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Monday, October 27
Rachael Yamagata continues to sing well-crafted pop songs that are pretty without being sugary, and romantic without lapsing into complete bathos. The Virginia-born singer-songwriter is able to take her own experience and transmute it into music that is both universal and personal. “All those words you said at the ending were pretty revealing,” she sings ruefully about the end of a relationship. “Who knows why two people perfectly aligned should ever have to find themselves apart?” Even in the midst of such heartbreak, Yamagata always retains her poise, confiding her vulnerability with an endearing openness and lyrical grace. She’s recorded a couple EPs in the past few years but hasn’t released a full album since 2008’s Loose Ends, so perhaps she’ll debut some new songs tonight. Also Tuesday, Oct. 28, at the Hotel Cafe, where she’ll perform her 2004 debut album, Happenstance, in its entirety. —Falling James
Tuesday, October 28
The New L.A. Folk Fest Presents: Murder Ballads
Autumn’s annual Murder Ballads night is always an intensely atmospheric gasser, and this fifth edition, touted as “A Tribute to True Crimes of Passion,” guarantees a stimulatingly sinister earful. Featuring contributions from psychedelic Westerners Spindrift, the unhinged psych-pop provocateurs Bloody Death Skull (who’ve been aptly and admirably pigeonholed as “Tin Pan Dali”), shaggy harmony specialists The Zmed Brothers, Blank Tapes’ Pearl Charles and her Pipes Canyon Band, along with a horde of others (Joel Jerome, Z Berg, Skin & Bones, Rachel Fannan, Honey Child and Jenny Luna among them), it’s a formidable round-up of local talent. And with a tall stack of songs fueled by such appetizing motivations as jealousy, rage and revenge, it’s an unparalleled celebration of irresistible impulse and good old-fashioned blood lust — the ideal pre-Halloween mood enabler. —Jonny Whiteside
Wednesday, October 29
Low End Theory with Afrika Bambaataa
This month, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist finished off the Renegades of Rhythm tour, during which they DJ’d Afrika Bambaataa’s records, now archived at Cornell University. To be clear: Those were Bambaataa’s actual, personal records from the late ’70s and ’80s, the exact physical artifacts that helped birth hip-hop. So let’s call that an opening act for this appearance by the man himself. Bambaataa was instrumental in establishing hip-hop, a musician, organizer, theorist and visionary whose music and ideas still reverberate today — particularly at Low End, where genres and generations still align to look for that perfect beat. It will be one of those rare moments where an originator gets to see exactly what strange new things have grown from the seeds he planted so along ago. —Chris Ziegler
Thursday, October 30
The Stone Foxes
San Francisco’s Stone Foxes play swampy, sweaty, bluesy, throwback, bar-band rock & roll with all the intensity of a bunch of guys who just invented the sound last week. Less slick than The Black Keys and less weird than Tom Waits, but channeling some of their same shout-at-the-world intensity, the instrument-swapping six-piece starts a three-week residency at the Bootleg tonight. They’ll no doubt be testing out new tracks, including the aptly named “She Said Riot,” from their current album-in-progress, Twelve Spells, which they’re releasing one track at a time, the first Friday of every month, via SoundCloud. Expect a frenetic live show led by brothers Spence and Shannon Koehler, the latter of whom is prone to launching himself into the audience mid–harmonica solo. —Andy Hermann
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Take Over and Destroy
This Phoenix group’s new album, Vacant Face, is a strong contender for best metal album of 2014. The sextet tweaks the death-n-roll genre hallmarks popularized by Swedish acts such as Entombed and Dismember — groove-laden death metal with a rock & roll swagger — and adds flourishes of psychedelics and goth-rock to embellish their sound. Delightfully creepy organ work from Pete Porter provides remarkable heft and texture to an aura that would already be quite heavy without it. Vocalist Andrew Leemont rises to the task of anchoring the diverse proceedings. His barks and bellows on thrashier tracks will please fans of razor-gargling vocals, but he also shines on moodier tracks, with goth-rock croons similar to Andrew Eldritch of Sisters of Mercy fame. Altogether, the band attains a mix that is equally healthy in terms of both riffs and atmosphere. —Jason Roche
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