Rock Picks: Spindrift, Randy Newman, The Gutter Twins
THURSDAY, JULY 3 Constantines at the Troubadour
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Blues empress Zola Moon
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Spindrift: Way out west
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The incredible Levell Crump, a.k.a. David Banner
The Constantines are probably the best rock band out of Toronto (via two shitty college towns in Ontario: London and Guelph), and probably Canada at large. A live Constantines show is a cyclical affair: Arena-rock seriousness builds to fuzzy punk pleas and instrumental histrionics, eventually giving way to a coaxing pastoral lust. The band, always good, have become great after close to 10 years, four albums (and handfuls of EPs and compilation appearances), deals with Arts & Crafts in Canada and Sub Pop in the U.S., and now a few established side projects and the odd celeb collaboration. The Cons are heirs apparent, and constantly made analogous, to Neil Young’s Canadiana-fixated rock resonance (the band’s alter ego, Horsey Craze, has recorded Young songs), Bruce Springsteen’s double-denim working-man spirituals and Fugazi. The air in utopia may be poisoned, but the Constantines are working on it. (Kate Carraway)
Also playing Thursday: NICO VEGA, THE GROWLERS at the Hammer Museum; FREE MORAL AGENTS at Alex’s Bar; THE KIDS OF WIDNEY HIGH at Mr. T’s Bowl; CHANA at Temple Bar.
FRIDAY, JULY 4
Zola Moon at Lynwood City Park
Some holidays go better with rock & roll than others, such as Halloween, whose combination of morbid sensuality and visual transformation is an ideal crossroads for rock, blues and other swampy voodoo musics to come creeping and crawling into. Rock and blues don’t fare as well during Christmas (except as a soulful palliative and ironic counterpoint to the syrupy artifice of the holiday season) or on the Fourth of July, whose soundtrack is generally given over to the brassy pomp and hot-air exhalations of marching bands and the percussively stuttering crackle of fireworks. Whether you’re celebrating the Fourth as a true-blue patriot or lamenting this nation’s often-tragic history, Zola Moon encompasses all of the holiday’s contradictions with a charismatic persona that’s hotter than a summer afternoon and a powerhouse voice that’s as explosive as a hundred bottle rockets. The South Bay blues empress howls with raw, feral abandon on classic covers like “House of the Rising Sun” and “Little Red Rooster,” but she also brings a Charles Bukowski–fueled poetry to her own excellent original tunes on her 2007 CD, Wildcats Under My Skin. 11301 Bullis Road. Also at Shoreline Village, Sat. (Falling James)
Spindrift at the Echo
Forget block parties and fireworks — those looking for a truly exciting way to celebrate the United States’ 232nd birthday should check out Spindrift tonight. The band, led by singer-guitarist Kirpatrick Thomas, take the haunting sounds of the American West and throw in a splash of ’60s psychedelia for songs just itching to be used in film scores, such as their tune from the upcoming Quentin Tarantino–produced flick Hell Ride. Spindrift also have a feature of their own in the works called The Legend of God’s Gun, which they’re starring in and for which they’re penning the accompanying soundtrack. Their atmospheric, shoegazing-in-a-good-sort-of-way approach takes listeners on a peyote-soaked trip to a sandstorm desert where slow-moving tumbleweeds careen, which is way cooler than sparklers and hot dogs. (Ryan Ritchie)
Randy Newman at the Hollywood Bowl
Feeling patriotic but don’t wanna check your skepticism at the door this Fourth of July? Spend the occasion with Randy Newman, who’s never let his love of country get in the way of his doubts (or his jokes) about America. Tonight the Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter presides over “A Ball at the Bowl,” a multimedia program celebrating the Dodgers’ 50th anniversary in Los Angeles: In addition to Newman’s set, you’ll get video packages, the L.A. Phil doing old-school baseball songs, Tommy Lasorda leading the audience in a round of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and, of course, fireworks blowing shit up. Newman is scheduled to conduct the Phil in a performance of his music from the Robert Redford baseball flick The Natural; then he’ll play a handful of his pop tunes, including material from his upcoming album, Harps and Angels, due out August 5. Beats burning your finger with a bottle rocket. (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Friday:
BOOMBASH at 14 Below; HAYESFIELD, ZHAIN U.K. at the Good Hurt; ORGONE, BOOGALOO ASSASSINS at the Mint; THE VOYEURS, GRIZZLY OWLS, TERRAPIN, SEASONS at Mr. T’s Bowl; THE FLASH EXPRESS at the Redwood Bar & Grill.
SATURDAY, JULY 5
Hootenanny at Oak Canyon Ranch
Summer’s start once again brings that high, dusty O.C. ritual known to man as Hootenanny. This edition of the annual roots-rock blowout is toughened up with the kicking psycho-punk snarl of Tiger Army and Guana Batz, while the purely gone California rockabilly originator Glen Glenn ably represents the pioneering generation of rebels whom this audience so fetishistically reveres. With engaging musical side trips from former BR-549 cat Chuck Mead and renegade Foo Fighter Chris Shiflet, and a set from coolly deadly cliché-slayer James Intveld, it‘s a full-course big-beat banquet. Best of all, with the headliner’s closing spot going (yet again) to the perpetually unconvincing groaner Mike Ness, you’ll able get clean out of the parking lot before it turns into a Kustom Rod traffic jam. 4621 Santiago Canyon Road, Silverado. (Jonny Whiteside)
Also playing Saturday:
TODD RUNDGREN at the Canyon; REVEREND HORTON HEAT, NASHVILLE PUSSY, SUPERSUCKERS at House of Blues; CHUMP CHANGE GANG, CARNAGE ASADA, SWORDS OF FATIMA at Mr. T’s Bowl; SIMON STOKES at Taix; MERLE JAGGER, DAFNI at Farmers Market, 8 p.m.
SUNDAY, JULY 6
Joseph Berardi, Boor Baar at Eagle Rock Center for the Arts
A night of drums, drums, drums — which is all you really need, isn’t it? Ex-Fibonacci Joe Berardi is a local hero for having provided his ace rhythm chops with a wildly wide-ranging bunch of artists, from Stan Ridgway, Ann Magnuson, James White & the Blacks, Rufus Wainwright, Lydia Lunch, Double Naught Spy Car and his own duo Non Credo to avantish stalwarts of the jazz/new music/improv scene, such as Nels Cline, G.E. Stinson, the Obliteration Quartet and Steuart Liebig’s Mentones. Berardi’s style is a unique amalgamation of techniques and attitudes culled from the progressive jazz, rock and contemporary classical worlds — like all of the above, and none of it — and here we get to hear him in a brand-new context, that of the percussion soloist. He’ll be performing new pieces for various percussive instruments and electronics, and our heads will turn in novel positions. Also appearing is a young trio of drummers called Boor Baar: Cory Beers, John Wash IV and Mike Robbins. Starts at 7 p.m.; don’t be late. 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. (626) 795-4989. Berardi also at Safar Sam’s, Mon. (John Payne)
Also playing Sunday:
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Naïm Amor: Stop in the Naïm of love.
MIKE STINSON, THE CHEATIN’ KIND, BETTY DYLAN at the Echoplex, 4:30 p.m.; RED MAIDS, CORREATOWN, MONSTER, ONE TRICK PONY at Mr. T’s Bowl; LEGENDARY SHACK SHAKERS at Spaceland.
MONDAY, JULY 7
David Banner at House of Blues
Like his namesake from the Hulk movies, you might not like rapper David Banner when he gets angry. Dude is likely to vent his rage on the administration, the music biz, race relations and, especially, audience members who look bored or distracted. On The Greatest Story Ever Told, Banner is as much a producer/actor/grad student/philanthropist as he is an efficient maker of club anthems and trunk rattlers. Yet there is no denying that this syrup-sipping crunk superstar’s black conscience is increasingly getting the better of him. Interestingly, “Cadillac on 22s, Part 2,” is no ode to vintage whips but a valentine to the South as the cradle of African-American culture (plus a dis of post-diaspora blacks who turn their noses up at their countrified counterparts), and throughout the disc he’s alternately paranoid and pissed about his Mississippian image. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of collar poppin’ with the MC all-star “9mm” and the way-hotter “Get Like Me,” sporting the most wicked bass line ever. (Andrew Lentz)
Retribution Gospel Choir at the Troubadour
Alan Sparhawk of the infamously minimal Low has been playing music at thoughtfully sludgy speeds and repressed volumes for so long now that he can perhaps be excused for wanting to blow off a little steam, crank it up, bash it out and in general tear the roof off the sucka. His new side project, the Retribution Gospel Choir — which is really the latest incarnation of Low minus Sparhawk’s vocalist-wife, Mimi Parker — makes with the garage-y caterwaul and back-to-basics rock Neanderthalisms. It’s a far more stoner-like approach than the serious and staid Sparhawk would seem to be into, though maybe not so surprising, given his occasional guitar-god flashes in the past, most recently in his Solo Guitar persona. Retribution Gospel Choir make their brief but epic anthems lash with the passion of supremely intense focus; like Low, they seek to capture some kind of elusive spirit before it vanishes into thin air — and there’s something cathartic about that, for us and for the band. (John Payne)
Also playing Monday:
STEVIE WONDER at the Hollywood Bowl; DAVID ARCHULETA, DAVID COOK, BROOKE WHITE, CARLY SMITHSON at Staples Center; AMILIA K. SPICER, RIVER ROGUE, KILLING CASANOVA at the Bordello; WOUNDED LION, JAIL WEDDINGS at the Echo; NAÏM AMOR, NOVI SPLIT at Echo Curio; A STATIC LULLABY at the Knitting Factory; CAPTAIN AHAB, KEVIN SHIELDS at Pehrspace; JOE BERARDI at Safari Sam’s.
TUESDAY, JULY 8
YAZ at the Orpheum Theatre (see Music feature); VON IVA, ASTRA HEIGHTS at the Echo; BIC RUNGA at Largo at the Coronet; MONDO GENERATOR, YEAR LONG DISASTER at the Viper Room; EARLIMART at Amoeba Music, 7 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 9
Naïm Amor at Tangier
More than 10 years ago, Naïm Amor made what some desperate Americans might consider an insane decision by moving from his home in Paris to Tucson. But nothing Amor has done has made sense by conventional standards, and that’s what makes him an artist. While crooning gorgeous self-penned French love songs, he’s been known to play a toy drum machine into his guitar’s pickups, layering it over hot-shit jazz licks he’s fed through a loop, creating sheets of sound. His latest album is called Sanguine — a word that evokes blood — and while he still strolls through a moody landscape, he’s currently not as concerned with sonic experimentation. The title reveals that this is a more inner-directed effort that focuses on beats of the heart rather than machinery. Amor performs solo tonight for those whose hearts have been won or broken, and he can win or break a heart with his Parisian soul music. That’s what makes him a great artist. Also at the Echo Curio, Mon. (Michael Simmons)
Also playing Wednesday:
KRISTIN HERSH at the Hotel Café; NATASHA BEDINGFIELD, THE VERONICAS, KATE VOEGELE at House of Blues; SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM at the Troubadour.
THURSDAY, JULY 10 Playing Thursday:
YAZ at the Orpheum Theatre (see Music feature); THE BLASTERS at Levitt Pavilion, Pasadena, 7:30 p.m.; THE DEADLY SYNDROME, MISS DERRINGER at Hammer Museum, 8 p.m.; KING KHAN & THE SHRINES, JACUZZI BOYS at the Echo; TILLY & THE WALL at the Echoplex, 7:30 p.m.; DON BYRON, BILLY CHILDS & JOE HENRY at Largo at the Coronet; THE GUTTER TWINS, ED HARCOURT at the Roxy; ROBERT FRANCIS at the Troubadour.
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