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Rock Picks

I scream. You scream. We all scream for Clipse, Friday. (Courtesy Zomba)

THURSDAY, MARCH 15

Merle Jagger, 8-Bit, The Fresas, Death Party at Safari Sam�s

As each of the founding members of the Ramones dies � only drummer Tommy Ramone is left from the original lineup � it�s become increasingly clear that the band has had an even wider impact on the sound of popular music than the Beatles. The Ramones� militantly economical use of riffs and melody has inspired a thousand modern-day pop groups, and Johnny Ramone�s hypnotic drone of distorted power chords has been adopted by practically every punk band since the Ramones began in 1974, ranging from fast-&-furious early indie combos like Black Flag, the Crowd and the Gears to the more processed and slick sound of current corporate-backed punk and emo outfits. Tonight, Safari Sam�s ongoing series of tribute shows focuses on the Ramones� influence on a bizarre array of disparate local performers. Vivacious pop-punk gals the Fresas and the comparatively crude and morbid goth-punks Death Party will take on the Ramones oeuvre with a traditional punk attack, while instrumental band Merle Jagger will reinterpret the songs through a bluegrass filter. And one can only wonder how 8-Bit � the raunchily hilarious rappers who are Highland Park�s answer to the Beastie Boys � will mangle and transmogrify classic Ramones tunes. (Falling James)

Also playing Thursday:

RICHARD THOMPSON, ELIZA GILKYSON at Malibu Performing Arts Center; CHEATIN� KIND at Alex�s Bar; CIVET at Knitting Factory; GLEN PHILLIPS at Largo; THAO NGUYEN at Tangier; HEAD AUTOMATICA at the Troubadour; OLLIN at Amoeba Music, 7 p.m.

FRIDAY, MARCH 16

{mosimage}Clipse at El Rey Theatre

In the rap world, Pharrell Williams serves as a benevolent Oz, which can be kind of shitty if you�re part of the viciously talented Clipse. Pharrell superproduced the Virginia Beach rap duo into success and out of respect � your mom might think the smooth-smiling wonderboy is a �cutie patootie,� but lots of purist heads consider him an affront to the form. Opportunistic, overplayed rich uncles with Justin Timberlake connections aside (the Clipse assisted in the J-Timb restructuring campaign, working on his first post-boy-band single, �Like I Love You�), the twosome confirmed their faculty for shit-hot rap as part of the Re-Up Gang, who put out those We Got It 4 Cheap mixtapes. A legal shit storm with Jive cock-blocked the Clipse�s newest album, but when it was released last year, it verified the self-sufficient talent that had been suspected all along. (Kate Carraway)

The Zombies, Ian Hunter, The Charms at Henry Fonda Theater

From top to bottom, here�s a great lineup of rock & roll. Zombies founders Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent are back in town not just to rehash their �60s hits (including �She�s Not There� and the curiously timeless �Time of the Season�), but to emphasize their current relevance, with new songs from their recent comeback CD, As Far as I Can See. (Keep an eye out for their upcoming Rhino double CD/DVD set, Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London.) Ian Hunter is best known for leading Mott the Hoople � singing lead on such classic tunes as �All the Way From Memphis,� �Rock & Roll Queen� and David Bowie�s �All the Young Dudes� � but his scattered solo recordings are often just as memorable, including �Cleveland Rocks.� Boston�s Charms burst with pop potential on their new CD, Strange Magic (Wicked Cool), and singer Ellie Vee exudes plenty of sass on songs like �American Way.� The Charms are at their most charming on Farfisa-fueled, Pandoras-style garage-rock tracks like �So Romantic,� although they�re less interesting when they ape semi-modern bands like the Bangles and Berlin. Also at Grove of Anaheim, Sat. (Falling James)

Also playing Friday:

JOEY ALTRUDA, UNCERTAIN at the Bordello; WAYNE NEWTON at the Canyon; YOUNG DUBLINERS at Key Club; THE BRIGGS, CASXIO at Knitting Factory; ALMALAFA, LAS 15 LETRAS at Safari Sam�s; DETOURS, LADYKILLERS at the Scene; RUSTY ANDERSON at Spaceland.

SATURDAY, MARCH 17

The Presets, Crystal Castles at the Echo�s Ex-Plex

Just don�t call it �nu-rave� (didn�t we learn anything from electro-clash?). Wizards of Oz (as in Australia) the Presets are a frantic pair of funbots determined to make you dance your skinny little ass off. Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes started out as mild-mannered classical buffs at Sydney�s Conservatorium of Music before the disco bug bit. It�s been a nonstop erotic cabaret ever since, with the daft duo crafting spastic blasts of dance commands and assailing audiences with notoriously energetic live shows. Their latest LP, Beams, percolates with fuzz-buster freak-outs like �Are You the One?� imagining the Faint soundtracking a Saturday-morning cartoon. Toronto�s equally electrified 8-bit babies (and potential show-stealers) Crystal Castles can glitch and bliss out with the best of them, evidenced by their incendiary remix of the Klaxons� �Atlantis to Interzone� and circuit-breaking track �Alice Practice.� (Scott T. Sterling)

{mosimage}Parliament-Funkadelic at the Malibu Inn

Holy. Fucking. Shit. Who thought bringing this much funk to a location across the street from the ocean was a good idea? When the tidal wave hits PCH, George Clinton and his Star Children will keep their promise to tear the roof off the sucker. Clinton�s voice may be a shadow of its former self, but he can still �Bow-wow-wow-yippee-yo-yippee-yay� and keep the masses moving. Be warned: The show could clock in at three hours plus, but the 15-minute guitar solo during �Maggot Brain� will give you enough time to reload. (Libby Molyneaux)

Also playing Saturday:

THE ZOMBIES, IAN HUNTER, THE CHARMS at Grove of Anaheim; THE MATCHES, I AM GHOST at El Rey Theatre; CANDYE KANE at Blue Cafe; KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, DRAGONFORCE at House of Blues; AMPS FOR CHRIST at Il Corral; SLIM JIM PHANTOM TRIO at Knitting Factory; MIGHTY REGIS, DIRGES at Molly Malone�s; BACKBITER, PROJECT K, MOTORCYCLE BLACK MADONNAS, BANNA BEAG MALL at Mr. T�s Bowl; FATSON JETSON at the Scene; OLLIN at Self Help Graphics (1 p.m.) and with LYSA FLORES at Spaceland; KINGSIZEMAYBE, TIA SPROCKET, SIMON STOKES at Taix; MEDUSA, LA SYMPHONY at Temple Bar.

SUNDAY, MARCH 18

Tijuanos, Chencha Berrinches, La Resistencia at Safari Sam�s

One of the things that made the rebellious Mexican ska-punk band Tijuana No!, who broke up in 2002, so unique is that they had three distinctly different lead singers. The late Luis Guerena howled the satirical punk blasts, Ceci Bastida (who currently plays keyboards for Julieta Venegas) sang the more melodic pop tunes, and Teca Garcia�s vocals ranged from traditional folk to funk, rock and ska influences � sometimes all in the same song � on inspiring anthems like �S�,� �Transgresores de la Ley� and �Renace en la Monta�a.� Garcia, who now lives in North Hollywood, is back with a new group whose name � Tijuanos � seems intended to remind of his early band�s glory days. Garcia�s playing guitar now, but his new songs still resonate with his grand vocal presence and typically passionate Zapata- (and Zapatista-) influenced politics. South Gate�s Chencha Berrinches used to perform with Tijuana No!, and they stir up a similarly energetic mix of furious hardcore punk, rapid-fire ska and cumbia rhythms, much like the frenetic, uptempo horn-laced grooves of fellow South Gaters La Resistencia. This early show starts at 5 p.m. (Falling James)

Also playing Sunday:

G3 at Orpheum Theatre; INSECT SURFERS, DOUBLE NAUGHT SPY CAR, REVENTLOS, BOARDWALKERS at the Echo; KASTLE GREY SKULL, TYLA at Knitting Factory; CROOKED COWBOYS at Mr. T�s Bowl; IO PERRY at Tangier; ISLEY BROTHERS at Vault 350; LISTING SHIP, ANNI ROSSI at High Energy Constructs.

MONDAY, MARCH 19

{mosimage}Les Breastfeeders at El Rey Theatre

Of all the bands currently emerging from Montreal�s thriving music scene, Les Breastfeeders might be the most fun. The band�s coed singers, Luc Brien and Suzie Mc Lelove, trade off vocals like a Gallic Sonny & Cher on a merry blend of garage-rocking songs on their second CD, Les Matins de Grands Soirs (Blow the Fuse). He tends to spit out the more punk rock tunes, such as the rollicking fuzz-tone workout �Le Roi Est Nu� and the Kinks-like �Tu N�es Pas Mon Chien,� which works as an apparently rude reply to the Stooges� �I Wanna Be Your Dog.� She sings the poppier songs, like the breezily wonderful �Funny Funiculaire,� where she comes off like Debbie Harry backed by the Ramones, and �O� Allez-Vous Si Vite?,� whose candy-cane chimes and Velvety Sunday-morning tranquility are quite enchanting. Ms. Lelove does rock out harder on the �Pas Sans Saveur� as her fellow Breastfeeders crank out a groovy garage-punk rave-up. They�re part of the M for Montr�al tour, sandwiched on a strange bill between the contrastingly serious folk-pop introspection of headliner Patrick Watson (who sings primarily in English) and the trippy electro-jazz trio Plaster (who don�t sing at all). (Falling James)

Amy Winehouse at the Roxy

Looking for a new diva? London chanteuse Amy Winehouse certainly fits the role with her intense, fierce expression framed by cascading raven-black hair. She�s got a big, magnificently smoky voice that ranges from the jazzy settings of her 2003 debut album, Frank, to the girl-group dramatics of her new CD, Back to Black. And she�s even getting a divalike reputation in her native England thanks to missed gigs and apparently drunken antics like heckling that windbag Bono at an awards show (for which she deserves a medal for rock & roll bravery). She takes on her public image with charming defiance on �Rehab,� where she sounds like a modern-day member of the Shangri-Las and proudly announces that, unlike some of her pop-starlet peers, she won�t be going into rehab anytime soon. Winehouse clearly revels in her bad-girl persona on songs like �You Know I�m No Good,� a British hit that was remixed with a guest rap from Ghostface Killah, but backs up that pose with coolly confident vocal power and plenty of charisma. Also at Spaceland, Tues. (Falling James)

The Horrors at the Echo

They come from a stylish Essex nowhere � vocalist Faris Rotter, guitar sorcerer Joshua Von Grimm on Fender Jaguar, bassist Tomethy Furse, Vox Continental organist Spider Webb and drummer Coffin Joe � more full of rock than God is of mercy, wide-eyed stares ringed in eyeliner and propelled by the roar of a �60s garage organ. They make the already deathlessly radiant actress Samantha Morton even more luscious by virtue of her out-flung tentacle guts in their video for �Sheena Is a Parasite,� striking fear in the heart of corporate media lawyers with its stroboscopic conflagration directed by Chris �Windowlicker� Cunningham. Referencing psychotronic cinema, the Swinging Medallions and Andrew Loog Oldham in one swell foop, they are the wet dream incarnate, and if you miss this, your cred will be worth less than a truckload of dead rats in a tampon factory. (David Cotner)

The Fratellis at the Troubadour

The Fratellis are the cheekiest monkeys to come out of Scotland since the Rezillos. The pseudo-fraternal Ramones-like trio�s new CD, Costello Music (Cherry Tree/Interscope), is closer in spirit to Lou Costello than Elvis Costello, crammed with hook-filled tunes that are pumped up with nonstop punky energy. And while the Fratellis don�t play with the absolutely scorching savagery of punk revivalists like the Briefs or their Scots-parodying distant relations the Real McKenzies, insistently catchy songs like �Creeping Up the Backstairs� and �Chelsea Dagger� are potential hits that are delivered with more power than most power-pop groups. The breakneck pace lets up just a bit on the mildly psychedelic �Doginabag� and the acoustic-flavored �Whistle for the Choir,� which could almost be a lost Rutles song. The Fratellis� relentlessly perky worldview shuns anything too messy or emotionally revealing � and the fun-loving �brothers� are too nice to aim for the misanthropically brilliant satire of the Dickies � but it�s hard not to get caught up in the infectious goofiness of the pub-rocking shout-along �Got Ma Nuts From a Hippy� and �Vince the Loveable Stoner.� (Falling James)

Also playing Monday:

G3 at Grove of Anaheim; BLOC PARTY, FINAL FANTASY, THE LIKE at the Wiltern; MAT KEARNEY, ROCCO DELUCA at House of Blues; NAKED AGGRESSION, BAD SAMARITANS at Knitting Factory; CROOKED COWBOYS at Mr. T�s Bowl; LACOSTE, EX-OBLIVION at Pehrspace; NICE BOYS at King King; AUDREY AULD MEZERA at Coffee Gallery Backstage.

TUESDAY, MARCH 20

Playing Tuesday:

BLOC PARTY, FINAL FANTASY, THE LIKE at the Wiltern; ROD STEWART at Staples Center; EVIDENCE at Amoeba Music, 7 p.m.; HELIO SEQUENCE, DIRTY ON PURPOSE, BESNARD LAKES at the Echo; MARE WINNINGHAM, SALLY KELLERMAN at Genghis Cohen; MAT KEARNEY, ROCCO DELUCA & THE BURDEN at House of Blues; MERLE JAGGER, GHOST TOWN at Molly Malone�s; NICE BOYS, BIRDS OF AVALON at the Scene; AMY WINEHOUSE at Spaceland.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21

{mosimage}Civet, Fortune�s Flesh at the Scene

Civet�s femme-fatale punk rock sound is all about throaty, dirty, throbbing back-alley frolic � pissed off and cynical, yet perversely relishing the whole fucked-up mess that life thrusts upon us all. They view things through an irony-appreciative lens that not only acts as a street-life survival mechanism, it also seems to drive the mascara-smudged reality of their hard-knock, party-in-the-van, nightclub cat-fight existence. Perhaps that�s over-romanticizing the Civet ethos, but these badass chicks definitely do not tread gingerly; they hit it head-on, full-bore, roaring through a buzz-saw set with joyful intensity. With the shadowy, �death doo-wop��filigreed sound of Fortune�s Flesh, essentially the �afterlife� incarnation of the strangely persuasive, long-running punk-roots stylists the Starvations, this pairing looks to provide an engaging, if somewhat enervating earful. (Jonny Whiteside)

Sondre Lerche, Willy Mason at El Rey Theatre

It�s boys with guitars and emotions on parade when these heartfelt folkies come together. Norwegian jangle-maker Sondre Lerche has been strumming his clever guitar pop for a few albums now, but his latest, Phantom Punch, is packed with surprises. Gone are the easy, gentle breezes of early tunes, replaced by a manic, borderline punk crunch atop his trademark melodies. Willy Mason is the current sensation, trading in the kind of classic, socially aware folk you�d expect from a kid raised by musician types on Martha�s Vineyard. He was discovered by the keen ears of Bright Eyes� Conor Oberst, and his worldly, husky croon already has the Brits calling him the latest �new Dylan� � none less than Radiohead handpicked him to open a series of dates. His recently released If the Ocean Gets Rough adds a warm, ornate edge that should further endear him to the NPR set. (Scott T. Sterling)

The Oohlas, Storm Large & the Balls at the Knitting Factory

With their recent CD, Best Stop Pop (Stolen Transmission), the Oohlas have announced themselves as one of the more inviting bands in the local music scene. Guitarist Olivia Stone coos with a Kim Deal�style appeal on the tangled limbs of �Octopus� and the Chinatown pet-store odyssey �Rupert Krikor Chang.� And much like the coed duality of the Pixies, guitarist Greg Eklund balances Stone�s vocals by taking the lead on the psychedelic pop of �From Me to You� and amid the swirling haze of �Gone.� �We are the rejected,� Stone claims on the enigmatic �Snow Shoes� before adding, �You�re too plastic for me.� There�s nothing plastic about the Oohlas, though, especially on the weird grandeur and momentous buildup of the album closer, �The Rapid.� There is something plastic about headliners Storm Large & the Balls, if only because exhibitionist singer Large was a losing contest on the banal Rock Star: Supernova reality-TV show. Her Portland band are best known for their lounge-y remakes of schlocky rock and pop standards, although their own songs are a much more interesting showcase for Large�s powerfully melodramatic vocals. (Falling James)

Also playing Wednesday:

CHARLIE WADHAMS & THE HARMONY BROTHERS, MIKE ANDREWS at the Bordello; PLAIN WHITE T�s at House of Blues; HEALTH, EX-OBLIVION at Il Corral; 400 BLOWS, STINKING LIZAVETA, QUI at Knitting Factory; BEN LEE at Largo; RADIATORS at the Mint; RADARS TO THE SKY, PRESS FIRE at Silverlake Lounge; BIRDS OF AVALON at Viper Room; BEN VAUGHN at Buccaneer Lounge.

THURSDAY, MARCH 22

{mosimage}Apples in Stereo at Spaceland

If the Archies went to college, they�d be Apples in Stereo. There was a time when Queen was considered rock�s most educated band. Today, we have Robert Schneider, who�s gotten all Copernicus on our ass and invented a new musical scale, the non-Pythagorean scale. Schneider studied physics in college and is a self-confessed math-head. On the band�s recent New Magnetic Wonder album, you get two non-Pyth compositions, and though I will not pretend to know anything about scales, Pythagorean or non, I can tell you that the rest of the album has some of the most shimmering, sparkling pop songs ever recorded for your air-tambourine pleasure. (Libby Molyneaux)

Also playing Thursday:

ROD STEWART at Staples Center; BADLY DRAWN BOY at El Rey Theatre; KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, DRAGONFORCE at the Wiltern; BIRDS OF AVALON at Alex�s Bar; ANN MAGNUSON at Amoeba Music, 7 p.m.; KRIS DELMHORST, BETH THORNLEY, ANA EGGE at Hotel Caf�; OZOMATLI at Key Club; KRS-ONE at Malibu Inn; RADIATORS at the Mint; DIRGES, MIGHTY REGIS at Molly Malone�s; MARIA FATAL, NEFALIM, PASTILLA at Safari Sam�s; ANAVAN at the Smell; ANTIBALAS at Temple Bar; BLAG DAHLIA, NICK OLIVERI at Crane�s.

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