Happy America, Babies

Besides the Don’t Knock the Rock Fest, there’s not a whole heck of a lot going on this week/end, music-wise (for more info, see Rock & Roll Love Letter as well as and . . . Which is just as well because, to be honest, it’s the Fourth of July weekend, people. It’s time to sleep, listen to Vin Scully talking about babies and Hank Aaron, watch fireworks, eat hot dogs, drink iced mint tea and beer. However, I thought you should at least be alerted to the following shows. EIGHTIES NOSTALGIA ALERT: Poison and Cinderella play Hyundai Pavilion, Saturday, July 1! Nina Hagen and freakin’ Gene Loves Jezebel play HoB, also Saturday! (Um, early-’00s-nostalgia alert (?): Big Japan, featuring the guy from The O.C. on emo drums, play the Canyon the same night.) Happy America, babies! (Kate Sullivan)


Jolie Holland, Sean Hayes at Safari Sam’s

We’re leaving a risky season, according to the title of Jolie Holland’s latest album, Springtime Can Kill You.
So as the summer solstice approaches and the evenings turn long and
gold, there’s no better way to usher in the dusty summer than with the
parched, crinkly tunes of this redheaded folkie balladeer. Backed by a
modest band and hopping between her battered acoustic guitar and a
keyboard, this native Southerner emits ethereal, bittersweet crooning,
and some of the best melodic whistling the world has ever heard. With
the gorgeously warble-voiced Sean Hayes opening, the San Franciscan
pair offer a double bill that will make you ache with anticipation for
lazy days well spent on the porch and long dusks soaked in a tall
drink. (Alie Ward)

Radiohead at the Greek Theater

to push a Radiohead concert is a lame time-waster, but for the “I might
scalp” sort: Let your wallet be raped repeatedly in the parking lot.
See this concert. ’Tis rare today when commercial hugeness and
unpolluted creativity meet. Maybe it’s the irrefutable reality of the
lazy eye, but Thom Yorke’s tortured worldview sells without
compromising anything (in an age when everything’s compromised). And
the robust computer-jangling of the rest of the band just deserves
throngs of sweaty youths (those random guitar eruptions are so
angst-empowering!). BTW, this tour’s a bit of a rare road test: There’s
the well-kept secret of Yorke’s impending “solo” debut (expect clever
puns like “Eraserhead” come July), and the band itself isn’t promoting
anything. Extra freedom means extra fun. Be their guinea pig. We hear
crazy, liberal stuff like beatboxing could even go down. (Courtney


Big Jay McNeely, Blood on the Saddle at El Cid

Ronnie Mack really pulled it together for this with two crucial musical forces who were starting to seem alarmingly MIA — R&B originator Big Jay McNeely and rock siren Annette Zilinskas. McNeely, well into his 70s, still blows the insanely aggressive honking sax that was first captured on classic early ’50s records like “Deacon’s Hop” and “3-D” and quickly became such an inflammatory draw that the LAPD routinely shut down any show he was billed on. The extraordinary vocalist Zilinskas, who started out with the Bangles before splitting for cowpunk posse Blood on the Saddle — whom she single-handedly elevated to artistic significance — only recently emerged from a long bout self-imposed exile. With her on the bandstand tonight, life itself seems more worthwhile. Yeah, she’s that good. (Jonny Whiteside)


The Grates at Spaceland

Brisbane, Australia trio the Grates won rave reviews from critics at the 2006 SXSW conference as well as garnering persistent comparisons to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. (Comparisons the Grates seem to egg on with their video for “19 20 20,” which apes, to a certain extent, the children’s-Halloween-party theme of the Yeahs video for “Y-Control.”) But aside from the minimalist aesthetic of having a guitar player, drummer and singer, the biggest similarity between the two bands is the exuberant onstage antics of singer Patience Hodgson, who does bring a bit of the Karen O thing to the table. But the Grates abandon arty pretension in favor of a more straight-ahead approach that makes songs like “Inside Outside” and “Science Is Golden,” from their full-length debut, Gravity Won’t Get You High, infinitely catchier and more memorable, even as the band stretches for Hole-like indolence in such songs as “Feels Like Pain.” (Bob Cantu)

Kommunity FK at the Knitting Factory

When you think of L.A.’s goth icons, Roz Williams and Dinah Cancer may be the first to come to mind, but another black-clad gloomster was just as influential. Kommunity FK may have only released two albums, but singer Patrick Mata (a presence both on club stages around town and behind the counters at Melrose’s most trend-setting boutiques in the late ’70s and ’80s) had the menacing mojo and tortured soul of a rock star. It’s been 26 years since those black-bang-shrouded days of “Hollywood death rock” and Mata has been in what he calls a self-imposed exile for the past six years, writing his memoirs. This week, he returns to unveil his new Bowie-inspired material and fiendish faves from KFK’s catalog, including the debut, The Vision and the Voice (which was just re-released). Goth club Release the Bats offers its first L.A. edition for the event, with DJs spinning dark sounds. (Lina Lecaro)


Belle & Sebastian, The Shins at the Hollywood Bowl

Judas priest. The Hollywood Bowl has some “holy crap!” concert combos this summer. This week: Belle & Sebastian backed for the first time ever by a world-class orchestra, the L.A. Phil. With the Shins, too? What a wet dream for sensitive kids in tight pants everywhere. B&S — those dry little lads/lasses — made the market on fragile-sarcasm/storytelling pop. Typical lines like “She’s got everything to gain ’cause she’s a fat girl with a lisp” will indeed ring even more sweetly and unsettlingly accurate with full-orchestra oomph. As their latest album, The Life Pursuit, shows, a good B&S song is a lot like a smoking baby. To laugh or to cry? At once heartbreaking and humorous. At once sinister and innocent. Cellos required. Nights like these are a big reason not to hate L.A. (Courtney Fitzgerald)

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