Rock Picks: THE JOE KROWN TRIO, THE FIERY FURNACES, THE LILYS, MR. GNOME
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20
THE JOE KROWN TRIO, KIRK JOSEPH AT THE MINT
Any roundup of Crescent City talent guarantees an estimable earful, and tonight’s brawl, with the sweet-hot jazz-funk wallop of sousaphone paragon Kirk Joseph, is more than enough to send you into orbit. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band co-founder’s gift for exploding the recognized role and limits of that marching-band tuba is revelatory, and his employ of dynamics, tonal nuance and sheer creativity all but beggars description — even the oh-so-finicky Elvis Costello rates Joseph as “a million-in-one player.” But that appetizing load of “sousafunk” is just a tantalizing starter: When the direct-from-NOLA outfit the Joe Krown Trio hits the bandstand, the atmosphere is going to get even hotter, thicker and way bluer. The trio features the powerhouse singer-guitarist Walter “Wolfman” Washington (who made his bones touring in the early 1960s with none other than R&B titan Lee Dorsey, backed Irma Thomas and spent decades beside peerless vocalist Johnny Adams), piano boss Joe Krown and Funky Meters traps man Russell Batiste Jr. It’s going to be a gritty, freewheeling session of lowdown magnificence. (Jonny Whiteside)
SYMBOL SIX AT THE REDWOOD BAR & GRILL
As punk rock scenes spontaneously erupted around the world in the late 1970s in such disparate places as Brisbane, Akron, London and the Lower East Side, punk bands simultaneously sprouted up all over Southern California, from Hollywood, East L.A. and the San Fernando Valley to the South Bay, Fullerton and Chula Vista. Everywhere, it seemed, except West Los Angeles. Sure, the Urinals were scratching up their Wire-like, insectoid art-punk in the UCLA parking garages as far back as 1978, but it would be several more years before other Westside hard-core groups like Youth Brigade, Sin 34 and Suicidal Tendencies made an impact. One of the best and most underrated of the early West L.A. punk bands, Symbol Six, who started in 1980, were soon signed by Posh Boy and got airplay on Rodney on the Roq before crashing and burning just two years later. Symbol Six were similar in style to Orange County bands like T.S.O.L., the Adolescents and Agent Orange, with leader Eric Leach shouting out such sarcastic, contrarian rants as “Taxation” and “Beverlywood” while incendiary lead guitarist Taz Rudd, rhythm guitarist Mark Conway, drummer Phil George and the fluid ex-Necros bassist Donny Brook carved out an aggressively sinister yet melodic attack. All four original members recently reunited for the first time in 27 years (!) and have already recorded stomping new tracks like “Go” and “Concrete Garden.” (Falling James)
A TRIBUTE TO NEIL YOUNG AT THE BOOTLEG THEATER
The folk and country-music blog When You Awake has been a stellar supporter of the classic-country and indie-roots scenes for a while — they put on shows, sell mixtapes, give away tickets and spot vintage clothes for rabid collectors — but these folks are also good-deed doers who promote and support the Children’s Music Fund, a local nonprofit organization that provides instruments and performances to children with chronic illnesses. Tonight they’ve rustled up some of the most talented players west of Pioneertown to cover all eras of Neil Young’s catalog, with proceeds going to the fund. Breaking down a heap of wide-ranging covers from the one-note-wonder’s hits (and some obscure ones, for sure) are Leslie Stevens of Leslie & the Badgers, with her Emmylou-style pipes; the ever-lovely and haunting Chapin Sisters; a set by hillbilly-disco rabble-rousers Restavrant; and psychotropic, sun-shiny grooves from the Parson Red Heads, plus many others. (Wendy Gilmartin)
NEON INDIAN AT THE ECHOPLEX
Austin’s Alan Palomo is both young and restless. He’s just made drinking age, and in the interim that’s passed since he’s been able to legally buy smokes, he’s successfully launched three distinct outfits. While his now-defunct band Ghosthustler and ongoing VEGA project hew closer to traditional synth-pop, the Neon Indian name has come to mean something far more kaleidoscopic, and incredibly promising. A hazy, dazed mix of guitar fuzz, synthesizer tones, vinyl samples and field recordings, Neon Indian’s acclaimed LP debut, Psychic Chasms, sounds like a cross-section of ’80s music recorded to tape, then left to bake in the sun. Song titles like “Terminally Chill” and “Deadbeat Summer” go a long way toward describing their own sound, but, more than that, that sound goes a long way toward defining a distinct movement of lo-fi noisemakers who’ve been discovering unlikely beauty this past year. Live, Palomo’s music is accompanied by fittingly trippy visuals and a freshly assembled four-piece band. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Friday:
DETHKLOK, MASTODON, HIGH ON FIRE at Hollywood Palladium; RAPHAEL SAADIQ at the Wiltern; DEFTONES at Avalon; JULIAN CASABLANCAS at the Palace Theatre; RAY LAMONTAGNE at the Orpheum Theater; WAYNE KRAMER at Ivy Substation Theater; SWINGIN’ UTTERS, LOS MYSTERIOSOS at Alex’s Bar; SAUCY MONKY, 50 CENT HAIRCUT at Farmers Market; STORM LARGE at Genghis Cohen; DIR EN GREY at House of Blues; ERIN McKEOWN, JILL SOBULE at McCabe’s; MOONRATS, JAGUAR LOVE at the Smell; GINA VILLALOBOS, PAT TODD & THE RANKOUTSIDERS at Taix; DOUBLE NAUGHT SPYCAR at Cafe 322.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21
THE FIERY FURNACES AT EL REY THEATRE
The Fiery Furnaces are going from peculiar strength to strength. Siblings Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger’s new I’m Going Away (Thrill Jockey) is again damn chockablock with the sort of supersundry, surprising stuff that has caused fans and casual bystanders to scratch their skulls even as they frug furiously. There’s little point listing the ingredients from their vast source reservoir that the Friedbergers hash together to make their sound — okay, classic rock & pop (BOC and the Carpenters), some “blues,” operettas & music hall, etc. — you only need to know that their new songs are lovely, plaintive, elliptical, genuinely literate, ironic in a friendly way, skronking-rocking, epic but not too, spellbindingly harmonized and jaw-droppingly arranged, and all this done in a rapidly flickering reflection-of-the-hard-times style. The Fiery Furnaces think of I’m Going Away as a “proper rock album,” and, while that’s relative, it is a verifiable fact that it deserves to top pop charts from here to Ouagadougou. (John Payne)
KRONOS QUARTET, TERRY RILEY, MATMOS, MIKE EINZIGER AT DISNEY HALL
The organizers at Disney Hall have assembled an incredibly diverse foursome to kick off their annual “West Coast, Left Coast” concert series. Outsider string ensemble Kronos Quartet celebrated its 35th anniversary this year, so it makes sense that David Harrington’s acclaimed group would be the guest of honor. Kronos has worked with everyone from Mike Patton to Phillip Glass — not to mention successfully adapted works by both Sigur Rós and Jimi Hendrix — and is a longtime collaborator of legendary organist Terry Riley, also performing. Riley became famous for his improvised all-nighters in the ’60s, drawing acid-addled hippies and hammock-toting families alike to his marathon performances. Since, the 74-year-old has composed a spate of works for orchestra and string quartet, and he’s still a monster on the pipe organ. Matmos may be best known for producing much of Björk’s Vespertine and Medúlla albums, but the duo’s own catalog is an impressive collection of soundscapes sourced from bizarre samples, including the sounds of surgical procedures. Opening the night is Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger, who’s recently begun a second life as a solo composer. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Saturday:
RAY LAMONTAGNE at the Orpheum Theater; SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, PEPPER, MADVILLAIN, FLOBOTS, GLITCH MOB, QUINTO SOL at L.A. Center Studio; HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD, ATREYU at the Wiltern; BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB, BAND OF HORSES, SHIRLEY MANSON, SEA WOLF at Avalon; PETER BJORN & JOHN, EL PERRO DEL MAR at Club Nokia; FRIENDLY FIRES at Henry Fonda Theater; BERNADETTE PETERS at Fred Kavli Theater; BEN GIBBARD at Ivy Substation Theater; THE CHOKE at Boardner’s; DAVID LINDLEY & JOHN HAMMOND at Brixton South Bay; ATOMIC SHERPAS, THE SCRAPPERS at Taix; THE MISFITS at the Key Club; CHELSEA GIRLS at the Roxy; KINGSIZEMAYBE at Taix; LUKAS NELSON & THE PROMISE OF THE REAL at the Viper Room; EVIL BEAVER, JESSIE DELUXE, PSYCHOSTAR at Que Sera; IAN WHITCOMB at Boulevard Music; GROOVY REDNECKS, THE CHEATIN’ KIND at Cinema Bar.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22
THE LILYS AT SPACELAND
A bit of a rock nomad, ever in search of that elusive sound, in 1988 singer-songwriter Kurt Heasley brought the Lilys from his native Philly to Washington, D.C., where they hit with their first single, “February 14,” a tip of the hat to My Bloody Valentine. That starry-eyed shoegazing urge wove throughout the prolific Heasley’s subsequent albums, along with an abiding love for the glories of British Invasion bands (the Kinks in particular). There have been more recent forays into a kind of rockier blue-eyed soul, as heard on the Lilys’ most recent disc, Everything Wrong Is Imaginary (2006). The thing is, none of the above information sounds all that out of the ordinary, and in many ways it isn’t. But Heasley writes and performs songs with consummate taste (a rare commodity) and inordinate skill, and, once you’ve heard them, it is simply impossible to get them out of your mind. (John Payne)
Also playing Sunday:
THE LANNY MORGAN SEXTET at the Lighthouse Cafe, 11 a.m.; JAKE SHIMABUKURO at Haugh Performing Arts Center, Citrus College, 2 p.m.; RAY LAMONTAGNE at the Orpheum Theater; OZZY OSBOURNE, SLASH, PERRY FARRELL, TRAVIS BARKER at Avalon; H.R., WALTER SCHREIFELS, JEFF PEZZATI, STEVE SOTO at Alex’s Bar; JEREMY JAY, SEA LIONS at the Echo; DIR EN GREY at House of Blues; THE MISFITS at the Key Club; KIRK FLETCHER at Liquid Kitty.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23
THE BOOKS AT HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY
The Massachusetts future-folk duo have been lying low for a bit, focusing, as they put it in a recent press release, on family, deconstruction, reconstruction, film scoring, organic gardening, babies and reassessment. (Wonder if that’s a musician’s euphemism for something?) Now, though, the Books are back, finishing up a new studio album they’re planning to release sometime next year and heading out on a brief North American tour that, in addition to this show at Hollywood Forever, will also see them playing two gigs at a Presbyterian church in San Francisco. Crazy kids. The most recent Books full-length, 2005’s Lost and Safe, contained more of Nick Zammuto’s vocals (and more of a sense of avant-pop structure) than did the group’s earlier records, which may provide a hint of what’s to come. On the other hand, in 2006 they put out an EP built around elevator music composed at the behest of the French government. So you never know. (Mikael Wood)
EL PERRO DEL MAR AT THE HOTEL CAFÉ
The Swedish singer Sarah Assbring, a.k.a. El Perro del Mar, steps out from her tour with Peter Bjorn & John (which visited Club Nokia on Saturday) with a solo set at this intimate bar. Her latest album, Love Is Not Pop (the Control Group), is a set of love songs that are indeed quite pop. The song cycle is reportedly inspired by Lou Reed, although you’ll find little of the former Velvet Underground leader’s dark, literate imagery swimming around in El Perro del Mar’s simple pop tunes and ethereal ballads. Still, tracks like “A Change of Heart” and “Gotta Get Smart” have a quietly insistent and mesmerizing loveliness, as Assbring purrs softly against a glassy soundscape of icy keyboards and shiny acoustic guitars. El Perro del Mar hits the club’s small stage at 8 p.m., following Hecuba and preceding sets by Annie Stela and the Parson Red Heads. (Falling James)
Also playing Monday:
JET, PAPA ROACH, KILL HANNAH at Club Nokia; THRICE, THE DEAR HUNTER at Avalon; DAVID SCOTT STONE, BOBB BRUNO at Echo Curio; THE WATKINS FAMILY HOUR at Largo at the Coronet; FORMER GHOSTS, WHITMAN, MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY at Pehrspace; THE HAPPY HOLLOWS, DIOS, ONE TRICK PONY at Spaceland; POLKA DOT DOT at Historical Marker 157.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24
MR. GNOME AT SILVERLAKE LOUNGE
One hesitates to describe Mr. Gnome as a two-piece band. The awesome rush of sound that comes out of Nicole Barille’s lungs and guitar and Sam Meister’s drums seems much bigger and more powerful than anything two people are capable of. Mr. Meister shifts the room with each stomp of his kick drum, while Ms. Barille launches landslides of surging, Sensurround guitar on the Cleveland duo’s second CD, Heave Yer Skeleton (El Marko Records). He hammers down her Sabbath-y riffs with a Bonham-esque finality on “Plastic Shadow,” and they scour the clouds away with punk tempos and flamethrower blasts on “Cleveland Polka.” But that’s about as “normal” as Mr. Gnome gets. Stormy passages like “Hills, Valleys and Valium” are broken up with spacy interludes where Barille’s eerie, wraithlike keening mood-swings into delicately angelic cooing. Such arty juxtapositions are freaky, cute, savage and scary, all at the same time. Mr. Gnome don’t really sound like anyone else, and their ghost-ridden songs only make sense with a dreamtime logic. Also at Alex’s Bar, Wed. (Falling James)
WOLFMOTHER, HEARTLESS BASTARDS AT THE WILTERN
Singer-guitarist Andrew Stockdale returns to town with a completely different lineup of Wolfmother, but the Australian band still has the same retro ’70s hard-rock/metal sound on its latest album, Cosmic Egg. While relatively poppy tracks like “White Feather” and the banal power ballad “Far Away” show a relatively modern White Stripes influence, most of the new songs, such as “Sundial” and “California Queen,” are derived from Wolfmother’s previous inspirations Black Sabbath, Kyuss and Blue Cheer. Stockdale’s latest version of the group rocks mightily, but the lack of an original style ultimately keeps the quartet from reaching the creative heights of superior (albeit lesser-known) underground bands like Backbiter and Biblical Proof of UFOs, who share many of the same psychedelic and punk influences but still manage to sound distinctive. Opening band Heartless Bastards bring the thunder down from their aptly titled third album, The Mountain (Fat Possum Records), but singer-guitarist Erika Wennerstrom is just as deft at stirring up hazy ballads like the sweetly rootsy “Be So Happy” as she is at churning out compulsively throbbing hard-blues rockers like “Out at Sea.” It won’t be long before this uniquely talented songwriter and her fulsomely heavy band are headlining large venues like this. (Falling James)
Also playing Tuesday:
KISS at the Honda Center; RED ARROW MESSENGER, LISSIE, LESLIE & THE BADGERS at Bootleg Theater; THE JOE PERRY PROJECT at House of Blues; SUZY WILLIAMS at Angel’s Piano Bar & Supper Club; CAFE TACUBA at Club Nokia; THE BIG MANNY BAND at Joe’s Great American Bar & Grill.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25
SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO AT THE MAYAN
James Ford and Jas Shaw, the producers behind Simian Mobile Disco, have crafted thundering, melodic dance backdrops for the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Peaches and Klaxons. Perhaps you’ve dug their own tracks while purchasing a pair of sparkly purple tights at American Apparel, where Simian Mobile Disco’s newest full album, Temporary Pleasure, is getting a lot of store play. SMD’s grunting, pumping dance-party shtick fits nicely with the sweaty, neon-colored, pillow-fighting style of American Apparel. Anyone remember Ya Kid K? Her overplayed hit “Pump Up the Jam” is resurrected and remixed here, with surprisingly fresh results. But Ford and Shaw are keen to the careful craftsmanship it takes to break down such seemingly airheaded, bubblegum techno and rudimentary ass-shaking beats. Less ambitious than 2006’s dense Attack Decay Sustain Release, SMD’s latest offering goes for irritatingly infectious beats and undeniable dance-floor chemistry with bat shit–crazy imagery — grape Kool-Aid–filled swimming pools and studded alligator-leather gold thongs — yow! (Wendy Gilmartin)
Also playing Wednesday:
KISS at Staples Center; OMID at Gibson Amphitheatre; MR. GNOME, THE DEEP SEA GOES at Alex’s Bar; VAUD & THE VILLAINS at Fais Do-Do; BUTCH WALKER at the Hotel Café; THE INSECT SURFERS, TULSA SKULL SWINGERS at Taix; COW BOP at the Foundry.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26
A.W.O.L. at the Lighthouse Café; THE JOHN CAMPBELL TRIO at Spazio; MARIO, PRETTY RICKY, MISHON at House of Blues (Anaheim).
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