Rock Picks: John Fogerty, Band of Horses, Eek-a-Mouse, Gram Rabbit
Friday, November 23
John Fogerty at Nokia Theatre
John Fogerty seems to be having the last laugh with the title of his new CD, Revival. For several years now, two members of his former backup band have been attempting to pass themselves off as Creedence Clearwater Revisited, perhaps hoping that gullible fans wont notice the deceptive wordplay or that it was Fogerty who wrote, sang, produced and arranged all of Creedence Clearwater Revivals classic original tunes. If any person has the right to reclaim the CCR name, its Fogerty, who was estranged from his former record company Fantasy for several decades in an often-absurd dispute with Saul Zaentz, the heavy-handed and litigious label exec who played Salieri to Fogertys Mozart before being bought out by Concord in 2005. Now Fogertys back with Fantasy, and his new album the most consistently satisfying of his various solo releases is a genuine revival on several levels. He playfully invokes his own legacy, scratching up his trademark swampy guitar jangle on Creedence Song and whipping out some stinging solos on Summer of Love. But hes not just looking back; Long Dark Night is a bluesy warning about the incompetent Fortunate Son currently occupying the White House: Georgies... come to get your children/wants to have a war/Lord, youd better run. (Falling James)
White Out, Charalambides, Alasdair Roberts at Spaceland
Just a heavy, heavy bill of the most far-reaching and skull-scratchingly best new non-genre music our grand old USA has to offer currently, plus a quieter but no less powerful foreign fella. White Out is Lin Culbertson and Tom Surgals free-sound screech-sonics funfest, with frequent collaborator Nels Cline of guitar-god infamy; theyll be heard revealing the totally improvisational way of life. Charalambides is the semilegendary aggregation based in Texas led by noisy guitar player Tom Carter and his partner, Christina Carter; expect smart psychedelia with guitar sounds larger than the Empire State Building. Scottish singer-strummer Alasdair Roberts has this new The Amber Gatherers album out on Drag City, a rough-hewn, classic U.K.-style folk record of punky, poetic perfection hell charm your socks off, assuming youre wearing any. (John Payne)
Also playing Friday:
RAHSAAN PATTERSON at El Rey Theatre; COLD WAR KIDS, RICHARD SWIFT at the Wiltern; DOWN at Henry Fonda Theater; T.S.O.L., D.I. at the Echoplex; SOCIAL DISTORTION, THE HEDRONS at House of Blues; AZTLAN UNDERGROUND at the Knitting Factory; PONCHO SANCHEZ at the Mint; HEALTH CLUB at Relax Bar.
, November 24
Gram Rabbit at Safari Sams
Desert-baked rock provocateurs Gram Rabbit have scarcely broken their offbeat, loping stride since the bands turn-of-the-century inception and, with their new Radio Angel & the Robot Beat CD, continue to avidly exploit a singular brand of krazy, mixed-up musical antics. Hippitty-hopping through a techno-psych playground, their sound a wigged-out calico weave with tendencies toward heavy guitar rock and silky contemporary R&B frames both a healthily cynical personal philosophy and a critical view of modern American life. Their gimlet third eye seems to take it all in, scatter the sociocultural data into a cosmic sifter and glean some remarkably peculiar, cutting perspectives. With a mixture of just enough aural strangeness, a pit-bull knack for locking down on a groove and, of course, the otherworldly allure of singer-keyboardist Jesika Von Rabbit, this unhinged threesome remains one of our most intriguing local forces. (Jonny Whiteside)
White Magic, Luke Top at the Echo
Dat Rosa Mel Apibus, the debut album from songwriter Mira Billotte and guitarist Doug Shaw (a.k.a. White Magic), quietly landed in 2006 with a sparkling cover befitting an illuminated manuscript. The songs are woozy hymnal swirls that are more like half-finished chalk-and-charcoal sketches than full, studio-sealed productions. As Billottes piano stirs, Shaw and the hired hands swarm it with scattered rhythms and fluid guitar tangents. There are jumbled passages when it seems every part is out of sync, and there are moments when the puzzle pieces lock into solid colors and distinct gestures. White Magics music is thoroughly human in its primitivism: a séance of sticks and bones instead of pedals and circuits. Luke Top remains a Los Angeles treasure buried in plain sight. Conscript to no tribe or fashion, this local alchemist composes wandering songs of gentle mystery. (Bernardo Rondeau)
Band of Horses, Tyler Ramsey at Avalon
This South Carolina indie band has been earning some pretty over-the-top praise lately from folks whose pot-smoking habits must have erased any memory of Built to Spill and My Morning Jacket: From what Internet types are saying about Band of Horses, youd think no one had ever thought of using a shitload of reverb to suffuse his or her melancholy roots-pop jams with a hint of dreamy mystery! That said, front man Ben Bridwell and his bearded bandmates do have a way with this kind of stuff; their recent sophomore set, Cease to Begin, is as lovely and scruffy as indie rock gets. Extra cuteness: Bridwells still kind of bashful onstage. Warming up the Decemberists crowd a few months ago at the Hollywood Bowl, he threatened to barf right then and there. Opener Tyler Ramsey plays guitar in Band of Horses, but he also does his own sad-guy emo-folk thing. (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Saturday:
PONCHO SANCHEZ at Blue Cafe; JOEY ALTRUDAS CRUCIAL RIDDIMS at the Bordello; KEATON SIMONS, KARL DENSON at Hotel Café; SOCIAL DISTORTION at House of Blues; UNI & HER UKULELE, NORA KEYES at Il Corral; KY-MANI MARLEY at Key Club; BANYAN at Malibu Inn; BACKBITER, MOTORCYCLE BLACK MADONNAS at Mr. Ts Bowl; THE FIXERS, DJ QUIK at Vault 350; ACEYALONE at Viper Room.
, November 25
CHAKA KHAN at Gibson Amphitheatre; SOCIAL DISTORTION, TIME AGAIN at House of Blues; ROY ZIMMERMAN at McCabes; NEIL HAMBURGER, ABE LINCOLN STORY at Spaceland.
, November 26
SLOW POISONER at the Good Hurt; RESTAURANT, DEVON WILLIAMS at the Echo; LYSA FLORES, OLLIN, EVANGENTIALS at Mr Ts Bowl; CASXIO at Silverlake Lounge; SOFTLIGHTES, PORTERVILLE, EL TEN ELEVEN at Spaceland; KY-MANI MARLEY at Amoeba Music, 7 p.m.
, November 27
The Slow Poisoner at Hyperion Tavern
Andrew Goldfarb is a marvelously talented artist with a uniquely loopy style. Hes responsible for the comic strip Ogner Stumps One Thousand Sorrows (www.ognerstump.com), and he recently penned his first book, The Ballad of a Slow Poisoner (Eraserhead Press), a modern fairy tale about a man who goes on a whimsically surreal journey after noticing that his elbows are getting flatter. As the Slow Poisoner, hes a one-man band who simultaneously kicks his drums and bangs on his guitar while howling ancient laments like Jimmie Rodgers T.B. Blues and Bob Wills Faded Love. His original tunes on Roadside Altar (Rocktopus), such as the slide-guitar-smeared Run Rooster Run, draw on primal roots-rock and country-blues influences, although with his clear, smooth delivery he sounds pleasantly fanciful instead of like a hard-living, raw-throated wild man. Some people aint pleased if you dont eat snakes/Since he lost his thumbs, hes had the shakes, Goldfarb croons enigmatically on Flaming Creatures (of Rock and Roll), a psych-garage workout that draws on the curative, life-altering powers of rock & roll. 1941 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. (323) 665-1941. Also at the Good Hurt, Mon. (Falling James)
José González at the Henry Fonda Theater
Delicate, hypnotic, comfy; these are words that could describe the fragile yet cradling effect of José González. Is it the romance in his Latin blood (like a crooner from Argentina, where his folks were from)? Could it be the soft-as-snow picture he paints of his Sweden? Theres something in his quiet yet totally convincing voice that is evocative of another artist of Swedish descent, Cat Stevens and, come to think of it, Gonzos sophomore release, In Our Nature (Mute), isnt so different than ol Yusufs Back to Earth. But dont let González lull you into complacency. No, this is an indie folkie whose heroes are punky fighters, not lovers, and even where theres a pacifist singing about the madness of war (emotional and physical), theres also a man willing to cut things up, taking musical stabs at the Knife, Joy Division and Massive Attack. (Daniel Siwek)
Johnette Napolitano at the Roxy
With such site-specific songs as Still in Hollywood, former Concrete Blonde singer-bassist Johnette Napolitano is the quintessential Angeleno songwriter never mind that shes been living in Joshua Tree for several years. On her recent CD, Scarred (Hybrid), the wide-open spaces of the Mojave Desert infuse her version of Coldplays The Scientist, transforming what had started out as a simple romantic ballad into something more mysterious with its celestial wash of hazy voices, solemn piano and disembodied electronics. I was just guessing at numbers and figures/pulling your puzzles apart, she confesses in a permanently world-weary voice. Questions of science and progress/do not speak as loud as my heart. Napolitano has always been driven more by passion than logic, and her nostalgic sentimentality keeps the beast of time at bay on the swirling fuzz reverie Just Like Time. Reality, dreams, temporal displacement and loneliness converge on the intriguing title track, where she wakes from a Rip Van Winkle slumber and asks, How long was I out? How long was that dream that I was thinking was real? Even when shes asleep, shes more adventurous than most people are when theyre awake. (Falling James)
Also playing Tuesday:
STRAYLIGHT RUN at El Rey Theatre; FALL OUT BOY, GYM CLASS HEROES, PLAIN WHITE Ts, CUTE IS WHAT WE AIM FOR at Long Beach Arena; LOS CAMPESINOS, MOST SERENE REPUBLIC at the Echo.
, November 28
Eek-a-Mouse at the Echoplex
Ripton Hylton, the long, tall toaster who first caused a sensation at Jamiacan sound systems almost 30 years ago with his turbocharged, tongue-twisting flights of ganja-fueled scat-esque frolic, has always been more of a show-stopping entertainer than a Rasta-proselytizing shaman. While his breakout record, Wah Do Dem, cast a glorious beam of creative hope across the stagnant Lovers Rockera reggae scene, the Mouse has spent the past several decades here in the States, based in O.C. and running his hard-earned rep nearly into the ground through ceaseless gigs at ofay jock-and-bimbo pleasure pits, but tonights shindig should prove to be a magnificent return to form. This is his first official Dub Club show (although he dropped in and grabbed a mike at its recent Michigan & Smiley date), featuring peerless dub maestro Scientist at the controls. Expect more pure singjay voltage than the cherished rodent has mustered in ages. (Jonny Whiteside)
Don Caballero at Safari Sams
Peripatetically priapic math rockers Don Caballero return phoenixlike in the throes of their latest bout with creativity and 17/2 time signatures, their always endearing and imaginative spastic opuses cheering up the crowd even if its not immediately clear where theyre taking them. After 15 years with a shifting lineup, theyre off Touch & Go and on legendary metal label Relapse with their World Class Listening Problem LP. And, with new favorites like Sure We Had Knives Around paired with late-90s blasts like Delivering the Groceries at 138 Beats Per Minute, drummer Damon The Octopus Ches brainchild shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. (Those hard Touch & Go bands always did have the best song titles.) Don Caballero dont noodle, they dont waste your time, and they deliver something essential and vital through the haze of mesmeric beats, scree and rhythm: showmanship and entertainment. Also: From Monument to Masses. (David Cotner)
Also playing Wednesday:
IRON & WINE, CALIFONE at Orpheum Theatre; ENTRANCE BAND at the Airliner; MULHOLLANDS, AUTOMATIC MUSIC EXPLOSION at Boardners; LESLIE & THE BADGERS at the Bordello; TRAVIS TRITT at House of Blues; ROLLING BLACKOUTS, TSK TSK at the Scene; STEREOFIX at Silverlake Lounge.
, November 29
Spain at the Echoplex
Riding the same musical meme as Chicago, Boston and Europe, Spain return after a six-year silence by first playing the country of Spain this month in anticipation of the recording of a new album next year. Founded in Los Angeles in 1993, tonight they perform their breakthrough 1995 album, Blue Moods of Spain, in its entirety, while singer-bassist Josh Haden leads the band through their jazzy, brooding and contemplative paces. The Haden sisters cellist Tanya and violinist Petra may also appear, playing alongside the new lineup of Tom Gladders on guitar, Randy Kirk on keyboards and guitar, and Matt Mayhall on drums. The Blue Moods of Spain LP (and all the vinyl warmth that that implies) was a welcome oasis in the desert that was the whiny 90s righteously rhythmic and sophisticated even as the smooth and the steady were drowned out by the quietloudquiet of the day. (David Cotner)
Also playing Thursday:
BLUES TRAVELER, JESSE MALIN at the Canyon; THE NIGHTWATCHMAN at Hotel Café; SAM PHILLIPS, JOEL HODGSON at Largo; MOSPEADA, HEALTH CLUB, HECTORS at the Scene; ROLLING BLACKOUTS at Silverlake Lounge; THE HEDRONS at Spaceland; LONESOME SPURS at Taix; SOUNDS OF ASTEROTH, WE FLOAT, GANGSTA QUEEN at M Bar.
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