ROCK PICKS: Black Francis, Bob Dylan, Caroline Weeks, Casiokids
FRIDAY, AUGUST 7
DAM-FUNK, COMPUTER JAY AT CALLING ALL KIDS AT THE HYPERION TAVERN
Stones Throw signee Dâm-Funk has been making waves with his G-funk-steeped brand of electro-boogie — seemingly the perfect cooling agent to this recent heat wave. The Leimert Park producer/singer is currently working his way through an ambitious five-LP album debut, titled Toeachizown. Only one 40-minute installation, Vol. 1: LAtrik, has been released, but its seamless mix of Prince-y freakiness, mellow keyboard work and thick bass makes for a near-endless groove. This is a DJ appearance, but Dâm is, no surprise, an L.A. funk connoisseur, and he’s known to sing while spinning. The Calling All Kids weekly — founded by Anticon manager Shaun Koplow (DJ Sodapop) and Dublab affiliate/artist Matthewdavid — has been picking up steam as well. Recent performers have included Lucky Dragons, Hecuba, the Human Ear Music gang, Ras G, and Yoni Wolf of WHY?, while bookings for the coming weeks include Daedelus, Pedestrian and an L.A. Record night. The event usually includes a mixtape exchange, and an exquisite-corpse art piece (butcher paper + markers). (Chris Martins)
ROXY EPOXY & THE REBOUND AT THE KNITTING FACTORY
You might remember Roxy Epoxy as the charismatic, androgynous lead singer of the Portland new wave–revival band the Epoxies, who were just starting to make an international impact when they broke up in 2007. Now Epoxy’s back with another new group, the Rebound, whose recent CD, Band-Aids on Bullet Holes (Metropolis), has a harder, darker allure than the singer’s early perky-pop phase. At times, Epoxy’s clipped, frenetic delivery sounds like Sparks’ Russell Mael or Celebrity Skin’s Gary Jacoby, as the Rebound buries everything in buzzing guitars, robotic post-punk rhythms and crunchy synthesizers. “I want to own you/I want I want I want to own that face,” Epoxy demands on “Svengali,” an interesting tale of beauty, image and physical makeover that parallels Epoxy’s own transformation into “a delicate fucking flower.” (Falling James)
LOS AMIGOS INVISIBLES AT HOUSE OF BLUES
It’s not clear if the Venezuelan band Los Amigos Invisibles were being sarcastic or ironic (or perhaps even hopeful) when they titled their latest CD Commercial, but the album’s blend of disco, funk, pop and acid jazz certainly veers more toward mainstream dance music than it does toward anything truly adventurous or subversive. That said, the shiny electronic grooves of the disco reverie “Sueño Erotico” and the breezy pop ramble “Es la Verdad” have a soothingly escapist allure, even if the production and backing are slick and anonymous. The band (now based in Brooklyn) are much more interesting on the rubbery retro funk of “Plastic Woman,” the Meters-style trip-hop of the instrumental “Burundanga” and the recent single “Mentiras,” which has a relatively catchy neo–new wave beat. Sometimes you wish Los Amigos Invisibles would step out from behind their machines and really rock it up with the fire and personality that only occasionally slip through Marcelo Añez and José Luis Pardo’s airtight production. (Falling James)
Also playing Friday:
HA HA TONKA, HIGH SOCIETY, C.B. BRAND at the Bootleg Theater; MAZE & FRANKIE BEVERLY at the Nokia Theatre; THE MUTAYTOR at the Roxy; THE BLACK EYED PEAS at the Pacific Amphitheatre; VISA, THE SHRINE at the Troubadour; THE JONAS BROTHERS, JORDIN SPARKS, WONDER GIRLS at the Staples Center; SOVEREIGN STRIKE, EARTH FROM ABOVE, MY ETERNAL ENDING, OTHERS at the Cobalt Cafe; THE ZEROS at the Redwood Bar; DIMPLES, TEEN SUICIDE, SUPERSTITIONS, HELLOMYNAMEISCHAD at the Smell; THE BLACK HEART PROCESSION, CIRCUS MINOR, THIS IS NOT MY LIFE at Spaceland; MONDO GENERATOR, IT’S CASUAL, 16, DISASTROID at the Viper Room.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 8
THE DODOS AT THE GETTY
The Dodos take their stride from the twangy clatter of Meric Long’s acoustic guitar and Logan Kroeber’s athletic drum playing. After the characteristically tight beat and riff have been set, they apply a melodic flourish (with help from Keaton Snyder, who’s just replaced the Gris Gris’ Joe Haener) — the bleepy bliss of the Casio SA-1, a mellow trombone or some toy piano might creep into the mix. Comparisons to Animal Collective, Passion Pit and others are undeniable, but the Dodos are as solid a set of standard-structure songwriters as Conor Oberst or the Shins’ James Mercer, and the Dodos don’t get too wrapped up in the gratuitousness of sampling and the overload of random stage instruments. Plus Long and Co. are much more apt to make the 16-year-old girls yelp and swoon than Animal Collective. They’ll visit L.A. again in September at El Rey Theatre (when their new album, Time to Die, is officially released — although it leaked online two months early); better to enjoy them outside tonight in the warm canyon breezes before summer’s gone. (Wendy Gilmartin)
CASIOKIDS, THE WAVE PICTURES, SLOW CLUB AT SPACELAND
London’s Moshi Moshi Records may not be well known stateside, but its artists sure are. Among the gaggle of impressive names that got their start on the indie imprint: Bloc Party, Kate Nash, Hot Chip and the Rakes. But rather than wrangle an already familiar all-star lineup for this, Moshi Moshi’s 10-year Anniversary Tour, the label is doing what it’s always done best: spotlighting talent that hasn’t broken just yet. Casiokids, hailing from Norway, specialize in extremely catchy dance-rock instrumentals (think Ratatat meet Peter Bjorn and John) that often feature striking, ethereal vocals sung in the band’s native language. The distortion-free rock & roll of the Wave Pictures is imbued with a similar summery brightness despite the band’s British heritage. The group has actually been around (in various forms, under various names) for more than a decade, which is more than enough time to perfect its minimalist, lovelorn tunes. Opener Slow Club — a boy-girl duo from Sheffield that makes lush, folksy pop — rounds out the all-Moshi bill. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Saturday:
HARD SUMMER WITH UNDERWORLD, CHROMEO, CROOKERS, CRYSTAL CASTLES, A-TRAK, OTHERS at the Forum; INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW at the Knitting Factory; ROCK THE BELLS 2009 WITH NAS & DAMIAN “JR. GONG” MARLEY, ICE CUBE, THE ROOTS, BUSTA RHYMES, BIG BOI, OTHERS at the San Manuel Amphitheater; STEVE FORBERT, CHRIS & THOMAS at Pershing Square; MORRIS DAY, S.O.S. BAND, MIDNIGHT STAR, CON FUNK SHUN, ZAPP, OTHERS at the Greek Theatre; JAY-Z, PITBULL & LIL’ JON, SEAN PAUL, FLO-RIDA, KID CUDI, LMFAO, FAR EAST MOVEMENT, YA BOY, NEW BOYZ, OTHERS at the Honda Center; MELISSA ETHERIDGE at the Pacific Amphitheatre; THE JONAS BROTHERS, JORDIN SPARKS, WONDER GIRLS at the Staples Center; SEASONS, THE KARABAL NIGHTLIFE, DOWNTOWN UNION, BARRIO TIGER, C-HORSE at American Legion Post 206; C.W. STONEKING & HIS PRIMITIVE HORN ORCHESTRA at the Redwood Bar.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 9
CAROLINE WEEKS AT SPACELAND
Caroline Weeks’ solo thing is a careful study of poetic forms and their appropriation into her sparse musical styling — without any of the diva dramaturgy of her former band and band leader, Natasha Khan, in Bat for Lashes. Unlike the slick theatricality of the two Bat for Lashes albums Weeks contributed to, her new one, Songs for Edna, is stripped bare of any filigree or flair, instead illuminating the prose of Edna St. Vincent Millay, the highly regarded American poet (1892-1950), and the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Millay’s poetry dealt with feminism, friendship, sexuality, and Weeks’ breathy, dreamy translation makes for an intimate consideration of the words and their meaning — no doubt even more illuminating in the patriarchal context of the current music scene. Weeks is also known to perform covers of the Cure’s “The Drowning Man” and arrangements of Emily Dickinson poems (for the London Word Festival), and her adventures in the literary sphere are tempered by her expert understanding of instrumentation and pop performance. Also on this Manimal Vinyl–presented bill are Caroline Weeks, Corridor, Universe, and new signees Warpaint. (Wendy Gilmartin)
Also playing Sunday:
PETRACOVICH at the Hotel Café; THREE DOG NIGHT at the Pacific Amphitheatre; THE JONAS BROTHERS, JORDIN SPARKS, WONDER GIRLS at the Staples Center; DEVON ALLMAN’S HONEYTRIBE at Brixton South Bay; HAPPENIN’ HARRY & THE HAP TONES ALL-STAR BAND at the Cat Club.
MONDAY, AUGUST 10
LOCAL NATIVES AT SPACELAND
The first time we heard of Silver Lake band Local Natives was last November at Nettwerk Records’ home office in Hollywood. The label’s kingpin, Terry McBride, had convened a panel of Hollywood music-biz types to brainstorm on potential music models of the future. Specifically, the idea was to address how various cogs in the machine might turn when presented with a new artist. That new artist was O.C. band Local Natives, five guys who’d recently relocated to Silver Lake and were trying to take it to the proverbial next level. In this brainstorming session, moderator McBride introduced the guys, who stepped up onto the small stage at Nettwerk HQ, greeted the crowd and discussed the ways in which they were courting and interacting with their fans. The band, who play an agreeable, smart brand of rhythmic indie rock, were funny, charismatic and opinionated. After they finished, the five panelists moved around the table and discussed how they’d work this group. (Unfortunately, the advice did not include advising the band to change its somewhat silly name.) Eight months later, Local Natives have inked a high-profile management deal, and are in the process of formally introducing themselves to the world. Phase 1 of said process in L.A. is a club residency. This Monday marks the second week of their August stint at Spaceland, and is worth checking out not only for the music but to see how these connections and all this brainstorming and creativity manifest themselves on a business level. (Randall Roberts)
Also playing Monday:
AMANDA BLANK at Amoeba Music; THE GROWLERS, TIJUANA PANTERS at the Echo; WILL HOGE, SOL’JIBE, THE KEVIN KANNER QUINTET, J-LOGIC at the Mint; C.W. STONEKING & HIS PRIMITIVE HORN ORCHESTRA at the Redwood Bar; HI HOS, LOWER HEAVEN, THE MOON UPSTAIRS, THE SHINE BROTHERS at the Silverlake Lounge; FAIL TO BREATHE, CHIBA KEN, AUKUS, RESEARCH SOCIETY at the Viper Room.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 11
BLACK FRANCIS AT THE MINT
Last week the Pixies announced that they’ll tour the U.S. in November, playing Doolittle, the classic 1989 album that launched Black Francis, Kim Deal and those other two dudes into the alt-rock firmament. (That trek kicks off here in L.A. at the Palladium November 4.) In the meantime, Francis and Deal (and probably those other two dudes) are keeping busy without one another: Deal’s on the road with the Breeders in support of a new EP, and Francis is touring the West Coast all by his lonesome, playing tunes from throughout his lengthy songbook with only an acoustic guitar for accompaniment. That catalog — which includes stuff released by the Pixies, Frank Black, Black Francis and Grand Duchy, Francis’ new duo with his wife, Violet Clark — charts an appealingly erratic course between art-punk eccentricity and garage-rock conventionality. Just when you think you’ve got this guy figured out, he switches directions again. (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Tuesday:
SUNN 0))), THE ACCUSED, EAGLE TWIN at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts; THE SECTION QUARTET & SAM PHILLIPS at Largo at the Coronet; HEAVEN & HELL, COHEED & CAMBRIA at the Greek Theatre; THE VOYEURS, KISSING COUSINS, BOX VIOLET, POLYGRAPH at the Echo; THE LITTLEST VIKING, SIGNAL HILL, BEWARE OF SAFETY at Echo Curio; C.W. STONEKING & HIS PRIMITIVE HORN ORCHESTRA at the Redwood Bar.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12
BOB DYLAN, WILLIE NELSON, THE WIYOS AT LAKE ELSINORE
Speaking of baseball, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson have gone in search of the American Dream by playing a series of summer shows off the beaten track in small-town minor league baseball stadiums. Dylan follows up the forebodingly apocalyptic blues proclamations of 2006’s impressive Modern Times by delving even deeper into the past on his latest CD, Together Through Life, where he rummages through ragtime and Tin Pan Alley settings. Instead of handing down spirited wisdom from the mountain, this time around he’s in a more jovial, romantically playful mood, singing “My Wife’s Home Town” and the swanky “Jolene” (not the Dolly Parton classic) in a craggy voice that’s adorned with zydeco-style accordion. In recent years, Willie Nelson has done an all-reggae album (Countryman), reinterpreted the songs of Cindy Walker (You Don’t Know Me) and even covered Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” (Moment of Forever). Regardless of genre, the Texas singer-guitarist comes armed with a sack full of classic originals (“Crazy,” “Always on My Mind”) and that distinctively warm voice that’s as burnished as an old saddle. Arrive early for Brooklyn band the Wiyos, whose new CD, Broken Land Bell, is a lively collection of folksy, old-time tunes marked by popping riffs, dusty banjo pluckin’ and jaunty rhythms, as well as three lead singers, including one who sounds curiously like Paul Simon. Starts at 5:30 p.m. 500 Diamond Drive, Lake Elsinore. (Falling James)
BUDDY GUY, DR. JOHN & THE LOWER 911 AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL
You don’t want to piss off the voodoo gods, but that’s just what George W. Bush did when he fiddled and dithered away while New Orleans was sinking under the weight of Hurricane Katrina. Dr. John has a long memory, and his recent CD, City That Care Forgot, is an incredibly angry, unsentimental broadside against Bush’s not-so-benign neglect. It’s as if the great piano man has given voice to all of the dead and dispossessed who were cast aside by the federal government’s inept rescue efforts. Unlike so many post-Katrina anthems, which tend to wallow in a funereal, nonspecific sadness, Dr. John’s funky, modern protest songs, such as “Land Grab” and “Promises, Promises,” have a caustic truthfulness that gets right to the heart of the matter by naming names and vowing revenge. Another guy you don’t want to piss off is Buddy Guy. The legendary blues guitarist can be an intimidating presence onstage, glaring with a chilling intensity that’s matched only by the searing purity and sublime expressiveness of his spiky-hard guitar playing. This time of year, the blues is often used as feel-good wallpaper music at picnics and baseball games, but both Guy and John manage to make this retro music feel raw and relevant again. (Falling James)
Also playing Wednesday:
PABLO MOSES & THE REVOLUTIONARY DREAM BAND at the Echoplex; BLACK FRANCIS, MERE MORTALS at the Mint; N.A.S.A.’S INTERGALACTIC CIRCUS WITH PASE ROCK, FATLIP at El Rey Theatre; JACKSON BROWNE at the Greek Theatre; HIGH ON FIRE, EARLY MAN, WHO RIDES THE TIGER at Alex’s Bar; DAWES, PAPA, PAIGE STARK at the Echo; GLEN PHILLIPS, SARA BAREILLES, MARIA TAYLOR, PARIS CARNEY, THE RESCUES, OTHERS at the Troubadour; MAXIM LUDWIG, GLASS PEAR, WESLEY JENSEN & THE WILDCATS, OTHERS at the Hotel Café; ROADSIDE GRAVES, AVI BUFFALO, THE PARSON RED HEADS, M. BISON at the Knitting Factory; OLIN & THE MOON at Pershing Square; OVIDEO, TASSO, THE DOWNER PARTY, FRENCH MIAMI at the Silverlake Lounge.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13
WAYNE HORVITZ’S SWEETER THAN THE DAY AT THE HAMMER MUSEUM
Eclectic and deep yet friendly to the ear, composer-pianist–electronic musician Wayne Horvitz’s blurred-genre approach is a rarity in American music, progressive, far-reaching stuff that straddles a peculiarly personal yet so tastefully presented range of styles, from his steaming fusion-funk combo, Zony Mash, or the avant-prog-jazz-rock kings Pigpen, or his earlier work in the N.Y. downtown scene alongside John Zorn, Carla Bley, Fred Frith, Bill Frisell and Bobby Previte. Horvitz’s recent critically praised projects include his improvised-composition chamber ensemble Gravitas Quartet, and collaborative work with his acclaimed composer wife, Robin Holcomb. Formed in 1999, the bebop/country blues–tinged Sweeter Than the Day began as an improvisatory, acoustic incarnation of Zony Mash, with Horvitz caressing a gloriously airy yet harmonically serpentine acoustic piano. Timothy Young is the band’s cerebrally soothing guitarist, and acoustic bassist Keith Lowe and drummer Andy Roth provide the creamy-smooth propulsion. (John Payne)
OMAR FARUK TEKBILEK AT THE SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER
Turkish multi-instrumentalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek is a virtuoso interpreter of vast-ranging Middle Eastern traditional musics who sees it as his duty to draw conscious connections between artistic expression and spirituality. It’s a calling that has found him worldwide renown as a cultural ambassador of sorts, who uses the power and essential empathy of his music to build bridges between often quite disparate audiences. A scholarly authority on the deeply intertwined musical histories that span the Mediterranean and North African regions, Tekbilek pushes his ensemble in elaborately constructed compositions that explode with fiery technique on a fascinating variety of instruments, emanating even to the uninitiated a joyful and moving humanity. This show is free, but there’s limited seating available, and it’s on a first-come, first-served basis. No street parking permitted, but there’s lots of on-site parking, a mere $5 per car (cash only). (John Payne)
Also playing Thursday:
VINCENT GALLO & SEAN LENNON at Largo at the Coronet; THE REJ3CTZ, COLD FLAMEZ, THE BANGZ at the Roxy; IVAN NEVILLE’S DUMPSTAPHUNK at the Key Club; TLEILAXU MUSIC MACHINE, ALASKAS, UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA, ANTHONY’S REVENGE at the Smell; LIL WAYNE, YOUNG JEEZY, SOULJA BOY, PLEASURE P, DRAKE at the Gibson Amphitheatre; THE IDAN RAICHEL PROJECT WITH ELIJAH EMANUEL at Santa Monica Pier; BURNING BRIDES, JONNEINE ZAPATA, MARY MAGDALAN, SABROSA PURR at the Echo; COCO MONTOYA at Pershing Square.
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