Monday, March 11
English singer Lucy Rose escaped rural Warwickshire and made a name for herself in London after finding success through YouTube videos rather than major-label connections (at least at first). She gained further attention via collaborations with Bombay Bicycle Club, but she's at her most arresting on her 2012 solo album, Like I Used To, where her pure, airy vocals are sweet but not sugary. "Middle of the Bed" and the strangely surreal video for "Bikes" (in which Rose improbably takes on a gang of desert bikers) show that soft pop music can still be intelligent, while the somber ballad "Shiver" needs little more than chimes, a faraway guitar and her languidly drifting vocals to completely enchant. --Falling James
Tuesday, March 12
Israeli-born Oz Noy is one of the East Coast's leading exponents of fusion guitar, mixing elements of rock, jazz, blues and funk. Noy's work is diverse enough to have gained him recording gigs and live dates with the likes of Toni Braxton and Chris Botti, all while developing his own bands. This evening, he begins a two-night run at Catalina in Hollywood with a trio including heavyweights Anthony Jackson (Chaka Khan, Paul Simon, Donald Fagen) on bass and master drummer Dave Weckl (Chick Corea Elektric Band, Madonna, Robert Plant and Mike Stern). Weckl and Jackson have been working together off and on since the 1980s, and their pairing with Noy likely will bring his signature tunes like "Schizophrenic" to their utmost potential. --Tom Meek
Virginia death-thrashers Deceased made their mark in the early '90s by shaping their lyrical aesthetic around zombies, the supernatural and other horror stories. Album titles like Fearless Undead Machines tell you what you need to know about their obsessions. Don't be too scared, though. Deceased doesn't get gory in the way that more extreme bands like Cannibal Corpse are known to. Instead, band leader King Fowley pens odes to the creepy and the crawly that combine the tongue-in-cheek with genuine spookiness, for a sound that amounts to the metal version of an old E.C. Comics book. Vocally, Fowley's rasp has the urgency of a man who has survived these horrors and is always prepared for the next undead obstacle in his path. Plenty of other bands have mined this territory since this group's formation, but Deceased still do it best. --Jason Roche
Wednesday, March 13
"Alternative" is such a nebulous term, but it might still best describe singer, composer and actress Naama Kates. Her just-out King for the Day LP follows up last year's critical fave The Unexamined Life. The sound here is an ever-deeper plunge down a rabbit hole of poetical pop, playing out in moody, brooding and bracingly curious-minded lyrics and slightly skewed musical planes. Kates delivers her disarmingly self-revelatory observations in a blessedly uncontrived vocal style, and her often structurally complex pieces benefit big-time from a new band that includes drummer Rich West, trombone ace Mike Richardson and bassist John Carfi. Whatever "alternative" may or may not denote, Kates' highly accessible brand of pop cabaret ultimately is music of insight, surprise and pure delight. --John Payne
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