The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Week
Shawn BrackbillDum Dum Girls -- See Tuesday
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Monday, January 27
Ernest Greene, better known as Washed Out, introduced himself in 2009 with the single "Feel It All Around." A quiet pioneer in the chill-wave movement, Washed Out steadily gained popularity from there, with that song being chosen as the theme for the IFC series Portlandia in 2010. But such downtempo soundscapes have since been abandoned with his most recent LP, August's Paracosm. Greene cites the rural surroundings of his home in Georgia as a major influence, offering an organic, pastoral vibe in his recent works. The complex arrangements of tracks like "Weightless" and "Don't Give Up" retain the signature hazy melodies and vocal sounds with a light psychedelic fantasy to round them out. Greene has humbly admitted to liking Katy Perry and Drake as well as enjoying long gazes out his large office window. Local L.A. duo Kisses will open with their own swooning synths. - Britt Witt
Tuesday, January 28
Dum Dum Girls
Dum Dum Girls is really Dee Dee Penny, although the former one-woman band has expanded with backing from a full group of musicians since starting out solo in her L.A. bedroom five years ago. Now based in New York City, Penny has seemingly evolved just as much as Dum Dum Girls have. In the beginning, Dum Dum Girls' songs were draped in thick layers of echo and reverb, like the music of her heroes, The Jesus & Mary Chain. More recently, however, Penny has moved away from the rust-laden, minimalist starkness of her early style into a more expansively lush pop sound on Dum Dum Girls' upcoming album, Too True. As usual, the latest CD was produced by Richard Gottehrer (Blondie) and Sune Rose Wagner (Raveonettes), but Penny's symphony of sighs on fuzzy opuses like "Lost Boys and Girls Club" simultaneously evokes the shadowy clangor of her past while opening up the sonic spectrum for her serenely sunny future. - Falling James
See also: Dum Dum Girls Have Left the Building
Wednesday, January 29
Take two Swedish electronic music producers and pair them with an American singer-songwriter and you get Grizfolk, whose sound evokes dreamy notions of the epic West that sound like they're coming from both the past and the future. Hailing from such varied backgrounds, the members of Grizfolk have formed a unique and rightly groovy sound of danceable beats that still manage to emote lyrically vivid stories. Singer-guitarist Adam Roth fronts the band, belting out his earnest vocals over the melodies. The sound becomes fully structured with the addition of a live drummer. Check their single "The Struggle" for evidence, or just come see for yourself tonight at the Troub. - Tony DuShane
Some musicians burst rudely into collective awareness, flashing prodigious ability, youthful vigor, unbridled enthusiasm and leaving everyone astonished. How does one continue to stay afloat after such an initial splash? In alto saxophonist David Binney's case, he just keeps getting better. His 2011 masterpiece, Graylen Epicenter, would be the ultimate magnum opus to cap a career, but Binney continues to push into uncharted waters of excellence, no easy feat when many consider him one of the best alto players alive. His latest effort, Lifted Land, manages to maintain the freshness of an impromptu blowing session while exploring complex musical and emotional concepts, an intimate portrait of a master at the height of his powers. Especially powerful is his tune "The Blue Whale," a fitting title, considering its namesake is the venue where he's playing this evening. - Gary Fukushima
Thursday, January 30
If Kinky aren't nearly as freaky and sexy as one might expect a group with that name to be, they nonetheless remain one of the major bands in Latin rock. The quintet hails from Monterrey, and while many Mexican groups are content to imitate old ska, punk or metal combos, Kinky plug in with highly danceable electronic pop, especially after moving back in a more techno direction following the release of their 2003 alt-rock crossover attempt, Atlas. Kinky are at their best when they combine the rubbery beats of a catchy track like "A Dónde Van los Muertos?" with traditional accordion and airy vocals. - Falling James
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