From “oracle of your secrets” Chelsea Wolfe and bossa nova artists Bebel Gilberto & Sergio Mendes to goofy punks Guttermouth and queen of twerk Big Freedia, here are 12 of the best music shows in Los Angeles this week.

fri 11/15

Chelsea Wolfe (John Crawford)

Chelsea Wolfe


“All my old ways have started kickin’ in, and my bad days are comin’ round again/Left here in American darkness,” Chelsea Wolfe discloses somberly on her latest album, Birth of Violence. Despite the record’s title, Birth is relatively restrained, more folkie than metallic, compared to the wraithlike singer’s earlier albums. The Sacramento native describes herself as an “oracle of your secrets” as she sifts through romantic but funereal passages. The album’s title track might not be violent — at least musically — but Wolfe’s tremulous entreaties soar over a landscape of desolate longing and loss. “Deranged for Rock & Roll” also belies its title, as it’s no typical rock party anthem. Instead, the slow, doom-ridden acoustic ballad is layered with momentous sound effects, twisted guitars and Wolfe’s sullenly passionate vocal imprecations. —Falling James

sat 11/16

Bebel Gilberto (Vincente de Paulo)

Bebel Gilberto & Sergio Mendes


Bossa nova — the Brazilian music genre that fuses jazz, blues and samba and which most people know from the smash hit “The Girl From Ipanema” — is a genre that is as timeless as it is joyous. Countless nights have been danced away to the dulcet tuneage of bossa nova brilliance, and untold numbers of babies have been conceived under its deeply romantic influence. With the death of bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto this past July, tonight’s 60th Anniversary of Bossa Nova — starring daughter Bebel Gilberto and lifelong friend Sergio Mendes — will likely be one of the most poignant dance numbers you’ll experience all year. A somber samba? Only if you feel the weight of those decades on your shoulders and not the rhythms that move you beyond all earthly concerns such as still believing in time. —David Cotner

Letters to Cleo


With their cloying melodies and saccharine lyrics, holiday songs often end up being unrelentingly depressing and soulless, but Letters to Cleo switch things up on their new EP, OK Christmas. The music is anything but sappy as the Boston group bash their way through a punky remake of The Kinks’ Xmess anthem “Father Christmas,” with lead singer Kay Hanley effusively singing such sarcastic Ray Davies lyrics as “Father Christmas, give us some money/Don’t mess around with those silly toys/We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over.” Along with covers of holiday songs by The Dogmatics and Elvis Presley, Letters to Cleo melt hearts with a new original power-pop anthem, “Miss You This Christmas,” in which Hanley (the singing voice of the title character in 2001’s Josie and the Pussycats) purrs radiantly, her vocals bookended by cheery bells. —Falling James

Midnite Communion VI 


Doom metal is a genre that is adept at achieving a strong balance between musical beauty and musical brutality. The annual Midnite Communion shows — now in their sixth year — are unique celebrations of the genre that augment and complement the musical heaviness with equally compelling expressions of visual art. A rare Los Angeles appearance from Chicago sludge-masters Indian and the caustic death/doom of Moreno Valley crushers Trapped Within Burning Machinery will headline the musical portion with a rumble that will test the structural integrity of Catch One’s foundation, while visual artists from within the Los Angeles underground art/metal scenes and from all over the country will be displaying pieces and installations that match the haunting aura of the music, shrouding event-goers in aural and visual darkness. —Jason Roche

sun 11/17



At least with Guttermouth, they’ve always put their intentions front and center with that band name. Nobody can listen to a band called Guttermouth and then express shock when they hear vulgar and insensitive lyrics. The Huntington Beach band formed in 1988 and they have nine albums to their name, though at the time of writing the most recent remains 2009’s Shave the Planet (the Got it Made EP came out in 2016). So they’re about due another full-lengther, although the world has changed dramatically since they were last on the circuit. Does the world still want songs with titles like “Cram it Up Your Ass?” Does the world perhaps need a band with such blatant disregard for political correctness? You decide. —Brett Callwood

The Rubinoos


Much like The Flamin’ Groovies, The Rubinoos began in 1970, playing short, poppy Beatlesque power-pop tunes in an era dominated by hippie jam bands. The Berkeley group were considered terribly unhip at the time as reveled in their love of bubblegum melodies and garage-rock structures on such tracks as “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” (not the Ramones song) and a remake of Tommy James & the Shondells’ “I Think We’re Alone Now.” The band started to make more of an impression once the power-pop and punk scenes sprouted up in the late ’70s. Produced by Green on Red’s Chuck Prophet, The Rubinoos’ latest album, From Home, is a collection of lovelorn pop songs whose best moments range from the surging, euphoric harmonies of “Do You Remember” to the garage-rocking drive of “Honey From the Honeycombs.” —Falling James

mon 11/18 

Young Thug peforms for fans at the Observatory.; Credit: Christina Craig

Young Thug (Christina Craig)

Young Thug/Machine Gun Kelly 


Every girl’s crazy about a smart dressed man, we’re told. Therefore every girl must be crazy about Young Thug, the rapper from Atlanta, Georgia, with the unique vocal style and elaborate dress sense. He’s on a prolific run too; he dropped the So Much Fun debut studio full-lengther in August, and the follow-up is already being prepped for this year, apparently titled Punk. When you’re hot, you’re hot. Meanwhile, fresh from his run-ins with Eminem and a turn as Tommy Lee in the Motley Crue biopic The Dirt, Cleveland’s Machine Gun Kelly has his own new album to promote. Hotel Diablo came out in July and showcases the outspoken personality’s rapid-fire delivery. This should make for a great double bill. —Brett Callwood

Allison Moorer


“There’s something about them that holds the memory of hers,” Allison Moorer writes in her new book, Blood: A Memoir, as she compares the shape of her hands with her late mother’s, “much like my face holds expressions that she would’ve made with her own.” The country singer traces such tactile memories back to the tragic death of her mother, who was killed by her father, who then killed himself, when she and her sister Shelby Lynne were teenagers. In the evocatively detailed memoir and a related, poignant new album, Blood, Moorer attempts to make sense of the unknowable with a rare form of contemplative grace mixed at times with fiery determination. She discusses her book with Lynne at Book Soup on Monday and performs with her husband Hayes Carll at the Grammy Museum on Wednesday, November 20. —Falling James

tue 11/19

Sammy Hagar (Leah Steiger)

Sammy Hagar 


Former Montrose and Van Halen man Sammy Hagar recently had to cancel his High Tide Beach Party at Huntington Beach at the last minute because of city/permit issues, which was a shame, but fans can maybe calm themselves with this intimate appearance at the Grammy Museum. Just prior to that festival-that-wasn’t, Hagar told us that, “We’re planning another real tour. I found that I can still do it, and at my age I don’t know how much longer I’ll still be good. As long as I have that, I need to work more. I’m not gonna charge people to come and see me and not be excellent. And I’m still excellent. So I’ll book another tour with the Circle, and maybe release a live album. I’m stepping it up. I don’t need money, fortune or fame so let me go out and do this for all the right reasons while I still can. That’s the way I started — because I love it.” Good to know. —Brett Callwood

Pip Blom


Pip Blom are band an intriguing from Amsterdam who mix their indie-rock songs with elements of grunge, pop, punk and alternative rock. Pip Blom is also the name of the Dutch group’s singer-guitarist, who is a charming presence at the center of the band’s shifts from jangling pop into heavier punk. She wrestles with “Daddy Issues” amid slicing chords and a sing-along chorus before switching gears on the swirling, jangling verse melodies of “Don’t Make It Difficult,” which shifts into a driving grunge chorus. “I woke up with a voice in my head,” Blom on the dreamy-sleepy ode “Bedhead,” and her own beguiling voice will likely linger in the listener’s head as she and her bandmates Gini Cameron (drums), Darek Mercks (bass) and Pip’s brother Tender Blom (guitar) tie these melodies together with youthful energy. —Falling James

wed 11/20

Big Freedia 


New Orleans queen of bounce and twerk Big Freedia recently told us that she’s not in any hurry to put out a new full length album — what would be the follow up to 2014’s Just be Free — as she’s all about EPs right now. That, she says, is where the world is at. Quick-fire, shorter, releases that satisfy fans in lightning bursts. Well, good. Last year’s 3rd Ward Bounce, a reference to the projects in New Orleans that served as her childhood home, was a wonderfully fun release. Bounce music was, for a long time, a sub-genre of hip-hop so underground, it was practically filthy. Big Freedia has changed that, while retaining some glorious dirt. And live, she’s a party. —Brett Callwood

thu 11/21

Bloc Party (Rachael Wright)

Bloc Party 


It’s crazy that English indie rockers Bloc Party formed in 1999, but thems are the facts. That said, the Londoners’ debut album, Silent Alarm, didn’t come out until 2005. That album included the song “Positive Tension,” one of the best indie anthems of that decade with its blistering cry of “Why’d you have to get so fucking useless.” The band’s blend of electronic music and pop in what was a quickly stagnating Brit indie scene woke everyone up. The most recent album is 2016’s Hymns, but this tour will see them performing that debut in its entirety. That should make for a special night, as Silent Alarm sounds as fresh today as it did a decade and a half years ago. —Brett Callwood

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