Music Picks: Tame Impala, Deftones, DJ Quik

Lyris Quartet
Lyris Quartet

fri 11/16

Simone White


Simone White traffics in shadows. Her songs are a blurry series of murmurs, sighs and whispers wrapped up in a soft blanket of sparse acoustic guitar and muted percussion. The Echo Park singer is best known for touring with Andrew Bird and being a part of Damon Albarn's Honest Jon's Revue in 2008; "The Beep Beep Song," from her 2007 album, I Am the Man, was used in several European car commercials. The Hawaii native continues to cast fragile spells on her new CD, Silver Silver, such as the aptly titled "Never Be That Tough," where her delicate voice is wreathed in ethereal harmonies. White even anticipates the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy when she coos on the title track, "Wide, wide ocean tide/busted banks gone and swallowed my pride." —Falling James

Lianne La Havas


"Come upstairs, and I'll show you where all my demons hide from you," Lianne La Havas croons in a majestic yet wounded voice. "You broke me and taught me to truly hate myself." The English singer-guitarist recently released her debut full-length album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, following a series of well-received EPs. La Havas is far more than a victim, though, revealing the full breadth of her emotions and musical range on such tracks as the glittery, enigmatic pop-rock puzzle box "Forget," where she warns her wayward partner about seducing her with insincere love songs ("So please don't try to serenade me/I am a one-man band"). She switches gears completely with the folk-soul ballad "Age," where her mixed feelings about an older lover are disguised by the tune's jaunty, sunny bounce.

—Falling James

Tame Impala


Might as well come right out with it: Australian band Tame Impala's Lonerism is as good as people say, and as psychedelic as people say, and as "refreshing" and "retro-but-not-retro," and every other phrase floating around out there in the online adjective-o-sphere. It's Sgt. Pepper or S.F. Sorrow with synths, sure, but that's a reverent compliment. The songs here seem like they came into existence perfectly formed, with every twist and surprise and loop-de-loop coming just when your subconscious demands it. One of the best things about the psychedelic classics of the olden '60s days is the way those bands pushed luck and inspiration and modern technology to their limits, and that's just what Tame Impala do in 2012. Head music's not dead! —Chris Ziegler

Green Velvet


Only 4 U: The Sound of Cajmere & Cajual Records 1992-2012 celebrates 20 years of dance-floor benchmarks from Curtis A. Jones, aka Cajmere, aka Green Velvet. Jones and his Cajual imprint are standard setters for the Chicago house sound — and the usually formulaic 4/4 house beat has never sounded less so. On the first disc, Jones' assertive approach toward this accessible style of electronic music results in chugging, rump-shaking numbers, such as the forceful signature track "Percolator" and an inspired Derrick Carter collaboration, the chunky "Dream States." The second disc features even beefier cuts with a dose of Detroit techno injected into the solid house structure, exemplified by Green Velvet Presents Jamie Principle's "LaLaLaLaLa (inside my mind)." No matter how far back the original release date, the timelessness of these compositions stands out. —Lily Moayeri

sat 11/17

Key Club

The barks of Ghostlimb band leader Justin Smith pack just as much bite and snarl as those of his other band, grindcore outfit Graf Orlock. With Ghostlimb, though, there is equal emphasis on song structure, so you can get caught up in shouting along with catchy choruses as you mosh your ass off. The newest record from this beacon of L.A.'s hardcore scene, Confluence, is tightly packed with stellar metallic riffs, mixed within a melodic hardcore shell. The subject matter is a bit more grounded in reality than Graf Orlock's signature action movie–inspired flights of fancy. Ghostlimb don't troll in tough-guy hardcore, either. Lyrically, the group has a strong emotional core that feels inclusive and welcoming for everyone ready to unleash their demons in the pit. —Jason Roche

A Pretty Mess, Brainspoon, Death on the Radio


When Dee Skusting howls rabid rants like "Going Nowhere Fast," she could also be describing the reckless trajectory of her band, A Pretty Mess. Ms. Skusting (probably not her real name) and her crew may be going nowhere, but they're definitely getting there fast, with Dee's surging guitar riffs slamming into Meghan Mattox's brutally efficient bass lines. A Pretty Mess are part of an estrogen-heavy lineup tonight, billed as "Femme Fatale: The Not-So-Gentle Sex" at this newly reopened East L.A. punk-rock bastion. Brainspoon have more of a hard-rock approach, with singer Daphne Vandervalk contrasting Michelle Balderrama's seedy guitar riffs with glam-punk melodies on swaggering anthems like "Bleeding in Black & White." Death on the Radio are another fast and furious local punk squad, but lead singer Bloody Mary Powers also likes to twist things up, wailing soulfully over an unexpectedly metallic cover of the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer." Plus the Blob and Hari Kari. —Falling James


Calder Quartet, Lyris Quartet

First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica

As part of the valuable Jacaranda series, which features the most relevant, lesser-heard contemporary classical works, tonight two of L.A.'s finest local quartets come together in honor of Claude Debussy's 150th anniversary. Along with a performance of Georges Enesco's "Octet", French composer Eric Tanguy's dazzling new Trio is performed by the Pantoum Trio: pianist Steven Vanhauwaert, violinist Tereza Stanislav, and Cécilia Tsan, the principal cellist of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. The work was inspired by Tsan's family story (her composer father was assassinated in Paris after fleeing communist China for Europe). The Debussy works include the 1913 flute solo "Syrinx" and the 1901 setting of "Chanson de Bilitis," featuring French actress Clara Bellar's recitation of "sensual lesbian love poems." Tix/info: or (213) 483-0216. —John Payne

sun 11/18

The Misfits


The horror of Halloween continues this weekend as The Misfits roll through the Sunset Strip demanding skulls. Every time they hit the Key Club stage, the room is packed with thrashing fans, making for a raw, almost animalistic event. After more than 30 years and countless lineup changes, the energy at their shows is still off the charts. The Misfits remain horror punk at their core, but they've been wearing a thick coat of heavy metal for many years now, playing at dizzying speeds that leave attendees breathlessly smiling. The current incarnation has founding member Jerry Only playing bass and singing, punk-rock legend Dez Cadena (Black Flag, Redd Kross) on guitar and Eric "Chupacabra" Arce on drums. —Diamond Bodine-Fischer

The Rezillos


Classic Scottish band the Rezillos are what pop-punk was supposed to be about. Which is: music like a cheapie comic book come to life, complete with flying saucers and vigorous fisticuffs and smart-ass jokes and doomed romance, like the tragic ending of "Destination Venus," where the Rezillos drift to their lonely end in deep space. And of course it's all in blinding primary colors with plenty of exciting sound effects. (In fact, although Biff! Bang! Pow! was later used as a band name by someone else, it would fit the Rezillos just fine.) Blondie and the Dickies loved the same kind of sound over here in the U.S.A., matching well-chosen covers with hooks designed to command your mind forever. This is the band's first gig in the United States for something like 20 years — don't let this one get away! —Chris Ziegler



These Valley kids augment their industrial-strength djent with proggy, slightly psychedelic instrumental passages, challenging rhythmic episodes and widdly, wanderlusty six-string odysseys. Yet far from diluting the disquieting, split-personality wrath of vocalist "Kirby" Ibarra's wizened croak/incensed roar, or drummer Mark Pacheco's almost cruel interpretation of his instrument's potential for audio violence, Aristeia's 420-friendly interludes only serve to sharpen the frustrated suburban savagery of their work. Last year's Era of the Omnipotent EP buries the listener in vast rock slides of almost impossibly dexterous kick and snare, but then, without so much as a by-your-leave, elevates the ear through gentle guitar uppers and abrupt shifts in groove and mood. All this, plus the fact that they somehow sound at once open- and single-minded, bodes well for the band's debut album in February. -- Paul Rogers

mon 11/19



Surely there was a moment — a time when it suddenly became not only socially acceptable but also kind of, well, cool to admit you were a Rush fan. Years on, the Canadian prog-rock titan trio unspooled a whirly-gig of serpentine guitar, synths and sequencers, often serving as the bedrock for wild sci-fi nerdboy narratives. But then, much like Hall and Oates, Rush went from being the band no one admitted they dug to a cult crush only the cool kids really understood. (What's more, now they're even up for admission into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). Clockwork Angels, their latest album and their current tour's namesake, is as Rush-y as ever: a bloated concept record delving into a dude's steampunk journey full of pirates and exotic carnivals. Laugh, we do not. It's just Rush being Rush. —Dan Hyman

tue 11/20

Rachael Yamagata


Like so many songwriters, on her recent EP, Heavyweight, Rachael Yamagata describes the ups and downs of romance as a boxing match. She uses all of her powers of persuasion to soothe an angry lover, couching her entreaties in gentle piano and a wash of orchestrated strings. "There is not a thing here left to break," the Virginia-born, singer-pianist advises. "You can take your anger out on me ... I will love you through all your mistakes." Yamagata is quietly disarming, winning by a technical knockout — not with blind rage but by carefully framing her exposed feelings in stately and sympathetic pop structures. It is that ability to create something out of nothing that has led to Yamagata's endearing collaborations with everyone from Toots & the Maytals and Ryan Adams to Bright Eyes and the Muppets. —Falling James


Natasha Agrama


Young vocalist Natasha Agrama comes from a fertile musical bloodline: Her father is legendary jazz bassist Stanley Clarke (Return To Forever). Over the past couple years, Agrama has been cutting her teeth at L.A. clubs like 2nd Street Jazz and at a Sunday brunch at Elderberries in Hollywood. Tonight she takes a major step up, fronting a solid young group at Little Tokyo's popular Blue Whale, backed by Nick Mancini on vibes, Louis Cole on drums and Santa Monica piano whiz kid Austin Peralta. The evening's bassist is a "special mystery guest" — and a quick check of Dad's tour schedule suggests he's likely in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. You figure it out. —Tom Meek

wed 11/21

DJ Quik featuring Suga Free, Too Short, and Tha Dogg Pound

Club Nokia

A colossal constituent of West Coast hip-hop, the multitalented DJ Quik achieved unlikely prevalence in 1991 with his memorable debut, Quik Is the Name. A self-taught deejay, rapper, producer and engineer, the Compton native generated a bevy of such decade-defining hits as "Tonite," "Hand in Hand," "Pitch in on a Party" and "Down, Down, Down" — all of which continue to receive heavy rotation in today's national urban radio format. His signature synth-laden production style can be heard on an array of classic hip-hop albums, including Tupac's All Eyez On Me and Jay-Z's The Black Album. Tonight's show features fellow West Coast rap legends and longtime collaborators Suga Free, Too $hort, and Tha Dogg Pound. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

Deftones, Scars on Broadway


Authors of alt-metal's high-water mark, 2000's White Pony, Sacramento's Deftones promptly lost focus on their namesake follow-up. But, perhaps galvanized by bassist Chi Cheng's catastrophic '08 car accident (Cheng remains in a partially conscious state, his role temporarily filled by Quicksand's Sergio Vega), the band rediscovered its nuanced sonic alchemy with Diamond Eyes two years ago and on newbie Koi No Yokan. Like all of Deftones' most resonant work, these records suggest rather than spell out. Vocalist Chino Moreno almost sleep-mutters his way through their mellower moments but convulses into disarmingly lucid (if oft lyrically unintelligible) emotional bloodletting when a riff demands it. Scars on Broadway, the solo expression of System of a Down guitarist Daron Malakian, echo that band's impish exotica, only with more massaged dynamics and wafts of Beatles-like melody. —Paul Rogers


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >