The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Week
La Santa Cecilia -- see Thursday
Monday, August 20
Formed by former The Locust and Cattle Decapitation drummer Dave Astor, these San Diegans spew sickeningly coagulated death metal, sandwiching churning, almost Wagnerian guitars between nail-gun kick drums and Jonathan Huber's bowel-flushing, wounded-bison gurgle. Bouncing back from a spectacular 2010 tour van wreck (albeit sans original vocalist Matti Way), Pathology's near-death experience only seems to have brought them, well, nearer to death. Last year's Awaken to the Suffering was just as vehemently gore-drenched as their three prior albums, and teasers from follow-up The Time of Great Purification, due next month, suggest the suede-headed Huber will once again inject a fresh sense of decay into this already utterly putrid act. --Paul Rogers
Tuesday, August 21
Along with Lianne La Havas and The Tallest Man on Earth, this Minneapolis outfit belongs to the expanding constellation of acts who have benefited from the imprimatur of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon: After his Best New Artist win at the Grammys earlier this year, dude told Rolling Stone Poliça are the best band he's ever heard. That praise might have something to do with the fact that Vernon's pal Ryan Olson (with whom he's collaborated in Gayngs) oversaw Give Up the Ghost, Poliça's 2012 debut. But you can hear a bit of what Vernon does in smeared psych-soul cuts like the horn-enriched "Dark Star" and "Lay Your Cards Out," which kind of sounds like Sade's "By Your Side" as reimagined by, well, Bon Iver. With Chicago's dreamy Supreme Cuts. --Mikael Wood
Wednesday, August 22
When Liz Pappademas moved to L.A. a few years ago after a stint in Austin in the band Hurts to Purr, the San Francisco native reinvented herself as a singer-songwriter in the Fiona Apple mold, hammering her piano decisively and crafting pop tunes with unusually knotty and poetic lyrics on her solo album, 11 Songs. A few years later, the restless performer reinvented herself yet again, rounding up a full band called The Level to back her up on the ambitious 2010 song cycle Television City. Set against the backdrop of a fictional 1970s game show, she charts the course of two lovers whose intertwined heartbreak and loss mirror the action of the TV program. Most rock operas tend to be clumsy and pretentious, but Pappademas artfully brings her characters to life with real wit and inventiveness. --Falling James
Thursday, August 23
Like a dreadful virus bursting out of remission, this long-overdue return from Long Beach garage scum Satan's Cheerleaders is guaranteed to induce chills, fever and mass hysteria. Not to be confused with inferior, same-named units out of Austin and Australia, this gaggle of malefactors first crawled onto local bandstands in the mid-'80s and distinguished themselves as some of the most outrageously delinquent rock & rollers this side of the South Bay Surfers. These are really weird weirdos (who else would cover Red Krayola?), and founder Jeff Satan -- now transformed into Jane Satan -- deftly exploits a filthy, screamy, visionary cultural wherewithal. Exemplified by such grimy classics as "Black Dahlia" and "Genocide Utopia," the latter an epochal 45 rpm hairball with Vampira handling vocals, Satan's Cheerleaders ably represent the most glorious lows to which rock & roll can -- and should -- stoop. --Jonny Whiteside
La Santa Cecilia
Named after the patron saint of music, and born 'n' bred right here in L.A., La Santa Cecilia is a blessedly unclichéd mixed bag of Mexican and South American rhythms like cumbia, bossa nova, bolero and tango, along with tasty Afro-Cuban percussion and jazzy rock. Which all sounds nice, of course, but what elevates the music is the way they put it together. Fronted by singer Marisol Hernandez, aka La Marisoul, who couples a seriously thrilling, satisfyingly husky alto with sensual sass and rock attitude, the Grammy-nominated band lays out the beats and pours the melodies with a smartly spare sensibility. The noirish twang comes courtesy of guitarist Gloria Estrada -- and when Hernandez rips on boleros like the sultry "El Valor," you will bawl like a baby. This event is free, but there are no reservations; the limited seating is first-come, first-served. --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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