Solid Gold In-Store Action

The New York Dolls are
back for an in-store at Tower on Sunset this Friday (July 28, 7 p.m.)!
Obviously, we use their name advisedly, as the band is basically
original Dolls David Johansen & Sylvain Sylvain with four other guys — including bassist Sami Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks.
No matter: They’re still a genuine rock & roll treat, and their new
album — the poignantly/awkwardly titled One Day It Will Please Us to
Remember Even This — ain’t half-bad neither. Don’t be surprised if the
gig attracts a buncha Hot Topic mall-punks (and 40-ish ex–mall punks),
just like their recent shows — so be sure to pick up your wristband
(which you will receive on purchase of the new album). Otherwise, Irving
play an early barbecue show at 5 p.m. on Sat., July 29, at the Echo
(along with Say Hi to Your Mom and Meric Long) . . . Oh yeah, I know
it’s kinda short notice, but The Sleepy Jackson are doing their
own free in-store at Amoeba today (Thurs., July 27) at 7 p.m. . . . And
my fave band you’ve never heard of, power popsters The Orion Experience, play the International Pop Overthrow fest on Tues., Aug. 1, at Spaceland (along with Backbiter, Motorcycle Black Madonnas, James Combs and A.J. Lambert). Rock on. (Kate Sullivan)


{mosimage}Brightblack Morning Light at the Troubadour

The Northern Cal by way of Alabama pair of Nabob (Nathan Shineywater) and Rachael Hughes (Rabob) call themselves Brightblack, and have a recent self-titled album out on Matador that demands your immediate attention. That is, it’s very high-quality stuff that’s best approached when you’re feeling somewhat conscious, ’cause otherwise it might put you to sleep. Now, that of course might be the best thing of all, but unfortunately you’d miss out on this unusually sensual and mystifying score, a richly stereo-ized, warm- & thick-toned fuzzy oozing of late-night whatsit which is not in and of itself sluggish, not conceptually, anyway; in fact its shimmery, swooping electric guitars, throbbing Fender Rhodes (or samples of such), brush drums, bells, tabla and lazy, hazy vocals somehow remotely suggest the ghost of the old trance blues, and call forth arcane rituals involving animal pelts, deep in the woods or in your head. Somewhere close by, a fire crackles. (John Payne)

{mosimage}The Avengers at Spaceland

The Avengers not only typified the best of San Francisco’s ’77-era punk rock movement, they also introduced one of the most powerful women in the entire idiom’s brief, brilliant course. Penelope Houston took the stage with a luminous, incendiary presence, ratcheted up the pressure with her singular pissed-off-yet-purporseful shout, and presented herself with an intoxicating mixture of passion, cynicism, fury, and the sheer joy common to anyone riding that late-’70s punk tsunami. While the band flamed out by ’79 — really the only dignified move any serious rock insurrectionary could make at the time — and were criminally under-recorded, this latter-day incarnation (still boasting Houston and original guitarist Greg Ingraham) ably manifests the chaotic yet focused bite that always characterized the Avengers at their best. (Jonny Whiteside)


{mosimage}Nortec Collective, Mexican Institute of Sound at California Plaza

Five guys with laptops and a few odd mixing boards may be anathema to live-music and turntablist purists, but few civilians cared about aesthetic correctness when Nortec Collective conjured serious communal booty-wiggle and body-wallop on the Santa Monica Pier one beautiful evening last summer. The pride of Tijuana returns, this time with reduced necessity to sample their asses off. A small banda, bringing phat tuba, wheezy-squeezy accordion, rat-a-tat-tat snare and other down-home northern Mexican sabor, should help ground the mixmasters’ wacky cut-and-paste digital-groove magic. Although his sensibilities may be loungier than los hermanos locos de Nortec, opener Camilo Lara, the man behind the keyboard of the ridiculously named Mexican Institute of Sound, is no slouch in the electronica-pastiche department either. Starts at 8 p.m.; free. (Tom Cheyney)


Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at the Hollywood Bowl

David Crosby (the Byrds), Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield), Graham Nash (the Hollies) and Neil Young (also Springfield) enter a grim and frostbitten world as they embark on the Freedom of Speech 2006 tour, their first in four years. Manager Gerry Tolman died New Year’s Eve in a car crash, and 36 years after “Ohio” — the anguished, galvanizing cry for the students killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State — we get lady lumps and red-vs.-blue states burgeoning in the wake of something as important as “Ohio,” itself #14 (with a bullet) at the time of release. So, you can either come away from tonight with a contact high or a sense that you should actively change some part of this world, as CSNY would have you do. (David Cotner)

{mosimage}Beth Orton at Avalon

Last year London-based singer-songwriter Beth Orton told me that she thinks of the music on her first three albums as an exploration of a sound she’s now finished exploring. Her fourth full-length, Comfort of Strangers, bears out her feeling: Instead of the acoustic folk-pop dusted with digital dance beats that established her reputation as one of electronica’s comedown queens, Strangers is a warm folk-rock disc that sounds like it could’ve been made at any point during the last 40 years—not a bad move when Orton’s writing holds your attention, which it does often enough. Onstage her shift away from dance music has been even more pronounced lately; at New York’s Webster Hall shortly after Strangers’ release in February, her set carried something of a jam-band vibe. (Mikael Wood)

Santana, Anthony Hamilton at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

Quite possibly the most well-connected man in music today, Carlos Santana makes records whose crossover aspirations are so obvious, no one can accuse him of trying to swindle young record buyers into perpetuating his mainstream presence the way plenty of his graying contemporaries have. What’s better is that Santana’s recent music — loaded with guest spots from Joss Stone, Robert Randolph, Michelle Branch, Rob Thomas, and of the Black Eyed Peas, among many others — actually survives its conference-room roots and bleeds the block-party bonhomie he’s after. Arrive in time to catch opener Anthony Hamilton, a North Carolina–born soul man who pairs a devilish knack for sweaty R&B grooves with sweatier Southern-church singing. (Mikael Wood)


{mosimage}Manu Chao at the Shrine Auditorium

This is bigger than big. Manu Chao — the King of Bongo, a.k.a. the Out of Time Man — has dropped in and out of time to visit Los Angeles only twice in his long and merry musical career, performing with his old band, the Clash-like band of gypsies Mano Negra, at Club Lingerie in the late ’80s, and returning with his current backup combo, Radio Bemba Sound System, for a riotous set at the Palace at the end of 2000. And yet his impact has been profound, whether felt indirectly — through Gogol Bordello’s recent remake of Mano Negra’s “Mala Vida” or via Chao’s collaboration with the late, great Mexican ska-punk revolutionaries Tijuana No, as well as his sublime production touches on Amadou & Mariam’s breakthrough CD, Dimanche à Bamako — or directly, with his own enchanting solo CDs, Clandestino and Proxima Estación . . . Esperanza. Singing in French, Spanish, English and Arabic, Chao puts his own twist to Bob Marley’s idea of freedom songs by liberally mixing in shards of punk rock, ska, Algerian raï, salsa and pop into such mesmerizing sound collages as the dreamily febrile “Welcome to Tijuana” and “Infinita Tristeza.” Tonight, even time stops to take a listen. (Falling James)


Panic! at the Disco, The Dresden Dolls at the Wiltern

Sometimes an appetizer is so tasty, the entrée just doesn’t matter. Such could be said of the menu for tonight’s show, as the deliciously talented duo the Dresden Dolls occupy a support slot that’s, if nothing else, eyebrow-raising. Vocalist-keyboardist Amanda Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione open for Las Vegas–bred Panic at the Disco in a billing order that unfortunately favors Clear Channel popularity over quality. Nevertheless, a live performance of the Dresden Dolls is so chillingly visceral, so wild with emotional range and so thick with wit, that conceivably any headliner could justify a trek to see their set. Former Blink-182 cover band Panic! at the Disco deliver cheeky lyrics and strained, whiny vocals over energetic rock, and though their offerings may not be gourmet, they could be worthy of an absent-minded nosh. (Alie Ward)

Al Green, Lalah Hathaway, Lizz Wright at the Hollywood Bowl

Al Green’s sweet croon and lowdown grunt made him a soul master. But just as important was the rhythmic interplay: “Tired of Being Alone,” “Call Me” and Green’s other ’70s classics got their push from Memphis ensembles usually driven by the deep snap of Al Jackson’s drums. So with Green’s throat-work now strained and Jackson long dead, the challenge when Green reunited last year with producer Willie Mitchell for Everything’s OK was to find the pocket. Thanks to drummer Steve Potts (Jackson’s cousin), they hit it on the less-produced numbers such as “I Can Make Music,” but too often the result was sluggish. Green’s charisma will shine regardless. The warm, earthy Lalah Hathaway (Donny’s daughter) is a genuine vocal talent, and Lizz Wright sets off her cavernous languor with economical taste. Good bill. (Greg Burk)

{mosimage}Hot Chip at the Troubadour

Like a funnier (but no less moving) version of Thom Yorke’s new solo album, Hot Chip’s The Warning uses the tools of insular white-boy electronica to construct a weird approximation of high-gloss radio R&B. Hot Chip’s stuff is totally danceable: I don’t dig The Warning as much as 2004’s Coming on Strong, but the new one still features a handful of vintage-Casio beats that Timbaland and the Neptunes should envy. Yet what makes Hot Chip worth hearing isn’t those beats but the way front man Alexis Taylor works his high, delicate tenor against them, milking the music of pathos you didn’t even know it contained. The band’s live show is more about art-school spectacle than the records’ careful emotional balance, which doesn’t mean you won’t be moved anyway. (Mikael Wood)


{mosimage}The Aggrolites, Joey Altruda’s Classic Riddims, The Chris Murray Combo at Santa Monica Pier

It strains credulity that the Aggrolites wrote every song on their self-titled summertime skank-fest CD. Tracks like the working-stiff hymn “Heavier Than Lead” and con blues “Prisoner Song” sound like gems lifted from the storied vaults of late-’60s/early-’70s rock steady and early reggae. No surprise there, since the band owes its existence to a stint a few years ago backing up Derrick Morgan, a regular fixture on the Jamaican hit parade back in the heyday. But the boyos don’t try and cop a faux-island vibe, choosing instead to dirty things up a bit, get funky and raise holy soulful hell in the dance. With riddim-music scene stalwarts Joey Altruda and Chris Murray also on the bill, the Pier faithful will surely shake free of sufferation. Starts at 7:30 p.m.; free. (Tom Cheyney)

Bloc Party at the Greek Theater

It’s written in the brochure that all 20-something upstarts from across the pond these days will have to suffer ’80s comparisons before they even utter “Testing one, two, three.” But unlike their outright thieving American counterparts — namely Joy Division kleptomaniacs She Wants Revenge — Bloc Party make at most a gentle nod to their forefathers on their punk-disco, Mercury Prize–nominated 2005 debut, Silent Alarm. Hits such as “Banquet,” “Helicopter” and “Like Eating Glass” go from quiet and lush to throbbing and bombastic, thanks to the thunderous percussion of drummer Matt Tong and the yelping (sometimes soft, sometimes urgent) vocals of singer Kele Okereke, whose lyrics only tread the shallow end of the gloomy waters (“If it can be broke, then it can be fixed/if it can be fused, then it can be split,” he cries out on “Pioneers”). After three years of heavy gigging, the London quartet have been unveiling newbies, including the current single “Two More Years.” We’re hoping they stick around longer. (Siran Babayan)

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