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Easy Like Thursday Morning

{mosimage}If you forgot to get tickets for the Raconteurs show Wednesday night, or spent that cash on fine chocolate and a cheap-ass pedicure, relax! You probably made the right choice! The men-children of the indie-garage-pop supergroup are doing an incredibly cute morning-after set at Amoeba Records in Hollywood! Dig ’em free & easy Thursday morning (6/8) at 11 a.m. . . . Also in the incredibly cute category, our friends at A Prairie Home Companion return to L.A. Friday (6/2) with an evening under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl. Awww. . . (Last time, our spies spotted Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal snogging through the whole show. Super-awwww.) But wait — things get ever so much more cuter (yes) and free (yes yes) Tuesday night when L.A. bubblegum-garage girls The Holograms play the Key Club. (We heard Little Steven recently named their ditty “Are You Ready for It” the Coolest Song in the World in Billboard mag or summat) . . . Oh shit, almost forgot: Creation Records mastermind Alan McGee guest DJs Sunday night (6/4) at Part Time Punks at the Echo (see Diggin’ Your Scene for the full scoop). . . . And finally, “Foreigner,” featuring exactly one original member (Mick Jones), plays Thursday (6/8) at the Roxy. John Bonham’s son Jason plays drums. We thought you should know. (Kate Sullivan)


Jane Wiedlin, Colin Hay, The Motels, Tommy Tutone at the Viper Room

If you’ve been comatose for the past 25 years, here’s a news flash: The torn-shirt Kirk of the ’80s was violently overthrown by the Ensign Richards (episode 70, uncredited) of sloth and grunge. To revive one and all, Sidewinder Music’s compilation ’80s Hits Stripped offers acoustic versions of Reagan-era pop songs stripped to their essences. You’ll hear Go-Go Jane Wiedlin perform “Our Lips are Sealed” (complete with fluffy-bird vocals during the breakdown) and witness the doomed elegance of the Motels’ “Only the Lonely” while Tommy Tutone faithfully performs “867-5309/Jenny” — an area-code-by-area-code test of which lies here: “And more” is the watchword for hits taking you back to a time when you sat in front of MTV for hours, fingers hovering nervously over the “record/play” combo on yonder Betamax. (David Cotner)

Theo & the Skyscrapers at the Knitting Factory

{mosimage}Fans who miss the garishly theatrical spectacle of Theo Kogan’s old NYC punk band the Lunachicks should enjoy this tattooed Valkyrie’s return to rock action with the self-titled debut CD on Morpheus Records by her latest project, Theo & the Skyscrapers. While the Skyscrapers aren’t as militantly goofy and quirkily in-your-face as the Lunachicks, they ruthlessly hammer down crunchy hard-rock slabs such as “Doppelganger Death Disco” and “Lay ’Em Out” and coat them in a glittery sheen. The Toilet Boys’ Sean Pierce, who draped Kogan’s breathily restrained vocals in a gauzy pop veil on her underrated and surprisingly subdued 2002 solo CD, Theo, amps things up here with surging guitars and spacy keyboard flourishes. It’s a genuine thrill to hear Kogan serenely belting out majestic tunes like “Not Alone” with her trademark goddess-on-the-mountaintop power. The heavy-rock storminess subsides briefly for the jaunty swagger of “Red Shoes,” where Kogan wraps herself up in Dimitry Makhnovsky’s intricate thicket of dub bass as her magic dancing shoes whisk her away into the ether. (Falling James)


{mosimage}Hank Williams III & Assjack, The Murder Junkies at the Roxy

Hank III has a hell of a lot more going on than a trunkful of Granddaddy’s songs, and very little of it is old-timey honky-tonk. Touring with the Murder Junkies, the final backup band for the late shock-punk live-wire GG Allin, it’s safe to expect that III’s fetish for underworld trash and thrash “hellbilly” rock mayhem — which he excels in with his brain-pulping Assjack band — will be paraded in all its scabrous glory. Even when he keeps it (non–Hank Sr.) country, III tends toward the dark and druggy (get a load of the marathon “Louisiana Stripes,” on the second disc of his current Straight to Hell release; it’s a punishing, narco-satanico concept-montage spree of unparalleled ambition). The family tradition just keeps getting weirder. (Jonny Whiteside)

People Under the Stairs at the Troubadour

Hip-hoppers whose attitude falls somewhere between “Up With People” and “Everyday People,” People Under the Stairs — named after Wes Craven’s bizarre filmic parable of white oppression in the inner city — began when Mike Turner (Double K) and Chris Portugal (Thes One) met in the mid-’90s and played out their complex weapons-grade rhymes interlaced with barely recognized samples rocking the house nonetheless. They’re back, touring the U.S. with new material from the album Stepfather — possibly named for the 1987 slasher starring Terry O’Quinn from Lost — with solid rhythms delivering the groove anywhere from the DMV line to truckin’ down the street to the beat and avoiding the cracks because you’re good to your mama like that. Also tonight: Gym Class Heroes, Psalm One and longtime wild Stairs associates Time Machine. (David Cotner)


{mosimage}Pretty Girls Make Graves at El Rey Theater

You might expect a band called Pretty Girls Make Graves to be some dodgy goth or grindcore-metal outfit, but this Seattle quintet (named after a Jack Kerouac line quoted in a Smiths song) show an unexpectedly poppy side on their third full-length CD, Élan Vital (Matador). New member Leona Marrs imbues “The Nocturnal House” with haunting melodica echoes, casting a veil of mystery over Andrea Zollo’s plaintive vocals, and “Pyrite Pedestal” is coated with sweetly chiming femme harmonies and playtime keyboard figures. J. Clark’s zooming, skyrocketing guitars sound big and majestic on “Wildcat,” while the groove is locked down tight with Derek Fudesco’s dub-like bass and Nick Dewitt’s marching drums. Trumpets sprout wailing on the murky instrumental interlude “The Magic Hour,” and Clark’s guitar spirals fuzzily over the shiny disco-funk of “Domino.” When Zollo cheerfully declares, “We’re throwing down our push brooms,” on the striking-workers anthem “Parade,” even the most apathetic goth is likely to fall in line behind her. (Falling James)

Arctic Monkeys, We Are Scientists at the Wiltern

“All you people are vampires,” Arctic Monkeys front man Alex Turner sneers on the young English band’s ultrahyped debut. It’s a sentiment at least one of Turner’s band mates can agree with: Not even six months on from the U.K. release of Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, bassist Andy Nicholson has bowed out of the Monkeys’ current North American tour, citing the exhaustion induced by having one’s blood sucked dry by the music industry. Openers We Are Scientists know about blood-sucking, too: They’ve been on tour pretty much all year in support of With Love and Squalor, the Brooklyn dance-rock act’s major-label debut, on which singer Keith Murray tells aspiring vampires that “if you wanna use my body, go for it.” (Mikael Wood)

Ice Cube, Tha Dogg Pound at House of Blues

“Every ’hood’s the same,” spits Ice Cube on his bangin’ single “Why We Thugs” off the upcoming album Laugh Now, Cry Later. Yes, Los Angeles is tribal land, and gangstas do have gatherings of the tribes. One such confederation is Tha Dogg Pound, with young warriors Daz Dillinger and Kurupt Young Gotti, opening up for the rap elder Ice Cube, who’s been holding it down since the ’80s O.G. gangsta group N.W.A. Snoop Dogg’s rappin’ nephews Tha Dogg Pound, who came out like a Lakota Mastino on the 1995 multiplatinum Dogg Food are back with a hard new album, Cali Iz Active, featuring Ice Cube. The prophecy is coming true: L.A. neighborhoods are unifying, and the West Coast “G” sound is back! (Ben Quiñones)


Kool Keith at the Knitting Factory

Hip-hop’s reigning eccentric, Kool Keith, is back in record stores this month with The Return of Dr. Octagon, an unexpected follow-up to the landmark psych-rap album he made 10 years ago with Dan the Automator, the Bay Area beatmeister who went on to produce the first Gorillaz CD. By Keith’s deranged standards, Return is surprisingly lucid: Though he makes a halfhearted attempt at reinhabiting the creepy-doc character introduced on the first Octagon disc, Keith mostly drops goofy stream-of-consciousness rhymes over bright electro-squelch tracks constructed by a German production trio called One Watt Sun. Still, a relatively stable Kool Keith album in no way guarantees a relatively stable Kool Keith show. This guy’s been known to stretch the limits of live rap, so come prepared for anything. (Mikael Wood)


Bruce Springsteen at the Greek Theater

There’ll be no E-Street extravaganza when the Bruce Springsteen caravan rolls into town. Instead, his new 17-piece ensemble is a veritable folk flotilla, filled with banjos, violins, accordions, trumpets and tubas. This barnstorming hootenanny is all in support of his latest release, the vibrantly heartfelt We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. While the album’s Pete Seeger songbook gems (“Jesse James,” “Pay Me My Money Down”) have dominated the tour’s set lists, Springsteen also has been including such old-time tunes as “Long Black Veil” and “When the Saints Go Marching In” as well as some reworked back-catalog numbers like “Open All Night” and “Johnny 99.” Although a political undercurrent ripples through the material, there’s a wonderfully relaxed, joyful quality to Springsteen’s music that turns the concert into one huge campfire sing-along. Minus the “Kumbaya.” (Michael Berick)


El Vez, Rudy Ray Moore, 45 Grave, Glenn Danzig at the Henry Fonda Theater

While the actual ramifications of the sinister 666 on your calendar are nigh on impossible to gauge, it’s a boffo potent rallying point for this ultra-bizarro confluence of performers. Touted as “a tribute to evil,” and assembled by some individuals with a nominal, if blood dubious, connection to pop theologist/Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey, this mix of hot heresy and hellbent big beat looks to be quite the poisonous diversion. With officiation by “our sinister minister,” El Vez (taking a refreshing vacation from his fizz-and-glitz payaso shtick), and the death-punk fury of Dinah Cancer’s 45 Grave, diminutive devil worshipper Glenn Danzig, and, best of all, Rudy Ray Moore, the deliriously funny, foul-mouthed devil’s son-in-law, attendees’ immortal souls are guaranteed to burn in hell for all eternity. (Jonny Whiteside)

{mosimage}The Charlatans UK at Avalon

The Charlatans UK are best enjoyed late at night, preferably while driving beneath smeared city lights, preferably alone. Yep, then their shuffling rhythms, suggestive bass lines, psychedelic loitering Hammond and Tim Burgess’ semi-detached, eyelids-fluttering vocals become a vivid urban soundtrack. When they first appeared in early-’90s Blighty, Charlatans UK seemed like “baggy” tail-enders (then again, so did Blur). Yet, by embracing Britpop and techno trappings, they’ve prevailed through imprisonment, crippling depression and the death of original keys-man Rob Collins, remaining both credible and commercially viable while their Madchester peers felt fashion’s lash. Inspiration’s stars don’t quite line up on their newly released Simpatico album as they did on 2001’s L.A.-enamored Wonderland, but Charlatans UK — druggy without being disheveled, artsy yet from the streets — still offer a uniquely slanted monument on Stones foundations. (Paul Rogers)


The Raconteurs at the Henry Fonda Theater

More than a mere side/vanity project, the Raconteurs are the sonic brainchild of modern-rock wunderkind Brendon Benson, acclaimed front man/composer-producer Jack White (the White Stripes), devilishly deft drummer Patrick Keeler and überserpentine bass guitarist Jack Lawrence (the latter both from the Greenhornes). The perpetually prolific Benson and White wrote the infectious “Steady, as She Goes” and brought Keeler and Lawrence (who performed rhythm-section duties on Loretta Lynn’s Grammy-winning Van Lear Rose) into the mix. One year, hundreds of hours and 10 songs later, Broken Boy Soldiers, a pastiche of hard, modern and progressive rock (with sly dashes of radio-friendly pop), is ready to roll. They’ve taken the studio, they’ve taken the stage — they’ve even taken time off from their main gigs — but are they ready to take L.A.? (Lawrence Everett Forbes)


Front Line Assembly, DJ Acucrack, Stromkern at the Key Club

Dance till you overthrow the government with Front Line Assembly, the ’90s Vancouver beatbox & synth unit that keeps going away but never leaves. With Teutonic melodies and spasmodic rhythms supporting the misanthropic growl of ex–Skinny Puppy grouch Bill Leeb, FLA today sound sorta classic, like Elvis. News: The upcoming Artificial Soldier unites Leeb with previous duo mates Rhys Fulber (Fear Factory) and Chris Peterson, plus new guy Jeremy Inkel — that’s a lotta patch cords. Apt bill mates are DJ Acucrack, a noisier, bassier and speedier twist on the tech-hop formula — scratch your forearms, everybody! And you gotta love Ned Kirby (Stromkern), a Wisconsin kid who loved industrial Krautness so deeply that he wrote songs im Deutsch and got signed to a German label. Robots are people, too. (Greg Burk)

{mosimage}The Roots, Talib Kweli, Blackalicious at House of Blues

On the phone a couple of weeks ago from a hotel room somewhere in Virginia, de facto Roots front man Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson told me that fans of the Philly-based hip-hop band shouldn’t take the Roots’ new home at Def Jam as proof that they’re preparing for a blinged-out breakthrough. ?uest said Def Jam prez Jay-Z (whom the Roots famously backed on MTV’s Unplugged a few years back) informed the group that he expects the same kind of artistry from them on the forthcoming Game Theory (due late this summer) as the Roots have been churning out since the early ’90s. A live band before all else, they’ll likely preview some of that new material tonight, probably with help from conscious-rap openers Talib Kweli and Blackalicious. (Mikael Wood)

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