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Rock Picks: Lee ''Scratch'' Perry, The Swell Season, Maximo Park and More

THURSDAY, JULY 26 Chromeo, Flosstradamus at the Echo

Montreal electro-funk duo Dave 1 and P-Thugg erupted onto the retro-irony scene with their hit “Needy Girl,” a ditty about Dave’s girlfriend, who always interrupted band practice with her passive-aggressive whining. With their new 12-inch, “Fancy Footwork” (Vice), continuing to prove the pair as “the only successful Arab/Jew partnership since the dawn of human culture,” Dave (the Jew, and brother of DJ A-Trak) and P-Thugg (the Arab) come off like a slightly more suave Zapp & Roger, partly because neither has been involved in a murder-suicide. Flosstradamus, the Chicago DJ duo of Josh “J2K” Young and Curt “Autobot” Cameruci, show that they’re more than meets the eye, cross-fading through genres as quickly as a good drum break and plying their skills at crowd-moving as religiously as ass worship. (David Cotner)

Bob Dylan at Pacific Amphitheatre

“I keep recycling the same old thoughts,” Bob Dylan mutters darkly on his recent CD, Modern Times, but the truth is that he’s in the midst of a creative hitting streak, reinventing himself (again) on his last three studio albums as a blues-steeped wise man coming to terms with the sins of his flesh. It’s fascinating how perspectives change and roles get switched. In the ’60s, he famously declared that he wouldn’t work on Maggie’s farm anymore; on Modern Times he sings, under coiling swarms of vulture slide guitar, “Someday, baby, you ain’t gonna work for me anymore.” Whether he’s announcing himself as the new boss or setting a lover free, Dylan has made himself at home as a temporal soothsayer sermonizing over the sensual, sidewinding bounce of John Lee Hooker–style rhythms. His remake of the traditional song “Rollin’ & Tumblin’?” has much of the seedy eeriness of the Chicken Hawks’ earlier version, but it’s augmented with dourly apocalyptic new lyrics. Martin Scorsese and D.A. Pennebaker tried their best to squeeze Dylan into a perfectly sized ’60s-legend box, but the cantankerous old poet keeps springing back out with new surprises. (Falling James)

The Bangles, Abby Travis at House of Blues

Don’t write off the Bangles as another band in a seemingly endless chain of ’80s performers who have reunited merely for nostalgic purposes. The L.A. pop quartet have been back together for a few years now and still play such old favorites as “Hero Takes a Fall” and “Manic Monday,” but they’ve balanced recent set lists with the catchiest tunes from their underrated 2003 comeback CD, Doll Revolution. “Stealing Rosemary,” “The Rain Song” and “Here Right Now” — with beguiling, band-penned lyrics that are buoyed by those famously sumptuous harmonies — are among the standout performances on the Bangles’ new live DVD, the awkwardly titled Return to Bangleonia. Other highlights include a rocked-up “In Your Room” and “Get the Girl” (which ranks with the Jam’s “Start” and Cheap Trick’s “Taxman, Mr. Thief” among the better homages to the Beatles’ “Taxman”). Besides sitting in with the Bangles in replacement of departed bassist Michael Steele, local wonder gal Abby Travis opens with a set of songs from her 2006 solo CD, Glitter Mouth, which ranges from celestial glam-rock ballads (“Now Was”) to shimmering space-age funk and torchy Brechtian hybrids (“Hunger”). (Falling James)

Also playing Thursday:

THE RAPTURE at the Mayan; BUFFALO TOM, JULIANA HATFIELD at El Rey Theatre; BODIES OF WATER at Pershing Square, 8 p.m.; TEGAN & SARA at Malibu Performing Arts Center; NICE BOYS at Pehrspace; PATRICK PARK, TEMPORARY THING at Spaceland; PORTUGAL THE MAN at Troubadour; BIRGIT at Loggia.

FRIDAY, JULY 27The Husbands at Alex’s Bar

Whether you’re going to fall slavishly in love with them or cruelly break their hearts, the Husbands don’t want to waste a lot of time with you. Many of the 17 songs on the San Francisco trash-rock trio’s second album, There’s Nothing I’d Like More Than to See You Dead (Swami), clock in at two minutes, except for an “epic” three-minute remake of Roy Orbison’s “Running Scared,” which is given a groovy, echo-laden girl-group makeover. Most of the Husbands’ love songs end up in heartbreak, which inevitably leads to revenge on tracks like “Get Even” and “Make It Right.” This deliciously malicious mood of possessiveness continues on “Tell Me Your Love Is Only Mine,” which struts about on primitive garage-rock riffs while guest star Russell Quan (the Mummies) wails on harmonica. Another stellar visitor, Dan Sartain (who perhaps inspired the pent-up lust of “Sha la la Daniel”), exchanges chilling verses with Husbands singer-guitarist Sarah Reed on Tarheel Slim’s “Much Too Late,” a duet that’s just as eerie as the Detroit Cobras/Greg Cartwright version of Willie Dixon’s “Insane Asylum.” Ballpark organ pumps up the cotton-candy reverie “Just Like That,” a dreamy slice of carny space pop that contrasts the rest of the CD’s cave-woman stompers. Also at the Scene, Sat. (Falling James)

Culver City Dub Collective at Malibu Inn

Exotic rhythm wranglers the Culver City Dub Collective live and die by the beat, and whether it’s a Caribbean voodoo spell, a hard Jamaican reggae spree, in-a-mellow-tone bop soliloquy or a shot of straight-up downtown urban funk, the crazy little bastards work it with everything they’ve got. Born from the at-home jams of drummer Adam Topol and guitarist Franchot Tone (verily, of the movie idol bloodline), the CCDC have blossomed into a tribe that includes such participants as Ben Harper, the mighty Money Mark, venerable Studio One reggae chanter Winston Garrett and dulcet pop groaner Jack Johnson (for whom Topol has been drumming since the turn of the century). The band’s freethinking approach, as captured on their debut disc, Dos, is an engaging roundup of mostly instrumental numbers, all marked by a shared groove-centricism that shimmies down the line in fine, syncopated style. Also at Equator Books, 1103 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; Sat., 8 p.m. (Jonny Whiteside)

Also playing Sunday:

CULTURE CLASH, TIERRA, OLLIN, UPGROUND, XELA, EL VUH, JOHN DENSMORE at John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 6 p.m.; GURU’S JAZZMATAZZ at El Rey Theatre; BLUE HAWAIIANS at the Bordello; JACKSON BROWNE, BEN HARPER at the Canyon, 7 p.m.; CHIP KINMAN & PCH at the Echo, 5 p.m.; DEAD MEADOW, DARKER MY LOVE, ENTRANCE at the Echoplex; LETTER OPENERS at the Joint; FINLAND STATION, HORRORS OF TOLEDO at Mr. T’s Bowl; ANAVAN at the Smell; ALICE SMITH at the Troubadour.

MONDAY, JULY 30Playing Monday:

SIMON STOKES, GABRIEL HART at the Scene; ESKIMOHUNTER, PITY PARTY, DEEP SEA DIVER at Spaceland.

TUESDAY, JULY 31Playing Tuesday:

PETER BJORN & JOHN at Henry Fonda Theater; GODSMACK at the Wiltern; LAST TOWN CHORUS at Amoeba Music, 6 p.m., and the Hotel Café; BISHOP ALLEN, PAGE FRANCE, CASTLEDOOR at the Echo; MORMONS, THINGZ at Mr. T’s Bowl; CASXIO, LE REV at Silverlake Lounge; OLIVER FUTURE, GRAY KID at the Troubadour.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars at Malibu Inn

The Refugee All Stars’ story is so fantastic that it sometimes threatens to take attention away from the African band’s equally magical music. The musicians started playing together in a refugee camp in Guinea after escaping the civil war in their Sierra Leone homeland. Somehow, without fancy musical equipment or access to standard recording-studio technology, the inventive band drew the attention of American filmmakers Banker White and Zach Niles, who filmed a fascinating documentary that charted the musicians’ relocations from various refugee camps before finally returning triumphantly to Freetown. None of this would matter if the music on their new CD, Living Like a Refugee (Anti-), wasn’t such a mesmerizing combination of Afrobeat, uplifting Bob Marley–style reggae and MacGyver-style ingenuity. The acoustic-guitar-based title track, in fact, was recorded “by the light of an oil lamp in Sembakounya Refugee Camp in Guinea.” Sunny pop tunes like “Smile” and “Soda Soap” are highlighted by intricate trills of guitar, while festive harmonies belie the anti-politician anthem “Bull to the Weak.” The All Stars’ long, strange trip has even led them to work with unlikely new collaborators like Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. (Falling James)

Marnie Stern at the Echo

New York guitar hero Marnie Stern wastes little time showing off her dazzling fretboard trickery on her new CD, In Advance of the Broken Arm (Kill Rock Stars). The opening song, “Vibrational Match,” fairly bursts with intricately knotted lead-guitar flurries, a virtual sound storm of looping, flickering, flashing guitar patterns. “Precious Metal” swarms with thousands of glistening notes that flop around like grunion on a crowded night beach. Stern’s arty lyrics are just as dense on brain-bulging workouts like “Letters From Rimbaud” and “Every Single Line Means Something,” where her insistent finger-tapping style raises beautiful halo noises from her ax. She combines prog-rock dexterity and ambition with a post-riot-grrl aggression that draws on such disparate inspirations as Yoko Ono and Hella (whose drummer, Zach Hill, produced and played on Broken Arm). At times, the nonstop note hammering can get pretty dizzying and even exhausting, and it’s possible that the album title predicts the guitarist’s arm falling off eventually from so much frantic activity. (Falling James)

Also playing Thursday:

SECTION QUARTET at Pershing Square, 8 p.m.; REEL BIG FISH, LESS THAN JAKE at the Wiltern; POP LEVI, THE SHYS at the Roxy; THEE L.A. GENTLEMEN CALLERS, THE FRESAS at the Scene.