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Rock Picks

THURSDAY, Oct. 5

 Gov’t Mule at the Wiltern LG When Warren Haynes branched off from the Allman Brothers to found Gov’t Mule in 1994, he clearly intended to kick ass with his brooding soul vocals, his preachifying song constructions, and that debbil guitar, whose controlled power and shading always has fellow musicians abrading their patellas. Lawd, did he ever succeed, and the Mule’s new High & Mighty may be the best evidence yet. With keyboardist Danny Louis and bassist Andy Hess having fully merged spirits with Haynes and original drummer Matt Abts, the riffs are at their hairiest and the sound at its biggest. This record rocks deep, weeps with hard experience, and skanks the way only men with lungs full of pure Jamaica can do. And live, that’s just the beginning. (Greg Burk)

Roger Waters at the Hollywood Bowl

Pink Floyd bassist Waters follows bandmate Dave Gilmour’s footsteps at the Bowl for this performance of Dark Side of Moon. Following the rousing success of the Floyd reunion at Live 8 last year, Waters returns to the passions that have ably fueled his career: war, envy, the past, and various levels of poignancy and betrayal. Now, however, another fixation lights up the stage behind him: Syd Barrett. Never mind the fact that Syd’s house is now up for sale — images of the madcap laugher will saturate this revival of Dark Side, to be performed in its entirety, with lyrics by Waters that lived and breathed on the U.S. charts for more than 740 weeks. On drums in the Bowl engagement: Floyd drummer Nick Mason. Also Fri. & Sun., Oct. 6 & 8. (David Cotner)

FRIDAY, Oct. 6

The Album Leaf at the Troubadour

The Album Leaf is in actuality one man, name of Jimmy LaValle, who tends to hole up in his house in San Diego for months at a time sketching out his music, which is what he did for his latest set of willowy dreams on SubPop, Into the Blue Again. LaValle draws from a wide array of experiences in the experimental-rock sphere, having served at various times with Tristeza, the Locust, GoGoGo Airheart, the Black Heart Procession and even Sigur Rós. Into the Blue Again, recorded in a converted turn-of-the-century barn outside of Seattle, then mixed to tape in a studio in Iceland, is another warm-toned, ethereal excursion into the realm of the introspective (he calls himself the Album Leaf, after all), where LaValle sings dulcetly and the downy keyboards and darkly cinematic strings (mostly played by LaValle himself) etch his songs firmly and irrevocably in the memory. Lovely stuff. (John Payne)

MONDAY, Oct. 9

Sufjan Stevens at the Wiltern

Indie-rock wunderkind Sufjan Stevens has been having quite the banner year. The runaway success of 2005’s Illinois spawned The Avalanche, an aptly titled collection of Illinois session outtakes and extras. The native Michigander, who resides in Brooklyn, is still as restless as he was in “Chicago” and “No Man’s Land,” so it makes sense that their existential wanderlust made the trip into the quirky celluloid terrain of the equally acclaimed Little Miss Sunshine and its panoramic soundtrack. And if that weren’t enough, Stevens was recently selected as the inaugural recipient of the New Pantheon Award (successor to the discontinued Shortlist Music Prize). Could tonight’s appearance mean that California is next on the expansive, experimental and enigmatic musician’s list of state-themed discs? We should be so lucky. (Lawrence Everett Forbes)

TUESDAY, Oct. 10

Kasabian at the Henry Fonda Theater

Despite having dissed Bloc Party as “whingers” and Pete Doherty as “a fucking tramp” in July’s NME (apparently touring with Oasis has given them Gallagher brothers–size heads), Kasabian can put their music where their smack-talking mouths are. The U.K. five-piece simply reach beyond the dance-rock parameters that have made across-the-pond brethren Block Party and Franz Ferdinand bigger stars stateside. Kasabian’s audaciously-titled second LP, Empire, simultaneously channels the Stones, T. Rex, Primal Scream and the Chemical Brothers (even a little Dylan) while still sounding fresh in its dizzying mash-up of psychedelic beats, orchestra strings, sleazy horns and, get this, Moroccan rai. If you thought the groove gravy of “Reason Is Treason” was the real hit from Kasabian’s eponymous debut (the album that gave us the singles “Club Foot” and “L.S.F.”), the Chemical Brothers’ “Setting Sun”–meets–Moroder’s “I Feel Love” of “Apnoea” is gonna make you wanna carry a picket sign on the dance floor. (Siran Babayan)

Merle Haggard at Royce Hall

Merle Haggard? Don’t take him for granted. No matter how many times you may have seen him, or if you never have and think it may be too late, the truth of the matter is that Hag continues to not only surprise (and occasionally shock) but also consistently out-perform whatever expectations an audience may have. His sensitivity and instinct as a vocalist remain stunning, his guitar playing only expands into wildly unpredictable new musical territory, and his band, the Strangers, follows every spontaneous switcheroo with a skill and authority that is nothing less than flabbergasting. Hag’s got a jazz head and a raggedy honky-tonk ass, and what comes from the bloody heart between the two invariably carries an artful, soul-deep beauty. (Jonny Whiteside)

THURSDAY, Oct. 12

Jedi Mind Tricks, Outerspace at the Troubadour

If The Nation’s Alexander Cockburn were an MC, he might sound like Jedi Mind Tricks verbalist Vinnie Paz. On Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell, the angry Philadelphian raps about everything from Iraq to sweatshops. Yet Paz is about more than politics, whether despairing of mainstream hip-hop’s fixation with bling and booties or copping to suicidal thoughts, as he does on “Razorblade Salvation.” Partner Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind’s stomping beats mirror Paz’s gravelly flow, but then he’ll throw curveballs like a Sufjan Stevens sample. First up, Philly homies Outerspace will sling verses from Blood Brothers, a tale of the hood backlit by everything from Sicilian murder ballads to Motown soul. The flexing is relentless; the banging-ness makes up for it. (Andrew Lentz)

More Stuff!

FRI., 10/ 6: MISERY INDEX at the Knitting Factory; JONNY LANG at HOB; BASTARD SONS OF JOHNNY CASH at Vine Street Lounge; DEAR NORA, THE MAE SHI at the Smell; ROGER WATERS at Hollywood Bowl; PETE ESCOVEDO LATIN JAZZ ENSEMBLE at California Plaza.

SAT., 10/7: KINKY at the Grand Avenue Festival; TOM RECCHION, CALIFONE, CARL STONE, MICHAEL ZBYSZYNSKI at the Getty Center; CELTIC FROST, SUNN0))), GOATWHORE at HOB; JULIA FORDHAM at the Troubadour; MONSTERS ARE WAITING, AFROBEAT DOWN, ELENI MANDELL & INARA GEORGE at Eagle Rock Festival; L.A. PHILHARMONIC & DAKAH HIP-HOP ORCHESTRA, DUBLAB SOUNDSYSTEM at Disney Hall; SACCHARINE TRUST at Mr. T’s Bowl; JAMES McMURTRY at Safari Sam’s; POWDER at the Key Club; VERY BE CAREFUL at Little Pedro’s; THE HANGMEN, TURBO AC’s at Vine Street Lounge.

SUN., 10/8: NISHAT KHAN at Royce Hall; BIPOLAR BEAR, SHELLSHAG, THRONES at the Smell; L.A. GUNS at the Whisky; ROGER WATERS at Hollywood Bowl; BLACK SEEDS at Vine Street Lounge.

MON., 10/9: THE NATIONAL at the Troubadour; BARBEZ, HANS FJELLESTAD, BECKY STARK at Steve Allen Theater; OOHLAS, DIRTY LITTLE SECRET at Viper Room; HATEBREED, EXODUS, BLACK DAHLIA MURDER at HoB.

TUES., 10/10: DRESDEN DOLLS at the Orpheum Theater; BOBBY BARE JR. at Spaceland.

WED., 10/11: MARCIA BALL at the Canyon; RED SPAROWES at the Knitting Factory; THE NATIONAL at the Troubadour.

THURS., 10/12: CITIZEN COPE at HoB; PAMELA Z at REDCAT.

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