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Rock Picks: Ruins, Beirut, Turbonegro, Metric

{mosimage}THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4

Charlie Louvin at the Mint

The Country Music Hall of Fame is increasingly littered with the detritus of modern Nashville’s horrorshow (Vince Gill? Alabama?), but there’s a small clutch of legitimate inductees still working, and Mr. Charlie Louvin ranks at their forefront. He’s prized for decades of recordings with his drastically volatile brother Ira, and the Alabama-born Louvins elevated the close-harmony sibling school of hillbilly to Olympian heights, cooking up instant standards (“Cash on the Barrelhead”) and propelling hardcore traditional Southern gothic ballads (the blood-spattered dirge “Knoxville Girl”) straight up the charts. Charlie, of course, ain’t no spring chicken, but 2006’s self-titled album proved that he’s still more than able, and his jam-packed Amoeba in-store earlier this year demonstrated that the resilient codger can still mesmerize a crowd. Get it while you can, hoss. (Jonny Whiteside)


Also playing Thursday:

GEORGE THOROGOOD & THE DESTROYERS
at Gibson Amphitheatre; MORRISSEY at Hollywood Palladium; ROLLING BLACKOUTS at Alex’s Bar; JAZZABILLY BLUES at Taix; HELMET, DUB TRIO at Vault 350.

 {mosimage}FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5

Metric
at the Henry Fonda Theater

Knives Don’t Have Your Back, as Metric’s Emily Haines suggested with the title of her 2006 solo CD of gorgeously sad, piano-draped ballads, which were inspired in part by the death of her father, the poet Paul Haines. Knives may not have her back, but her Toronto band Metric are at her side again with their new CD, Grow Up and Blow Away (Last Gang). Haines moves away from the funereal tempos and mood of Knives with the wider variety of settings on Grow Up, ranging from the breezy “On the Sly” (where she tries to “memorize the history of your body” and wishes she were Lenny Bruce) to the swirling beat of “Soft Rock Star” and the glittery pop of “Raw Sugar.” She does revel in such occasional grand and moody ballads as “London Halflife,” which is flecked with James Shaw’s acoustic-guitar strumming and bracketed by her spare, somber piano chords. Bassist Josh Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key scratch up a typically groovy disco-rock groove on the ethereal spin of “Hardwire,” which is simultaneously spacy and driving. (Falling James)


Jimmie Dale Gilmore at the Getty Center

Whether you’re talking about rockabilly visionary Buddy Holly or avant-trash savant the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Lubbock, Texas, has produced some striking musical forces, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore (although originally from Tulia) ranks up in the top five. Of course, the other two spots are held by Joe Ely and Butch Hancock, with whom Jimmie Dale formed insurgent combo the Flatlanders way back when, but Gilmore’s combination of hardcore nasal-toned hillbilly vocals — a mutant Webb Pierce/Willie Nelson wail, it be — and searching, spiritually informed lyrics have staked out a singular stretch of territory in country music’s celestial firmament. Gilmore’s knack for vivid, delicate imagery and earthy, direct honky-tonk phrasing have served him well for decades and stand today as a refreshing antidote to both Nashville’s meathead pop and Americana’s ham-fisted, derivative maunderings. (Jonny Whiteside)


{mosimage}Bill Callahan, Sir Richard Bishop at the Echoplex

Bill Callahan, “singer-songwriter,” used to call himself Smog, which seemed appropriate in his early career when he obsessively churned out lo-fi four-track-recorded cassettes and albums that chronicled his hazy thoughts on relationships, nature, animals, doom and sitting alone in his room. Back then he’d mumble in a distracted baritone when he wasn’t otherwise experimenting with amp noise and loop effects, deliberately untuned guitars and freeform song structures, to often grim and unsettling effect because he was just so rigidly poker-faced about it. (But were you reading between the lines? You’d have had to laugh, because Smog’s morbidity was so bleak, it was funny — intentionally so.) Come 2007, and Callahan has developed his folk-country/skanky bar-based musings into consistently weighty, as in ponderous, affairs, yet joyfully solid as in something you can take comfort in. Wonderfully arranged with the help of ex–Royal Trux maestro Neil Michael Hagerty, the new Woke on a Whaleheart (Drag City), Callahan’s first solo album under his real name, reveals once more that he’s a songwriter of deft off-the-cuff poetics and keen observational skills — and the gravelly grain of that basso voice is one the of best sounds in contemporary music. Also, avantishly new acoustic guitar wizardry from Drag City’s Sir Richard Bishop. (John Payne)


Also playing Friday:

MORRISSEY
at Hollywood Palladium; JESU at Amoeba Music, 6 p.m.; DINAH CANCER & 45 GRAVE, DEEP EYNDE at Blue Cafe; ABBY TRAVIS at the Bordello; LEE ROCKER at the Knitting Factory; HELMET at Malibu Inn; VAGABOND OPERA, FISHTANK ENSEMBLE at McCabe’s; SHINICHI & ALL THE WAY LIVE at the Mint; MONOLATORS at Mr. T’s Bowl; 400 BLOWS, NEW COLLAPSE at Safari Sam’s; D. YELLOW SWANS at the Smell; JOE BAIZA, AMADANS at Taix; KLEVELAND at El Cid.


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6

{mosimage}Trentemøller at Avalon

In the grander scheme of things, it must be said that Danish DJ/electronics man Anders Trentemøller purveys absolutely nothing new under the techno/house/electro/ambient sun. But, my god, what a sound he has: an analog-heavy four-on-the-floor both fluid and growly, and a hugely varied textural palette so cinematically rich that its basically commonplace structural sameness hardly seems to matter. Trentemøller’s debut last year, The Last Resort, on the revered Poker Flat label, was a superb fresh blast whose transcendence above mere dance-floor fodder owed to his very fine ear for the tricky subtleties of pacing, sonic juxtaposition (in fact, much of his sounds are hand-played) and a nicely unhealthy interest in the more sinister shades of sound. Just out, The Trentemøller Chronicles is a double disc that compiles choice new tracks, 12-inch vinyl releases, and several choice remixes he’s done for the likes of Royksopp, the Knife, Moby and various Eurodance luminaries. For this performance, an actual live band and elaborate visuals are promised. (John Payne)


Also playing Saturday:

BLOC PARTY, TEDDYBEARS, KINKY, TURBONEGRO, JUSTICE, RAVEONETTES, SATELLITE PARTY, NOISETTES, COOL KIDS
at Detour Music Festival, First & Main sts., noon; MORMONS, MIA DOI TODD, DENGUE FEVER at Eagle Rock Music Festival, 5 p.m.; NE-YO at CSUN, 2 p.m.; MORRISSEY at Hollywood Palladium; HEAVEN & HELL, ALICE COOPER at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre; STEVE MILLER BAND at Greek Theatre; NATALIE COLE, RUPAUL at Wilshire Ebell Theatre; JETHRO TULL at Fred Kavli Theatre; CANDYE KANE at Blue Cafe; FATSO JETSON at the Scene; SIMON STOKES, KINGSIZEMAYBE at Taix; CHEB I SABBAH at Temple Bar; PAQUITA LA DEL BARRIO at Vault 350.


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7

{mosimage}Turbonegro at the Henry Fonda Theater

Where do you go when you’ve already released the greatest hard-rock album in the past 20 years? If you’re face-painted Turbonegro chanteuse Hank Von Helvete, there’s nowhere to go but down, which is where he went, in a spiral of depression and heroin addiction, following the 1998 release of Apocalypse Dudes, the epic album that conflated Alice Cooper spookiness, Black Flag riffery, Ramones-y economy and Spinal Tap satire with brilliantly wicked “faux-mo-erotic” lyrics and a curious obsession with denim and the sacred duality of the ass. What was astonishing was how great these Norwegian death-punks sounded when they reunited in 2002 after Von Helvete’s recovery. While comeback albums like 2003’s Scandinavian Leather and their new Retox don’t always match the absurd perfection of Apocalypse Dudes, they still thrash anything released in recent years by other punk and metal bands, in part because there’s some genuine wit and intelligence lurking in Von Helvete’s twisted poetry on such tunes as “Stroke the Shaft” and “Everybody Loves a Chubby Dude.” “I emptied all my glands/inside the emptiness of all my fans,” he croons sensitively on “Hell Toupée,” and elsewhere concludes that “rock is the area between the balls and the anus of a dog or a man.” For those about to rock, Turbonegro will pollute you. Also at the Detour fest, Sat. (Falling James)


Also playing Sunday:

BLACK CROWES, BUFFALO KILLERS
at Orpheum Theatre; SHINS at Greek Theatre; GENITORTURERS at House of Blues; CHENCHA BERRINCHES at Key Club; EEK-A-MOUSE at Malibu Inn; SPONGEBOB & THE HI-SEAS, HECTORS, MONOLATORS at Safari Sam’s, 4 p.m.


MONDAY, OCTOBER 8

Playing Monday:

MORRISSEY
at Hollywood Palladium; JUSTICE at Henry Fonda Theater; JOHN PRINE at Cerritos Center; HOLLY GOLIGHTLY at the Echo; CIVET at Knitting Factory; PATTON OSWALT at Largo; OLIVER FUTURE at Spaceland; FIONN REGAN, BRANDI SHEARER at the Troubadour; THE OOHLAS at Viper Room.


{mosimage}TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9

Ruins at the Smell

Sending audiences to Jesus with the double-barreled shotgun of their musical onslaught since 1985, Ruins have presented some of the most challenging passages of spastic greatness to ever cross the concert-hall threshold. Ruins founder Yoshida Tatsuya embarks on a U.S. tour as Ruins Alone now that it’s just him on drums and whoever shows up on bass ever since Ruins’ previous bassist, Hisashi Sasaki, split in 2003. While one might think of drum & bass as the bastard cousin of techno, Ruins’ vision of drum & bass is about as similar to that genre as Rip Taylor is to Shakespeare. Ruins’ latest, Refusal Fossil: Unreleased Tracks & Live With Guests (Special Edition) (Skin Graft), is the tentative reason for this tour; as with most great, unidentifiable shards of haunting beauty, Ruins will appear, lay waste to all preconceived notions of time signatures and harmony, thank you, and vanish. (David Cotner)


Also playing Tuesday:

MORRISSEY
at Hollywood Palladium; JUSTICE at Henry Fonda Theater; DATAROCK at Amoeba Music, 7 p.m.; SIERRA SWAN, CARINA ROUND at Largo; THE MORMONS at Mr. T’s Bowl.


WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10


Emmylou Harris at Cerritos Center

The great country singer Emmylou Harris doesn’t perform in Southern California often enough, and — guess what? — she’s announced that she’ll be taking a long break from touring after this lone local gig. The humble and apparently ego-free song stylist has no problem using her gorgeously pure vocals to harmonize with everyone from Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Chrissie Hynde to Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, but it’s a real thrill to hear her perform some of her own enchanting material. She’s celebrating the recent release of her sprawling new Rhino box set, Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems, with four CDs and a DVD documenting her early solo songs and collaborations with the late Gram Parsons through to her ’90s experiments with producer Daniel Lanois, as well as a wealth of unreleased tunes, live tracks, covers, and duets with stellar partners including Waylon Jennings, Dr. John, Beck, Patty Griffin and Mark Knopfler. Whether she’s digging into bluegrass, acoustic laments, country roots, rock or folk, this rodeo sweetheart from Nashville always anoints everything with that majestically soaring, achingly magical voice. (Falling James)


Beirut at Avalon

The Internet-buzzed new Beirut album, The Flying Club Cup, finds 21-year-old band mastermind Zach Condon toning down the precious gypsy-folk trimmings that made his 2006 debut, Gulag Orkestar, such a sensation among music-blog types given to seeking whiffs of the exotic from Yo La Tengo. In their place, Condon’s gone Francophile on his fans, decorating his appealingly whiny sensitive-dude ballads with loads of beautiful brass and sidewalk-cafe accordion; Condon wrote much of the album while living in Paris and recorded some of it at the Arcade Fire’s converted-cathedral studio in Montreal. Unlike Gulag, Flying Club was made with the assistance of Condon’s (relatively) rowdy eight-piece live band, which gives the new material a muscularity you can expect to hear tonight. Also Thurs. (Mikael Wood)


Also playing Wednesday:

JOSE GONZALEZ
at El Rey Theatre; GLITCH MOB, FREE MORAL AGENTS at the Airliner; BAND OF HORSES at Amoeba Music, 7 p.m.; OSLO, CONTROLLING THE FAMOUS at the Roxy; THE WILLOWZ, WOUNDED COUGAR at Safari Sam’s; ANA EGGE at Tangier.



{mosimage}THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11

Nina Nastasia & Jim White at the Knitting Factory

On their new duo album, You Follow Me, New York–based singer-songwriter Nina Nastasia and drummer Jim White (a member of Australia’s Dirty Three, as well as a prolific session man who’s played with PJ Harvey, Cat Power and Nick Cave, among many others) make a dark folk-blues racket that lends physical weight to Nastasia’s unblinking accounts of emotional upheaval. (Instructive song titles include “How Will You Love Me,” “Late Night” and “The Day I Would Bury You.”) The instrumentation on Follow is purposely pared down to Nastasia’s vocals and guitar and White’s drums (as it will be tonight). Yet because her singing is so full of unexpected swoops and growls and his drumming frequently ventures off into seemingly improvised semi-solos, the music never feels incomplete. In fact, it’s hard to hear how they’d cram anything else into these songs. (Mikael Wood)


{mosimage}The Avengers, Pansy Division at Spaceland

Great moments in presidential speeches rewritten: “Ask not what you can do for your country/What’s your country been doing to you?” as the Avengers’ Penelope Houston railed back in 1979 on the Steve Jones–produced “The American in Me,” an anthemic look at the first Kennedy assassination that still raises chills today. “It’s the American in me that makes me watch the blood running out of the bullet hole in his head... It’s the American in me that says it’s an honor to die in a war that’s just a politician’s lie.” What a shame that we don’t live in wartime or an era when politicians are routinely deceitful — otherwise you could argue that the Avengers, one of the earliest and most thrilling San Francisco punk bands and a direct influence on an entire generation of riot grrls, are still relevant today. After the Avengers broke up, Houston worked for a spell with Magazine’s Howard Devoto, then morphed into a contrastingly laid-back folk-pop persona before reuniting her old band a few years ago with original guitarist Greg Ingraham. They’re backed by drummer Luis Illades and bassist Joel Reader, who’ll do double duty with the reconstituted queercore parodists Pansy Division. (Falling James)



Also playing Thursday:

MORRISSEY
at Hollywood Palladium; BEIRUT at Avalon; BELA FLECK & THE FLECKTONES at Henry Fonda Theater; ROGUE WAVE at El Rey Theatre; ANNIE LENNOX at Wilshire Theatre; TRAGICALLY HIP at House of Blues; NELLIE McKAY at Largo (see Hoopla); THE THINGZ at Mr. T’s Bowl; ANA EGGE, MATT THE ELECTRICIAN, THE SHEERS at Silverlake Lounge; MICHAEL WHITMORE at Taix.


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