Music Picks: The Dickies, Rufus Wainwright, Jack DeJohnette

Circe Link: See Friday.

fri 5/11

The Dickies


After another beautiful day in Malibu, you'll take a long, romantic walk along the beach to watch the sun set ... followed by an evening with the Dickies' Leonard Graves Phillips serenading you with soothing love songs like "If Stuart Could Talk," a sensitive ode to the singer's favorite body part, which he acts out with the help of a penis-shaped puppet. Some gentle folks might find the song to be in questionable taste, so the ever-resourceful Phillips likely will segue into more serious subjects, including the rise and fall of the Roman empire ("Caligula"), the importance of exercise ("Bowling With Bedrock Barney"), the state of semi-modern journalism ("I'm Stuck in a Pagoda With Tricia Toyota") and the perils of bad rhyme schemes ("I'm Stuck in a Condo With Marlon Brando"). Phillips' deadpan celebrity anti-worship aside, it's guitarist Stan Lee's relentless power chords that make the Dickies sound simultaneously sinister and giddy. —Falling James

Shooter Jennings


Shooter Jennings opens his new one, Family Man, with a line that ranks among his finest: "I wake up with my children, right around the crack of noon." (Parents of early-rising young ones — y'all feel me, right?) Tune's called "The Real Me," and after 2010's ghastly psych-rock detour Black Ribbons, it's good to have Jennings back in his comfort zone, doling out the kind of rough-and-tumble country music his late father, Waylon, made; in "Daddy's Hands" he even lets us ride along as he remembers "Another Thanksgiving on a rainy day/The whole house smells like a big ashtray." Jennings can get pretty rowdy onstage, which means tonight he might not nail the gorgeous Celtic-thunder harmonies in "The Long Road Ahead." But dude'll definitely try. —Mikael Wood

White Hills, Fancy Space People


A double bill from the spaced-out 1970s future that time forgot at the Echoplex. Grab your orgone accumulator and turn your eyeballs into craters for White Hills, who come roaring out of the blackness of the interstellar void with a ferociously Hawkwindian sonic attack that'll process just fine for fans of fellow noiseniks like Les Rallizes Dénudés and High Rise. Opening are L.A.-by-way-of-Planet-X glam-rock mind controllers Fancy Space People, led by Don Bolles and No-Ra Keyes — oops, sorry, led by space aliens simply using Don and No-Ra as their willing instruments. Remember that spot in your brain that spilled all over itself when it first heard the strings come in on a T. Rex song? That is where the Space People will be planting a permanent colony. —Chris Ziegler

The Jezabels


The Jezabels' tireless indie-pop perfectionism is best traveled in long strides: complete concerts or in the totality of their debut full-length, last year's Prisoner. Their music is always melodic, but instinctively and intrinsically so rather than in a preconceived "please, pleeeease like us" way. There are tones and timbres from before these young Aussies were even born (recurring, choppy/delayed U2 guitars and Hayley Mary's spooky Siouxsie Sioux and Kate Bush inflections) and plenty of New Millennium touchpoints, too (Snow Patrol's outdoorsy sense of scale; Mary's glacial take on Paramore's Hayley Williams), but more a melding of these than any straight aping. Strong though The Jezabels' songs are, these are but chapters in the bass-less quartet's slow-burning storytelling, so stick around 'til the very end of the inevitable encores. —Paul Rogers

Circe Link, Tramp for the Lord


Circe Link calls her music "cowboy jazz," and while there's more than a little bit of country in her music, the local singer also draws upon folk, blues and power-pop influences when she performs. No matter what style she engages in, Link's hook-laden songs are always supremely melodic, with her yearning vocals crowned by partner Christian Nesmith's punchy guitar licks. And unlike so many country-pop divas, Link reveals genuinely subversive wit on tunes like "Gettin' High (on Your Own Supply)," where the radio-friendly chorus is juxtaposed with slyly chiding lyrics. Tramp for the Lord is a new band with former Hangmen bassist Doug Cox crooning moping, loping country-rock ballads in a world-weary growl as Gun Club slide guitar and spaghetti Western canyons open up behind him. —Falling James

Also playing:


sat 5/12

Rufus Wainwright


If you've ignored Rufus Wainwright's career over the last few years — as the piano-pop prodigy tried his hand at opera, musical theater and the sonnets of William Shakespeare — it's time to tune back in. Out of the Game, Wainwright's brand-new album, might be his best (and most songful) effort since 2002's Poses. He made it with Mark Ronson, and while the producer definitely provides his signature retrodelic vibe in cuts like the T. Rex–style glam-soul gem "Rashida," Wainwright sings with a hook-conscious immediacy that prevents the music from vaporizing into style-mag ambience. There's not a tune on the thing I'm not looking forward to hearing at the Orpheum, where he'll be backed by an eight-piece band complete with keys and horns. —Mikael Wood


Mafia Rusa


This Anaheim outfit's organic, borderline-crude, Spanish-language skacore is all the more effective and endearing for being so under-produced and unadorned. The tempos are often frantic, with a hardcore-ish kick-snare snap rendered skank-able by burbling bass lines and shimmering guitars. Omar's impassioned, gabbled vocals are decidedly street-level and mildly menacing in tone, but there's a pervading sense that (so long as no one fucks with them) this band just wants to party — and probably in your garage or backyard. —Paul Rogers

Also playing:

TERRY TROTTER TRIO at Vitello's; KRISTEN CHENOWETH at Greek Theatre; NIKKA COSTA at Luckman Fine Arts Center.

sun 5/13

Calle 13


With more Latin Grammys to their name than any group ever, Calle 13 should be a household name by now. Just make sure you say it right ("KAH-yay TREH-say"). The Puerto Rican rappers will be rounding out a three-night concert series, following a Friday show with pop diva Gloria Trevi and Saturday night with legendary norteño outfit Los Tigres del Norte. But the stepbrothers René Pérez Joglar and Eduardo José Cabra Martínez's genre-bending, politically charged hip-hop truly is the crowning jewel of the series, and the theater is sure to be packed and hot. Opening the Sunday show is Argentine funk band Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas. —Erica Phillips

Also playing:

JOHN PROULX at Vibrato.

mon 5/14

The Drums, Part Time


"I believe that when we die, we die," sings Johnny Pierce in a kind coo. "So let me love you tonight, let me love you tonight." The Drums seem intent on convincing us that, as Drake preaches, you only live once. If that's true, we could do worse than to play the Brooklyn band's latest LP, Portamento, on repeat until death comes a-knocking. By melding Joy Division–style post-punk to tambourine-smacking '50s pop, these guys make morbidity seem like something to swoon over. Though co-founder Jacob Graham has been friends with Pierce since they were tweens in summer camp, he's told interviewers that — fittingly enough — the band is always on the verge of quitting. So see 'em now before they (or you!) kick the bucket. Arrive in time to see Part Time, whose goopy, synth-spackled funk should set the stage just fine. —Chris Martins

Also playing:


tue 5/15

Light Asylum, Chelsea Wolfe, Tearist, Violet Tremors


For just two people, the Brooklyn duo Light Asylum sure does construct a mighty sound. Electronics wizard Bruno Coviello pumps out foreboding sheets of synthesizer and militant, clattering rhythms, while Shannon Funchess chants such post-punk epics as "Skull Fuct" and relatively vulnerable and romantic pleas like "Angel Tongue." With her intense stage presence and dramatic, almost androgynous low vocals, Funchess is an especially compelling performer. So is Chelsea Wolfe, whose eerie, funereal ballads sometimes lurch into full-blown dark-goth psychedelia. The Los Angeles duo Tearist disembowel themselves with such provocative, electronics-laced amputations as "Break Bone," "Headless" and "Cold Eye." Violet Tremors are more trippy and cerebral, with Jessica White coolly declaiming robotic codes like "In Mid Transmission" and "Spirals Inside" over Lorene Simpson's pulsing (yet oddly poignant) synth waves. —Falling James

Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke


Jack is turning 70, so why not celebrate a milestone by doing something you've never done before with friends with whom you could do anything? These three bona fide legends really have done everything, just not all together. Corea and DeJohnette played on Miles Davis' hallowed Bitches Brew, followed by Corea and Clarke cementing their legacies in the keyboardist's epic band Return to Forever. Clarke and DeJohnette played together on albums by saxophonist Joe Farrell and pianist McCoy Tyner, but there's not a lot of documented history between the two. As a trio, there's barely anything out there, but if you can find a track of all three of them playing together on John McLaughlin's album Electric Guitarist, you will know why this birthday party is going to be so exciting. —Gary Fukushima

Ane Brun, Gemma Ray


Two rule-breakers chart new worlds of pop sound. Cold on the edges but warm inside is Norwegian singer Ane Brun, whose new It All Starts With One is a subtly surprising salve from one of the most complex and compelling musicians in the new "folk." With painful precision, Brun writes darkly alluring songs of strife and strength. Her finely carved vocal inflections are set amid beautifully uncliched orchestral and percussive strokes that ring through the head and heart, perhaps unlocking her secrets. In thrillingly rude contrast is Brit-soul blaster Gemma Ray's enthralling hodgepodge of girl group–type vintage pop and rather creepy noir-soundtrack shtick, heard to lustrous effect on her new Island Fire record, out this week. —John Payne


Also playing:

BLACK DICE at Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock; EMILY WELLS, PORTLAND CELLO PROJECT at Largo.

wed 5/16



Drummer Bernie Dresel first made his mark as the enthusiastic backbone of the Brian Setzer Orchestra's hugely popular run in the 1980s. Dresel has gone on to work with Chaka Khan, Andy Summers, David Byrne and last year's Grammy Award-winning Gordon Goodwin, among many others, while becoming one of the most in-demand studio drummers in Los Angeles. Dresel also fronts two bands of his own, one a traditional big band, the second BERN, a cover band loaded with world-class players and the dynamic vocal team of Jenny and Rudy Cardenas. If you're a fan of Tower of Power, Earth Wind & Fire, Prince and Steely Dan, BERN is right up your alley. North Hollywood's Federal Bar has promised a dance floor for this one, and there's no doubt it will be full for the entire night. —Tom Meek

Also playing:


thu 5/17

Andre Nickatina, Fashawn


With his unpolished swagger and preference for lo-fi beats, Andre Nickatina has, to paraphrase one of the San Fran rapper's lyrics, never jeopardized who he is. Over the course of a dozen-plus records, he's earned a sizable cult who, live, rap along to his detailed screeds about the trials and tribulations of cocaine sales and use. If the man's verses are to be believed, he's been to hell and back — and now is happy to be on the other side, where he commands a stage like the self-made general that he is, on occasion accompanied by pole-dancing strippers, naturally. Though he cites Nas as a major influence, Fresno young gun Fashawn is a good fit to open this strongly West Coast show, having reinvigorating the classic street tough–meets–conscious mind rap trope to convincing effect with his 2009 debut, Boy Meets World. —Chris Martins

Ana Tijoux, 2MEX


Of course Chilean MC Ana Tijoux makes an appearance in rapper Invincible's documentary The Revival — like recognizes like, particularly when like means relentless precision and poetic ambition as well as the kind of passion that can weather famine and fire both. That's Tijoux to the core. Born in exile in Paris after her parents escaped after the Allende coup, Tijoux's recent breakout, 1977 (the year of her arrival here on Earth), won global accolades (including from this very paper) and brought her to America for the first time last year. Opener 2MEX is probably one of Los Angeles' very favorite people, a rapper who's put out way too many beloved records to be called "underground," who can write and rhyme in, like, four dimensions at once. —Chris Ziegler

Also playing:

ANNIE TROUSSEAU at Vibrato; THE DANDY WARHOLS, 1776 at the Wiltern.

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