Friday, October 12
Behold rapper Busdriver, the polysyllabic polymath who is truly, beautifully and persistently on his own thing, including collabs with DIY experimental punk bands and the routine dispensation of Can references. He first blinded minds with a wordcram MC style closer to a fingertap guitar solo than what conventional science might consider rap, but in the decade or so since those first releases, he discovered a space all his own in between hip-hop, pop, electronica and experimental music of the most enthusiastic kind. Recent album Beaus$Eros and companion EP Arguments With Dreams (with guest spots from Nocando and Open Mike Eagle, also playing this show) put new satellites in the Busdriver sky -- all the better to beam down his messages to this, his possibly adopted home planet. --Chris Ziegler
This trio's eponymous 2009 debut, released when its members were just teenagers, triggered a buzz almost religious in its fervor. Follow-up album Coexist, released last month, continues where its predecessor left off both musically (harplike guitars; lonesome boy/girl vocals; bulbous chill-out grooves) and in critical response ("Intravenous and heavenly," gushed Drowned in Sound). Exquisite in execution and efficient of expression, these Brits squander neither a note nor a percussive event, embracing traditional structures and arrangements only when they speak to the song. Any writing template is camouflaged beneath the timbres of Romy Madley Croft (breathy; wounded; gently soulful) and Oliver Sim (lightly grained; conversationally sexy), and in-band producer Jamie Smith's artful training of club-born beats into messages more of the morning after than the night before. Also Saturday at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. --Paul Rogers
Saturday, October 13
When a slyly witty songwriter like Aimee Mann calls her new album Charmer, you can assume that at least a little bit of sarcasm lies just beneath the ostensibly sunny title. (Her previous album, after all, was cheerfully named @#%&*! Smilers.) "When you're a charmer, the world applauds," Mann confesses amid the deceptively perky New Wave keyboards of the title track. "They don't know that secretly charmers feel like they're frauds." Fraud or not, the former 'Til Tuesday singer has delivered an album that is indeed charming. She exchanges lovelorn advice with The Shins' James Mercer on the power-pop gem "Living a Lie," finds herself living in a "Crazytown" and even takes the time to laugh at her old image in footage for "Labrador," which parodies the video of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 hit, "Voices Carry." As usual, what brings it all home so effectively is Mann's melodic and distinctively rueful vocals. --Falling James
John Daversa Small Band
Trumpet wiz John Daversa has been fronting his big band around SoCal for more than a decade, playing some of the most original and challenging arrangements anywhere. Over the last several years Daversa also has developed a small ensemble, allowing him more freedom to stretch, especially on the rarely heard EVI, a combination trumpet/synthesizer. Daversa has released his first CD with the small band, Artful Joy, which also showcases Robby Marshall (sax), Jerry Watts Jr. (bass), Gene Coye (drums) and more. Tommy King will be handling keyboards this weekend, along with guests Renee Olstead and Katisse Buckingham. Expect a lively crowd, and even livelier music as Daversa trots out tunes like "Some Happy Shit." Also Sunday. --Tom Meek
Sunday, October 14
The Smashing Pumpkins are a rock band, make no mistake. Billy Corgan may write rich, artful music, but his songs have rock & roll heart. And that's true even in the Pumpkins' latest lineup, which features Corgan along with new members on bass, drums and guitar. Their album Oceania is true to the Pumpkins' classic sound, which isn't surprising considering Corgan was long recognized as the band's songwriter -- it's full of great tracks with no cutting-room-floor filler. The Smashing Pumpkins' live shows have always been driven by powerful sound rather than relying on things like pyrotechnics and lighting trickery. Sometimes there's flash and madness onstage; other times it's just musicians playing good music. From beginning to end, the show is never short of extraordinary. --Diamond Bodine-Fischer
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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