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Rock Picks

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1Morrissey at Pasadena Civic Auditorium

Past experiences and a quick study of the Pasadena Civic’s floor plan, with its sizable pit area, tell us that you’ll have ample opportunities to do what every self-respecting fan does at least once at a Morrissey concert: jump the stage and give papa bear a big bear hug — don’t touch the hair! Perhaps it’ll be during “Everyday Is Like Sunday” or “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want,” when the audience is lost in a dreamy daze and its defenses are down. Or maybe during “Meat Is Murder,” when he pretends to suffer for your sins to the sound of slaughtered sheep. (Don’t forget the part in “November Spawned a Monster” when guitarist Boz Boorer breaks out the flute and Morrissey is supposed to drop to the floor and recoil in agony as the “poor twisted child.”) Your best bet, of course, is always during the newer songs off 2004’s You Are the Quarry and the current Ringleader of the Tormentors, when everyone’s faces turn quizzical. Lastly, wear thick-soled creepers, bring a big posse for hoisting and lose your aversion to being manhandled by security. Godspeed, and leave the postshow tug of war for a piece of his Gucci shirt to the really crazy fans. Also Fri.-Sat., Feb. 2-3. (Siran Babayan)

Nine Pound Hammer, Charley Horse, Chelsea Smiles at the Scene

Rock & roll is best served at its most exaggerated and grotesque extremes, and this little fracas is guaranteed to operate pretty much at a nonstop frenzy pitch. With the walloping cowpunk & roll blitz of Nine Pound Hammer, who boast the participation of destructo-ax man (and chief howler for Nashville Pussy) Blaine Cartwright, there’s little doubt that ears will bleed. (Cartwright states, “With so much crap rock out there, and so many lightweight ‘alt-country’ bands, we are pissed off and ready to show these little shits how it’s done.”) Stir in the berserk big-beat assault of Charley Horse, another band specializing in Dixie-fried overkill (and featuring Nashville Pussy alum/incendiary Amazon Corey Parks), and the Chelsea Smiles, who, despite that candy-ass moniker, perpetrate fairly convincing slash-and-trash punk-glam savagery, and it looks to be an appropriately untamed affair. (Jonny Whiteside)

Also playing Thursday:

BUSDRIVER at Amoeba Music, 7 p.m.; GORDON LIGHTFOOT at the Canyon; PENNYWISE, CIRCLE JERKS at House of Blues; TIN HAT TRIO at Largo; CHEATIN’ KIND at Lava Lounge; HELMET, TOTIMOSHI at the Troubadour.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2

M. Ward, Victoria Williams at the El Rey Theatre

Portland-based M. Ward makes terrific art-folk records, which he filters through a century’s worth of musical detritus, finds all kinds of cool sounds and styles, then spices his songwriting with hints of his discoveries. Ward’s been a cult-fave indie star for years, but lately he’s started writing and producing for a host of other artists (including Cat Power, Beth Orton and Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley), and that’s increased his profile considerably; this month you can even hear him on the new one by Norah Jones. Though he’s toured recently as part of a monsters-of-folk act including Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, tonight Ward will perform solo. Opener Victoria Williams shares Ward’s song-catcher status; she often shades her warm country-rock with flecks of Broadway, Tin Pan Alley and more. (Mikael Wood)

The Thingz at Lava Lounge

The Thingz are a garage-punkin’ trio from Long Beach with a flippant, Groovy Ghoulies—style sense of fun, as well as a shameless penchant for singing admittedly “ridiculous” lyrics. Guitarist Mike Morris and bassist Kim Thing trade off vocals (“demonstrating the primitive duality upon which rock & roll is based”), combining the overt wackiness of the Rezillos with the stop-start abruptness of a much less angry Angry Samoans. On their 2004 self-titled full-length debut on Pelado Records, Morris and Ms. Thing are obsessed with the dangers of eating on “Manicotti Massacre” (in which a rotting TV dinner enacts its revenge on a hapless human victim), “Picnic Table Massacre” (where militant ants enact their revenge on hapless human victims) and the food-as-sex metaphor “Mastication Blues.” The Thingz turn their short attention spans to the life aquatic on their still-unreleased second album with “She’s a Piranha,” which features Morris’ deliciously icy surf-guitar shivers, and the senselessly cruel interspecies rivalry of “I’m Glad I’m Not a Mollusk.” None of this rampant silliness would matter without such catchy hooks and the frenetic rhythm section of Kim Thing and drummer Jason Cordero. (Falling James)

The Blow at the Echo

The Blow is primarily Khaela Maricich (ex-Microphones), who is responsible for a sprinkling of deliciously off-kilter albums featuring cosmic love songs tightly wrapped in screwed-up, crafty beats. Lately, Maricich has been joined by fellow Pacific Northwestern moppet Jona Bechtolt, who does the mind-blowing glitchy-electro YACHT project (he also played drums for Devendra Banhart and makes fun A/V art). This tour is a coming-out party for the Blow’s new record, Paper Television, the rainbow-sticker songs like a bunch of thoughtful boy-focused journal entries set to kinetic laptop production. The album is out on K Records, which seems to be more of an industriously creative beehive than a record label. Stronger together, Maricich and Bechtolt are like a mini Ghostwriter gang, working (and sexy-dancing) together to solve the mysteries of life. The Blow play early at 6 p.m. The Part-Time Punks party happens at the same venue afterward at 10 p.m., when they’re hosting the release of the What’s Your Rupture? label’s new compilation, Imagine the Shapes. (Kate Carraway)

Also playing Sunday:

PAUL WELLER at Avalon; THE GAME at House of Blues; CHENCHA BERRINCHES, COUGAR at the Knitting Factory; WENDY WALDMAN, CINDY BULLENS at the Coffee Gallery Backstage.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5The Binges at the King King

It’s been a while since the King King has hosted regular rock & roll shows, but the Hollywood club gets back to live action with a considerable bang with the debut of the Binges’ monthlong Monday-night residency. The local band feature two sisters from Tokyo, bassist Tsuzumi Okai and guitarist Mayuko Okai, who carve some artfully shredded hard-rock riffage while singer Dylan Squatcho slobbers over everything with doglike enthusiasm and appropriately rabid howling. Mr. Squatcho doesn’t really have anything new to say — on “Rock and Roll,” he brags about starting one of those vague rock “revolutions” that seemingly occur only on the soundtrack to TV commercials, while the non-ironic lyrics to “Pay to Play” sound like they were written by an ’80s metal band — but the Binges amp up their AC/DC chords with the saving grace of punk rock intensity. (Falling James)

Also playing Monday:

PAUL WELLER at Avalon; LILY ALLEN at Henry Fonda Theater; SIMON DAWES at the Echo; THE GAME at House of Blues; LETTER OPENERS at the Key Club; DIVISION DAY, THE MOVIES at Spaceland; RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE at the Coffee Gallery Backstage.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6 Listing Ship, The Shakes, Bodies of Water at the Echo

Jim Morrison died three decades ago, and it seems like he’s been dying ever since, with starry tributes, fawning commemorations and endless reissues of the same old greatest hits. Meanwhile, Love leader Arthur Lee — who directly influenced Morrison and first brought the Doors to the attention of Elektra Records — passed with relatively little attention last year. What gives? Lee’s songs have been praised by Robert Plant, lifted by the Rolling Stones, and covered by everyone from the Damned and the Bangles to Shockabilly and the New Christs. Although Love’s more celebrated ’60s classics — ranging from the shimmering elegance of “Andmoreagain” to the proto-punk fury of “7 & 7 Is” — are still available, most of Lee’s work since then is criminally out of print. Tonight, several of L.A.’s own criminally underrated pop groups take on his legacy, including Bodies of Water, Kind Hearts & Coronets, the Shakes (whose recent Teenacide CD, The Rise and Fall of Modern Living, is a wonderful pop travelogue through the back streets of Silver Lake) and Listing Ship, whose Heather Lockie and Julie Carpenter will reprise the string parts they played when they backed Lee on tour in 2004. (Falling James)

Also playing Tuesday:

GILL LANDRY at Genghis Cohen; THE NIGHTWATCHMAN, BEN HARPER, MARINA V at the Hotel Café; THE 88, THE OOHLAS at the Key Club; SANDRA COLLINS, PAUL OAKENFOLD at the Knitting Factory; TOM BROSSEAU, JOHN DOE at Largo; BLOODY HOLLIES, RED HEARTS at the Scene; MOLLY HOWSON at El Cid.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7

Eleni Mandell at the Echo

Eleni Mandell’s sixth album, Miracle of Five, begins not with a bang but with a sultry come-on titled “Moonglow, Lamp Low.” The snare beat and languorous sax that set the tone tell us that the singer — make that chanteuse — is in a “Blue Velvet” kind of mood and ready for her David Lynch close-up. The 12 songs are all pretty, dreamy and unsettling, featuring an array of superb guest musicians including Nels Cline and DJ Bonebrake. There’s the psycho waltz of “Girls” (“I am the dice you roll in the alley/I am the pennies that come in handy”) and the hill-Billie Holiday swoon of “Miss Me,” that latter of which could actually break your heart. Slow dancing will ensue. (Libby Molyneaux)

Also playing Thursday:

TONY BENNETT at House of Blues; VOLUMEN CERO, LOS SUPER ELEGANTES at the Knitting Factory; NINJA ACADEMY at Mr. T’s Bowl; JUCIFER, SASQUATCH at the Scene; VISIONARIES at the Viper Room.