The Best Concerts To See in L.A. This Week: Oct. 15-18
Monday, October 15
South Bay punk-pop band Joyce Manor have gone from house parties to festival shows pretty damn quick, but what can you do? They have charisma, hooks, the decorum you need to keep going even when your fans get obsessive, and of course they've got the songs, too. Recent album Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired is the kind of smart, suburban punk you'd be proud to rep with a sticker on the back window of your used hatchback -- a little Descendents, a little less Smiths and a lot of heart and velocity. If you ever heard a little record by Lifetime called Jersey's Best Dancers, you'll get what this is instantly. If not, you'll wanna make sure to commit every lyric to instantly shoutable memory for the very next show. --Chris Ziegler
Tuesday, October 16
Befitting its title, "Anything Could Happen," the new single from Ellie Goulding's upcoming album, Halcyon, practically exudes hope and wonder, as layers of exuberant Kate Bush-style vocals dance over waves of shiny synthesizer and chirpy beats. And yet, underneath all that gloss, the British singer allows that the world is full of darkness and that wars lurk just beyond her lover's embrace. But it takes the relatively harsh declamations of guest rapper Tinie Tempah to contrast Goulding's airy cooing on "Hanging On," giving the song's poppy dreaminess some unexpected and much-needed emotional heft. While Goulding's radio-friendly tunes will likely never be as inventively aggressive as her boyfriend Skrillex's jumbled sonic architecture, she's at her most interesting when she strays from the middle of the road and takes unexpected detours on shadowy side roads. --Falling James
Wednesday, October 17
Low End Theory Six-Year Anniversary
How young we was, right? Back in '06, the Airliner was unexplored territory and people used to say stuff like, "No one cares about hip-hop on the Eastside!" Well, Low End Theory cared about hip-hop and then some. From the very start, it was the spot where every forward-thinking music freak could find something to love, whether dub or homegrown L.A. beatmusic or psych or prog or hip-hop or who knows what else. Basically, it was all about the bass, uniter of all humans since music began. Now, after six years, godfather Daddy Kev and his superteam of residents (Nobody, Gaslamp, Nocando and D-Styles) have made this little Eastside club an international institution -- incubator for such future legends as Flying Lotus and the scene of surprise sets by Thom Yorke and Erykah Badu. It's Low End's birthday, but we get the gift. --Chris Ziegler
Neil Young & Crazy Horse
At first glance, Neil Young's recent Americana album would appear to be his wackiest project yet -- a set of covers of such hoary folk songs as "Clementine," "This Land Is Your Land" and "Oh Susannah," all bludgeoned into rock & roll submission by his long-missing-in-action band Crazy Horse. And yet the experiment actually works, in large part because Young reconnects with his own primal folk roots by finding the eternal verities hidden within these seemingly hokey tunes, utilizing rare arrangements, inventing new melodies and rediscovering lesser-known verses of these overplayed anthems. After ditching Crazy Horse for much of the past decade as he pursued other interests (including a brief reunion of his '60s country-rock combo, Buffalo Springfield), Young appears intent on making up for lost time with yet another new album, Psychedelic Pill, where he and the band break free from the constraints of Americana with rambling opuses like "Driftin' Back," which clocks in at the jukebox-bursting length of 27 minutes. --Falling James
Thursday, October 18
We have proudly proclaimed many times that Neil Hamburger is the Funniest Man in America, and we have received death threats. That's because, while Mr. Hamburger is indeed side-splittingly hilarious, he's not funny. Sure, it's a drag to see this greasy loser slumping onstage tiredly pooping out his stale, sexist, hopeless tropes about this and that and whatever. And, unfortunately, he's got a million of 'em, which he throws at the crowd like his dirty socks, hoping at least one will stick. It's rarely funny. But then something interesting happens. Our howls of derision begin to lose their steamy self-righteousness and become gales of appreciative laughter as we, yes, we begin to identify with this sad sack of shit fighting a losing battle with his life, his highball, his mustache and his wiener. --John Payne
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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