The Best Concerts to See In L.A. This Week

El-P and Killer Mike -- See Thursday
El-P and Killer Mike -- See Thursday

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

Monday, July 29

System of a Down


The Monty Python of heavy metal, System of a Down's irreverent and sometimes downright Dadaist take on its chosen medium achieves an unlikely yet enduring resonance thanks to some ferocious talent in its ranks and the allure of eccentric, unpredictable material. That the lately on-again-off-again foursome haven't released an album since 2005's Hypnotize (and are playing only this single U.S. show this year) doesn't defang their hit-speckled back catalog or rare connection with a famously rabid fan base. Glibly marrying death metal's confrontational riffing to sometimes militaristic, Iron Maiden-y beats and achingly evocative, Near Eastern-influenced vocal harmonizing between guitarist Daron Malakian and sage frontman Serj Tankian, System of a Down's 10-year recording career propelled hard rock so far, so fast, that their sound is yet to even be convincingly mimicked. --Paul Rogers

See also: It's the End of the World as Serj Tankian Knows It, and the System of a Down Frontman Feels Fine

Tuesday, July 30



Beloved indie-rock trailblazers Sebadoh are back, it seems. The long-running (off and on) alterna-trio -- that'd be percussionist Bob D'Amico, bassist-guitarist-singer Jake Loewenstein and Lou Barlow, also on bass, guitar and vocals -- have just released the EP Secret. In fine upstanding "alternative" tradition, they've not gone out of their way to hype it huge, instead modestly posting the five tracks to their Bandcamp page to get the word out. The EP is a highly rocking teaser for the band's even newer full-length album, Defend Yourself, due in September on the Joyful Noise imprimatur. It's Sebadoh's first new LP in 14 years, and it promises a return to the DIY ethos (self-recorded and -produced and all that) of the band's early, classic albums like Bakesale and Sebadoh III. --John Payne

Wednesday, July 31

Dr. John, Blind Boys of Alabama


Music must have previously existed before Louis Armstrong invented practically everything that we listen to today, but it's hard to imagine that it was any good. Satchmo didn't just popularize jazz, swing and pop, he gave them newfound bounce and ebullience with his sunny trumpet playing and craggily warm vocal presence. What a wonderful world it is that he happened along. Now another celebrated son of New Orleans, Dr. John, pays homage with "Props to Pops," a tribute to Armstrong with gospel uplifters The Blind Boys of Alabama, jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cuban rapper Telmary Diaz and such ace trumpeters as Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Arturo Sandoval, Marcus Belgrave and Wendell Brunious. Watch out, it could get funky in here. --Falling James


Thursday, August 1

El-P and Killer Mike


Rapper/sound artist El-P's first group Company Flow did that great Funcrusher Plus album on Rawkus Records back in the day. It was a groundbreaking LP that led to collaborations with a crucial cast of underground hip-hop heads, including Mos Def, Blackalicious, Dilated Peoples and Cannibal Ox. Along with some fantastic nu-genre mixology with jazz avantists Matthew Shipp and William Parker, El-P also founded the essential Definitive Jux label and remains one of the most prolific and stubbornly iconoclastic producer-artists in the game. Tonight he and his buddy MC Killer Mike unwrap the goods from Run the Jewels, their new LP that's got mad old-school style and features guest raps from Big Boi, Prince Paul and other biggies. --John Payne

Tatiana Parra and Vardan Ovsepian


Pianist Vardan Ovsepian has a knack for collaborating with talented international vocalists, from Portugal's Sara Serpa to Korea's Joon Lee. Add to this list Tatiana Parra, a rising star in Brazil on account of her sweet, expressive voice, impeccable pitch and seemingly unlimited range. Her recent album, Aqui, features duets with Argentine pianist Andrés Beeuwsaert and is a tour de force of artistry and technical ability. Few pianists can play complicated melodies with as much dexterity as Parra, but she has found a worthy counterpart in Ovsepian, a musician whose contrapuntal brilliance will complement her on their upcoming album. Parra manages to sing these difficult passages with an easy grace and with just enough ambition to reveal her São Paulo city roots, as opposed to those laid-back beach partiers of Rio de Janeiro. --Gary Fukushima

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

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