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

Lorde -- See Tuesday
Lorde -- See Tuesday
Lorde Press Photo

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

Monday, September 23

Little Boots

TROUBADOUR

With her sophomore LP, Nocturnes, Brit electro-popper Little Boots (Victoria Hesketh to 'er mates) has yet to recapture the critical acclaim for and commercial success of her 2009 debut, Hands. No bother. Much of LB's charm lies in unpretentiously memorable melodies and straightforward song structures, fleshed out with lighthearted New Wave-y synths and more up-to-the-minute squelchy 'n' throbby low-end lurkings. On Nocturnes, she strips back the production in keeping with these uncluttered sensibilities. The results are a slightly later-night, less sonically saturated take on recent Tegan and Sara territory -- only with, like, a funny accent. --Paul Rogers

Jimmy Angel

VIVA CANTINA

Rock & roll shouter Jimmy Angel is an unforgettable figure. With piercing eyes of icy blue, hair a thick shock of store-bought, jet-black synthetic and a quivering bandstand stance much akin to the kinetic strut of James 'Soul Brother No. 1" Brown, the 78-year-old Angel burns with a high-voltage dynamism that is downright otherworldly. Personally groomed as a 1960s teen idol by mafia don Joe Colombo (a great arrangement until Colombo was gunned down, during a live televised event, in 1971), Angel's weird heritage and unlimited talent always combine with electrifying effect. His tenor pipes are yet striking and powerful, and his songwriting still tumbles forth with a rich, natural grasp on the rock & roll lexicon. Yes, he is an old-school big beat freak, and yes, he is slightly mad, and yes, it is a beauteous thing to behold. --Jonny Whiteside

Tuesday, September 24

Lorde

FONDA THEATRE

Exactly one week before she turns 17 on Nov. 7, Ella Yelich-O'Connor, better known by her stage name Lorde, will release Pure Heroine. This debut full-length album has been so rabidly frothed over that the usual "highly anticipated" tag seems almost insulting. But behind the hype and those dark waves of curls is a hard-working, forward-thinking old soul who just happened to start writing music at age 12 and get discovered at her school talent show a year later. With her EP, The Love Club, and its inescapable radio hit, "Royals," Lorde's soulful, brassy vocals and insightful lyrics enlarged the spotlight targeting her in her native New Zealand to include writeups and record deals around the world. And yet the teenager, who released the EP for free so that young listeners like her could get it without a credit card, is still far removed from the "Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece" lifestyle she sings about. How refreshing. --Kelsey Whipple

Joan of Arc

THE SATELLITE

Testimonium Songs, the new album by Chicago indie-rock veterans Joan of Arc, was written to accompany an experimental theater company's interpretation of the works of Objectivist poet Charles Reznikoff. Sound obscure? It is! The LP finds Joan of Arc's ever-aspiring main man Tim Kinsella and mates slamming a half-composed/half-spontaneous web of songs both keenly mellifluous and bracingly angular. (In the original performance, the music accompanies modern dance, theater and poetry based on courtroom transcripts of testimony in late-19th century U.S. court cases.) It is indeed boundary-pushing stuff that tonight is made heavier still by guest polyrhythmatist John Herndon, of the band Tortoise. --John Payne

Wednesday, September 25

Susanne Sundfør, Body Parts

BOOTLEG THEATER

"Apocalypse, death, love and snow" is how Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør terms the core concerns of her chillingly evocative pop, a blue-hued, electronicized art that conjures clichés about snow-covered peaks and lonely treks along the fjords. The small pleasures Sundfør finds in this ice world are all told by her crystalline voice, which is engaging as it is chilling. But of course. Altogether it is a beautifully haunting sound that earned Sundfør's acclaimed album, The Silicon Veil, No. 1 status on the Norwegian charts in 2012. Openers Body Parts are an L.A.-based experimental pop set whose October debut release, Fire Dream, offers an adroitly textured blend of electro-dance kick and dramatic pop balladry. Sundfør also performs at Bardot on Sept. 23. --John Payne

Thursday, September 26

Gary Clark Jr.

WILTERN

Gary Clark Jr. is more than just another guitar hero. Sure, he can play fast, but the Austin guitarist is more about the feeling -- unfurling fat, heavy notes full of worldly, lived-in, real-deal blues. And unlike so many modern blues technicians, Clark cranks it up loud and distorted, eschewing polite precision for a harder, thicker attack that's far more anarchic and unpredictably exciting. He sometimes sounds like Jimi Hendrix, but the Voodoo Chile never sang with this much supple soul. Despite his cool vocal aplomb, Clark still draws more attention for his stinging, insistent guitar solos. It's not hard to see why. Out of all the musicians and celebs that sat in with The Rolling Stones on their recent tour, Clark was the only one invited back more than twice. --Falling James

Hanson

HOUSE OF BLUES

Grammy-nominated trio Hanson received international acclaim in the late '90s with their uber-catchy brand of bubble-gum rock/soul. Although written off by some critics as pop music gimmickry, the stellar musicianship of the brothers Hanson, as evidenced by the success of 1997 international chart-topper, "Mmmbop," was undeniable. In subsequent years, the guys have harvested a bevy of internationally charting singles and million-selling albums. Now well into adulthood, the gifted Tulsa natives are married with children, and they also make an aptly titled craft beer called Mmmhops. In June, they released their ninth studio effort, Anthem, on 3CG Records, the label founded by the brothers in May. --Jacqueline Michael Whatley

See also: Let's Talk About the Greatness of Hanson

Station to Station feat. Beck, Sun Araw, The Congos, et al.

UNION STATION

This show is part of a ridiculously cool coast-to-coast art event hitting train stations both iconic and isolated. Performers vary at each stopover -- lucky us, here in L.A. we get music by Beck and No Age, art by Kenneth Anger and Raymond Pettibon and, of course, architecture by John and Donald Parkinson with Jan van der Linden, the team behind Union Station. Of special note on this special night is the rare performance by L.A. sound experimentalist Sun Araw (aka Cameron Stallones) and Jamaica's beyond-legendary reggae group The Congos, who teamed up with L.A.'s M. Geddes Gengras for the tremendously rejuvenating Icon Give Thank EP last year. Rarely if ever do collaborations come out this affecting, deep and pure, so seeing all of this live likely will take you up a level in life. --Chris Ziegler

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

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