The Guggenheim Grotto has been making friends and influencing coffee-drinkers ever since 2008, when their song "Told You So" appeared on Across the Pond, a sampler CD issued by a certain beverage company with a twin-tailed siren as its log.
Now the Irish folk-pop duo are taking the across-the-pond part seriously.
Kevin May and Mick Lynch, who hail from County Mayo, Ireland, are summering in the U.S. to spread the word about their third album, The Universe is Laughing. Not quite as adventurous as 2008's Happy the Man, the new disc's guitar-and-string arrangements still outstrip most coffeehouse fare, and those "One Tree Hill" placements help pay the bills.
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After spending last month doing residencies in New York City and Philadelphia, the Guggenheim Grotto are tethered to the West Coast this month. Tonight, they play the third of four Wednesdays at the Hotel Cafe (they're doing Thursdays at Lestat's in San Diego and Fridays at Zoey's in Ventura.)
Elsewhere: Smokey Robinson has never played the Hollywood Bowl? Can that be true? The 70-year-old Motown great, who last August released an album of new material (Time Flies When You're Having Fun) featuring guests Carlos Santana, Joss Stone and India.Arie, takes care of that tonight. ... The triple-bill of Kings of Leon, Built to Spill and the Features moves to the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. ... And Sweethead, the pairing of Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and singer Serrina Sims, headlines the Troubadour, supported by Nico Vega and Scarlet Grey.
Also: The Californian and Judson & Mary at Spaceland; Victoria Noll at the Silverlake Lounge; Asura at Low End theory at the Airliner; Kozmonaut at the Viper Room; Addison Strong at the Mint; Halloween Swim Team at Pehrspace; at Basshaters at Echo Curio.