One week, two acclaimed U.K. folk singers: Somebody must have planned this thing.
Last night it was Conor O'Brien, aka Villagers, giving a mesmerizing solo performance at the Hotel Cafe. (And, yes, this Conor O. very much recalls Conor Oberst.) Tonight, Laura Marling visits the El Rey Theatre, riding a crest of kudos for her spellbinding album I Speak Because I Can.
Both Villagers' Becoming a Jackal and Marling's sophomore album are nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, an honor bestowed to a British or Irish artist for Album of the Year. It's actually Marling's second nomination -- her 2008 debut Alas, I Cannot Swim also made the shortlist.
No surprise. Marling's virtuosic guitar licks and compelling storytelling make hers a singular voice that not only is attracting wider audiences but the attention of other artists as well.
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Earlier this year she made a quick trip to Nashville to record two covers for Jack White's Third Man Records -- Jackson C. Frank's classic "Blues Run the Game" and Neil Young's "Needle and the Damage Done." They'll be released as a 7-inch single next month. She also collaborated with Mumford & Sons and the Indian musical collective the Darohar Project on an EP that was recorded in Delhi.
Louisiana folk singer Dylan LeBlanc opens tonight's show.
Elsewhere: Pop legends Squeeze play the Gibson Amphitheatre behind their new album Spot the Difference, due out next week. .... It's the 10th anniversary of Dub Club at the Echoplex, and Sister Nancy and General Trees visit to perform live. ... And at the Hollywood Bowl, big bands rule: The Count Basie Orchestra, the Dave Holland Big Band and the Dave Douglas Big Band play under the stars.
Also: Obits and Night Marchers at the Echo; Vanaprasta, Robotanists and Rumspringa at LaBrie's in Glendale; the Guggenheim Grotto and Peter Bradley Adams at the Hotel Cafe; Neon Trees at the Glass House in Pomona; Kira at the Silverlake Lounge; Faded Paper Figures at Spaceland; 60 Watt Kid at the Smell; the Imperial Stars at the Viper Room; He's My Brother, She's My Sister at the Bootleg Theater; Venus Infers at Echo Curio; George Glass at 3 Clubs; and KRS One's 6 p.m. in-store at Amoeba