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Monday, August 26
Musician, actress, writer, artist, designer -- love her or hate her, she is Courtney Love. Nothing can stop the 49-year-old icon from partying, guitar shredding and unconventional candidness. Once deemed the most controversial woman in the history of rock by Rolling Stone, Love has ditched the trainwreck, drugged-out persona of old for more innocent chain-smoking and endearing (if still somewhat messy) media appearances. The former Hole frontwoman has gone solo again, but with no plans to perform any new material quite yet. Instead, Love skipped the urgency of a new album in anticipation for the release of her memoir, tentatively titled Died Blonde and out in December. The outspoken '90s grunge queen stands by her confrontational lyrics and maintains a stage presence that is unpredictable and bewitching. --Britt Witt
Even in a freshly pressed suit and tie, Virginia-born country singer Mike Stinson seems perpetually disheveled, a weird reflection of a spirit that, whether due to failed romance or tavern overindulgence (usually both), is always alcohol-tousled and adversity-tossed. His is the classic hard-country pathology and very few exhibit as penetrating and critical a knack for self-examination as Stinson. Artful, genuine and loaded with hangdog appeal, the one-time bard of North Hollywood returns from his adopted Houston home for a long overdue visit, toting a new disc, Hell and Half of Georgia. While it comes up a bit short on ballads and new material, any Stinson release rates as a powerful antidote to the scalding digital hell where country music fans are expected to suffer. (Also Fri., Aug. 23, at the Echo and Sat., Aug. 24, at Pappy & Harriet's.) --Jonny Whiteside
Tuesday, August 27
Alt-J's grasp on the 2012 U.K. Mercury Prize started with a shared stint at Leeds University seven years ago. There, one English major and three art majors began their trajectory toward the ambitious and art-riddled An Awesome Wave and their perplexingly modern band name. (The lyrical references to the Greek letter delta become clear when you press Alt + J on a Mac.) Since then, things have sped up for the quirky band, whose first tour stop in L.A. included fines for peeing from a Beverly Hills hotel balcony. While some American audiences with no access to a radio might still be warming up to the group, richly textured songs like "Tesselate" and "Breezeblocks" prove the difficulty of labeling Alt-J's off-kilter dynamism while cementing the band's well-deserved moment in the spotlight. Don't be afraid to let the former students school you: See if you can catch lyrical references to subjects including Where the Wild Things Are, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Leon: The Professional when the band plays live. --Kelsey Whipple
Wednesday, August 28
Stones Throw Soul Tour
JEWELS CATCH ONE
Back in the 1960s, labels like Motown would pack all their heaviest hitters into a bus and send them out in search of fans, fame and further glory. This summer, L.A. label Stones Throw has put together an all-star revue of its own. Although Stones Throw built its empire on hip-hop legends like J Dilla and Madlib, the label has always been a home for artists with diverse record collections and deep connections to their roots. The Soul Tour hits the highlights of the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s with a first-time-performing-together lineup including boogie funk virtuoso Dam-Funk, crooners Myron and E, the Shuggie Otis-meets-Funkadelic-style Stepkids and label founder Peanut Butter Wolf. (He'll be sharing DJ duties at this show only with breakout neo-soul polymath Mayer Hawthorne.) It'll be one of those rare nights when old school and new school are suddenly revealed as the same thing. --Chris Ziegler
See also: Stones Throw Records Turns 15
Wayne Shorter 80th Birthday Celebration
Like The Rolling Stones, Wayne Shorter is getting into advanced age and still selling out concerts worldwide. He's roughly 10 years older than Mick and crew, however, and playing jazz. The attention the saxophonist receives is justified, as Shorter is unequivocally our greatest living jazz composer. From Blakey to Miles to Weather Report, every band he was in defined the zeitgeist and destiny of jazz. Even his current band is now an institution, with Shorter, drummer Brian Blade, pianist Danilo Perez and bassist John Patitucci having played together for a dozen years now. Their latest album, Without a Net, demonstrates the rarity of a legendary master presently charting a path to the future. Tonight, Shorter gets birthday-week greetings from his quintessential friend Herbie Hancock, fellow jazz icons trumpeter Dave Douglas and saxophonist Joe Lovano, and Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding leading an all-star, all-female trio. --Gary Fukushima
Brooklyn quintet Lucius have elements of folk and Americana in their stripped-down presentation, but there's nothing overtly retro in their playful pop songs. Maybe it's the delirious and divine harmonies of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig that set Lucius apart, their voices chasing each other merrily around the corners of the simple yet catchy song structures set up by guitarists Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri and drummer Dan Molad. A track like "Hey, Doreen," from Lucius' upcoming album, Wildewoman, wraps Wolfe's and Laessig's coy vocals within a cocoon of fuzzy guitars, funked-out soul and candied new-wave keyboards -- a delicious treat whether you break it down into its individual ingredients or gobble it up whole in one mad gulp. --Falling James
Thursday, August 29
As a wise man once said, "I have excellent news for the world -- there is no such thing as new wave." Well, except for new wave science fiction, where writers like Brunner and LeGuin and Dick dissolved the genre and reconstituted it from primordial soup. That's the kind of new wave I think of when I think of Yacht. With Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans as drivers, Yacht has turned into some kind of 8-bit retro-future post-almost-everything dance outfit -- further adjectives available if you want them, trust me -- that is less a musical group than a way of making sense of modern life. And it's perfect that Evans is now the editor of the rebooted Omni magazine, where science and fiction and measured philosophical curiosity meet in a particularly Yacht-ly fashion. Put it this way: They're the dancing person's thinking music. --Chris Ziegler
SANTA MONICA PIER
"Supafunkrock" is what Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews calls his particular thing, an apt description of the Nawlins kid's 'bone-slanging (he sings and plays trumpet, too) takes on the tastier roots of jazz, R&B, funk, soul and rock & roll. Shorty's modernizing all this historical stuff, though, in ways that make traditional jazzers scratch their heads and the younger folks stomp their floppy boots. Produced by Raphael Saadiq and Andrews, Shorty's new Say That to Say This album (out in September on Verve Records) is one very funky stew of tried-and-true styles slathered down with hip-hop, rock and R&B flavors 'n' shades. Funk legends The Meters with Cyril Neville are along for the ride on this LP, too. As a live act, Shorty and his band, Orleans Avenue, are high-energy smokers, to put it mildly. That is to say, it's party time on the Pier. --John Payne
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