single-handedly created the postpunk genre and beyond. The band has evolved in fascinating ways since then, exploring most recently a brutal yet lyrical minimalism that can be heard on its latest, Change Becomes Us, a crushing set of reshaped, previously unrecorded material. —John Payne

mon 11/18

Chvrches

THE WILTERN

Chvrches' ascent to theater-headlining status on distant continents has been giddying. The Scottish trio released its debut single but a year back and only in September did an album, The Bones of What You Believe, appear. The mystery of this career curve is actually pretty straightforward: Chvrches create contemplative, melodic synth-pop topped with Lauren Mayberry's finely grained, rather detached timbre. Ostensibly, it's de rigueur, '80s-inspired stuff channeling New Order, A-ha and Kate Bush, but Chvrches' pleasure is in the details. Hooks emerge not just from Mayberry's lips but also in the way her utterances are studio-effected, as well as from the masterfully well-chosen keys, loops and the throbbing electro-pulses that surround them. Chvrches' current it-band cred will cool, but sheer excellence of execution ensures they'll long outlive "it." —Paul Rogers

tue 11/19

Jessie Ware

HOUSE OF BLUES

"I will wait all night," Jessie Ware coos faithfully on her latest single, "Imagine It Was Us," her yearning vocals contrasting soulfully with the sometimes-slick but funky pop instrumentation. On other bedroom confessions, such as "Night Light," the British singer burns with a similarly steadfast passion that's often missing from the shiny arrangements. Hip-hop touches break up the austere glow of "If You're Never Gonna Move," as Ware's breathy exhalations alight like a gentle snowfall: "You keep me wishing in the dark." Her imaginatively layered vocals tend to dress up even the plainest sentiments and elevate them to the level of grand, romantic drama. —Falling James

Insects vs. Robots

DEL MONTE SPEAKEASY

L.A.'s Insects vs. Robots have a new self-titled album just barely out, and they manage to cram a million different things into only six songs. An adjective like "folkapsychecanyondelic" probably is going to break the spellcheck and flummox the copy editor, but there's just no other word for it. Like Love, or the United States of America in the '60s, or Olivia Tremor Control or Neutral Milk Hotel in the '90s reincarnation of the '60s, Insects vs. Robots are about possibilities. That's why they can wrap a lyric like "please, fuck off" in lovely strings and make it sound so sweet. That's how they make their old-timey stringed instruments sound so cosmically futuristic, too. (And that's also why their electric guitar solos shred.) This is heady stuff, in all senses of the word. —Chris Ziegler

wed 11/20

Howe Gelb

HOTEL CAFÉ

Howe Gelb has lost track of the number of albums he has recorded. Whether it is with his various groups, most notably Giant Sand, or on his own, such as on his latest LP, The Coincidentalist, Gelb puts his inimitable, desert touch on Americana. M. Ward's warbling guitar and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley's brushed drums back Gelb's gravelly baritone, creating a distinct branch of alt.country. On "The 3 Deaths of Lucky," Gelb's rumbling tones tangle with KT Tunstall's clear ones for a Leonard Cohen–like seductive push-and-pull. He whispers his innermost feelings on the hushed "Picacho Peak" while stand-up bass and plinking keys steer things in a jazzy direction on "Instigated Crimes." In contrast, "Unforgiveable" is almost pop with its bubbly chorus. This amalgamation of styles is simply the work of a coincidentalist. —Lily Moayeri

The Happy Hollows

BOOTLEG THEATER

The Happy Hollows live up to the first part of their name on "Endless," a poppy song from their new album, Amethyst. Sarah Negahdari's vocals soar ebulliently over the sparkling bed of sounds laid down by her bandmates, Charlie Mahoney and Matthew Fry. Guitars and keyboards glisten and glimmer in the sunlight, while bass and drums tunnel underneath with a postpunk intensity. But the local trio never lives down to the second part of its name. Instead, Happy Hollows' sound is full, as on "Cloud Head," where Negahdari's birdlike trilling rings out grandly over propulsive chord changes, thick guitars and seesawing seas of strings for an overall impact that's both enchanting and momentous. —Falling James

thu 11/21

Over the Rhine

EL REY THEATRE

Over the Rhine have crossed over the river and disappeared deeper into the trees during the past few years as the husband-wife duo of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist have stripped down their band and retreated to the rural Ohio home they call Nowhere Farm. The place is reflected in the title of their latest album, Meet Me at the Edge of the World, where their intimate folk songs take place far from the busy noise of the rest of the planet. Instead, the couple has created its own rhythm, centered around close-cropped voices and stark strums of guitar. "Take a left loneliness/There's a place to find forgiveness called home," they confide with soothing harmonies. —Falling James


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