The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Weekend
Suzy PolingHunx and His Punx -- See Saturday
Friday, September 14
Fiona Apple, Blake Mills
Before Blake Mills joins Fiona Apple's backup band for the headlining set tonight, he'll open with a set of tunes from his recent album, Break Mirrors. The Venice singer has produced albums by Jesca Hoop and Sara Watkins, and his subtle, nonflashy guitar style has cropped up in music by everyone from Kid Rock and Lucinda Williams to Band of Horses and Dawes. Mills sheds ghostly entrails with his magic guitar on folk-country tunes like "It'll All Work Out," while crooning in an easygoing, conversational voice. Apple returns with a vengeance from a six-year sabbatical from the spotlight with her romantically tempestuous new album, The Idler Wheel..., revealing bittersweet lyrical wit and inventive arrangements, which range from the junkyard soul clatter of "Anything We Want" to the surreally psychedelic pop of "Every Single Night" to the breathy vocal fusillades of the mesmerizing tongue-twister "Hot Knife." If there was one drawback at Apple's otherwise triumphant show at the Palladium in July, it's that she did relatively few songs from the new CD. --Falling James
When local punkers FIDLAR said, "Life's a risk" -- that's the L-A-R part, and the F-I-D stands for "Fuck it, dogg," dontcha know -- they weren't kidding, and if you ever got sucked into a circle pit at one of their shows, you'll know exactly what they meant. But FIDLAR know that life's a laugh riot, too. Animated as much by the spirit of The Dickies as The Dead Boys, or as much F.Y.P as Fear, this fast-rising foursome proudly stands in the California punk tradition of both not giving a fuck and encouraging the vigorous not-giving-of-fucks in others, too. "I drink cheap beer -- so what? Fuck you!" is the lyric of what's probably gonna be their big hit, or at least their big contribution to the world of parents wondering why their kids can't listen to something nice for once. They open for The Hives. --Chris Ziegler
Saturday, September 15
Hunx & His Punx, Shannon & the Clams
For some reason, garage rock never really goes out of style. Every generation has its own twist on the eternal combination of fuzzed-out guitars and bratty/insolent vocals, and Hunx & His Punx are as twisted as they come. Mr. Hunx, né Seth Bogart, first came to attention as the goofball dancing and camping it up onstage with the lo-fi Bay Area electro band Gravy Train. Dressed in little more than a jock strap, Hunx is hardly a shy wallflower now that he fronts his own group. His latest album is called Hairdresser Blues (a nod to the real-life hair salon he operates with The Bobbyteens' Tina Lucchesi), and the songs range from the exuberantly punky "Private Room" to the relatively restrained throbbing Velvet Underground pop of "When You're Gone." His frequent partner in crime, Shannon Shaw, fronts the similarly groovy combo Shannon & the Clams and coos charmingly trashy girl-group anthems like "Sleep Talk." --Falling James
Rarely does a band's name so aptly fit its sound. On its debut, Pacific Standard Time, Los Angeles' chlorinated duo Poolside creates lazy dance rhythms that sound miles away from dark nightclubs. Percolating in the midtempo region, the album's paced movements fit the mellowed-out, grown-up groove merchant. Head bobs are unavoidable as Poolside glide through the '70s-inspired shuffles of "Slow Down," then throw some spice into the Latin-flavored "Kiss You Forever." Explosions in the Sky-style guitars find their way onto "Off My Mind," bringing a dusty, eye-squinting vibe to the sounds of waves crashing in the background. Rather than restricting themselves to the summer months, with PST, Poolside transfer the smoldering balminess of the season to the rest of the year. --Lily Moayeri
Sunday, September 16
L.A. has its own musician-moonlighting-as-a-Ph.D. in punk band Bad Religion's Dr. Greg Graffin, but across the pond, the honor of stage-smashing scholar probably should go to dubstepper Kode9 -- sorry, Dr. Kode9 -- for both giving the world the gonna-be-historic Hyperdub label and for his recent book, Sonic Warfare, published by the MIT Press as an examination of the "politics of frequency." Sound like something Slavoj Žižek might be working on? Because Kode9 songs are less like sonic warfare and more like the flames flickering in the ruins afterward -- all sizzling synthesizer and big, split-open beats, and plenty of space and echo for that real, last-man-on-Earth feeling. This is smart, affecting stuff, as befits a doctor of philosophy, and it makes the perfect soundtrack for a world where the cracks are starting to show. --Chris Ziegler
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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