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12 of the Best Music Shows This Week in L.A. - LA Weekly

From experimental dance musicians L.A.Drones and pop act Itzy to classically trained percussionist Moritz von Oswald and puppet rockers Green Jello, here are 12 of the best music shows in Los Angeles this week.

fri 1/17

Itzy

THE NOVO

Itzy are the latest pop confection served by JYP Entertainment, the South Korean entertainment company that has discovered and molded such pop acts as Stray Kids, 2PM, Rain and JJ Project. Several of Itzy’s singers have appeared in JYP Entertainment’s various television series, and all the band members — Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong and Yuna — have also been featured in the pop reality show Stray Kids. Given Itzy’s prefab origins, it’s not surprising that their music is supremely escapist, fizzy, lighthearted and danceable. The tracks on their 2019 EP, It’z Icy, range from the frenetic, mechanized pop of “Icy” to more seductive and languorous interludes such as “Cherry,” which mixes dreamy pop with militantly cute rapping. Itzy appear at the Novo on their debut U.S. tour. —Falling James

sat 1/18

L.A.Drones, The Centimeters

ZEBULON

L.A.Drones are experimental dance-music insurrectionists composed of Mr. Pablo (vocals, saxophone, programming) and Darlingtonia Brackets (vocals, synthesizers). The duo manufacture arty electronic passages that they say are influenced by everything from Terry Riley–style minimalism, The Velvet Underground’s fuzzy subversion and Krautrock explorations to techno, acid house and dub reggae. On their 2019 full-length album, I Can’t Stop to Dance This Shit, Ms. Bracket and Mr. Pablo exchange whispery confidences against a backdrop of bubbling new-wave beats and synthesized artifice, including a charmingly daft Spanish-language makeover of Brian Eno’s “Baby’s on Fire.” The bill also includes a relatively rare performance by The Centimeters, the ’90s L.A. band fronted by Max Gomberg and Nora Keyes (Fancy Space People), who twist together outré cabaret-pop fixations and bent melodies with utterly strange layers of noise, art, darkness and sonic mystery. Plus Toucan. —Falling James

Poison the Well 

EL REY

Miami metalcore outfit Poison the Well has been around, off and on, for about 23 years. Their commercial peak, if such a band achieves such a thing, was reached in 2003 when the You Come Before You album was put out on Atlantic Records. By 2007’s Versions, they were back on an indie label (Jersey’s Ferret) and the most recent full-lengther is 2009’s The Tropic Rot. All excellent albums by the way. But that preceded a hiatus, starting in 2010, with the various members working with bands such as Senses Fail and Sleigh Bells. Since 2015, Poison the Well has performed sporadically, so every chance to see them is worth grabbing. At the El Rey, they’ll perform the Opposite of December album in its entirety. Cult Leader and In the Whale also play. —Brett Callwood

sun 1/19

Elbow 

THE WILTERN

A key, though often understated, element in the ‘90s Britpop scene, Bury, Manchester’s Elbow formed in 1997 —åalthough Guy Garvey, Craig Potter, Mark Potter and Pete Turner have been playing together since 1990. The Asleep in the Back debut came out in 2001 on Virgin subsidiary V2, and the band earned a respectable fanbase from there. They’ve never gone away, in fact, putting out a string of dreamy, proggy indie rock records. The most recent is last year’s Giants of All Sizes — an album heavily influenced by the ongoing Brexit debacle as well as the Grenfell Tower fire in London which killed 72 people. Expect all of that and more at the Wiltern. Jesca Hoop also plays. —Brett Callwood

mon 1/20

WASI

The Satellite

Creating a “soundtrack to those SoCal nights of skinny dipping and angsty garage-punk shows,” WASI are fronted by Buena Park’s Merilou Salazar and Jessie Meehan. The music on their 2019 album, Riot Pop, lives up to its title by combining effusive, sugary pop melodies and a garage-rock mindset with provocative, rebellious lyrics and hip-hop production. “So here’s to renegades living off the rice and beans … Are we even close to fix a broken system?” they ask on the slinky indie-pop anthem “Pussy Grabs Back.” WASI shift into a spacey and pulsating groove on the autobiographical statement of purpose “What Is Riot Pop?” As part of the group’s free Monday-night residency in January at the Satellite, WASI will be accompanied by thoroughly charming special guests Lucy & La Mer; plus, Plasmic, Xkylar, Ghost Tense and a DJ set by Polar/Bear (with Polartropica and Minibear). —Falling James

Samantha Sidley, Alex Lilly

ZEBULON

For all its musical expansiveness, jazz is, paradoxically, one of the most conservative of music genres. Women, gays and trans people still struggle to find acceptance in the male-dominated jazz scene (there is at least one longstanding jazz club in L.A. where months go by before a female musician or singer is allowed to appear on its stage), and much of what’s considered modern jazz often turns out to be fatally nostalgic background music for diners and shoppers. Samantha Sidley’s 2019 debut album, Interior Person, is startling not because she’s radically experimenting with new sonic ideas but because the proudly lesbian L.A. vocalist upends romantic jazz-pop tradition by infusing it with long-missing tolerance and empathy. Sidley purrs such witty and melodically engaging tunes as “I Like Girls” and “Butterfly in My Ass” with remarkable phrasing and charisma. Plus, Alex Lilly, who wrote some of the songs on Interior Person. —Falling James

tue 1/21

Laurie Anderson, Christian McBride & Rubin Kodheli

DISNEY HALL

Any appearance by either violinist Laurie Anderson or bassist Christian McBride should be cherished, but to hear them together — accompanied by cellist Rubin Kodheli — is potentially an even more special event. Anderson is the avant-garde musician-artist who — beyond “O Superman,” the 1981 breakthrough song that startlingly merged the worlds of technology, art and pop music — has always restlessly ignored the boundaries of genre to create music (and even musical instruments) that is unusual, expressive, and ultimately hopeful and humanist. As a musician, educator and radio host, McBride has alternated his straight-ahead jazz revitalizations with forays into pop and classical music. In recent years, Anderson, McBride and Kodheli have joined forces for wildly improvisational games like “Play the Image,” in which they take audience suggestions to evoke such merriment as a UFO landing and James Brown taking a yoga class. —Falling James

Reverend Horton Heat (Timothy Norris)

Reverend Horton Heat 

ALEX’S BAR

For three decades the Reverend Horton Heat has been raising a ruckus with its rockabilly-meets-county-meets-punk party music, with frontman Jim Heath holding countless audiences in the palm of his hand like a TV evangelist. Heath is the consummate rock & roll entertainer, and age hasn’t dulled his passion for his work. Not the performing part, anyway. The group is playing on Tuesday and Wednesday in Long Beach, possibly playing a lot of songs from 2018’s Whole New Life. This band averages an album every four years, so there’s blood to be gotten from that record yet. The Buttertones and Deke Dickerson also play. —Brett Callwood

wed 1/22

Hurricane 

WHISKEY A GO GO

Hard rockers Hurricane have often been considered a bit of a feeder band for bigger groups, but that’s a tad unfair. Yes, original singer Kelly Hansen now fronts Foreigner and yes, two of the band are the younger brothers of dudes from Quiet Riot. But albums such as Over the Edge (1988) and Slave to the Thrill (1990) proved that this band had real chops and could pen a great tune — not least the “Over the Edge” and “Dance Little Sister” singles. Nowadays, with Hansen filling Lou Gramm’s shoes, Michael O’Mara has the vocal duties with Hurricane, but no doubt those old tunes will sound great at the Whisky. Tracy Grave, Red Riot, Alive, Pawns in Chess and Days Out also play. —Brett Callwood

thu 1/23

Moritz von Oswald (Outer)

Moritz von Oswald 

ZEBULON

Moritz von Oswald is a classically trained percussionist and former member of the 1980s German post-punk band Palais Schaumburg. In the early ’90s, von Oswald became a central figure in Berlin’s nascent techno scene, which revolved around the now legendary and still operational Tresor nightclub. Through his production work for Tresor’s record label, along with Thomas Fehlmann (who also played in Palais Schaumburg), von Oswald established crucial relationships with Detroit techno innovators such as Juan Atkins, Robert Hood and Jeff Mills. Von Oswald also co-founded the seminal production duo and label Basic Channel with Mark Ernestus, pioneering the dub techno and minimal techno subgenres in the process. This evening, von Oswald performs his new live show, titled Akklamation. DJ Matt McDermott opens the night. —Matt Miner

Green Jelly; Credit: BIll Manspeaker

Green Jelly (BIll Manspeaker)

Green Jelly 

WHISKY A GO GO

In a world where everything seems to be ultra serious all the time, when politics are toxic and people struggle to even talk to each other anymore, there’s a case to be made that a band like Green Jelly is absolutely essential to the survival of the human race. A band that takes nothing seriously, a band that is barely even a band at all due to the fact that mainman Bill Manspeaker takes his show and costumes around the world and recruits musicians in every town and city. The biggest surprise, and joy, is that they’re connected to the way-more-serious Tool through Danny Carey. It’s no accident that their 2009 album was called Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By. You’ve got to love them. Budderside, AA-K and Eponymous Charlie also play. —Brett Callwood