The Best Concerts to See in Los Angeles This Week

Youngblood Hawke -- See Wednesday
Youngblood Hawke -- See Wednesday
Universal Republic

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

Monday, May 20

Holy Ghost!


It's been two years since the release of Holy Ghost!'s eponymous debut. Often hailed as LCD Soundsystem's heirs, the NYC-based duo's sound falls somewhere between Phoenix's precocious little brothers and MGMT's mischievous second cousins -- if those bands put out records in 1984. Keeping this reference year in mind, Holy Ghost! hosts the Doobie Brothers' Michael McDonald's distinct vocals on the R&B-toned, Shannon-style track "Some Children." Staying with the falsetto theme, The Rapture's Luke Jenner guests on "It's Not Over." As sometime yacht rockers, Holy Ghost! have lighthearted synth patterns trickling under "Wait and See" and melodies so happy on "Static on the Wire" that you can hear a smile in the perfectly harmonized choruses. Ultimately, Holy Ghost! make danceable pop music acceptable for hipsters. --Lily Moayeri

Black Pus, Foot Village


Human octopus Brian Chippendale, aka Black Pus, is the drummer of noise-rock top dogs Lightning Bolt and Mindflayer, and he's collaborated with the likes of Björk, The Flaming Lips and even Lee "Scratch" Perry. On his solo record All My Relations, just out on Thrill Jockey, Chippendale busts loose 'n' breakneck on drums, drums, more drums and drum-mounted oscillators that create mammoth bass tones fed through an array of FX pedals. There's lots of yelling, too, and taken altogether it's a physically overwhelming experience -- psychically, too, as the way the whole thing keeps morphing and expanding messes so deeply with what you thought you wanted or needed to hear outta "pop" music. Also: a beautiful din from four-drummer/two-howler outfit Foot Village. --John Payne

Tuesday, May 21

The Presets


Arguably the archetypal New Millennium electronic-music act, The Presets are a pair of rather nondescript, classically trained musicians/producers who capture the nocturnal mood of 1980s, New Order-ish synth pop using distinctly house- and trance-era tools. Last year's tricky third album, Pacifica, is a concept-y affair -- something to do with a post-apocalyptic, love-soaked land, the "Pacifica" of the title. The album finds these Aussies definitely still dancing but a little more darkly, with bleak blips 'n' beats and ominous, almost subliminal swells lurking among its more ecstatic, squelchy sounds and Julian Hamilton's sometimes wistfully nostalgic lyrics. Formed in 2003, The Presets are relative veterans of their genre and these days seem to be artily exploring the concept of the morning after as much as losing themselves the night before. Also Thursday, May 23. --Paul Rogers

Laura Marling


At 16, Laura Marling moved from her Southeast England home to London to join the nu-folk movement. Now 23, the young English folk star sings like she's had a lifetime of experience. Quiet and guarded, Marling doesn't actually fancy bringing up her age but seems comfortable with the woman she is becoming. Her most recent single, "Master Hunter," is bluesy and dark, featuring her signature Spanish guitar as well as themes of being not so in love with love, singing "You want a woman who will call your name? It ain't me, babe." But her fourth LP, Once I Was an Eagle, isn't all about being closed off; Marling is simply pursuing happiness. Her lyrical depth and graceful voice are reminiscent of Colin Hay, influenced by Neil Young and may someday land her a spot on the list of classic folk stars alongside the likes of Joni Mitchell and Marianne Faithfull. --Britt Witt

The Black Angels


The Black Angels bring a different musical inspiration into focus on each album. For their latest, Indigo Meadow, that would primarily be The Doors, as "Always Maybe" with its shuddering keys and poetic strain and the crazed organs of "I Hear Colors (Chromaesthesia)" sound like The Black Angels have uncovered some lost Morrison tapes. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Spiritualized are heard in the static drones of "Evil Things" and "Twisted Light." Perversely, "You're Mine" sounds like BRMC filtered through a Laugh-In interlude, particularly on the chorus, where one is taken over by the urge to do the Swim. The squalls of "Love You Forever" and the rough grinds of "War on Holiday" confirm that, more than anything, the Black Angels are a psychedelic garage-rock band. All hail. --Lily Moayeri


Wednesday, May 22

Raw Geronimo


Let's check in on Laena Geronimo, so named probably because she wouldn't be scared for even a second if she had to parachute from an airplane 8 miles up. It's that kind of free-fall fearlessness she brings to Raw Geronimo, the L.A. band that makes loop-the-loop punk-pop songs bristling with hooks and finely honed dark humor. Geronimo is one of those omnivorous iconoclasts who makes every song a statement of identity, and her most revered forefathers would include Kate Bush, the Mael brothers and under-the-radar California agit-art bands like The Eyes, The Nuns and the mighty Suburban Lawns. A pair of singles on L.A.'s Neurotic Yell still stand proudly as prelude to the 21st-century Kimono My House she's destined to one day make. --Chris Ziegler

Youngblood Hawke


Youngblood Hawke has one of those inspiring stories about how we all gotta take some knocks on our way to the top, keep our chins up while we're getting there and maintain the faith that it's all gonna happen, and soon. That A for Attitude aids and abets the L.A. quintet's campaign for world dominance via their debut, Wake Up, a genre-pastiching blast of pop-rock-indie-dance-hip-hop so utterly anthem-loaded that it just plain screams "arena!" Point is, everything about this band sounds and looks predestined, including their performance of the album's ace single, "We Come Running," on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and you needn't be a drag by standing in their way. More power to 'em; they work hard for the money. --John Payne

See also: Youngblood Hawke Come Running

Thursday, May 23

Farmer Dave's Birthday Dance Party


Since it's the dude's birthday, let's use this spot to send Beachwood Sparks' Farmer Dave Scher some well wishes, and maybe some well whiskey, too. Besides his regular gig as sideman to the stars, Ol' F.D. is pretty much the animating spirit and wise --or was that wise-crackin'?-- elder of a certain beautiful part of L.A. music. His sonic ethos is the link between the kind of laid-back, low-key, heartfelt, cosmic Californiana that runs from the Venice Beach beatniks to The Byrds and The Burrito Brothers to Dennis Wilson (and Dennis Hopper!) all the way to the with-it soul surfers of 2013. (Allah-Las, will you be stopping by this little shindig?) His Club Pacific gig at the Del Monte is more a home away from home than a night out, and a celebration like this will be spilling good vibes out into the street. --Chris Ziegler



In a shrill, flaccid world of candy-ass rock & roll wannabes, venerable Nordic sensations Turbonegro have always stood apart. With an abusively frantic drive, dirty, desperate tone and absurdly negligent lyrical content, the band has long since established itself as a legitimate pox in the steaming arena of reckless underworld shit-stirrers. Despite the fact that original howler Hank von Helvete jumped ship (under a cloud of Scientology, no less) in 2010, Turbonegro's self-propelled phenom status precludes nitpicking -- the sheer sonic scale of these taboo-shattering death-punk-trash-thrashmasters is so dizzyingly perfected and downright intoxicating that complete submission is the only possible response. Also at the El Rey on Saturday, May 25. --Jonny Whiteside

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

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