The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Weekend
Friday, July 20
Approaching their 25th anniversary next year, these Buffalo, N.Y., death-metal godfathers still seem able to raise eyebrows (and blood pressure) with charming song titles like "Meat Hook Sodomy" and album artwork deemed too disgusting to be even displayed in certain countries. But an emotionally stunted gore obsession alone won't sell millions of albums worldwide (despite almost zero mainstream airplay), so give some credit to Cannibal Corpse's unwavering musical vision: a demented yet super-disciplined blur of speed-freak beats and angry guitars topped with the disturbed gurglings of some bloke called "Corpsegrinder." They'll likely never fill American stadiums but, judging by their recently released 12th studio album (Torture), CC's real achievement has been a career-long middle finger to compromise -- and how many veteran bands can truly claim that? --Paul Rogers
The Zeros, The Muffs
It's going to be a "Wild Weekend" once The Zeros get going tonight. The Chula Vista quartet, who were still teenagers when they formed in 1976, were never as manically poetic as The Germs or as relentlessly political as The Clash. Instead, the Zeros played a fun, high-spirited version of punk rock that drew heavily from Johnny Thunders, topped with power-pop hooks on such anthems as "Wimp" and "They Say That (Everything's Alright)." Guitarist Robert Lopez later went on to greater infamy as El Vez, but The Zeros have never lost any of their swagger during their occasional reunions and on underrated comeback albums like 1992's Right Now. The Muffs, who do a memorably intense cover of The Zeros' "Beat Your Heart Out," are another punk-inspired pop band who match Ramones-style riffs with lovelorn and insatiably catchy, fuzzed-out melodies. --Falling James
Saturday, July 21
Luxembourg artist Jerome Reuter founded the avant-garde folk project Rome in 2005. Despite the somewhat recent formation, Rome have put out a sizable catalog, the latest being 2011's Die Æsthetik der Herrschaftsfreiheit. This Saturday, Bar Sinister hosts an intimate Rome performance, and fans are already starting to arrive from all across North America for it. Some critics have a hard time classifying Rome's music, dubbing it apocalyptic folk, industrial-folk, martial industrial, cold wave and an assortment of other obscure, hyphenated subgenres. On more than one occasion Rome's music has been described as "challenging" to listen to. But, like a perfectly blended cabernet that is rife with sediment, the same complexities that make it challenging also make it great. The beauty of Rome's work comes from the many fluid layers, unfolding throughout the musical experience. --Diamond Bodine-Fischer
For more than two decades, the U.K.'s DJ Hype has been representing the machine-gun blasts of quality drum 'n' bass. Whether it is via his True Playaz record label, his radio show on London's seminal KISS or his monthlies at that city's Fabric venue -- not to mention his globe-trotting DJ sets -- Hype is the embodiment of that genre's upfront, jump-up style. Bassrush brings his purist jungle beats, helmed by classic rhymes courtesy of MC Armanni Reign, to this House of Blues show. Co-presented by Los Angeles' long-running drum 'n' bass weekly Respect, its Junglist Platoon DJs Machete and Scooba alongside MC XYZ, as well as Circuit, will be supporting Hype. Wear comfortable shoes: This is where you are going to burn off all the calories from the week. --Lily Moayeri
Sunday, July 22
I See Hawks in L.A.
It's country music, after all, and it wouldn't be any fun if it weren't kind of a bummer. See, that's what I See Hawks in L.A. understand all too well, so when you're feeling this little elation at the unfamiliar ways the band's folky Americana and classic Californ-y country rock stretch the emotional terrain on their recent A New Kind of Lonely, well, you ain't gotta scratch your head, 'cause that effect was intentional. The band's alternative-country vision is presented here in a mostly acoustic version of the vaguely psychedelic and/or jazz-tinged swinging they devised on previous sets, high- and lowlighted by songs about drug addiction, hopeless love, urban paranoia and the natural wonders of the great but troubled state of California. Wry and dry singer-guitarist Rob Waller is a man of few words, and he uses 'em well; masterful Fender Telecaster/lap steel man Paul Lacques beautifully orchestrates the sound. --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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