Rock Picks: Acid Mothers Temple, Kate Maki, Marissa Nadler, Mirah
FRIDAY, APRIL 3
Acid Mothers Temple, Kinski at the Echoplex
A “freak-out group for the 21st century,” Japan’s Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. were founded in 1996 by members of the Acid Mothers Temple music-art commune. Led by electric guitarist/violinist player/visionary Kawabata Makoto, the group has released entire galaxies of ultrapsychedelic albums that vary quite substantially in quality, including the truly epic glories of In C, its radical reworking of Terry Riley’s famous minimalist piece (which includes their own “In E,” and, on the CD reissue on Squealer, the 19-minute bonus track “In D”). AMT pays wicked tribute to the halcyon days of the late-’60s to mid-’70s English/American progressive and avant-rock bands and new-music pioneers, including but not limited to Sun Ra, Gong, Hendrix, Floyd and Soft Machine. Its earlier Hawkwind-meets-Zappa improvised hippie crud has thankfully evolved into more heavyweight conceptual works like the brutal monster sludge of Starless and Bible Black Sabbath (Alien 8), and last year’s Pink Lady Lemonade — You’re From Outer Space (on Riot Season). The band’s various lineup transmutations are pretty hard to keep track of, though the faithful know that the live event will be a guaranteed major mind meltdown. (John Payne)
Lamb of God at the Palladium
Like some B-movie made flesh, dark things that previously skulked only in heavy metal’s dank, fetid corners are now staggering boldly into America’s mainstream. Witness hairy Virginian vets Lamb of God headlining the Palladium with their malicious cauldron of Pantera-ish groove, earnest thrash, organic hardcore and wafts of leaf-lazy Southern sludge. Irony-, humor- and apology-free, it’s LOG’s very commitment and intensity that make them progressive, squeezing perhaps last drops of blood from the genre’s sacred stone. Wrath, the band’s sixth opus, has moments of choreographed subtlety — the almost obligatory acoustic opening; the faded bluegrass intro of “Reclamation” — but that’s not what we came for. It’s the ludicrous lack of restraint in Lamb of God’s belt-fed kick drums and alternately sinewy/strangulated guitars and the ancient anger of Randy Blythe’s Cookie Monster vocals that make them flag bearers in pure metal’s current counterattack. (Paul Rogers)
Also playing Friday:
BUSDRIVER, TIM FITE at the Natural History Museum; THE HAUNTED, MERAUDER, THE AGONIST at the Key Club; OMAR SOSA at the Jazz Bakery; DR. LONNIE SMITH, BIG ORGAN TRIO, BOOGALOO ASSASSINS at the Mint; LITTLE BIG TOWN, ZAC BROWN BAND at Club Nokia; JON BRION & FRIENDS at Largo at the Coronet; JOHN BROWN’S BODY, BLUE KING BROWN, MISHKA at the Roxy.
SATURDAY, APRIL 4
The Dex Romweber Duo at the Redwood Bar and Grill
As singer-guitarist with the Flat Duo Jets, Dexter Romweber scratched out a uniquely twisted version of rootsy garage rock that launched an entire wave of bass-free revivalists. Jack White has often cited the ’80s North Carolina duo as the primary inspiration for the White Stripes, and, while he doesn’t appear on the Dex Romweber Duo’s new CD, Ruins of Berlin (Bloodshot), plenty of other punk and alt-country icons stop by to lend a hand. Country sirens Neko Case and Kelly Hogan sweeten a version of Billy Sherrill’s “Still Around” with floating angelic harmonies, and Southern Culture on the Skids’ Rick Miller adds some surf-guitar sizzle to the instrumental “Lookout.” Exene Cervenka duets with Romweber on the folksy jangle “Lonesome Train,” while Cat Power fills the ballad “Love Letters” with her trademark mournful blues. The Dex Romweber Duo, which includes sister Sara Romweber on drums, is fleshed out on record by bassist Robbie Link, and guest Bob Pence adds some snazzy sax to the murky instrumental “Cigarette Party.” But Ruins of Berlin is ultimately Dexter’s show, as he delivers original songs like “People, Places and Things” with an ominous Nick Cave croon. (Falling James)
Stereo Total at El Rey Theatre
The German duo Stereo Total return to town with more of their curiously infectious electro-punk anthems. They haven’t released a full-length album since 2007’s Paris-Berlin, although a new single, “Anti Love Song,” is supposed to come out soon on Kill Rock Stars. In recent years, these sonic saboteurs have hosted a fanciful radio play, Patty Hearst: Princess and Terrorist, and performed a special show of songs by Kurt Weill, and singer Françoise Cactus has spent much of her time exhibiting her art at galleries in Europe. Paris-Berlin was a delightful collision of punky declarations like “Plastic” and such charming pop tunes as “Miss Rébellion des Hormones.” Best of all was the pair’s utterly groovy version of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Relax Baby Be Cool,” which they transformed into a modern dance song via keyboardist Brezel Göring’s electronic beeps and whistles and Ms. Cactus’ sensual purr. They’re touring with the goofy, sweater-shrouded hip-pop of Iowa’s Leslie & the LYs. (Falling James)
Bamboozle Left at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
This annual two-day emo-punk blowout hasn’t been around as long as its New Jersey counterpart, but Bamboozle Left organizers are already futzing with a proven formula: Stick around for Sunday’s headlining slot this year and you’ll be treated to a set by 50 Cent, a rapper whose career of late consists pretty much of blasting Kanye West, the emo-est man in hip-hop. That said, the remainder of Bamboozle Left’s lineup is more or less business as usual: Fall Out Boy and the reunited Get Up Kids top Saturday’s bill, while Deftones, Taking Back Sunday and the Used will warm up the crowd for Fitty on Sunday. Undercard acts worth seeking out include prep-rap goofball Asher Roth, prog-opera dudes Forgive Durden and local noise-rock troublemakers the Bronx. (Mikael Wood)
Kate Maki, Great Lake Swimmers, Travel by Sea at Spaceland
There’s such a wild and wondrous depth to Kate Maki’s On High, from last year, that you have to wonder from where it sprang. It sounds like the Canadian singer/songwriter’s 10th album, so confident and personable is it. But it’s just her third, and her first with American iconoclast Howe Gelb on the knobs and strings. On High is one of those secret little records that you pull out when trying to impress your know-it-all geeky friends. Why? It’s a stunning mix of country, rock, blues, folk and whatever that constantly surprises, and there’s a good, but regrettable, chance that they haven’t heard it. “To Please” is a stutter-step denial that features what sounds like pingpong balls as percussion; “Message Forgot” is a mournful waltz that suggests a lost Patsy Cline hit; and “Don’t Look Down,” a duet with Gelb (best known for his long-running Giant Sand project), feels like an argument between a shrink and his stubborn patient. This bill, presented by Aquarium Drunkard, should be great from start to finish. (Randall Roberts)
Also playing Saturday:
GRACE WOODROOFE at the Hotel Café; ARTURO SANDOVAL at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex; TORTURED SOULS at the Roxy; JOHN WESLEY HARDING, EUGENE MERMAN at Largo at the Coronet; SHARAM, DJ REZA at Avalon/Bardot Hollywood; KAYHAN KALHOR, BROOKLYN RIDER at Royce Hall; OMAR SOSA at the Jazz Bakery; PUSCIFER, INTO THE PRESENCE at Club Nokia.
SUNDAY, APRIL 5
Puscifer at Club Nokia
Puscifer is Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan’s latest side project, but unlike A Perfect Circle, it’s most definitely not an opportunity to flex the radio-rock muscles he largely ignores in his day job: On Puscifer’s 2007 debut, “V” Is for Vagina, Keenan and a varied cast of collaborators (including Jonny Polonsky, Primus drummer Tim Alexander and Josh Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv) kicked out a set of dark-and-steamy cabaret-funk jams about guns and Jesus. The group played its first live gigs in February at the Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, a setting that by all accounts suited the left-field multimedia extravaganza Keenan has cooked up. Model-turned-actress-turned-singer Milla Jovovich took part in the Vegas shows; cross your fingers for a repeat performance here. Also Saturday. (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Sunday:
STEVEN SEVERIN at the Echo; OLD CALIFORNIO, I SEE HAWKS IN L.A., WHISPERING PINES,OMAR SOSA at the Jazz Bakery; ASHER ROTH at the Key Club.
MONDAY, APRIL 6
THE HENRY CLAY PEOPLE, MIKE WATT & THE MISSINGMEN, READY THE JET, THREE MIGHTY ANGELS at Spaceland; FOOLS GOLD at the Echo; THE BIRD & THE BEE, JULIETTE COMMAGERE at the Echoplex.
TUESDAY, APRIL 7
Marissa Nadler at Hotel Cafe
The whys and wherefores of one Marissa Nadler will be forever clothed in mist, and a listen to her catalog of gothically ghostly tales — echoing across the moors — does not give a clue. The Boston singer-guitarist’s new Little Hells disc on Kemado is her most bloodcurdlingly cogent statement yet, a phantastic journey into a seemingly lonely psyche that gazes out the attic window of a decrepit old house and ponders the cycles of life, this “River of Dirt” that has always been and will always be. You’ll want this music to never end, almost perversely, as Nadler echo-croons so ethereally over artfully plucked acoustic guitar, the shapes and colors of her melancholy muse shifting so subtlely as to suggest, best severe and complex emotions that we’ve possibly never recognized in this or previous lives. Old-world obsessivists Joanna Newsom or Faun Fables might have tapped into similar musical roots (where Joni Mitchell reigns supreme), though you’d be forgiven for projecting a degree of inheritance from the medieval sounds filtered through the early-’70s English folk crew, such as Pentangle or the Fairports (which Nadler claims to have only recently discovered). This is that shiveringly faraway music that lingers damply, but you’ll be grateful for its persistence in the end ... the end ... the end. (John Payne)
Also playing Tuesday:
CLEM SNIDE, LE SWITCH, THE HELIGOATS at Spaceland; MEGADETH, ALL THAT REMAINS, HATEBREED, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, SUICIDE SILENCE at Club Nokia.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8
Jerkagram, Talibam! at the Smell
Along with bands named This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb and the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower appearing in the wake of 9/11, Talibam! might not be the first thing one might think of when it comes to free spazz and bombast. And yet somehow it all works for the synth/drums duo of Matt Mottel and Kevin Shea — so much so that the endlessly respectable ESP-Disk label in Brooklyn signed their forthcoming album. Talibam!’s is an attack that doesn’t take prisoners so much as it gives them Stockholm syndrome, inclusive and enthusiastic as all good connections with bands should be. Jerkagram, a r/evolving Connecticut musical collective, accompanies them on this magical misery tour of these United States throughout springtime — and, besides the obvious rhyming kinship the bands share, they’re equally matched in terms of epic and lengthy skronk dominance. With Infinite Body, Corey Marc Fogel of Gowns. (David Cotner)
Also playing Wednesday:
LIVING THINGS, BLOODCAT LOVE at Spaceland; KATIA & MARIELLE LABEQUE, MAYTE MARTIN at Royce Hall; ALEXI MURDOCH at El Rey Theatre.
THURSDAY APRIL 9
Mirah at the Echo
The Portland, Oregon, singer Mirah gets back to her winsomely beguiling art-pop folk style on (A)spera (K Records), her first proper solo album since 2004’s C’Mon Miracle. In recent years, she’s experimented with her sound on 2006’s Joyride: Remixes and 2007’s Share This Place: Stories and Observations, a collaboration with Spectratone International, where she imagined the secret lives and aspirations of insects. Of course, her new tunes aren’t just simple folk songs: The album opener, “Generosity,” is wrapped up in a bow of melancholic violins, and the somber ballad “The World Is Falling” is arranged with soothingly ghostly harmonies and ambient buzzing sounds. “Why were you not built for wonder?” she coos with a Kate Bush intimacy. The glassy spell is briefly broken on the swirling tangle of “Country of the Future,” where she seduces a lover over a clatter of exotic percussion: “Love has both captured and set us free to each our own country.” About halfway through, the intimate pop track “The Forest” expands with momentous hard-rock guitars and grandly billowing horns. Throughout, Mirah is clever without being too cute, and playfully romantic without succumbing to typical pop sappiness. (Falling James)
Jesca Hoop at the Hotel Cafe
Of all the fine singer-songwriters who’ve come out of the Hotel Café, Jesca Hoop might be the most wildly inventive. Her 2007 major-label debut, Kismet (Red Ink/Columbia), is more than just the usual assortment of pop-folk songs, because it’s layered with wonderfully mesmerizing arrangements and evocatively arty lyrics. “Seed of Wonder” trundles along with clanking percussion, tick-tocking art-rock guitars, febrile harmonies and dense cascades of “silken ringing,” while “Out the Back Door” stomps with boxy rhythms and sensually filtered vocals. It’s not like Hoop’s songwriting is only about studio trickery, though; gently pretty ballads like “Love Is All We Have” are adorned with little more than acoustic-guitar plucking and her languidly enchanting harmonies. But it’s most impressive when her sinuous melodies are combined with strange instrumentation, as in “Money,” which hints at the angular approach of Tom Waits. Hoops has gained some media notoriety because she used to work as a nanny for Tom Waits and his wife, Kathleen Brennan, but that tidbit of trivia shouldn’t overshadow the seemingly boundless creativity of this very special performer. (Falling James)
Also playing Thursday:
LILA DOWNS at Royce Hall; MATT SHEEHY, E.G. DAILY at the Mint; DENGUE FEVER at the Echoplex; VOLTAIRE at the Knitting Factory; SPINDRIFT, WHISPERING PINES, RESTAURANT, NEW YORK RIFLES at Spaceland.
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