This Week's Best Concerts, in Handy Playlist Form

Gary Clark Jr.: see WednesdayEXPAND
Gary Clark Jr.: see Wednesday
Photo by Frank Maddocks

It's another great week for live music in Los Angeles, with the expanded L.A. Psych Fest hitting both the Regent and the Echo, blues guitar wunderkind playing an intimate show at Amoeba Music, and Mobb Deep playing all of their 1995 classic The Infamous at the El Rey. Follow L.A. Weekly Music on Spotify for all our concert calendar playlists, and read below for more details on this week's concerts, festivals and other happenings.

Friday, Sept. 18

Mobb Deep
El Rey Theatre

For many rap fans, 1995 was one of the best years in the genre’s history. There was a slew of great records being released on both coasts, and Queens-based rappers Mobb Deep’s The Infamous was one of the best. The duo’s haunting lyrics and evocative melodies were balanced by rough-and-tumble beats that allowed Havoc and Prodigy to evolve from local favorites to internationally respected emcees. That sophomore album is considered by many to be one of the greatest follow-ups in hip-hop history, and with good reason. Now, 20 years after The Infamous was released, the duo are on tour in support of that LP, which is debatably still Mobb Deep’s signature work. They will be playing it front-to-back, reminding fans why that album remains one of the genre’s most beloved and respected works. — Daniel Kohn

Modestep
The Avalon

Modestep declare their hometown pride on the foursome’s second album, the aptly titled London Road. With an amalgam of British-bred styles such as dubstep, garage and drum ’n’ bass, the album definitely takes inspiration from the city of its title. But it also sounds, at least in part, decidedly American, updating elements of ’80s metal and ’90s hard rock with present-day production techniques. The snarling “Make You Mine,” featuring Teddy Killerz, starts out with robust guitar grinds and ends on bombastic bass lines. Similarly, the low-slung rumbles of “Circles” featuring Skindred get super angry by the track’s close. “Feel Alive” is all sharp-edged guitars from start to finish, and could easily have been a Faith No More track, while “Seams” sounds like Arctic Monkeys gone mental. — Lily Moayeri

Upcoming Events

Saturday, Sept. 19

L.A. Psych Fest
The Regent Theater

Now in its fourth year, L.A. Psych Fest has expanded beyond its beginnings as a three-room, one-day homage to fuzzy riffs, trippy art and good vibes to a two-day tour de force of consciousness-expanding, with a more kaleidoscopic lineup than ever (and probably even more good vibes). Headlined by legendary nine-piece Afro-funk outfit The Budos Band and instrumental blues-rock trio Earthless, the fest has drastically raised the bar on the caliber of acts it’s able to book yet remains a down-to-earth celebration of local favorites like Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel, Tomorrow’s Tulips, Jenny O and Jjuujjuu, as well. And with weekend passes going for just $45, L.A. Psych Fest is hands down one of the best deals of the summer. Also Sunday, Sept. 20, at the Echo and Echoplex. — Artemis Thomas-Hansard

Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers
The Troubadour

Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers aren’t trying to reinvent country and folk music, nor do they add unnecessary hipster touches to their brand of traditional Americana. Instead, the Bay Area group is pleasingly unpretentious, with lead singer Bluhm cooing easygoing tunes such as “Only Always” and “Queen of the Rodeo” on their latest album, Loved Wild Lost. That’s not to say that her backing band, which includes her guitarist-husband Tim Bluhm (The Mother Hips), doesn’t have its flashy moments. Lead guitarist Deren Ney uncorks some lively solos that segue smoothly from bluegrass to jam-band psychedelia. The Gramblers also demonstrate their musical range on unexpected covers of Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” and the standard “Fever,” which Nicki Bluhm purrs persuasively like a sultry torch singer. — Falling James

Jenny Hval: see Sunday
Jenny Hval: see Sunday
Photo by Jenny Berger Myhre

Sunday, Sept. 20

Jenny Hval, Briana Marela
The Roxy

Norway’s Jenny Hval is a provocative young writer and musician whose striking voice and fresh instincts for resonant sound realms created prickly yet accessible pop art on her 2013 album, Innocence Is Kinky. Her just-out Apocalypse, girl deepens her densely woven skewerings of pop’s normal subject matter, as Hval whispers and howls pithy perspectives on mythology, mass media and sexual identity within an ambiguous cave of electronicized sonorities. Pacific Northwesterner Briana Marela’s recent album All Around Us (Jagjaguwar) was produced in Iceland by Alex Somers, best known for his work with Julianna Barwick and Sigur Rós, and it too offers intimate tales of nature and self in pointedly oblique and moving sound terrains. — John Payne

Monday, Sept. 21

Psychic TV, Drab Majesty
Teragram Ballroom

“Very weird but very intelligent” is how a teacher once described young Neil Megson. Radicalized by the British school system in the 1960s, Megson would transform into gender-bending provocateur Genesis P-Orridge, who was once designated by the House of Commons a “wrecker of civilization.” P-Orridge’s masterfully orchestrated legacy includes spawning industrial music with debut band Throbbing Gristle. A second, monstrously prolific band, Psychic TV, inspired everyone from Trent Reznor to Marilyn Manson to P-Orridge’s latest pupil, Drab Majesty, the Hollywood ice-goth who’s become a genderless vessel for cocaine-inspired galaxy rock that travels between shoegaze and new wave. The two coming together at once is a cosmic occurrence, a collision of worlds that should be both shocking and thought-provoking. Joining them are feminist punk pioneers Frightwig. — Art Tavana

Tuesday, Sept. 22

Laetitia Sadier
The Echo

Laetitia Sadier’s voice burns through the haze of her new cassette single, “Dry Fruit,” floating on a gauzy cloud of dream-pop guitars and keyboards. Her voice is even more ethereal on the B-side, a Cave remix of “Scene of the Lie,” as it weaves through a hallway of echoes for seven spellbinding minutes. The French chanteuse began casting her mesmerizing spells with the British band Stereolab, but she expands her sonic range on her latest solo album, Something Shines (Drag City). Murmuring her enigmatic lyrics in English and French, Sadier wraps herself up in art-rock guitars and shadowy keyboards on gentle soundscapes like “The Milk of Human Tenderness” and swims through a swirling, jazzy groove on the trippy epic “Quantum Soup.” — Falling James

Mick Jenkins, STWO
The Roxy

Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins broke out in 2013 with a compellingly intense voice on his Trees & Truth mixtape. A product of one of the country’s most violent cities, Jenkins doesn’t mince words when observing the chaos around him in “Chiraq”: “Lower class gettin’ slaughtered … Pullin’ triggers to the beat, takin’ lives, no guilt,” he raps on his breakthrough single “Crossroads,” on which he more than holds his own alongside guest verses by Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper. His latest EP, Wave[s], featuring moody, trippy production by Thempeople and Kaytranada, further solidifies Jenkins’ status as the most gifted street poet to emerge from Chi-town since Freddie Gibbs. He’s co-headlining his current tour with French producer STWO, who pushes bass music in sexy, soulful new directions on tracks such as “Lovin U.” — Andy Hermann

Blonde Redhead: see WednesdayEXPAND
Blonde Redhead: see Wednesday
Photo by Marlene Marino

Wednesday, Sept. 23

Mimicking Birds, Loch Lomond, Opus Vitae
The Satellite

This triple bill showcases three of the best young singer-songwriters to emerge from Portland, Oregon’s fertile indie music scene in recent years. Headliners Mimicking Birds feature the thought-provoking reveries of Nate Lacy, who over the course of two albums and tours with the likes of Modest Mouse and Jessica Lea Mayfield has proven himself to be equally evocative with his lyrics and his intricate acoustic guitarwork. Loch Lomond’s Ritchie Young has a dramatic warble of a voice that recalls The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, but his songwriting on such midtempo anthems as “Your Eyes” and “Spray Painted Drums” is far less self-consciously ornate. Openers Opus Vitae, led by L.A.-based singer-songwriter Banah Winn, are celebrating the release of their self-titled debut EP, highlighted by the bouncy “I’ve Been Wrong,” whose colorful guitars and surging chorus evoke Vampire Weekend and Winn’s previous band, Cayucas. — Andy Hermann

Blonde Redhead
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock

After a gap of four years since their previous album, 2010’s Penny Sparkle, Blonde Redhead finally returned last year with their ninth record, Barragán. As ever, the New York band is distinguished by leader Kazu Makino’s gentle, almost childlike vocal delivery. But before you can dismiss a track such as “The One I Love” as a simple love song, the group adorns Makino’s intimate confessions with unusual sound effects and other arty embellishments. The combination of Makino’s endearing charisma with her group’s inventive arrangements continues to set Blonde Redhead apart from other bands. Makino searches for love amid the junkyard echoes of “Lady M” and finds herself locked up tight in the rubbery grooves of drummer Simone Pace and his guitarist brother, Amedeo Pace, on the sinuously seductive “Cat on Tin Roof.” Also at the Bootleg, Thursday, Sept. 24. — Falling James

Gary Clark Jr.
Amoeba Music

Before Gary Clark Jr. rejoins the Foo Fighters’ latest national tour, he’ll stop by Hollywood for a set at Amoeba Music. The show is free, but admission is only guaranteed if you buy the blues guitarist’s new album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, beforehand at the store. In an era when most blues revivalists sound watered down and inauthentic, Clark continues to surprise. Unlike so many other guitarists, Clark isn’t afraid to get loud and dirty. His blues are palpably fiery instead of politely reverential on tracks such as “Grinder,” in which his guitar tone is piercing and desperate while his band trucks on with a hard-rock funkiness. He reveals a bit of soul amid the power chords of “The Healing” and still comes off raw on the acoustic ballad “Church.” — Falling James

Thursday, Sept. 24

Snarky Puppy
UCLA, Royce Hall

Snarky Puppy’s funky fusion jazz is brought to you by Grammy-winning bassist Michael League and a rotating cast of all-star musicians. One of the coolest currently touring jazz bands, Snarky Puppy’s R&B-friendly sound has led to performances with musicians from Erykah Badu to Snoop Dogg. The pups won a Grammy in 2014 for “Something,” the Lalah Hathaway–sung track off their 2013 album, Family Dinner Volume 1. And a family dinner is exactly what Snarky Puppy sound like — a big, happy band of skilled musicians whose tunes are both complex and easy to dance to. The popular We Like It Here (2014) is full of fun tracks such as the groovy “Lingus,” while their latest release, a collaboration with the Netherlands’ Metropole Orkest called Sylva, manages to keep the funk with a full orchestra backing. If you’re trying to get a friend into instrumental music, this is the show to take them to. — Sascha Bos


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