This Week's Best Concerts: Real Estate, Built to Spill, The Bird & the Bee

Trans Am headline the Satellite on FridayEXPAND
Trans Am headline the Satellite on Friday
Photo by Mike Seely

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Friday, July 10

Trans Am, L.A. Takedown, Wet & Reckless
THE SATELLITE
Trans Am find themselves smack dab in the modern era on “Anthropocene,” the first track on their 10th album, Volume X. Instead of embracing fuzzy-headed nostalgia, the Maryland trio bravely faces the new world, as bassist Nathan Means lays down a monstrous riff against Sebastian Thomson’s drum thunder, which is interspersed with Philip Manley’s spacey guitar and layered with Means’ and Manley’s disembodied vocals. Later, the three musicians stir up a “Megastorm” of sound constructed with Thomson’s post-punk/metallic rhythms, Means’ sinister synth and Manley’s sludgy guitar. All that apocalyptic chaos is occasionally leavened with gentle acoustic interludes such as “Insufficiently Breathless.” Aaron Olson’s L.A. Takedown rambles heedlessly over various musical borders — from prog and new wave to jazz-rock jamming — whereas Echo Park trio Wet & Reckless have a relatively simple, direct punk-pop sound that bursts into catchy hooks like “Confetti.” — Falling James

Immortal Technique
THE REGENT THEATER
At his battle-winning best, Immortal Technique’s wordplay gymnastics are rivaled only by heyday Eminem and The Streets. On Revolutionary Vol. 1 (2001) and Vol. 2 (2003), this brilliantly belligerent Harlemite spews revelatory conspiracy theories (“Peruvian Cocaine”), point-making humor (“Beef & Broccoli,” “Obnoxious”) and megalomaniacal chest-beating (lines like, “When God said ‘Let there be light,’ I turned it the fuck off!” from “Creation & Destruction”) with breathtaking eloquence and irreverence atop inventive beats and samples. Vol. 1’s “The Poverty of Philosophy” alone distills economic imperialism into six minutes as no professor ever will. The quality drooped on 2008’s The Third World, but Tech’s relentless activism has not. Ferociously independent, he plowed profits from his record sales and label into opening an orphanage in Afghanistan in 2009. — Paul Rogers

Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 11

Veruca Salt
EL REY THEATRE
Since ’90s rockers Veruca Salt put aside their internal squabbles three years ago, they’ve teased new material. Finally, the long-promised album, Ghost Notes, arrives this week. Despite a seven-year layoff — and 18 years since the band last recorded with the original lineup — the album features several songs that recall Veruca Salt’s popular, formative years. Though they’ve been touring since their reunion and released an EP as part of Record Store Day last year, for the first time in several decades, the Chicago natives appear to be getting along as harmoniously as those early days that saw them win over critics and fans alike. — Daniel Kohn

White Magic
KATZEN KULTUR KLUB
Mira Billotte, aka White Magic, is an L.A.-based creator of obscurely meditative ballads and ripping psychedelia, roughly akin to the woolly weirdness you’d find rummaging around in the “psych-folk” section of your local vintage record shop. The singer-composer performs with a band sometimes, and better yet solo, with just an acoustic piano or hand drum or shruti box, or entirely a cappella. Her 2006 Dat Rosa Mel Apibus record became such a revered classic within the psych-folk province that it got her gigs opening for big fuzz such as Animal Collective, Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and Ariel Pink, the latter of whom guest-guitars on White Magic’s just-out I’m Hiding My Nightingale EP (Leaving Records). Her first recorded stuff in many a dusty pink moon, the EP is a wondrously eerie set of minimalist musings sung and played as if reflected upon from the afterlife. — John Payne

The Bird & the Bee play the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Sunday
The Bird & the Bee play the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Sunday
Photo by Autumn de Wilde

Sunday, July 12

The Bird & the Bee
THE THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL
Singer Inara George and guitarist-keyboardist Greg Kurstin are individually so talented that they’re often pulled away by other projects, and Recreational Love, their long-awaited, upcoming fourth album as The Bird and the Bee, was delayed for almost five years. Kurstin is an in-demand producer for Lily Allen, Foster the People, Sia and Ellie Goulding, while George has kept busy with harmonizing group The Living Sisters. In the past, The Bird and the Bee have exuded a breezy jazz swing and ’60s pop elegance, but new single “Will You Dance?” bubbles along with a sleek dance-pop sheen. George’s effervescent vocals are disarming as she gushes about a lover, “We’re like the ground/We’re just density ... I don’t care if people stare.” She’s just as endearing singing the praises of “Los Angeles” amid Kurstin’s glowing keyboards. — Falling James

Monday, July 13

XXL Freshmen Tour
CLUB NOKIA
Rap institution XXL’s annual crowning of the freshman class of hip-hop did not disappoint this year, with hit-making newcomers Fetty Wap and Dej Loaf joined by Timberland–co-signed Tink, Long Beach native and reigning prince of L.A. rap Vince Staples and more. With live rap performances, you may get a raw and intimate performance with no backing vocals, or you might get a newbie onstage with his 20-person crew, occasionally ad-libbing but mostly just basking in his new limelight. With the XXL Freshman Tour, you get a sampling of 10 of the hottest talents in the game, so the odds are in your favor. And with short but sweet back-to-back sets, you’ll hear sing-along hits, fan favorites and possibly some new releases. — Lina Abascal

Built to Spill
THE TROUBADOUR
Built to Spill come ambling down from their mountain home in Idaho to take over the Troubadour for three nights this week. As ever, Doug Martsch’s wistful melodies are powered by fuzzy, woozy guitars that rumble like Neil Young and Crazy Horse but also have a uniquely hazy and dreamy expansiveness. In fact, Built to Spill now boasts a three-guitar attack from Martsch, Jim Roth and occasional member Brett Netson (Caustic Resin). The band’s eighth album, Untethered Moon, is its first full-length release in five years, and it features a new rhythm section, bassist Jason Albertini and drummer Steve Gere. With their intricate curlicues of guitar, “Living Zoo” and “Never Be the Same” are jangling pop anthems, while heavier tracks such as “So” are wrapped up in a grungy swirl of thick, psychedelic power chords. Also Tuesday and Wednesday, July 14 and 15. — Falling James

Tuesday, July 14

Shellac
THE ECHO
Steve Albini is best known for his prolific work in the studio — he has recorded everyone from Nirvana to Jarvis Cocker — and for his strong opinions about the music industry and technology. While his work as a player might be obscured by those other achievements, it’s no less influential. In the early 1990s, after becoming a college-radio darling as part of Big Black, Albini formed Shellac with drummer Todd Trainer and bassist Bob Weston. Their stripped-down approach to making very noisy music provided the blueprint for many an indie band whose music has since been described as “angular” or “math-y.” More than 20 years later, Shellac are still going strong; their last album, Dude Incredible, came out last year. Also at the Regent Theater, Wednesday, July 15. — Liz Ohanesian

Wednesday, July 15

John Fogerty
HOLLYWOOD BOWL
The year 1969 was a productive one for John Fogerty. Not only did his band Creedence Clearwater Revival release Bayou Country, which included one of their biggest hits, the oft-covered “Proud Mary,” but the prolific Bay Area quartet quickly followed up with two albums that were even better, Green River and Willie and the Poor Boys. After decades of fighting his record company and even his former band members (including his late brother, Tom) for the rights to that legacy, Fogerty is clearly reveling in performing his back catalog again, and on this tour he’ll focus heavily on songs from that halcyon year. Not only will Fogerty churn out such Americana-laced oldies as “Green River” and “Down on the Corner” but he’ll also dig into deeper cuts like “Ramble Tamble” (which is actually from 1970), a seven-minute tangle of rabid roots guitars and prescient Reagan-bashing. — Falling James

Cannibal & the Headhunters, The Premiers, The Shag Rats
WHISKY A GO-GO
Chicano rockers The Premiers began life as a bunch of backyard teenage rock & roll freaks who landed a surprise Top 20 hit with 1964’s “Farmer John.” That turned out to be one of the key discs in that insanely influential East L.A. scene, and their appearance tonight, along with the current version of Grim Reaper–ravaged East Los soul-rock spearheads Cannibal & the Headhunters, is a stone-cold, do-not-miss thrill. The Premiers almost fell apart after the 2011 death of bassist Frank Zuniga and the retirement of guitarist George Delgado, but when two members of young Boyle Heights stompers The Shag Rats (who also perform tonight) threw in, the band came roaring back. “The Shag Rats are great, and with them we’ve found our little niche, where our music fits with what the kids are going for now,” Premiers founder Lawrence Perez said. “And it’s still exciting.” — Jonny Whiteside

Real Estate play the Twilight Concert Series at Santa Monica Pier on Thursday
Real Estate play the Twilight Concert Series at Santa Monica Pier on Thursday
Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Thursday, July 16

Real Estate
SANTA MONICA PIER
Summer is officially here — as documented by the sun melting everything in the Valley and Eastside — but it’s always just the right temperature in Santa Monica. Luckily for us inlanders, the historic Pier kicked off its Twilight Concert Series last week and is rolling out its second installment, featuring Real Estate and Hippo Campus, tonight. This lineup may be damn near perfect for the beach-going indie-pop lover. Hippo Campus, a younger band, are known for their energetic and charismatic live shows, and what’s more magical than dancing to tropical pop as the sun sets? (Answer: Not much.) After sweating our cares away, Real Estate will precisely play their hazy, surf-tinged indie pop and all will be right in the world — or at least on that old, wooden pier. — Katrina Nattress

Sam Sparro
HAMMER MUSEUM
Sam Sparro is the involuntary final word — unwittingly elected by the Internet — on whether “that dress” was white and gold or blue and black, thanks to his perennial monster track, “Black and Gold.” This is the “Summer of Sam” with the long-awaited release of Volume Two in his musical mini-series of EPs, Quantum Physical, on which Sparro’s patented soul-charged, synth-driven, electro-pop dance style gets more refined. “Hands On” draws from the most enduring aspects of ’80s R&B-infused chart smashes, and “7 Billion” follows suit with the addition of disco-inspired bursts. While Sparro has a plethora of DJ gigs, this is his only live appearance this season. As to what color he is wearing, that will be for the viewers to decide. — Lily Moayeri


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