The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Week
Chrysta Bell -- see Thursday
Monday, July 30
The South rises again in the form of Big K.R.I.T. ("king remember in time"), a marvelously dexterous rapper-producer from Mississippi who insists that it's "Cool 2 Be Southern" on his debut full-length CD, Live From the Underground. He has produced key tracks by Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y and collaborated with the likes of Big Boi, Chamillionaire, Joi and David Banner, but his own music is dizzyingly diverse and hard to pin down to just one style. "I Got This" recalls Big Boi's rapid-fire delivery on OutKast's "Bombs Over Baghdad," but Big K.R.I.T. segues into cool soul grooves like "Porchlight," the slinky R&B of "Hydroplaning" and the kinky funk of "What U Mean," as well as such stranger spells as the contemplative idyll "Rich Dad, Poor Dad." The former Justin Scott also can kick up a ruckus on such songs as "My Sub (Pt. 2: The Jackin')," and he trips the light fantastic on the spacey tune "LFU300MA." He throws a hell of a get-down live, the sort that's guaranteed to rouse even the most blasé city slicker. --Falling James
Like baseball, it's common in modern jazz circles to assume all the best players end up in New York. This pianist from Long Beach helps push back against this Yankee narrative, for he made it somewhere without making it where Sinatra said he needed to go. Being Natalie Cole's personal pianist certainly helps, but so does becoming one of the best jazz pianists in the world, including NYC. With an absurdly effortless virtuosity, matched by his unlimited imagination, Josh Nelson seemingly can conjure up any musical idea and execute it flawlessly with a cherry on top. Part of his monthly "Discovery Sessions" series (which includes interesting spontaneous painting by Claudia Carballada), this show features the brilliant saxophone player Ben Wendel, whom Josh really needs to convince to move back to L.A. --Gary Fukushima
Tuesday, July 31
HOTT MT, Oh Boy Les Mecs
L.A.'s own HOTT MT are right now riding on a benevolent wave made of equal parts mystery and hype. The latter is due to the fact that, after driving to Oklahoma on a whim and landing on the porch of Wayne Coyne (on his birthday, no less), they managed to get the head Flaming Lip to record on one of their fuzz-fueled, synth-psyched songs. The former is, well, because no one knows who the hell these brass-ballin' weirdos are. With names like Ashi Dala, Spooky Tavi and Bad Bahd, the trio cultivates an air of enigma that suits its strangely surfy experimental dance tracks. They call their music "Thai gaze," but the airy, gushing vocals of their female lead (Ashi) seem much farther flung -- from another planet, perhaps? Oh Boy Les Mecs is local, too, peddling a Björk-y mix of electronics and emotion. --Chris Martins
Wednesday, August 1
The disgustingly multitalented composer-songwriter-singer-producer Mike Andrews finds a moment to celebrate the release of his latest solo record, Spilling a Rainbow, coming in August on the essential Everloving label. You've heard Andrews via his imaginative scores for a lot of your fave TV shows and movies, including Freaks and Geeks, Donnie Darko, all those Judd Apatow flicks like The Five Year Engagement and Bridesmaids, and Jake Kasdan's magnificent Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. A sort of concept album themed around the birth of his baby boy, Andrews' new solo release reveals a sweetly mellifluous and choicely harmonized pop -- and a slightly psychedelic one, too, like in "Music for Cell Division," where he scored his wife's ultrasound. Andrews' Wednesday-night residency with ultra-very-special friends runs throughout August; tonight he's joined by singer-songwriter Nik Freitas. --John Payne
Thursday, August 2
If there's one thing the singers who've worked with filmmaker David Lynch have in common, it's that their music comes shrouded in layers of gauzy atmosphere. Such otherwise disparate chanteuses as Julee Cruise and Ariana Delawari find common ground in the way Lynch plunges their languorous ballads into a pool of swirling echoes and wraps them up in a shimmering haze. For more than two decades, Lynch's divas have carved out their own distinct subgenre of dream pop, and Texas native Chrysta Bell is one of his most captivating protégées to date. "This train stops for no one," she warns as a stark and lonely soundscape wells up behind her on the title track of her 2011 album, This Train. But Bell doesn't always keep things so cool, shuffling off her immortal coil to reveal a wounded human heart on "Swing With Me," where she wails with a piercing, persuasively soulful intensity amid Lynch's columns of funereal shadows. --Falling James
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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