From Cardi B and the BET Experience to the U.K.’s super-cool Dido, here are 12 of the best music shows in Los Angeles this week.

fri 6/21



Having formed in Hayward up in Alameda County in 1974, the band with the full name of Yesterday and Today put out the self-titled debut and Struck Down sophomore album in the ‘70s, but it was in the big hair days of the ‘80s that saw them really thrive. Albums such as Earthshaker, Black Tiger and Mean Streak saw their profile rise, and then In Rock We Trust put them on the Billboard 200. They took a break in 1991 but were back by ’95, ready to have another go in the brutal backdrop of the ‘90s. The core members have kept the band alive with some impressive releases and a killer live show. The Hard Way, 3TB and As Is also play. —Brett Callwood

Team Dresch (Jake Gravbrot)

Team Dresch


Although Team Dresch have reunited occasionally over the past 15 years since their heyday in the 1990s, it’s still a welcome jolt to hear “Your Hands in My Pockets,” their new single and first new song in nearly two decades. With Donna Dresch’s surging power chords and bassist Jody Bleyle’s yearning vocals, “Your Hands” is a winsome romantic anthem crowned by guitarist Kaia Wilson’s harmonies and driven hard by drummer Marcéo Martinez’s relentless punk energy. Formed in Olympia, Washington, in 1993, Team Dresch have long been a queercore supergroup, with Martinez (Calamity Jane, The Vegas Beat), Wilson (The Butchies, Adickdid), Bleyle (Lovebutt, Hazel, Family Outing, Amy Ray) and Dresch (Phranc, Lois, Some Velvet Sidewalk, Screaming Trees) involved in numerous side projects and riot-grrrl bands. —Falling James

sat 6/22

Lucas Abela 


Remember that time you licked a windowpane when you were a kid?  What might have seemed the strangest stimulus since you sucked on a penny, for Australian artist Lucas Abela that electrifying sensation is both a way of life and a dance with death.  For the better part of 25 years, Abela has traveled the world — sometimes as Justice Yeldham and the Dynamic Ribbon Device, sometimes as Peeled Hearts Paste, sometimes as DJ Smallcock — playing jagged amplified shards of glass with his mouth and face, coming down fast like the greatest avant-garde beat-boxer never born. Captivating, terrifying and transformational, so powerful is his unique and spectacular sonic art that experiencing it will truly change your life — with just the right amount of power, for exactly the right amount of time, in precisely the right way. —David Cotner

Cardi B — BET Experience 


The BET Experience is back and better than ever! Every year, all the hip-hop elites and anyone in the entertainment industry conjoin in Los Angeles for the BET Awards. In addition, concerts and shows take place all day, every day from Thursday, June 20 through Sunday, June 23. This year, the Staples Center show on Saturday sees Cardi B headlining, one of the hottest artists in the rap game, period. In addition to her breakout single “Bodak Yellow,” fans can see Cardi performing her recent cuts: “Please Me” with Bruno Mars, “Press,” “Money,” and more. Migos, Lil Yachty, Lil Baby, City Girls and Trippie Redd will be supporting. —Shirley Ju

sun 6/23

Tashaki Miyaki, Taylor Locke. Jake Troth


An excellent triple bill at Gold Diggers, this one. Local band Tashaki Miyaki formed in 2011 and very quickly found themselves getting some serious attention from publications across the pond such as The Guardian, NME and Mojo — the Brits know their stuff. Clearly influenced by the Laurel Canyon and later paisley underground scenes, The Dream album came out in 2017 and we’re hungry for more. Meanwhile, Taylor Locke will be known to many in this region as the co-founder of and guitarist with Rooney. The title of his debut Time Stands Still was inspired by Kim Fowley, so make of that what you will. Finally, North Carolina man Jake Troth specializes in lyrics that aim straight for the heart. —Brett Callwood

Brass Box (Jenny Rolapp)

mon 6/24

Brass Box 


“I can’t wait till we’re buried in the ground,” singer-bassist Ammo Bankoff confides dreamily against a backdrop of Neil Popkin’s shimmering guitar on “Waves,” from Brass Box’s new album, The Cathedral. The lovely pop idyll is morbidly enchanting, much like the other passages on the record. Such throbbing tracks as “Bats” and “Ivory Skies” marry post-punk darkness with a swirling maelstrom of shoegazer noise. “Surrender” is a romantic entreaty emerging from goth shadows as Bankoff’s beguiling vocals burn through the foggy haze of Popkin’s guitar. Popkin and fellow guitarist Matt Bennett are former members of War Tapes, while drummer Pablo Amador has also played with Popkin in Rituals. As Bankoff’s lulling vocals arc serenely into “the blue mirrors of fantasy” on “Latency,” Brass Box stir up an ominously beautiful backdrop of enchanting sounds. —Falling James

The Slackers 


An intimate, free show from infamous skankers The Slackers at this bar/diner in Santa Ana? Count us in! The Slackers formed in New York in ’91, but such is the popularity of their brand of ska-punk in these parts, perhaps particularly in Orange County, they’ve always had a rabid fanbase here. We’re due some new material, mind. The self-titled 14th (by our count) studio album came out in 2016 and, while the live shows are always riotous affairs, their fresh work rarely disappoints. Frontman Vic Ruggiero has a number of other projects on the go, and that’s always great too, but it’s time for more Slackers. In the meantime, have a meal and watch them in Santa Ana. —Brett Callwood

tue 6/25



At some point, English singer and songwriter Dido because almost as synonymous with “uncool” as Enya. And we can’t really put out finger on the reason. After all, she was a part of the awesome ‘90s British trip-hop scene, thanks in part to her brother Rollo being a member of Faithless. Her song “Thank You” was of course sampled by Eminem on “Stan.” But more important than her connections, her own albums are really beautiful. The debut No Angel, featuring the aforementioned “Thank You,” and the follow-up Life For Rent, are both packed with  heartfelt, electro-roots tunes and, while the next two records didn’t get the same attention, this year’s Still on My Mind proves that she’s back on top of her game. Dido is super-cool, as far as we’re concerned. —Brett Callwood



In spite of this era’s sometimes dark and divisive political climate, Tacocat’s “New World,” from their latest album, This Mess Is a Place, is a surprisingly uplifting tune. “I woke up today and everything was different/Didn’t have to feel bad for a change,” Emily Nokes declares over Eric Randall raining sheets of guitar and Bree McKenna’s rumbling, driving bass lines. Nokes envisions a sunny planet with “No ugly buildings in my eyes/No paperwork, no jerks, no parking tickets.” Tacocat contrast other seemingly breezy pop-punk songs like “Rose-Colored Sky” with less starry-eyed but still engagingly poppy tracks such as “The Joke of Life” and “The Problem.” Tacocat’s tour mates are the local garage-rocking combo The Paranoyds, whose upcoming single on Suicide Squeeze Records, “Trade Our Sins,” blends girl-group vocals engagingly with a suffusion of carny keyboards. —Falling James

Cassandra Violet (Courtesy of the artist)

wed 6/26

Cassandra Violet 


Cassandra Violet is a local singer who wraps her sleekly melodic vocals around a series of ebulliently poppy settings. “Pretty,” from 2017’s EP4, is an aptly titled pop valentine that’s driven by a percussive backing track and Violet’s nimbly rhythmic delivery. She’s positively charming when she pursues an “Invisible Man,” doing everything she can to snag an elusive lover’s attention. “X the Line” is a steamier dance-pop track in which Violet demonstrates that she can still draw attention and retain her melodic poise in a harder-rocking format. “Drinking Song” is a contrastingly funky slice of pure-pop soul that’s brightened by Violet’s persuasively seductive vocals. Unlike other pop singers, Violet is as equally at ease with languid singer-songwriter folk-pop as she is with more upbeat dance music. —Falling James

Watkins Family Hour (Roman Cho)

Watkins Family Hour


It’s time for another edition of The Watkins Family Hour, the unpredictable gathering that mixes bluegrass heartache, folk-rock longing and classic-rock covers by unexpected musical collaborators paired with comedic guest stars. Although the monthly soiree at Largo often features such stellar visitors as Fiona Apple and Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers), the show is carried by Sara and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek. The sibling hosts have their own deep catalogs of songs — both solo and together — and their melodious voices are twined with Sean’s artfully adept acoustic-guitar embellishments and Sara’s expressive fiddling. No two editions of The Watkins Family Hour are ever the same, and it’s difficult to guess about which celebrity pals might drop by this month, but the Watkins’ songs alone are enough to make this a compelling draw. —Falling James

thu 6/27

Judas Priest 


To many, Judas Priest will always be the leather-clad lunks who helped make metal as popular as it would become in the ‘80s thanks to songs like “Breaking the Law,” “Hell Bent For Leather” and “Living After Midnight.” But it’s always worth remembering that when frontman Rob Halford came out of the closet in 1998, he broke down boundaries for those within the ultra-masculine metal world. For those of us who adore metal, Halford will always be a figure worthy of massive praise. The man has a voice unlike anyone else’s (even if Tim “Ripper” Owens gave it a good go when he replaced Halford for a short stint), and last year’s Firepower album proves that the band haven’t lost their touch yet. —Brett Callwood


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