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Rock Picks

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14

Under the Influence of Giants, Big City Rock at the Roxy

Maroon 5 fans tired of waiting around for the proper follow-up to 2002’s Songs for Jane should consider biding their time with Under the Influence of Giants, another self-consciously sleazy L.A. outfit whose blue-eyed soul jones runs as deep as the Maroon guys’. On their self-titled major-label debut, the Giants reveal the added bonus that they’re very unafraid of disco, a quality I don’t believe has ever hurt a rock band. So whose influence are they under? Oh, all the greats: Chic, Elton, Queen, Steely Dan, the newly hip Hall & Oates. People always say that they sound like the Scissor Sisters, and that’s true too. Fellow locals Big City Rock play shiny pop-rock perfect for New Radicals fans tired of the fact that the New Radicals no longer exist. (Mikael Wood)

Also playing Thursday:

PEACHES, WHITEY, JEFFREE STAR at Avalon; THE NEW CARS at Ventura Theatre; THE BRONX, RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS, CHUCK RAGAN, PUNK ROCK KARAOKE at the Key Club; TOCA, 2MEX, BUSDRIVER at the Knitting Factory; MERLE JAGGER, LONESOME SPURS at Lava Lounge; QUINTO SOL at Temple Bar; GREAT NORTHERN, THE SUBMARINES at Pershing Square.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15

Dan the Automator at El Rey TheatreDan the Man is the spiritual godfather of the indie hip-hop nation, a force to be found behind everyone from DJ Shadow and Dr. Octagon (a.k.a. Kool Keith) to the Gorillaz. Calling him a production pioneer would be an understatement. As part of his next evolutionary phase, he produced the soundtrack to the PlayStation 3 video game NBA 2K7 (in which he is also a character) in hip-hop mixtape style; now he’s bringing it to life as the headliner of the second annual Bounce tour. This will be Dan’s first outing featuring a live band, while he orchestrates the proceedings on turntables, drum machines and even a theremin. In the spirit of the mixtape, vocals will be handled by a slew of guest MCs, including Jurassic 5 big man Chali 2na, Casual of Hieroglyphics and A.G. of D.I.T.C. Expect the unexpected. (Scott T. Sterling)

Rock the Bells World Tour at House of Blues

If “Jingling Baby” is more your speed than “Jingle Bells,” then the HOB’s got a show for you. The Rock the Bells World Tour is a traveling hip-hop festival with various special guests, depending on the market, and Ghostface Killah and Pharoahe Monch have been designated to rock the House. Monch will be rapping selections from his new album, Desire, which, after a well-publicized bidding war, has just come out on Street Records. Ghostface will surely pair with Wu-Tang Clan brother Raekwon, who headlines for the duration of the tour, and maybe, if he can get him to stop dissing Jay-Z (as he did at the NYC stop), the two will deliver some Shaolin classics. Also sharing top billing for the long haul is Redman, whose latest, Red Gone Wild (Def Jam), continues with his exciting blend of hardcore Newark funk and adolescent stoner humor. (Daniel Siwek)

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21

Sepultura at the Whisky

Named not for the intersection of Sepulveda and Ventura boulevards but instead the Portuguese word for “grave,” Sepultura was founded in the early 1980s in Brazil. It’s thrash metal forged in the fires of the ruling Figueiredo military regime, the decline of the pornochanchada film industry and the continued reign of the Catholic Church, which, understandably, is not too “hot” for any metal heavier than gold. Amid rumors swirling like so many flushed toilets that founder and Soulfly throat-scourer Max Cavalera might return, Sepultura released their concept album Dante XXI (SPV) this spring. Inspired by Dante Alighieri’s rib-tickling journey through three realms of the dead, it encompasses 15 tracks of Jesus-God-Brazilian-jujitsu-just-clobbered-me headbanging — a perfect martial art for the sweatbox known as the Whisky a GoGo. Aficionados, take note: This may be the last tour that Max’s brother Igor Cavalera plays drums. (David Cotner)

Sky Saxon & the Seeds at the Knitting FactoryIf you want a faint approximation of what rock & roll was like in Hollywood in the mid-’60s, you can always check out the creepy, wax-museum artifice of tribute bands like Wild Child. But if you need a taste of the real thing — in all its bluesy, psychedelic, unpredictable and untamed glory — you can’t get any more authentic than the Seeds’ Sky “Sunlight” Saxon, the true mayor of the Sunset Strip. The Seeds’ 1966 garage-rock classic, “Pushin’ Too Hard,” would be enough to ensure the group’s legendary status, but real-wild-child Saxon also put his scarifying howl to such proto-punk nuggets as “No Escape” and “Tripmaker,” as well as the psychosexual epic “Up in Her Room” and the disarmingly vulnerable ballad “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine.” Over the decades, Mr. Sunlight has lived in the Hawaiian jungle, championed dogs as godlike beings and recorded with Redd Kross. Despite his “crazy” reputation, he still sounds focused and fiery with his new incarnation of the Seeds. (Falling James)


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