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Rock Picks

THURSDAY, MAY 10St. Vincent, John Vanderslice at Largo

Annie Clark comes from a mob background. As a member of two sprawling collectives (Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens’ touring band), she’s been a lone voice amid large ensemble casts. But when Clark transforms into St. Vincent, she sheds the multicolored robes and cheerleader outfits of those other acts to step forward and reveal her own lovely persona, and it’s quite a sight to behold. Her debut, Marry Me (on Beggars Banquet, due in July), is rife with gorgeous arrangements that invoke similarly expansive artists such as Kate Bush and Tori Amos at their most inspired, all performed with an uplifting, childlike glee. She supports John Vanderslice, late of ’90s alt-rockers MK Ultra, who has forged a stellar live rep with his clever troubadour tendencies, four-tracked daydreams and wry wordplay. Bill Gates, beware... (Scott T. Sterling)

Peachfuzz at the Echo

Remember when the radio used to play power-pop songs that would stick in your head all summer as you went driving around in your convertible? Yeah, me neither. But if such a thing were possible, L.A.’s Peachfuzz would be the perfect soundtrack for late-night cruising, drinking chocolate shakes, making out and falling in love. The nostalgic rocker “Hero of Nineteen Eighty Three,” from Peachfuzz’s new CD, Catch Your Snap (Teenacide Records), is already getting pre-release airplay on Little Steven’s nationally syndicated radio program, Underground Garage, and the rest of the album’s packed with similarly hook-filled tunes. “Change Her Mind” rides along on a compulsively hypnotic descending riff, frosted with the sugary icing of yearning Big Star–style harmonies, while the dusty, slide-guitar-wallowing ballad “L.A. Is Where I Belong” comes off like a folksy answer to the Kinks’ “This Is Where I Belong.” Singer-guitarist Andrew Chojnacki’s lyrics are silly and sarcastic — and more memorable than you might expect from song titles like “The Devil’s Underwear.” Eat a peach. (Falling James)

Also playing Thursday:

CHEATIN’ KIND at Alex’s Bar; THE RAVE-UPS at Blue Cafe; CAREY FOSSE, MARCOS FERNANDES & EMILY HAY at Il Corral; THE CAT EMPIRE at Key Club; GOLDFINGER at Knitting Factory; STARLITE DESPERATION at Spaceland; MATT SKIBA, CHUCK RAGAN at the Troubadour.

FRIDAY, MAY 11Lavender Diamond, Jimmy Tamborello at Amoeba Music

First feted — and rightfully so — in this very paper, Becky Stark’s Lavender Diamond (featuring Steve Gregoropoulos of W.A.C.O. on piano, graphic blandisher Ron Regé Jr. on drums and Jeffrey Rosenberg on guitar) has unsurprisingly gone on to great things. She delivers her shimmering version of pop Xanadu in support of the new album Imagine Our Love (Matador), bringing an unearthly level of calm to a store with more sensory overload than 20 Internet personality tests bukkake-ing you at once. Her voice is such that it’ll sound beautiful even on that crappy camera-phone with which you’re recording their set to upload to YouTube. And, if that weren’t enough, an hour later there’s a whole other level of unrelated cognitive dissonance giving you a baggie for your teeth when Jimmy “Dntel” Tamborello of the Postal Service gently caresses those wheels of steel to promote his latest release, Dumb Luck, on Sub Pop, a twinkling five-inch platter of friendship, trip-hop and sentimentality aplenty. Lavender Diamond at 7 p.m., Tamborello at 8 p.m.; free. (David Cotner)

Lovelikefire at El Cid

If this were the U.K, the British press would be argy-bargying one another for bragging rights for discovering this irresistible foursome from San Francisco. Let’s ignore the fact that they sound a hell of a lot like the Cranberries, because that might be a turn-off to some of you, though one cannot overlook the overactive larynx of lead singer Ann Yu, who is simply startling and gorgeous. The band — David Farrell, Ted Parker, Jesse Hayes — provide the surge to songs that engulf and heave you like a raging ocean. Pick hit: every damn, thrilling track off their Bed of Gold EP. They’re playing at El Cid every Friday in May. (Libby Molyneaux)

Dinosaur Jr. at the Troubadour

The original lineup of Dinosaur Jr. likely titled Beyond, their first album together in nearly 20 years, as a nod to personal differences overcome for the sake of trio-powered electricity and reunion-gig paydays. Reverting to the quasi-deco logo of the band’s early SST releases, Beyond almost literally picks up where witch-haired, distortion maestro J Mascis left off in ’88. But Mascis hasn’t exactly devolved from the exceedingly expansive, bong-water-dappled arrangements he pursued as Dinosaur Jr. into the mid-’90s. He’s just galvanized by the return of Lou Barlow’s jagged thickets of gnarly bass and the muscular drum-kit rollick of Murph. The three resume that singular whirl (blisteringly loud, it should be noted, so spring for earplugs) where classic-rock heroism is tattered and sandblasted, its crumbled chunks dolloped at the sloppy speed of punk and laced with the white-hot scrawl of Mascis’ sunburst solos and his barely-audible mellifluous croak. Thru Sun. (Bernardo Rondeau)

Clorox Girls at Pehrspace

Back in 1980, when Redd Kross were still spelling their name as “Red Cross,” they released a bratty ode to bleached-blonde punkettes called “Clorox Girls.” Fast-forward a couple decades to 2003 in Oakland, where a trio of guys named their new band in honor of the old Red Cross anthem. Now based in Portland, Clorox Girls just released their third album, J’aime les Filles (BYO Records), a 14-song collection of short-&-fast rants whose flippant lyrics and giddy melodies have more in common with such early L.A. punk bands as Rhino 39, Urinals, the Dickies and Angry Samoans than they do with the slick metallic roar of modern corporate-punk outfits. The CD combines silly original tunes like “Total Babe” and “Flowers of Evil” with a zippy cover of Lio’s ’70s French-pop hit “Le Banana Split.” The Girls have a good ear for catchy hooks on “Looking at You” (not the MC5 song), the Rutlesque pure-pop mania of “Stuck in a Hole” and the aptly titled “Nothing’s Too Deep.” Think of them as Oregon’s answer to the Fratellis. Fun, fun, fun. (Falling James)

Also playing Friday:

AL KOOPER at McCabe’s; MARCIA BALL at the Mint; VIEJOS TIEMPOS, MARIA FATAL, LAS 15 LETRAS, LOS OLVIDADOS, SECTOR LIBERTAD at Safari Sam’s; AUTUMNS, SUGARPLASTIC at Spaceland; ATOMIC SHERPAS at Taix.

SATURDAY, MAY 12

The Billybones at the Echoplex

One of the cool things about this year’s edition of the geographically challenged Silver Lake Film Festival (which occurs mostly in Echo Park) is that the promoters are using the event as an excuse to honor legendary local punk rock survivors. Last week, the Bags’ Alice Bag was given the Latina Music Pioneer Award, and tonight X bassist John Doe gets the star treatment with a Q&A session at the 6 p.m. screening of the 1986 documentary X: The Unheard Music. Afterward, at 8:30 p.m., another L.A. punk veteran — the Skulls’ Billy Bones — plays a set with his new combo, the Billybones. Although the Skulls featured a couple of musicians who would go on to greater fame with Wall of Voodoo, they never received the fawning media attention of bands like X and the Germs — in part because the Skulls released only one studio recording (the incendiary “Victims,” with its distinctively snarling whiplash-guitar lick) in their late-’70s heyday (a situation that was remedied with the 2002 release of the excellent Therapy for the Shy CD). New Billybones songs like “All Excess” have the old Skulls energy juiced up with a straightforward, no-nonsense Saints/Ramones drive. (Falling James)

Rock & Roll Adventure Kids at Mr. T’s Bowl

In Hollywood, the garage-rock game has dried up and gone stale, but in Highland Park trash maven Real Boss Hoss has kicked over the table, shredded the rule book and, with a series of increasingly unhinged package shows, instituted a wild new era of drastic big-beat demolition. Spearheaded by East Bay peckerwood-punk guitar-drums twosome Rock & Roll Adventure Kids, it ain’t gonna be nothin’ but a rampage. These daffy fuckers work a tore-up, blow-top flip-out sound that casts glittering shards of off-kilter Jonathan Richman/“Roadrunner” momentum and dysfunctional Hasil Adkins–style dementia with a fervent bite and ingenuous, primitivo charm that captures the essential, elemental lure of throwback rock & roll. If there’s any better sensation known to man, it’s strictly a behind-closed-doors proposition. (Jonny Whiteside)

SUNDAY, MAY 13

Modest Mouse, Man Man, Love as Laughter at the Greek Theatre

It’s unlikely that anyone who saw a mid-’90s show by Modest Mouse — an event during which front man Isaac Brock was likely to be drunk — imagined the Washington State outfit turning into the mainstream faves Brock and his band mates have become. (Even if you could imagine it, the use of “Float On” on American Idol a few weeks back still had to blow your mind.) The most unlikely part of Modest Mouse’s ascent has been how little they’ve tinkered with their sound to please mainstream palates; on We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (their first album with ex-Smith Johnny Marr on guitar), Brock still yelps like a backwoods madman while the rest of the group try their best to disco-fy the sea chantey. Philadelphia’s Man Man do a circus-punk thing perfect for Tom Waits fans, while Love as Laughter, from Brooklyn, play art-damaged garage rock. (Mikael Wood)

Also playing Sunday:

NON CREDO, BRAD DUTZ, KAORU, CAREY FOSSE, NORA KEYES at Dangerous Curve, 4 p.m.; PORCUPINE TREE at Grove of Anaheim; DIOS MALOS, FREE MORAL AGENTS at Alex’s Bar; ARIEL PINK at the Echo; SLUM VILLAGE at Key Club; CHENCHA BERRINCHES, VIERNES 13, UNION 13 at Knitting Factory; FAIRPORT CONVENTION at McCabe’s; CHAPIN SISTERS at the Mint; JOHN WIESE, DAMION ROMERO at the Smell; DINOSAUR JR. at Troubadour; BRENTON WOOD at the Hop, 3 p.m.

MONDAY, MAY 14Playing Monday:

RJD2, PIGEON JOHN at Henry Fonda Theater; BODIES OF WATER, KIND HEARTS & CORONETS at the Echo; HEALTH CLUB at Mr. T’s Bowl; HIGH SOCIETY, DAVE GLEASON at Silverlake Lounge; GLISS at Spaceland; DAEDELUS at Temple Bar; DITTY BOPS at City Hall, noon.

TUESDAY, MAY 15THURSDAY, MAY 17

King Kong at Spaceland

King Kong were formed in Louisville in 1989 by ex-Slint bassist Ethan Buckler, who discovered early on in his young punk life that that brutal yet sensitive and most misunderstood (and hairy) big ape represented his philosophy of life. King Kong the band were thus from the start a kinda goofy but bluesily rocking little combo, chock-full of tight, grooving beats and funky melodies, talk-sung by Buckler in a nasally monotone not unlike Fred from the B-52’s. Buckler’s ongoing series of ludicrously themed concept albums — including Me Hungry, the story of the great love between a caveman and a yak — were foolish, fun affairs, as is the band’s new Buncha Beans (Drag City), their first record in, like, five years. Beans is a somewhat more straightforwardly (musically, that is) tail-feather-shaking thing, chock even more full of tuff teen beats, a coupla horns, extra singer Amy Partin Ritchie and, most especially, an ever-droller Buckler intoning ace party tunes such as “Ride the Funky Mule,” “Monkey Business” and “Freak Off You.” (John Payne)

Also playing Thursday:

DIMMU BORGIR, UNEARTH, DEVILDRIVER at the Wiltern; BEN GIBBARD, DAVID BAZAN at Royce Hall; FUJIYA & MIYAGI at the Echo; DIMEBAG DARRELL TRIBUTE at House of Blues; MICKEY AVALON, DIRT NASTY at the Key Club; WATKINS FAMILY HOUR at Largo; BLEACH03 at Mr. T’s Bowl; BLUE HAWAIIANS at Safari Sam’s; BLASTERS at the Viper Room.


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