Music Picks: Willie Nelson's Country Throwdown, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, Peter Murphy
The Middle Class, Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, Grant Hart, Urinals
Presented by L.A. Record, this astonishing dream bill is sort of a thinking punk's answer to the Warped Tour, as it's loaded with massively influential (albeit relatively obscure) musicians. With their hyperaccelerated beats and minimalist structures, Orange County's The Middle Class and Westwood's Urinals invented hardcore punk in the late 1970s. But what's ultimately fascinating about both bands is how they refused to cash in on the hardcore explosion in the early 1980s, evolving instead into more experimental directions à la Gang of Four. The early Urinals were a direct influence on the Gun Club and Yo La Tengo, who covered their songs, but the ongoing trio continue to craft weirdly engrossing new alt-pop spells. The Middle Class reunited here for the first time in three decades at last year's Frontier Records anniversary show. Jeff Atta's detached, seemingly indifferent vocals on the exhilarating proto-thrash blast "Out of Vogue" are still a distinct contrast to most hardcore shouters. Shape-shifting guitarist Kid Congo (Gun Club, Bad Seeds) intones boho poetry over a sparse and spacy No Wave backing. Grant Hart may not get as much attention as his former Hüsker Dü partner, Bob Mould, but he wrote and sang many of that band's most memorable tunes. —Falling James
Willie Nelson's Country Throwdown
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Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman dipped his toe into twangier waters last year with the inaugural Country Throwdown tour, and for this summer's follow-up trek the promoter bagged Willie Nelson as headliner. In addition to Nelson — who has dedicated the last few years of his recording career to a succession of satisfying genre efforts, including 2005's reggae-fied Countryman and 2009's supper-clubby American Classic — the main stage will feature tenderhearted roughneck Jamey Johnson and Johnson's frequent writing partner Randy Houser. (The two penned Trace Adkins' "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.") Also on the bill: a handful of Nashville B-listers — Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Craig Campbell — as well as Willie's son Lukas, with his cringe-inducingly named backing band, Promise of the Real. —Mikael Wood
Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs
Former Headcoatee (and White Stripes guest vocalist) Holly Golightly has always had a penchant for American musical forms, deriving inspiration from blues, country, rockabilly, garage and early rock & roll. Her most recent release, No Help Coming, is full of simple songs about simple things, alive with shuffling percussion and fingerpicking and even waltz-y rhythms now and then. Less restrained than 2008's Dirt Don't Hurt and rawer than her 2003 release, Truly She Is None Other, Golightly's work with the Brokeoffs is a pleasant mix of country, blues and early bluegrass. The British transplant somehow makes music that feels and sounds authentically American, even with her clipped Cockney accent — now a bit muted from spending time in Georgia raising horses. —Kristina Benson
Andre Williams, Jail Weddings, Death Hymn Number 9
Always wild King of Rhythm Andre Williams made dirty rock & roll and sleazy soul across storied labels Motown, Chess and Fortune, writing and recording primal R&B raunch like "Bacon Fat" (covered by the Cramps), "Greasy Chicken" and little-girl-lust classic "Jail Bait." (And, most recognizable of all, the John Waters–approved hit "Shake a Tail Feather.") The self-styled Black Godfather wrote Stevie Wonder's first song and produced hits for Mary Wells, Ike & Tina Turner and even Funkadelic. Tonight, he's backed by 10-person '60s retro-pop ensemble Jail Weddings, whose guitarist Brian Waters has spent plenty of time side-manning with Williams. Gories-inspired garage-punk trio Death Hymn Number 9 open the show. —Lainna Fader
Erykah Badu, Be'la Dona, KING
Reigning priestess of hippie hip-hop Erykah Badu goes undercover as the bad, bad DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown for BET's "Black Girls Rock & Soul Tour." The lineup don't lie: In addition to Badu, D.C.'s Be'la Dona will serve as house (go-go) band for the evening, former model/current DJ Beverly Bond will spin, and unlisted "special guests" usually actually are pretty special here in L.A. But the biggest draw might be KING, whose blissful harmonies became a sensation after tastemakers Phonte and Questlove blew them up on Twitter literally overnight. —Rebecca Haithcoat
BLACK LIPS at the Music Box; ROONEY at El Rey; RED SPAROWES, COLISEUM, AEGES at Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock; FANCY SPACE PEOPLE, ARIEL PINK at Escarpment Warehouse; BLACKALICIOUS at Key Club; SPACE COMES SOFT, DIVA DOMPE, EMILY LACY, DISCOMBOBULATED VENTRILOQUIST at the Smell.
Their April Who Kill record made us think you don't need much more than a ukulele and an idiosync 'tude to make great, well ... art, yeah? tUnE-YarDs' Merrill Garbus bawls and howls a lot when she makes her way-lo-fi "pop"-folk sound, force-feeding the listener provocative topical words about having sex and the right to fight and what wicked work contemporary society hath wrought. That it's not a big drag is due mainly to the way she and bassist Nate Brenner strew their big sonic mess with found soundscapes and a lot of real interesting digital quackery to take the whole thing into a kind of new reality — a clunkily charming place where human beings are encouraged to think and do for themselves. Inspiring! —John Payne
There's nothing about Musiq Soulchild's new studio disc that suggests he's in for the kind of mainstream breakthrough he's been looking for since the early '00s, when this Philadelphia-reared singer emerged as a member of neo-soul's second wave. But Musiqinthemagiq contains a wealth of riches for those predisposed to check it out. In "Befriends," Musiq layers his tightly harmonized vocals over a stripped-down R&B groove produced by Cee Lo collaborator Jack Splash, while the swinging "Lovecontract" would have fit right in on the latest from Raphael Saadiq. Expect Musiq to pair new cuts with fan-favorite oldies tonight. Opener Ryan Leslie first made a name for himself as a producer, but he makes his own records, too; a new one is due out July 4. —Mikael Wood
Catwalk, Cold Showers
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Catwalk is the project of 19-year-old Nick Hessler, who's been recording garage-pop under that name after finding a four-track in his parents' garage on Christmas Day in 2005. Since then, he's documented his youth with a couple EPs for YAY! Records — now long out of print — and two singles for Captured Tracks, the Brooklyn-based imprint owned and operated by Blank Dogs' Mike Sniper. (A full-length on Captured Tracks is in the works, too.) The Oxnard native sings about love, loss and longing; he's dreamy like the Smiths but confident like Phil Spector and Alex Chilton, with reverb-wet vocals and guitar and a constantly evolving lineup. He'll be joined by Cold Showers, brooding post-punk from notable L.A. locals. —Lainna Fader
KEREN ANN at Luckman Fine Arts Complex; TERRA NAOMI at Hotel Café; THE SEDUCTION OF INGMAR BERGMAN with live performance by SPARKS at Ford Amphitheatre.
Yellow Magic Orchestra, Cibo Matto and others
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Legendary stoner-rock pioneers Sleep picked up the burning torch of doom, whose embers had been blown back to life by St. Vitus just a half-decade earlier, and somehow, through the era of hair metal, speed metal, grunge and techno, they managed to lead a mob of followers onward. Their hourlong Dopesmoker/Jerusalem is basically the La Planète Sauvage of heavy — insane, ambitious, completely absorbing and strangely kinda fun at parties! The band split in 1997, but All Tomorrow's Parties came calling in 2009 and woke them from their slumber. FYF Fest brings them back to L.A. once again to headline the Wiltern with Wino of St. Vitus' new band Premonition 13 and Athens noise-rock band Harvey Milk. —Lainna Fader
SARAH JAROSZ at McCabe's; PART TIME PUNKS FACTORY RECORDS NIGHT at Echo; NEIL HAMBURGER at Satellite.
Dante vs. Zombies, The Crystelles, Black Flamingo
Their June residency this week brings former Starlite Desperation frontman Dante Adrian White's Dante vs. Zombies into brutal combat with the forces of sheer evil. Armed with nothing but their messy ghetto-pop debauchery resembling a gang hump 'twixt Bo Diddley, Joy Division and Michael Jackson, these esteemed onions include a swelling bag of players from Jail Weddings, the Like, Swahili Blonde and Detroit Cobras; they'll be flogging their new EP, Yes, I'm Stalking You, and a new single coming out next month. The Crystelles (Gitane Demone of Christian Death) dart into the fray along with Black Flamingo, Jean Paul from the Starvations, dark pagan metallisti Enochian Keys plus no doubt some top-secret highly special guests. —John Payne
Charlie Wadhams, Chapin Sisters, Henry Wolfe, Harper Simon
As son of the infinitely talented Paul Simon, Harper Simon has big shoes to fill. Like fellow pop progeny James McCartney, he was a late bloomer, waiting till he was 37 to release his debut record (which features an acoustic rendition of the Buzzcocks' "Ever Fallen in Love?"!). He's taken his time to find his own sound, and now he headlines the Bootleg with some of L.A.'s top folk-pop talent. Henry Wolfe's ultracharming bluesy piano will make you want to fall in love, Charlie Wadhams' lilting vocals will melt your heart and the Chapin Sisters' lovely voices will lift you all the way up to heaven. —Lainna Fader
LE BUTCHERETTES, TERA MELOS, ADEBISI SHANK at Troubadour; DUNIVEN, WOOLEN at Silverlake Lounge.
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Simon Stokes is the last of the American hell-raisers — rowdy enough to hang out with bikers and yet free-spirited enough to party with the likes of Timothy Leary and the Seeds' Sky Saxon. A longtime underground-music legend from his days as a staff writer at Elektra Records in the 1960s and his controversial, ahead-of-its-time S&M-themed Black Whip Thrill Band in the early 1970s, Stokes has revitalized his career in recent years with such releases as Honky. On his new album, Simon Stokes & the Heathen Angels, he amiably growls his way through up-tempo roots rockers ("Infected"), morbid murder ballads ("Down for Death"), randy country duets ("Let's Do Wrong Tonight") and boozy blues-rockers ("The Boa Constrictor Ate My Wife Last Night"), backed by a hot band that includes fiddle maestro Brantley Kearns, drummer Todd Westover and bassist Bruce Duff. —Falling James
RIHANNA at Staples Center; REBEL PEBBLES (reunion show) at Silverlake Lounge; THE SOUL OF JOHN BLACK at Little Temple; THE POSTELLES at Echo; MA-DO QUARTET (SATOKO FUJII) at Blue Whale.
Bauhaus was indeed greater than the sum of its parts, crafting in the early 1980s compellingly moody soundscapes that still sound bracingly new today, especially when compared to obvious imitators like Interpol and She Wants Revenge. While former members David J, Kevin Haskins and Daniel Ash have occasionally reached similar creative heights with such projects as Love & Rockets and Tones on Tail, Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy has had a much spottier solo career. His latest CD, Ninth, is a vast improvement over previous releases, as Murphy sings his "praise in modal tones." The album ranges from shadowy incantations like the enigmatic "Secret Silk Society" to more straightforward post-punk glam rockers like "Velocity Bird." He even evokes Bauhaus a bit with the skittering guitars of "Seesaw Sway" and the wounded romanticism of his darkly veiled vocals on "I Spit Roses." —Falling James
The associations of some artists are studies in the extreme. Like old photographs of Bob Marley and the Jackson 5, or Nancy Reagan kissing Mr. T on the top of his head, the concept of those people in that room at the same time is fairly mind-boggling in its implications. Singer-songwriter Sarabeth Tucek has worked with both Bill Callahan of Smog and Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, synthesizing those influences and her own burgeoning talents into a voice lying somewhere between a whisper and a gasp, hovering over the guitar strings before falling headlong into a dive. Her new album, Get Well Soon, came out on Sonic Cathedral about two months ago and it's about her late father. The implications of that particular dynamic are boggling and intricate on their own, unfolding with every note and every word. Also tonight: Twilight Sleep, Magic Mirror. —David Cotner
ALELA DIANE at Echo; SONDRE LERCHE at El Rey.
Animals & Men
Some bands from the early days of British punk and art rock emerged from obscurity and just as quickly melted straight back into it. Animals & Men, named for the Adam & the Ants song — both groups staunch friends of the ampersand — had a few singles through the late '70s and the early '80s and then became the band known as the Terraplanes. Not so much killed by death as annihilated by oblivion, they're rocketing back out of obscurity for a U.S. tour, turning the people on to the jagged and the dissonant. Seeing them live isn't an exercise in arrogance but instead ambition — an aesthetic long embraced by the warm brick walls of the Smell — and their music, no matter how sporadically pursued, has kept them youthful and spry as they tour, supporting their recent self-titled Convulsive Records 12-inch. Also tonight: Dunes, KIT, Wounded Lion. —David Cotner
Everything Is Festival with Proctor & Bergman, Neil Hamburger, Andrew W.K., et al.
Potentially, anything can be funny — or at the very least cracked, right? Bearing that in mind, here's an excuse to convene a bunch of like-minded weirdos of the film and video ephemera collector persuasion and toss them onto a big pile of people who do and say things comical and ... well, it's all about having fun! Nothing wrong with that. Firesign Theater's Proctor & Bergman will surreal the deal, Neil Hamburger will be tragically unfunny and you will laugh; Andrew W.K. gives a motivational lecture to encourage us not to kill ourselves; Mark Hosler of Negativland plays a video and yaks about his "band's" infamous media hoaxes; a panel of writers from Conan O'Brien's show (both NBC and TBS versions) tell behind-the-scenes stories; Joe Dante's four-hour found-footage epic, Movie Orgy, gets a rare screening; and the Found Footage Battle Royale returns! —John Payne
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With the recent change of seasons, it's time once again for some "Summertime Fun" from Detroit pop-punk princess Nikki Corvette. Although her ebullient power-pop singles on Bomp Records with Nikki & the Corvettes in the late 1970s established her as a winsome Motor City rival to Debbie Harry, she's always been a fan of harder bands like the MC5, the Stooges and her old pals the Ramones. In recent years, her music has gotten increasingly punk, even as it's still crowned with her terminally effervescent melodies. During that time, she's collaborated with such raucous peers as the Short Fuses' Travis Ramin and the Gore Gore Girls' Amy Surdu, and tonight she'll be backed by a band of all-star locals, led by the ubiquitous punk drummer Roy Morgan. —Falling James
Dubstep's long been a part of Low End Theory at Lincoln Heights' Airliner, but now it's found a new home — this weekly party at the Echoplex called HEAVY. Daddy Kev and Nobody — two DJs who could easily whip up regular sets in pretty much any genre in about 15 seconds flat — serve as residents at both weeklies along with 6BLOCC, one of the earliest and loudest local practitioners of U.K.-born dank and dirty beats so bass-heavy they'll massage your inner organs and make your head spin. Expect special guests of the same caliber gracing Low End. If you've been paying attention, you know you'll be kicking yourself later for missing out. —Lainna Fader
SPINDRIFT at Dark Horse; CORRIDOR, JOHNNY O'DONNELL, RESIDUAL ECHOES at Echo; IDA MARIA at Roxy.
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