Music Picks: SWANS, Sebadoh, Arbouretum, Cass McCombs
How to Dress Well, Shlohmo
Tom Krell is a research fellow who was translating a book of "post-Kantian philosophy" last spring. He's also How to Dress Well, a singer-producer who exchanges text messages with Lil B (schwag!), thinks Keith Sweat's "Twisted" is a "fucking masterpiece" and dreams that one day The-Dream, singer and megaproducer for R&B's new royalty, will recognize him. His blog, a collagelike journal of videos and photos offering little to no explanation and bits of poetic text, is a love fest — charmingly, he seems to be in disbelief that he gets to do this. And what he does is lovely itself. San Franciscan by way of L.A. beat-maker Shlohmo, an apt pupil at the Low End Theory school of experimental thought, opens. —Rebecca Haithcoat
Texas Terri Bomb, The Neurotics, A Pretty Mess
THE REDWOOD BAR & GRILL
Singer Texas Terri Laird was based in Los Angeles, where she fronted punked-up hard-rock bands like the Killer Crows and the Stiff Ones. Her live shows became increasingly wild, with the exhibitionist singer often stripping off her clothes until she was topless and cavorting onstage and prowling through the audience like a cross between Iggy Pop and Wendy O. Williams. Ironically, Laird was at the height of her local popularity when she moved to Germany and began touring Europe exclusively. Tonight she returns to Los Angeles for the first time since the big move, backed by a gang of local all-stars. —Falling James
Glassjaw, Cerebral Ballzy, Tidal Arms, These People
Emerging in 1994 out of Long Island, Glassjaw quickly became a force in the punk underground, beloved by fans of the Deftones and At the Drive-In for its mix of apocalyptic melodies, surprisingly catchy hooks and, perhaps most of all, singer Daryl Palumbo's sexy, menacing, emotive coo. He had a mean screech, too, and wasn't afraid to use it on the band's all-too-small discography. Glassjaw did a pretty masterful job at updating the best of Mike Patton for a generation whose beloved moody songs were finally making it onto the radio (see emo), but the band called a hiatus in 2004. Palumbo was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and retreated to the studio, where he focused on the far less great pop project Head Automatica, so it's a big deal that Glassjaw is back on the road. No wonder it's sold out. —Chris Martins
HOUSE OF BLUES
Maybe it's due to old-school station KDAY constantly playing it, but E-40's breakout hit, "Sprinkle Me," sounds much more recent than its production date of 1995. The Ambassador of the Bay earned his nickname for bringing the slanguage of the Bay Area's hyphy movement (go dumb, ghostride the whip) to national attention with the Lil Jon–produced single "Tell Me When to Go." Lately, however, he seems to be handing over the crown to his son, Droop-E, letting him handle most of the production on last spring's critically well-received double album, Revenue Retrievin' Day/Night Shift. Don't count on 40 Water to hang it up quite yet, though — with three more releases scheduled for 2011, he's gonna sit on the throne a while longer. —Rebecca Haithcoat
Cass McCombs, Frank Fairfield
CENTER FOR THE ARTS EAGLE ROCK
Does the idea of Elliott Smith overdosing on the Beatles' "Sexy Sadie" float your boat? If so, Cass McCombs is your man. One for the romantics. —Dave Parkman
The recent trend of bands playing albums live from start to finish is an incredibly kind gesture to fans. It does, however, reflect little of how people actually listen to those albums. Usually, certain songs get played repeatedly ("Holland, 1945"), while others are skipped entirely ("Meat Is Murder"). Sebadoh, the seminal indie band now composed of Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein and Friendly Fires' Bob D'Amico, are on tour playing their 1994 album Bakesale in its entirety. Bakesale, originally 11 songs, now boasts 25 tracks on its reissue; mostly four-track demos and assorted singles. Touring with them are Portland trio Quasi. —David Cotner
Also playing Friday:
SIC ALPS, WHITMAN, WHITE FENCE, LITERATURE at the Smell; HAR MAR SUPERSTAR, SAMANTHA RONSON at Satellite; MARK GROWDEN at Fais Do Do; JON BRION at Largo; GREYSON CHANCE at Club Nokia; ALMON LOOS AND THE HOOP'N'HOLLERS at Vacation Vinyl; CHOP SUZY, JASON REID, AM SESSIONS, HOWLIN' WOODS at Rusty's Surf Ranch (at the Santa Monica Pier); PENDULUM at the Wiltern; THE 88 at Hotel Café.
Death, RTX, Sic Alps
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L.A. Folk Fest
PAPPY & HARRIET'S PIONEERTOWN PALACE
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Miss Nika Roza Danilova is her real name, and as Zola Jesus she's suddenly everywhere, all the time. These things happen fast: Her EPs Valusia and Stridulum and her album The Spoils got major loads of critical huzzah last year, and her video for "Night" made her a sort of fashion icon as well (in Vogue, no less). Then the venerable NME hailed her as "goth's new figurehead," and three singles ranked among the New York Times and Pitchfork singles of the year. (Danilova was handpicked by designer Angelos Frentzos to make her European debut performance in Milan during his Fashion Week show, too.) The operatically trained ZJ, who has collaborated with L.A. Vampires, Former Ghosts and Prefuse 73, makes an intriguingly schizo brand of contemporary noise, which can be dance-floor monstrous ("Poor Animal") and extraordinarily tender, often simultaneously, and always full of life. —John Payne
WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL
KCRW presents this unique event, which finds Silver Lake buzz band Local Natives unfurling their tightly knit, tropically tinged art-pop under the high ceilings of Disney Hall. It should be a perfect fit, if 2008's Grizzly Bear gig was any indication of how great full band harmonies and bright, challenging guitar play can sound in a room designed by a world-class acoustician. (Dirty Projectors, too, for that matter — are we sensing a theme here?) The Natives have positioned themselves as a bit of a West Coast answer to Vampire Weekend. [Ed.'s note: Wait — are you saying that as if it were a good thing?] Their debut album, Gorilla Manor, is imbued with the spirit of vintage Paul Simon, with a little Talking Heads and Crosby, Stills and Nash thrown in for good measure. It's been a while since the band's been to the studio, so the audience has a solid chance at being among the first to hear new material. —Chris Martins
Stone Temple Pilots
FOX THEATER, POMONA
Despite singer Scott Weiland's initial echoes of Alice in Chains' Layne Staley and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, and some decidedly grungy guitars, the Seattle sound was never STP's sole statement: It was simply the price of admission to mainstream rock respect at the time. Hence, fast-forwarding through five albums and a five-year separation, we get last year's Stone Temple Pilots: a collection with almost entirely pre-punk (let alone pre-Nirvana) influences. Shepard Fairey's cover art says it all: the "peace fingers" that adorned a million 1970s jean jackets patterned with paisley-ish hints of the previous decade's druggy bliss. Pilots is as much country as rock, a more relaxed, rounded and rural expression than their clanky KROQ-approved classics. Stone Temple Pilots is the sort of record only a band with 40 million–plus album sales behind them could make in 2010 — and is all the sweeter for it. —Paul Rogers
Also playing Saturday:
ROCKY VOTOLATO, MATT POND at Troubadour; MONSTERS OF BASS: FREQ NASTY, MARTY PARTY, OPIUO at El Rey; GESTAPO KHAZI, MY PET SADDLE, SOME DAYS, THE DIET THRILLS FOREMAN at Mime School; AZALIA SNAIL at HM157; THE UGLY BEATS at the Bordello; FIIREBALL MINISTRY at Alex's Bar.
The Frustrators, Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children Macnuggits
The recently reunited Frustrators might be most famous as "Mike Dirnt's band," but the group was and is far more than a Green Day side project. On their 2002 album Achtung Jackass, they muddled up new wave (see their bratty, fist-pumping version of the Cars' "My Best Friend's Girl") and Blink 182–style punk-pop to give fans a refreshing break from the overly spit-shined stuff on the radio. After that they disappeared, but they're making a grand return with both this tour and a new EP, Griller. Even more exciting, however, is the resurrection of Bobby Joe and co. Theirs is a locally legendary novelty band that's been out of commission for eight years but scored some timeless laughs with funny folk-punk greats like "Ghost Riders in the Hood" (featuring the unforgettable line "I met Eazy through the Ouija") and "You Don't Have to Die Alone," which is a plea for murder-suicide. —Chris Martins
A few weeks ago Britney Spears went on some live Twitter chat situation. Among all the sad fanboys and fangirls asking inane stuff, one tweet spoke truth to power: "At last, @BritneySpears is taking questions! Britney, what are you more thankful for: prescription drugs, or pitch correction technology?" Several death threats later (check out his tweetstream), Neil leaves his safe house and returns to his usual Satellite perch for more invective and abuse. —Gustavo Turner
L.A. Folk Fest
JOSHUA TREE SALOON
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Also playing Sunday:
LEFTOVER CRACK, RETOX (LOCUST), MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY at the Echoplex; PART TIME PUNKS WITH LOVE GRENADES, THE HOLLOYS at the Echo; SILJE NES (NORWAY), STEFFALOO at Lot 1 Cafe; BESTIAL MOUTHS at Origami Vinyl; THE BILLYBONES at the Troubadour; CIVET at Alex's Bar.
As their name implies, Robotanists have a sleekly futuristic sound on their latest album, Plans in Progress. But the L.A. band never comes off as cold or remote, thanks in large part to the striking presence of lead singer/keyboardist Sarah Ellquist. Her achingly candied vocals give such dream-pop chansons as "Terminal A" and "The Ghost You're Haunting" a romantically yearning quality, as her musical co-conspirator Daniel DeBlanke surrounds her with shimmering layers of guitar and electronics. Synth-pop perkiness often gives way to spacey atmospherics as tracks like "Have We Met Before?" unfold and expand. Ellquist's sugary melodies and charismatic allure contribute to Robotanists' considerable commercial potential, but one hopes that DeBlanke will continue to contrast such pure-pop ambition with the artful embellishments and occasional experimentation that distinguish the new album. —Falling James
Also playing Monday:
EULOGIES, FAMILY OF THE YEAR at Bardot; JENNY O, J TIILLMAN (FLEET FOXES), JONATHAN WILSON at Bootleg Theater; SLANG CHICKENS, PAPA, HELP, THE LOVELY BAD THINGS, DJ SEAN CARLSON at the Echo; RED CORTEZ at the Satellite.
Arbouretum, Endless Boogie
Arbouretum's wide-screen-badass new record, The Gathering, was inspired by The Red Book by Carl Jung, wherein Jung pursues the meaning and mystery of "inner images." Dave Heumann has taken these experiences that seem to defy comprehension and created a song cycle loosely concerned with how we all lose our way from time to time, how we will continue to do so and how, perhaps, we'll find it again if we keep searching. The album's fuzzily psychedelic, gnarly-grand rock sound delivers these imagery-laden songs in gloriously unsappy and tough-minded ways. Endless Boogie are a roughly similar heavy-psych band from NYC, whose recent Full House Head was Mojo's Underground Album of the Year in 2010. —John Payne
Also playing Tuesday:
JOSEPH ARTHUR, LINE AND CIRCLE at Bootleg Theater; JUKEBOX THE GHOST, MY PET SADDLE at the Echo; TERRA NAOMI at the Hotel Café.
SWANS, Devendra Banhart, Wooden Wand
[See Music feature]
Kaki King, Zoë Keating
Kaki King first began to draw attention busking acoustically in the subways of New York. The Atlanta native stood out from typical street performers by crafting complex, original art-prog instrumentals delivered with astonishing feats of fret-tapping and advanced finger-style trickery. But she was much more than just a flashy technician, wrapping the elaborate melodies of early tracks like "Playing With Pink Noise" and "All the Landslides Birds Have Seen Since the Beginning of the World" around undulating rhythms and shifting and trippy soundscapes. Before long, King was experimenting in other ways, adding her vocals to the mix and looping her guitar parts to dramatic effect like a one-woman guitar army. Her fifth and most recent album, 2010's Junior, is divided into progressive instrumental passages and more traditional indie-rock song structures. Tonight King is billed with Zoë Keating, whose masterful cello work has underpinned albums by Rasputina and the Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer. —Falling James
Also playing Wednesday:
BARE WIRES, DIRT DRESS at the Echo; BIFFY CLYRO, MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI (SPIN BENEFIT FOR HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES) at Bootleg Theater.
Singer-bassist Meshell Ndegeocello can seemingly do it all. Not only does she compose deeply meditative, penetratingly intelligent neo-soul ballads, but she's also made something of a sideline in the fascinating way she interprets the songs of other musicians. She first came to attention on Madonna's Maverick Records with such startling early-'90s albums as Plantation Lullabies, where her confrontational and sometimes even shocking lyrics were couched in a deceptively soothing, jazz-informed musical backing. Even when Ndegeocello funks things up on her most recent album, 2009's Devil's Halo, she does it in a subtle, sublime manner instead of in a brassily obvious fashion. She kicks off another residency at Largo tonight with a set of duets with Chris Bruce, followed next week by a show where she'll reinterpret songs by Prince. Given her past radical reinventions of tunes by Jimi Hendrix and Van Morrison, the results should be mesmerizing, and full of surprises. —Falling James
He's My Brother, She's My Sister
THE CENTRAL LIBRARY
L.A. residents are always in need of activities that make this city feel a little smaller and a bit more intimate, so it's welcome news whenever our biggest library throws open its doors to welcome some raucous noisemakers. The local family folk collective He's My Brother, She's My Sister should be an ideal fit: With a full-time tap dancer in the band, plus an upright bass, odd percussive elements and plenty of acoustic guitars, the group specializes in a joyous, bucolic, freewheeling sound that should warm even the hardest hearts of any downtown denizen within earshot. BYO tambourine. —Chris Martins
The Entrance Band
A fantastic idea for one of the Satellite's inaugural residencies: L.A.'s unique wild jammers Entrance Band. Every Entrance Band show is a physical workout for the psyche. Go. [More about them next week.] —Gustavo Turner
THE BOOTLEG THEATER
In the six years since they formed, Great Northern's style of exquisitely executed, twinkling guitar-based melodrama has gone from indie to mainstream (mostly thanks to Snow Patrol), yet they find themselves still playing modest venues like the Bootleg, even in their hometown. Following fashion, the critics largely turned on GN's 2009 sophomore album, Remind Me Where the Light Is; yet if you'll only let your ears trump your peers, you'll find it's a gorgeous piece of work. Rachel Stolte's deliciously intimate vocals, often double-tracked or conversing with co-founder Solon Bixler's lurking timbre, lend the disc an arcane, slightly Cocteau Twins quality. There's nothing hip about Great Northern's sound anymore — that they'll go parade it around the Eastside with straight faces makes them cooler than fuck. —Paul Rogers
LACO$TE's recent EP The Paradox of Time raises the bar on post-apocalyptic electro-futureshock. They — Xenia Shin makes the singing sounds, Rob Thomas and William Caruso twiddle knobs — specialize, weirdly, in a sensually pleasing harshness. Tracks like "Numbers," a heavily signal-processed hell ride through a time tunnel of swirling synths and remorseless robo-beats, produce a cavernously cinematic effect conjuring enormous androids making love. Even the relatively straight-up electro-dance pop of "Celle" ("Why don't you love me?") drips 30-weight with machine lust, machine bliss, machine dreams. How is it, then, that LACO$TE sound so, so sexy? —John Payne
Also playing Thursday:
SCHAROUN ENSEMBLE at UCLA; DUDAMEL/BRUCKNER at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
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