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Rock Picks: The Hives, Buck 65, Redd Kross, Yo La Tengo

Thursday, November 1

Michelle Shocked at Temple Bar

Michelle Shocked has always marched to her own beat. After starting out as a fiery folkie back in the late ’80s, she has taken an eclectic journey across the American musical landscape: visiting rock, swing, blues, soul and other genres in between. Shocked’s latest disc, the live ToHeavenURide, finds her exploring her spiritual side. Since this is Shocked, we’re naturally not talking genteel music. Rather, it’s the foot-stomping gospel sounds of the South Central church she frequents. The music not only nicely captures her religious passions and societal concerns but also provides a fine showcase for her strong, soulful singing. Besides testifying in song to her love for the Staples Singers and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Shocked is also performing new originals and old favorites. And is it purely coincidental that she chose Temple Bar to perform this inspirational music? (Michael Berick)

Also playing Thursday:

THE POGUES at the Wiltern; DIOS MALOS at Rio Hondo College; BRYONY ATKINSON, BLACK OLIVE at the Bordello; YOU ME & IOWA, COCO B’s, SAINT MOTEL at the Echo; THE AGGROLITES, BREAKESTRA at the Key Club; JON BRION at Largo; LONESOME SPURS at Taix.

Friday, Nov. 2

Redd Kross at the Echoplex

Los Angeles rock & roll heroes Redd Kross are like LSD — when they get to work, one never knows precisely what will happen, but it’s a sure bet that the experience will yank out elements of the familiar and present them in boldly assembled, heretofore-undreamt-of creations while building from mild euphoria to a shattering peak intensity that demands every available bit of stimuli-shock-absorbing capacity. Their music, a mixture of luminous pop dynamics and lightning-bolt riffology, is always delivered with crushing power, limitless good cheer and a near-demented abandon that founding sibs Jeff and Steven McDonald manage to control like some kind of weird two-headed mad scientist. Of course, the little buggers have been perfecting their artfully accelerated bubblegum expression since they were Bradyesque adolescents, and at this point one may expect nothing less than alchemical perfection. (Jonny Whiteside)

Dax Riggs at Spaceland

Born a Hoosier yet raised in the heart of Cajun country, Dax Riggs’ musical journey has followed a similarly unpredictable path. The founder of doom-metallers Acid Bath, he went on to form various projects including Agents of Oblivion and Deadboy & the Elephantmen before his transformation into rock-&-roll peacock. Hopefully, it’s a persona he’ll be comfortable with for some time. Fat, fuzzy hooks rise from the production murk on We Sing of Only Blood or Love — which fits right in with the other juke-joint-worshipping releases on the Fat Possum label. Sure, his lyrics — howled or moaned in a grizzled lower register — get a bit frothy and high school goth at times, but we’d expect nothing less from such a conflicted romantic. With Beaten Awake. (Andrew Lentz)

Also playing Friday:

NEIL YOUNG, PEGI YOUNG at Nokia Theatre; YO LA TENGO at Ivar Theatre; POLYPHONIC SPREE, ROONEY at Henry Fonda Theater; DROPKICK MURPHYS, THE BRIGGS at the Wiltern; SHADY LADY at C.I.A.; JUDITH OWEN at McCabe’s; SHINICHI at the Mint; THE MONOLATORS at Mr. T’s Bowl; SLACKSTRING, CULVER CITY DUB COLLECTIVE at the Troubadour.

Saturday, Nov. 3Tinariwen at Temple Bar

Who knew that putting an electric guitar in the hands of a rebellious Tuareg nomad in exile named Ibrahim Ag Alhabib in the early ’80s would lead to the creation of Tinariwen and the beginning of a new chapter in rock? Not just any kind of rock, but a wondrous, glistening one that rolls over you in wave after trance-dance-inducing wave of righteous electric six-string goodness. Tinariwen plays a brand-spankin’ blues as old and widescreen as the Saharan expanse where Ibrahim finds spiritual-artistic inspiration and his people call home. It’s been said elsewhere that if everyone spoke Tamashek, Tinariwen would be as big as the Stones. That’s a bit of a stretch — imagine four Keiths but no Mick (and no preening) and songs that resonate with real rebellion and suffering — but you don’t have to speak their ancient language to feel the cleansing uplift of their magisterial desert rock. (Tom Cheyney)

Yo La Tengo at the Ivar Theater

On their umpteenth tour, New Jersey’s tireless Yo La Tengo are putting their thick, well-thumbed catalog in the blender. Maybe inspired by their work on the soundtrack for Toddy Haynes’ forthcoming cubist Dylan cine-symphony, I’m Not There , the trio are now “Freewheeling” as they randomly generate entirely acoustic renderings of tunes from their back pages. An active indie-rock band that remains a cut above, arguably all by their lonesome selves in a pantheon crowded with marble busts and the cryogenically preserved, YLT have always delivered their bountiful albums — continent-sized collages that pass through styles and textures like climates with lock-groove spark-showering sprawls, jingle-jangle saunters, droning nocturnal purrs, bittersweet pop ditties and ethereally blurred balladry — with a gentle disposition. When this temperament is combined with the band’s elegantly restrained arrangements (they usually make the most of very little: some crackling snare, organ fuzz, putty bass and soft voices), unplugging hardly seems a challenge. Also Fri. (Bernardo Rondeau)

 

Jeff Dahl at the Knitting Factory

Jeff Dahl, the caveman from Cave Creek, Arizona, is a “fucking rock & roll star,” even if he’s better known in Europe than in his homeland. He released his debut single (“Rock N Roll Critic”) way back in 1977 and was later a part of Powertrip, the Angry Samoans and the early Hollywood supergroup Vox Pop (with members of 45 Grave and the Germs). He’s also worked with the Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome, but Dahl is best known for his dozens of solo albums. His latest CD, Battered Stuff , is an atypically all-acoustic affair, but he still strums with a punk rock drive and sensibility. He croons “I Wouldn’t Change a Thing” with a lost-and-lonely alley-cat yowling that’s akin to his late pal Nikki Sudden, and he coolly eviscerates the Hollywood myth on “California Blues.” He’s flashes a Lou Reed–style lyrical wit amid the catchy pop backup vocals on “Vaguely Picasso,” which sounds like something straight outta the Lower East Side (pre-Giuliani gentrification, of course). For his first L.A. show in five years, Dahl is aptly billed with the Shillaly Brothers (with ex-Powertripper John Duffy) and fellow Johnny Thunders acolyte Kevin K. (Falling James)

Also playing Saturday:

RODRIGO Y GABRIELA at Henry Fonda Theater; IAMX, MISS DERRINGER at El Rey Theatre; MINUS THE BEAR, HELIO SEQUENCE at Avalon; ANITA BAKER at Nokia Theatre; ENON, LOVE OF DIAGRAMS at the Echo; BOB SCHNEIDER, AM, BRANDI SHEARER at Hotel Café; XU XU FANG, LION FEVER, WINTER FLOWERS, MAGIC MIRROR at Spaceland.

Sunday, Nov. 4Buck 65, Bernard Dolan at the Troubadour

Not so long ago, Buck 65 was having second thoughts about his love of fist-pumping beats, like he was almost embarrassed about being a white Nova Scotia hip-hop kid. Thankfully, he’s left this angst-y stage well behind. On his second proper solo disc, Situation , he turns shopworn phrases into trippy metaphors that are more than just inspired nonsense. On the disc’s best tune, “1957,” he crystallizes a tipping point in Western civilization: “Orpheus descending, swimming in the crooked waters/Hello Sid Vicious, goodbye Brooklyn Dodgers.” Chunky as the boom-bap is, sometimes it’s just a foil for his lyrical gems to sparkle (i.e. “strippers taking time off, wearing fuzzy-bunny slippers”). Like-minded raconteur Bernard Dolan — subtly adventurous with the rhythms, more blunt in the verbal department — is worth checking out too. (Andrew Lentz)

Uz Jsme Doma at Safari Sam’s

From the small Czechoslovakian border town of Teplice, the rather astoundingly beautiful/ugly art-rock aggregation known as Uz Jsme Doma (prnounced “oozhmuh doma”) are back after an extended break from touring and recording, regrouped with new vigor — when you hear the way they play, you’ll understand why they needed a rest — and set to slay in support of their new opus called Cod-Liver Oil (Skoda). It’s the latest in an exhaustingly exhilarating series of works dating back to 1985 that showcase this virtuosic ensemble’s politically charged but blackly humorous anthems, Eastern European folk-imbued sonic scattershots replete with barking, operatic vocals/chants and neck-snapping tempos and time changes — a thorny orchestration of chaotic havoc. The album was mixed by Dan Rathbun of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and features SGM’s Nils Frykdahl and Carla Kihlstedt. (John Payne)

The Valerie Project at the Silent Movie Theatre

The Valerie Project is a Philadelphia composers collective that reinterprets vintage films via new soundtracks inspired by the films and played live as they roll. The group, which includes several members of Espers, sets its current sights on Jamoril Jires’ 1970 Czech new-wave cult item Valerie and Her Week of Wonders , a surreal meditation on death, religion, sex and love whose visual splendors are, not entirely paradoxically, quite musical on their own. Inspired in part by Philip Glass’ live accompaniment of new scores to a trilogy of Cocteau films — which seemed to work best if you either closed your eyes or stuck your fingers in your ears — the Philly crew aim to create a vibrating middle area somewhere between the rich on-screen imagery (which will be projected off a freshly cleaned-up 35mm print) and the moodily mesmerizing, ‘60s-trippy soundtrack (which is available as a separate release on the Drag City label). Performances at 6 & 9 p.m. Also Mon., 8 p.m. 611 N. Fairfax Ave. (323) 655-2510. (John Payne)

 

Also playing Sunday:

RODRIGO Y GABRIELA at Henry Fonda Theater; DO MAKE SAY THINK, APOSTLE OF HUSTLE at the Echo; MAD HAPPY, STEVE GREGOROPOULOS at Mr. T’s Bowl; MARIEE SIOUX at Tangier.

Monday, Nov. 5Playing Monday:

SHOUT OUT LOUDS, JOHNOSSI, NICO VEGA at Henry Fonda Theater; MELISSA MANCHESTER in the Pantages Theater lobby; SUFFOCATION, IMMOLATION at House of Blues; OLLIN at Mr. T’s Bowl; CITIZEN FISH, M.D.C. at Safari Sam’s.

Tuesday, Nov. 6Architecture in Helsinki at the Troubadour

Some bands reveal their hometown before the first chord is struck, certainly before the end of the first verse, but Architecture in Helsinki may as well be the house band from Mars. Not that their sound is so alien (high-energy indie-pop meets electronic music with a dance-punk twist and more instruments than an oom-pah band), but the group from Melbourne play like they’re opening for Mitch Ryder in Detroit on one song and for Lord Kitchener in Trinidad on another. They debuted with Fingers Crossed (Bar/None) in 2004, which brought them mucho attention back home, showcasing tap dancing as a tracked instrument, but two albums later leader Cameron Bird brought the flock (losing two chicks along the way, becoming a sextet) over to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to record Places Like This with Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) for their new label, Polyvinyl. The Glass Candy and the Panthers open at this two-night stand at the Troubadour. Also Wed. (Daniel Siwek)

Also playing Tuesday:

TUUNG at the Echo; STARS OF TRACK & FIELD, ESKIMO JOE at the Roxy; VIRGINIA CITY REVIVAL, ORANGE at Safari Sam’s; DOWNTOWN-UNION, THEE L.A. GENTLEMEN CALLERS, THE UV’s at the Scene.

Wednesday, Nov. 7The Hives at Avalon

Mainstream press coverage of the Hives’ new CD, The Black and White Album, is centering around the fact that, thanks to the commercial disappointment of 2004’s Tyrannosaurus Hives , these Swedish garage rockers need a hit if they’re to continue living in the style to which they’ve become accustomed. That may be true — after all, Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine probably didn’t bankroll the band’s left-field collaboration with Pharrell Williams out of the goodness of his heart. But Black and White doesn’t sound like the cash-grab you might expect: Beyond a handful of shiny beats and some stray keyboard action — and one midtempo saloon-blues joint that doesn’t exactly have Top 40 written all over it — the new disc finds the Hives sticking to the supercharged guitar pop they’ve been making since the turn of the century. Yay! Also at Staples Center, Thurs. (Mikael Wood)

Also playing Wednesday:

HOLD STEADY, ART BRUT, BLOOD ARM at Henry Fonda Theater; DNTEL at the Airliner; DOS, JOE LALLY at Alex’s Bar; BARRINGTON LEVY at Crash Mansion; WELTON IRIE, NATTY KING at the Echo; ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI at the Troubadour; SLASH at the Whisky.

Thursday, Nov. 8Ween at the Wiltern

While Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo staked their original claim as the premier ironic parodists of the early ’90s indie-rock era, it’s been overlooked what an actually brilliant couple of songwriters/arrangers these fellas are. Cleverly disguised as ’shroom-addled snarky frat-boys, the duo have a stinkily fertile gift for the potentialities that result when you grind into a fine powder the myriad dumb-ass musical genres you never could help but love and which made you the big American dickhead music lover you are today. On Ween’s fantastic new La Cucaracha album on Rounder, all the electro-disco, reggae, sappy Nashville songs, cheesy party-rock, insightful new-age folkie doo-doo, savage metal Nugeness, new-wave literary-geek pop, Philly soul and ’70s-style smoooooth jazz-pop (with non-ironic guest Dave Sanborn) get sawn apart and put back together, with loads of brains — and a kind of love. “Ween: It’s all about the music.” Seriously. Just kidding. No, seriously. (John Payne)

Of Montreal, Grand Buffet, MGMT at Avalon

Of Montreal’s transformation over the past few years from a cuddly twee-pop band into a hedonistic glam-rock unit hasn’t just been a good creative move — it’s also dramatically increased the Elephant 6–associated outfit’s CD and ticket sales and expanded its audience beyond the realm of record-store clerks and college-radio DJs. On Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? , Of Montreal’s latest, front man Kevin Barnes leads his merry mates through an homage to Prince’s psychedelic side. Grand Buffet, from Pittsburgh, make goofy hip-hop tracks that should appeal to anyone who thinks Beck has never topped Midnite Vultures . Brooklyn’s MGMT splash around in a denatured home brew of synth-pop keyboards, folk-rock guitars, and high-flying vocals inspired by Marc Bolan. They just scored a deal with Columbia, which says something about the blogosphere’s A&R acumen. (Mikael Wood)

 

Also playing Thursday:

GOV’T MULE, GRACE POTTER & THE NOCTURNALS at Henry Fonda Theater; BEN HARPER, PIERS FACCINI at Orpheum Theatre; MAROON 5, PHANTOM PLANET, THE HIVES at Staples Center; MADLIB, PEANUT BUTTER WOLF, J-ROCC, PERCEE P at El Rey Theatre; CULVER CITY DUB COLLECTIVE at the Bordello; DAVID ALLAN COE, DOS, JOE LALLY at Knitting Factory; LLOYD COLE at Largo; VALIENT THORR, YEAR LONG DISASTER, SUPAGROUP at Spaceland; DAN JANISCH at Taix; FISHTANK ENSEMBLE at Tangier.


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