The Roots, Hilary Hahn, The Urinals
Syd the Kyd and Matt Martians, who make up this soulful Odd Future offshoot, are relocating to Atlanta for the summer in order to "get away and just sort of change our outlook creatively on things," as Syd puts it in a Kickstarter video designed to raise money for a documentary about the move. Before they go, though, The Internet are playing the Echo, where they're likely to throw in some new tunes among cuts from last year's Purple Naked Ladies. Admittedly, the album didn't grab me straightaway; some of it still sounds like N.E.R.D. minus the hooks. But there's something bewitching about the duo's best stuff that makes me want to hear what effect Atlanta's gonna have. Up-and-coming New Yorker Kilo Kish, who reportedly is set to open, just released an Internet-produced EP, Homeschool. —Mikael Wood
Critic (and Creem editor) Dave Marsh said she was a better blues singer than Janis Joplin, and anyone who's ever stared desolately into the desert night with Barbara Lynn on the turntable knows well the truth in that statement. She was a young girl with a voice that went on for miles and a guitar she played left-handed, and with the help of Huey Meaux, she put "You'll Lose a Good Thing" — a heartbreaker poem she'd written about an ex-boyfriend — at the top of the charts in 1962 and followed it with a string of songs about love and other crimes. (They called her "Lady B.B.," she told one writer.) Some might call her a legend and others might call her an inspiration; both are correct forever. With opener Gizzelle, deployer of many a Barbara Lynn original in her own affecting sets. —Chris Ziegler
Nikos Syropoulos is 23, and though his name sounds like a James Bond villain, his depravity is limited to being a wicked-sharp composer and a total badass pianist. He honors his Greek grandmother, Rozalia, by naming his debut album after her, a beautifully arranged work for piano, voice, trumpet and strings. He funded his recording through Kickstarter, not by stealing. His only crime is making you feel lame for not realizing your potential as he has. Some of you now probably want to hurt him, but don't beat Nikos, become Nikos. —Gary Fukushima
Echo Park's Hecuba are hardly your typical boy-girl synth-pop pair. While the roots of their arty electronic songs certainly lie in the '80s, they lace their surging keys and burbling beats with Teutonic- toned '60s experimentalism, coiffed American '50s cool and the smart deviance of Steve Reich in the '70s. What's more, their new album, Modern, is thematically fascinating — an intensely personal and easily universal exploration of the pair's relationship (Isabelle Albuquerque and Jon Beasley are also a couple) as they aim to merge their identities across nine tracks. Hearing them chant, "We are together, but we are apart," over a surging pile of frosted keys and drums is downright spooky, while dubbed-out soul number "Devotion" seems to both celebrate and call into question its titular subject. Opening duo Dreamers split the difference between minimal techno and Siouxsie-style punk rock. —Chris Martins
EL REY THEATRE
Talent has served Stalley well. Because it certainly wasn't his background — he's a devout Muslim who signed a Division I basketball scholarship to Michigan — or birthplace (gritty, blue-collar Masselin, Ohio) that attracted the attention of Maybach Music Group bossman Rick Ross. No, it was dude's Everyman hustle and poignant rhymes depicting a smashmouth come-up — a simplistic but time-tested hip-hop trope that, although played out, seldom fails to resonate — that surely made Ross yearn to add something real to his team. Major-label production and mentions of palm trees and lavish luxuries popped up on Savage Journey to the American Dream, Stalley's latest work. But it's the intimate chatter, those personal moments, that made last year's Lincoln Way Nights a standout, and that one hopes will continue to define the MMG anomaly's career. —Dan Hyman
REAL MCKENZIES, CIVET at House of Blues; TIERNEY SUTTON BAND at Catalina; ERNIE ANDREWS at LACMA; WADDY WACHTEL BAND at the Mint.
The Urinals, Avengers
The Urinals have been lying low in recent months, although guitarist-novelist Rob Roberge is releasing two new books this year, The Cost of Living and a memoir, Your Life in Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll. Roberge is actually the baby of the band, having "only" been in the local art-punk trio for the past decade. But singer-bassist John Talley-Jones and drummer Kevin Barrett still perform lo-fi gems like "Black Hole" and "Sex" from their late-'70s heyday — when their geometric chord changes and elliptical lyrics were a major influence on such bands as the Gun Club, Yo La Tengo and The Minutemen — alongside more melodic recent tracks like "Cartophobia" and "Sky-grifter." Avengers lead singer Penelope Houston just released On Market Street, a collection of soulful, new pop-folk reveries and her first solo album in seven years, but she and the band are likely to focus on the classic fiery blasts from the Avengers' self-titled 1983 debut album, which is finally being reissued after three decades. —Falling James
Silver Lake Jubilee Festival
Memorial Day weekend in L.A. means one thing for the music community: It's officially festival season. The Silver Lake Jubilee kicks it off with performances from a smattering of local artists (along with bigger musical acts like La Sera and Aloe Blacc), comedy routines and literary events. With their massive stage energy and mosh-ready attitude, Highland Park's own Fidlar are sure to be standouts. The weekend pass is the best way to go, allowing you both to chill and catch plenty of the acts spread out over six stages. Also Sun. —K.C. Libman
BAD VEINS at the Echo; DANZIG at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater; GLENN FREY at the Wiltern; LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III at McCabe's; HANDS at Origami Vinyl; JOHN PATITUCCI at Musicians Institute; PHIL O'CONNOR GROUP at Blue Whale.
The Roots, Booker T. Jones
Drake Stadium, UCLA
There isn't necessarily a lot of jazz in UCLA's annual JazzReggae Festival, but there will be a lot of thrilling music pumped out anyway over the course of this Memorial Day weekend. If it wasn't already clear that The Roots are one of America's greatest and most versatile live bands, the Philly hip-hop crew proved it yet again two weeks ago on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, where, on back-to-back nights, they laid down a seductively sprawling jazz-rock jam behind former Rolling Stones lead guitarist Mick Taylor before segueing seamlessly into a mechanically tight and funky groove for the Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. The Roots will be joined on Sunday (dubbed "Jam Day") by co-headliner Booker T. Jones, who's no doubt still in mourning over the recent death of his former Stax Records sideman, Duck Dunn, but has been fairly prolific lately, with several solo albums and collaborations with Elton John and Neil Young. Highlights on Monday (aka "Reggae Day") include Jamaican singer-rapper Shaggy, Tarrus Riley, Collie Buddz, Alison Hinds and Don Carlos. —Falling James
CAVE COUNTRY, DEADSTRING BROTHERS at Bootleg Bar.
Baron Von Luxxury, Harlan
On the surface, Baron Von Luxxury seems like an electro-disco geek lothario made in the image of Beck's Midnight Vultures. But spend a little time with this Silver Lake resident's new album, The Last Seduction, and you'll discover what makes him unique. He offsets his falsetto with a Bowie-esque croon, and his mirror-ball beats with Washed Out goop. Bedroom productions and marquee pop seem to hold equal sway over his every move, and songs like "Terry Richardson" drip with glitzy yet intimate sleaze. But as much pent-up sex as his songs do seep, they also tell a different story. Specifically, the tale of the Baron's dear, deceased friends Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake, two artists (affiliated with Beck circa Sea Change) whose tumultuous ties to Scientology allegedly contributed to their suicides in 2007. Come for the disco, stay for the drama. —Chris Martins
EL REY THEATRE
On paper, the pairing of American concert violinist Hilary Hahn with German electronic composer–pianist Hauschka looks like one of those perfect-for-adverts things about how supposedly disparate musicians are bridging cultural/aesthetic gaps to find common territory in a new form of art blah blah blah. But the duo's new album, Silfra, makes hash of the hype by coming through with pieces that genuinely do suggest a fertile, fresh musical ground. Recorded in Iceland with Björk and Feist producer Valgeir Sigurdsson, most of the album's tracks came about via pure improvisation, with no retakes or editing. The collaboration between the Euro-classical Hahn and the new-electronic-school Hauschka feels chillingly exhilarating. They dive into uncharted places, and the album's tones, textures and blurred images shuffle ambiguously, mysteriously and beautifully. —John Payne
HARRIET, INCAN ABRAHAM, RIMPAU at Bootleg Bar; DUNES, BROKEN WATER, NAPS at the Smell.
John Daversa Small Band
For more than a decade, trumpeter John Daversa has nurtured a big band that has become one of the area's finest, most often seen crammed into the cozy Baked Potato on Sunday nights. In recent years, Daversa also has developed a quintet, which is set to follow last year's big-band album, Junk Wagon, with a BFM release this fall. The Small Band give Daversa a chance to stretch, especially when he pulls out the rarely seen EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument), which combines his trumpet skills with a synthesizer. The Joint recently began a Tuesday jazz series, and Daversa's band (including saxophonist Katisse Buckingham, keyboardist Tommy King, bassist Jerry Watts and drummer Chris Wabich) is likely to blow the roof off. —Tom Meek
WINTERSLEEP at the Echo; VUM, IDES OF GEMINI, THE NOCTURNES at Bootleg Bar.
In many ways, The Clean are like New Zealand's equivalent to The Urinals. Each band started in the late 1970s, releasing obscure singles that melded lo-fi production and musical backing with an art-pop aesthetic that invoked predecessors like the Velvet Underground. Both groups are better known for the famous performers they've inspired rather than for their own idiosyncratic music, and both bands, coincidently, have been cited by Yo La Tengo as a major influence. The Clean's tangled history encompasses exotic, serpentine, Stooges-style riffs ("Point That Thing Somewhere Else"), euphoric pop-punk ("Oddity"), freaky instrumental passages ("Franz Kafka at the Zoo"), Hendrix-y psychedelia ("Alpine Madness"), sunny, Beck-like folk ("Golden Crown") and hazy pop ("Are You Really on Drugs?"). The Clean's latest album, Mister Pop, is no less eclectic and just as weirdly mesmerizing. —Falling James
Dry the River, Noah & Megafauna
Dry the River have been called the next Mumford & Sons, but the British band's backstory isn't the usual folksy fare. Singer-guitarist Peter Liddle began writing songs in his bedroom while at medical school, but when he realized what he had, he traded in his scrubs for Levis and solo status for a proper band. But rather than search the English countryside for his future mates, he called up four guys he'd played with as a teen in the London ska-punk scene. Despite their checkered roots, the band members have rallied around Liddle's graceful songcraft, adding pastoral strings, close harmonies, brushed drums and more to the mix. Dry the River cite gentle giants like Bob Dylan and Paul Simon as a direct influence on their LP Shallow Bed, but they make some strikingly buff, stadium-ready folk rock, as heard on the soaring single "No Rest." —Chris Martins
JACK WHITE at the Wiltern; ONRA, RYAT at the Airliner; BUSHMAN, YOUSSOUPHA SIDIBE at the Echoplex.
Alexander Spit, CBG, Carter
Rising L.A.-to-S.F. emcee Alexander Spit worships at the throne of deceased Bay Area king rapper Mac Dre, but rather than imbue his beats with the essence of thizz (ecstasy), he's inspired by a different brand of intoxicant. Some have called what he does "shroom-bap," a combination of classic rap cadence and organic distortion. Others use the term "trap-psychedelia," where hippie shit meets the 'hood. Regardless, Spit is an ace vocalist with a silk-smooth delivery and his priorities set on such West Coast favorites as women, weed and whips. He's also a challenging producer, as apt to lay languid live guitars over a syrupy string sample ("Real RSWD") as to build beats out of spooky loops and post-punk distortion ("Facemelter"). If his much-whispered-about last mixtape, These Long Strange Nights, is any indication of what's to come, Spit's on his way to some very serious highs in the near future. —Chris Martins
Suburban Spawn, Karl
Of all the L.A. punk and new-wave bands of the late '70s and early '80s, the Suburban Lawns were truly uncategorizable. The Long Beach quintet's wickedly sarcastic "Gidget Goes to Hell" was a KROQ hit, and its video was even aired on Saturday Night Live, but these former CalArts students also crafted weirder and more mysterious songs, such as "Green Eyes" and the decadently swanky "Flavor Crystals." Not only that, but in a scene populated with iconic performers like Exene and Darby Crash, Suburban Lawns lead singer Su Tissue came off as truly unsettling, staring blankly into the crowd like a shell-shocked casualty. Tonight's tribute band, Suburban Spawn, features former W.A.C.O. violinist Rebecca Lynn, who also performs in the jaggedly arty and eclectic new project Karl? with singer-guitarist Daniel Chavez. Rumor is original Suburban Lawns member William "Vex Billingsgate" Ranson will sit in tonight. —Falling James
It absolutely shouldn't work. Melding choral vocals, glittery synths and a stand-up harp (of all things!) should not work. Harps are not cool. Neither are high, wavering falsettos. But somehow local favorite Active Child (aka Pat Grossi) has managed to put together a show that stirs the soul and, dare we say, grooves. How? Mostly because the man doesn't give a damn what you think and is going to play to the choir in his head. Grossi's ambitious debut album, You Are All I See, demonstrates his imagination, but it's not until you witness the songs live that you truly get what he's trying to accomplish. The man is making dance music for robotic angels, while managing to rock out on giant stand-up harp. You'll have to see it to believe it. —Molly Bergen
The Shrine, Zig Zags
Get in the van with The Shrine — it'll be the van with the red-eyed wizard, lightning bursting out of every orifice, airbrushed in bleeding fluorescents on the side — and let the spray-paint fumes and hallucinogens fight for control of your mind. This Venice power trio is a band for heads and headbangers both, and its recent Bless Off demo is a big, wet, drippy mess of the kind of rawk smeared across your youth by legendary reprobates like Annihilation Time, Bl'ast and, of course, Black Flag during their die-by-this-riff era. (In fact, Black Flag's Dukowski has even produced The Shrine.) If their upcoming Primitive Blast debut on perfect-fit label Tee Pee is anything like the actual song "Primitive Blast," this will be the summer of heavy. —Chris Ziegler
Paul McCartney's only son looks more than sounds like his dad: On a pair of recent EPs (newly collected on The Complete EP Collection), James McCartney pursues a cloistered indie-rock vibe that kind of recalls Bakesale-era Sebadoh, of all things. Evidence online suggests he boosts the energy a bit in concert though definitely not to arena-rousing "Live and Let Die" levels. Then again, McCartney hits the Roxy — with a band, it should be noted, that includes guys from Liverpool's underappreciated Dead 60s — mere days after playing New Jersey's Bamboozle fest alongside Bon Jovi, Skrillex and Foo Fighters. So maybe dude'll bust out the big guns after all. —Mikael Wood
SANTIGOLD at House of Blues; GREG LASWELL at El Rey Theatre; HORSE FEATHERS, DEATH SONGS at the Echo; TRAVIS PORTER at Key Club; KATISSE WITH JUDITH HILL at the Baked Potato; SCOTT MARTIN LATIN SOUL BAND at Vibrato.
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