From “The Pretender” Jackson Browne and mysterious Canadian techno duo Orphyx to YOLA Fest and the mighty Rolling Stones, here are 12 of the best music shows in Los Angeles this week.

fri 8/16

Jackson Browne (Lucius Admat)

Jackson Browne 


Singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, one of L.A.’s own, is often unfairly dismissed as a middle-of-the-road, safe soft-rocker. In fact, the man is a superb songwriter, active since ’66, with 14 stellar studio albums behind him. Rolling Stone ranked him at 37 in their “top 100 songwriters of all time” poll in 2015, and even that might be a little harsh. This is, after all, the guy who co-wrote The Eagles’ “Take it Easy” with Glenn Frey (and later recorded it himself), and who brought us “The Pretender” and “Running on Empty.” 2014’s Standing in the Breach proved that he’s still got it. Expect a career-spanning set here. —Brett Callwood

Mon Laferte (Alberto Hidalgo)

Mon Laferte, Ambar Lucid


Love can strike down the mightiest person, and even Mon Laferte is not immune to its destruction charms. The confident and daring Chilean chanteuse has been moving into more interesting thematic territory with the 2018 release of Norma, an unusual pop album produced by The Mars Volta’s Omar Rodríguez-López and recorded by former Doors engineer Bruce Botnick. Laferte just released a new single, “Canción de Mierda” (“Shit Song”), in which she walks through the ruins of her love life via an ostensibly poppy song that’s draped in shadowy atmosphere and achingly mournful lyrics. She takes her lust and longing into outer space on another darkly enchanting recent single, “Chilango Blues,” sparking her languid dream-pop vocals with spectral roots-rock guitars. Ambar Lucid also expands the boundaries of Latin pop with an arty inventiveness as she talks to ghosts and raises chills. —Falling James

sat 8/17



Sometimes people beat their heads against a wall because it feels so good when they stop. Keeping this ideal in mind, you get only the finest skull-fracturing beats with noisy Canadian techno duo Orphx. Taking passive-aggressiveness and turning it into aggressive-aggressiveness with their signature blend of uncomfortable sounds and uncompromising intensity, Orphx are currently enjoying a post-release high from their Light Bringer split with JK Flesh on Hospital Records, and so will you when they play selections from that particular opus. Also live and in full effect: local Hungarian beat-manglers Alexandra Atnif — whose latest album, Seekers of the Void, is out now on Crunch Pod — and Andorkappen, the electronics-and-percussion maestro who’s just coming down from being ousted from his longtime Los Angeles performance venue F-Space, so have a heart and give that man a great big hand. Rhythmically, though. Rhythmically. —David Cotner

Leslie Stevens (Julia Brokaw)

Leslie Stevens


Leslie Stevens takes her songwriting to another level on her latest album, Sinner, in which she delves into a wider variety of provocative and even controversial themes. The local singer has long been cherished for her luminous voice, which possess some of the unbridled, effusive sweetness of Dolly Parton mixed with a little of Stevie Nicks’ rueful tone. Stevens’ vocals soar majestically throughout the record’s varying moods, which includes contributions from guest singer Jenny O. (“Sylvie”) and a romantic duet with producer Jonathan Wilson (“Depression, Descent”) that invokes the televised spirit of Johnny Cash. With “The Tillman Song,” she boldly confronts the contradictions surrounding the death of football star Pat Tillman in Afghanistan via a strange and progressively multilayered track that builds psychedelically into a bizarrely poignant fever dream. —Falling James

sun 8/18

Lykke Li (Brendan Walter)



On Sunday, Swedish singer, songwriter and model Lykke Li is hosting an all-female music festival taking place at L.A. Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles. The all-star lineup spans multiple genres, featuring artists such as Charli XCX, Cat Power, Megan Thee Stallion, and even a rare acoustic set from Courtney Love. YOLA DÍA is presented by YOLA Mezcal, a mezcal brand located in Oaxaca, Mexico — founded by Yola Jimenez, Gina Correll Aglietti, and Li. The original fest was slated for June 8 but had to be rescheduled due to “production issues.” Fans can expect a “celebration of the arts, culture, and music by the women of today.” Also in partnership with PLUS1, a portion of ticket sales will benefit the homeless community at Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles. —Shirley Ju

The Last (Max Laisina)

The Last


One of the few bands to cross the divide between power pop and punk in the late 1970s, The Last are the missing link between The Flamin’ Groovies and the garage-rock revivalists who emerged in the 1980s. They were ahead of their time and were uniquely positioned to serve as a direct influence on such stylistically disparate performers as Black Flag, The Bangles, The Descendents, The Pandoras and Jeffrey Lee Pierce, who used to join The Last onstage before he formed The Gun Club. Singer-guitarist Joe Nolte has always mixed starry-eyed romanticism with a ragged punk intensity that separates him from politer power-pop tunesmiths. At this matinee show — stacked with fellow ’77-era veterans The Zeros and The Alley Cats — The Last celebrate the 40th anniversary of their landmark debut album, L.A. Explosion. —Falling James

mon 8/19



We can think of at least two bands that have held the name Automatic (or perhaps The Automatic) over the past couple of decades, but this L.A. post-punk trio might well be the best. Izzy Glaudini (synths, vocals), Lola Dompé (drums, vocals) and Halle Saxon (bass, vocals) are the super-talented women involved, and the debut album, Signal, drops in September. “The album ties together their taste for dub reggae, motorik rhythms, and gnarly synth work inspired by bands like NEU! and Suicide with the eerie atmosphere of films by auteurs like David Lynch and Dario Argento,” reads their press blurb, and that about covers it. They’re playing every Monday in August, so catch at least one of them. —Brett Callwood

Emma Charles (Chase Leonard)

Emma Charles


With her new single, “Scorpio,” Emma Charles manufactures intriguing atmosphere with little more than her guitar and subdued embellishments by producer/multi-instrumentalist Doug Schadt. At the center of the song is the Connecticut native’s quavering voice, which flutters upward serenely through the loneliness and darkness like a beam of radiant light. Charles’ yearning observations about “being on the cusp of Scorpio” are made memorable by a cycling, breathy chorus and subtle hints of romantic mystery. Her 2018 single, “Comfort in the Chaos,” is an aptly titled folk-pop reverie in which Charles’ lulling vocals spin a gentle web that keeps the outside world at bay for a spell. She appears at the Mint’s Hunnypot series, which includes sets from Chris Truent, Down North, and Cheer Up Club. —Falling James

tue 8/20



English pop-R&B singer and songwriter Mabel has been active on the scene since she was only 19, four years ago. In 2017, she put out her debut EP (Bedroom) and her debut mixtape (Ivy to Roses), but this month has finally seen the release of her debut full length album, High Expectations, preceded by two singles — “Don’t Call Me Up” and “Mad Love.” Her career, which had gotten off to a strong start, is now in full stride. This year also saw her nominated for “British Breakthrough Act” at the Brit Awards, so she’s getting the industry recognition that she deserves to match her ever-growing fanbase. No openers announced yet, but it should be a great gig. —Brett Callwood

wed 8/21

Steve Miller (Paul Haggard)

Steve Miller Band 


Blue collar boogie rock at its finest — “The Joker” and “Take the Money and Run” might be the band’s better known songs, but the Steve Miller Band has 17 excellent albums in the arsenal, 2011’s Let Your Hair Down being the most recent. A couple of live albums followed in 2014, and we’ve been waiting for new stuff since then. But this is a band with an amazing back catalog which should mean a great show at the Greek. Members have come and gone over the years, with Miller the only constant. But guitarist Kenny Lee Lewis and drummer Gordy Knudtson have been there since the ’80s, and guitarist Jacob Peterson is the “new boy,” having joined in 2011. It’s a real band, and this will be a really good show. Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives open. —Brett Callwood

thu 8/22



San Fran metallers Skinlab formed in 1994 when former Defiance singer Steev Esquivel hooked up with guitarists Mike Roberts and Gary Wendt, plus drummer Paul Hopkins, and forged ahead with a Machine Head–influenced groove-metal sound that proved popular in the then-massive nu-metal landscape. But that scene pretty much died, and albums sales suffered, so Skinlab split and reformed a couple of times. The current lineup only features Esquivel from that original band, though guitarist Steve “Snake’ Green has been there since ’98. With two fresh faces on board, and no new material since 2011’s The Scars Between Us, we don’t really know what to expect from this show except some heavy riffage. Arrival of Autumn, Luna 13, Humanoid and Gigi & Jake Edgley also play. —Brett Callwood

The Rolling Stones


You can’t always get what you want, but if you can afford the princely ransom necessary to acquire tickets, you’ll get about 20 of the Stones’ more popular standards. (If you’re lucky, you’ll also get a relative rarity like “She’s a Rainbow” or “Monkey Man” instead of generically dreary fillers like “You Got Me Rocking.”) Mick Jagger is still impressively energetic onstage just months after undergoing a heart-valve procedure, although his vocals are more mannered than sincere or soulfully engaging these days. Keith Richards’ once-mighty guitar growl has been sonically reduced to a cleaner, quieter yacht-rock tone on recent tours, while Ron Wood apparently still thinks he’s the new guy as he fumbles his way through Mick Taylor’s parts. Even diminished, the unholy triumvirate of Jagger, Richards and Charlie Watts occasionally let some sparks of the ancient magic fly. —Falling James

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