The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Week
Free the Robots plays Low End Theory at the Airliner on Wednesday.
Photo by Moe Ryat
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Monday, February 2
“I fear all the things that I can’t control, from the darkest night to the open road,” Mike Post confesses on Young Creatures’ debut album, Fear All the Things. He sings with a sense of wonder in a clear, hopeful voice, as lead guitarist Andrew Gleason surrounds him with a haze of fuzzy solos and ringing chords. The local quartet tend to start their indie-rock songs with simple melodic structures before culminating in surges of heavier psychedelic power and traces of shoegazer mystery. “I am a foreigner in my homeland,” Post declares, but Gleason’s Cure-like guitar jangle keeps the mood ebulliently sunny. Choppy stop-and-start chords break up the mood on tracks such as “Once in Your Life” and “Lionheart,” as Post muses about love in L.A. — Falling James
Tuesday, February 3
Bass Drum of Death
Bass Drum of Death crank out a sound that’s as fearsome as their name, which is even more impressive considering singer John Barrett started as a one-man band. Expanded now to a trio, the Oxford, Mississippi, group begins with a garage-rock foundation, but songs such as “For Blood” are pumped with grungy power chords as Barrett sneers over it all with punky aplomb. “Better Days,” from BDOD’s new album, Rip This, changes things up with acoustic-guitar strumming and woozy violin. The band returns to fuller rock power on “Left for Dead,” with Barrett howling through a filter and bolstered by stadium-rock guitars. “We’re not coming down,” he insists, as the song’s video plays a montage of hot rods, knives, guns and beautiful women in casts and bandages. — Falling James
Wednesday, February 4
Free the Robots
Chris Alfaro — whom you’ll know under his nom de producer, Free the Robots — is one of the most versatile and idiosyncratic beatmakers ever to have passed through the Low End Theory Academy of Instrumental Virtuosity, disassembling and repurposing everything from krautrock to world psychedelia to outré Euro disco and that prime-period Warp Records electronica into his own intricate works of art. (Check the still-vital Ctrl Alt Delete for ample examples.) His most recent release was last summer’s Two Snakes EP, which put increased grease in the beats for three animated-but-sophisticated originals and three more unpredictable remixes. If his work is under the radar, that’s only because it’s so high-tech. He plays Low End Theory tonight with fellow crushers J. Rocc (last spotted cranking out a viciously acidic BBNG remix) and House Shoes. — Chris Ziegler
Feels are at the Smell on Thursday.
Photo by Jeff Fribourg
Thursday, February 5
Blackstreet, Bell Biv Devoe
SAN MANUEL INDIAN BINGO & CASINO
For several years now, New Jack Swing king Teddy Riley has been mired in a legal dispute with his former Blackstreet bandmate Chauncey Black. While Black has held the trademark rights to the name of the ’90s R&B group, Riley has refused to budge, performing with original member Dave Hollister also as Blackstreet — as will be the case tonight. Thankfully, the toughness of “No Diggity” defies legal impediments. And the unity is still strong with Bell Biv DeVoe, the New Edition offshoot famed for their indelible 1990 hit “Poison.” Their hi-top fades may be long gone, but they still make a soulful tag team, doing choreographed dance routines to early ’90s New Jack beats. — Peter Holslin
A mad, mod mash-up of the off-center musical fetishes of Cambodia circa early 1970s, Dengue Fever’s updated take on Khmer rock is a head-spinning, surreal blend of honeyed lounge pop, surfin’/spyin’ sounds, gritty garage grunge and psychedelic rock. Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol’s birdlike warbles (and raps!) combine with wobbly Farfisa organ, slinky, fat Strat and Afrobeat-y sax to bring the Dengue sound remarkably close to the original, Vietnam War–era stuff band founders Ethan and Zac Holtzman exhumed on decomposing cassettes in Phnom Penh back in the day. Out this week: Dengue Fever’s superb new album, The Deepest Lake, on the band’s own Tuk Tuk label. And seek out the fascinating DVD documentary Sleepwalking Through the Mekong, which follows the band to Cambodia in 2005. — John Payne
No Parents, Feels
Laena Geronimo is one of this town’s most intriguing vocalists. One moment, she’s spitting out fiery rants like any bratty punk-rock hellion, and the next moment she’s crooning sumptuously dreamy pop ballads such as “Magnetic Love.” After starting out as the bassist for power-pop hopefuls The Like, she came into her own when she started her own band, Raw Geronimo, in 2011 with guitarist Shannon Lay and drummer Michael Rudes. Curiously, just as Raw Geronimo were starting to gain some momentum last year, she suddenly changed the band’s name to Feels. Now a quartet with additional member Amy Allen, Feels retains the earlier incarnation’s mood swings from punk chaos to pop purity. The contrast should deepen further when they open tonight for absurdist local punks No Parents, who are celebrating the cassette release of May the Thirst Be With You. — Falling James
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