From the engrossing Bat for Lashes and OG punks Agent Orange to alt-collab The Frogs and blues-rockers the Quireboys, here are 12 of the best music shows in Los Angeles this week.
Bat for Lashes
THE THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL
“Lying next to you, we could be on the moon,” Natasha Khan purrs as Bat for Lashes on “Kids in the Dark,” from her 2019 album, Lost Girls. The record is a little more diverse than The Bride, the English singer’s powerfully moody, cathartically melancholic 2016 record of love and tragedy. Lost Girls ranges from the funereal, engrossing incantation “The Hunger” to more bubbly dance-pop tracks like “So Good” and “Feel for You.” At times, the soft, shiny arrangements veer too much toward New Age insubstantiality and generic pop, which makes the relatively stripped-down album-closer, “Mountains,” all the more vulnerably affecting. Khan’s earnest if cloying vocals can’t rescue a cover of Don Henley’s banal “The Boys of Summer,” but Bat for Lashes’ new live EP of the same name is buoyed by intimate versions of “Daniel” and “Desert Man.” —Falling James
THE DOLL HUT
This will be the second Friday residency through February at the “world famous” Doll Hut for early O.C. surf-skate-hardcore-punks Agent Orange, so they should be nice and fired up for this one. It’s been a hot minute since their last studio album, 1996’s Virtually Indestructible, with frontman Mike Palm telling us three years ago that he doesn’t take the release of a new body of work lightly. He doesn’t waver. “There may have been some slight changes along the way, but the genre that I chose and the way I chose to present my sound is somewhat unique,” he said back then. Good to know. On the 14th, Agent Orange will be joined by Chuy Poluka & the BarRoom Junkies, The Afraid, H.B.H. and VFMS.—Brett Callwood
Since ’96, Danish psychobilly punks have been putting on a manic show thanks to awesome frontwoman Patricia Day and bassist Kim Nekroman (also of the Nekromantix). It’s been 12 years since the last album — 2008’s Kiss Kiss Kill Kill — and hopefully that will be put right soon. But still, there are few ’billy bands in the punk spectrum that put a show at eminently watchable as the HorrorPops. Mind you, Patricia Day made the news in 2010 when she claimed that the Hard Rock Cafe and Mattel toys were selling a rockabilly-themed Barbie doll that looked exactly like her without her permission. Oh well — imitation is the greatest form of flattery. —Brett Callwood
McCABE’S GUITAR SHOP
“I ain’t the girl next door, I’m no good,” Sunny War warns on her 2018 single “Age of a Man.” The song unfolds like a riddle as the local singer-guitarist plucks a hypnotic riff underneath coolly mesmerizing vocals, with an occasional splash of salty, rueful horns. After growing up in Michigan and Tennessee, Sydney Ward moved west and ended up living and playing on the streets of San Diego and San Francisco. She’s one of the rare modern artists who make the blues relevant and unpredictable, perhaps in part because a punk-rock ethos infuses her solo work as Sunny War and in her punk-blues duo Anus Kings. Ward contrasts the fatalistic blues of “My Sweet Demise” with an acoustic cover of The Clash’s “Lovers Rock,” on Particle War, her 2019 split LP with psychedelic folkie Particle Kid. —Falling James
WHISKY A GO GO
In the U.K. in the late ’80s and early ’90s, The Quireboys were generally tied in to the hair metal crowd, but like The Black Crowes and even Great White, they were in fact an excellent blues-rock band with a Faces vibe. Frontman Spike was compared to Rod Stewart a lot back then, but The Quireboys ignored all that and put out a couple of stunning albums — 1990’s A Bit of What You Fancy and 1993’s Bitter Sweet & Twisted — before taking a well-earned break. In 2001, they returned with the This is Rock ’n’ Roll album, and since then they’ve put a string of excellent full-lengthers. Last year’s Amazing Disgrace is the latest, and it’s prompted a long awaited return to these shores (where they’re often referred to as the London Quireboys — we’re not gonna do that because it looks insane). D-Day, DarkHorse Rising, RDG, Civil Strife and Charlie Bonnet also play. —Brett Callwood
A lot of bands combine garage-rock influences with punk-rock energy, but The Paranoyds do it in distinctive ways that go beyond mere nostalgia on their 2019 album, Carnage Bargain. The primal guitar riff of “Girlfriend Degree” might evoke early Kinks, but singer-guitarist Lexi Funston takes Ray Davies sarcasm once step further when she declares that she’s not waiting around for a man to come home and define her: “Is it shocking that I don’t want to please? I’m not another girlfriend groupie.” On the punk-rock burst “Heather Doubtfire,” singer-bassist Staz Lindes intones, “I will have what I want,” before the song culminates in a sludgy, grungy ending lit up by Laila Hashemi’s momentously gloomy sheets of organ. “Bear” is a similarly convulsive hard-rock epic that shifts into psychedelic overdrive with a relentless heaviness. —Falling James
Valentine’s Love Jam
Awwww, it’s a Valentine’s Love Jam at the Forum, which means a perfect opportunity to take your boo to a super-romantic show. Yeah, it’s a couple of days late but don’t get bogged down in the details. Have a swanky meal, buy some flowers and then get on over to Inglewood to see Tyrese, Joe, Ginuwine, Avant, Dru Hill and Brownstone. Tyrese Gibson knows how to please adrenalin junkie dudes with the Transformers and Fast and the Furious movies, but he dials down the testosterone with R&B smoochies such as “Sweet Lady.” Identity Theft, his seventh studio album, is on the way. Joe Lewis Thomas, known simply as Joe, dropped the “Lay You Down” single last year, while former Swing Mob man Ginuwine has a new project, Same Ol’ G… the Bachelor, in the works. It’ll all make for a uniquely romantic experience. —Brett Callwood
Tan Cologne, Secret Flowers
Guitarist Michael Hentz and drummer Jacquelyn Sky blend their voices soothingly as lead guitarist David Greening and bassist Abraham Rodriguez-Smith stir together slow-moving passages on Secret Flowers’ 2019 single “In Waves.” The L.A. group’s new single, “Uneven Path,” is adorned with shimmering, watery guitar echoes as Hentz croons in a soft murmur against the icing of Sky’s breathy harmonies. While the song progresses unhurriedly, the guitars build with a bit of psychedelic intensity even as Sky’s and Hentz’s vocals remained airy and restrained underneath. Taos artist Marissa Macias and Mirror Travel’s Lauren Green also trade in slow and shadowy spaces as Tan Cologne on their upcoming release, Cave Vaults on the Moon in New Mexico. The dreamily unwinding title track wallows in a sea of reverb, much like Tan Cologne’s gentle, enigmatic hymn to a “Strange God.” —Falling James
In recent years, Yuja Wang has swept through the Southland in a variety of formats, from playing in a duo with violinist Leonidas Kavakos to taking on Tchaikovsky’s second piano concerto with the Russian National Orchestra. The past two seasons with her longtime collaborators L.A. Philharmonic, the high-flying Chinese pianist has avoided the traditional canon altogether and focused on pumping out the driving, madly engaging avant-blues riffs of Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?, a febrile piano concerto written for her by John Adams. This time around, though, Wang will have no safety net as she performs a relatively rare local solo recital in which she’ll alternate mazurkas by Chopin with intermezzos by Brahms before unlocking the more peculiar mysteries of Scriabin, Ravel and Alban Berg. —Falling James
The Frogs formed in Milwaukee in 1980 when brothers Jimmy and Dennis Flemion discovered a shared love of short, quirky, pop-rock tunes plus comedic, improvised songs of a sexually-charged nature. The Frogs influenced a ton of artists across the rock & roll spectrum, and Jimmy Flemion even joined Skid Row man Sebastian Bach’s touring band at one point. This will be The Frogs’ first tour since Dennis, a one-time touring member of the Smashing Pumpkins, passed away in 2012, and Jimmy will be joined by Lemonheads mainman Evan Dando on drums. That’s a lot of odd ingredients for what will surely be an interesting evening as Jimmy seeks to honor his late and beloved brother. —Brett Callwood
Andy Shauf is a Canadian singer-songwriter best known for his 2016 breakthrough, The Party. A concept album that traces the events of a single evening, The Party proved Shauf a keen observer and literate storyteller who cleverly incorporates snippets of dialogue in his reflective, often bittersweet songwriting. Shauf’s latest record, The Neon Skyline, released in January, shares a similar narrative with The Party: This time we’re at a bar, the singer is having beers with a buddy and reminiscing about his ex — and then she walks in. The Neon Skyline’s vignettes and character studies are every bit The Party’s equal and the album features somewhat fuller production; it will likely find its way onto many year-end lists. —Matt Miner
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
This show has been moved to Thursday, March 19.
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