People chuck around the term “cult following” all the time, but Jonathan Richman is a guy who trafficks in the actual miraculous — he heals the sick, raises the dead and makes the girls and boys go out of their head. If that sounds dubiously legendary, well, you watch that front row. They'll hear that guitar and brushed snare and profundo-est of bassos and be crying and laughing like the front row at an Elvis show in 1956. In one famous interview, Richman said he learned (in person, between sleeping on their couches) from the Velvet Underground how to create an atmosphere, and by now he's developed into making dreams or beautiful little pocket universes, depending if he sets down the guitar to dance. This is the kind of show that could actually change your life, or at least remind you that you have one. —Chris Ziegler
Chicago DJ duo Flosstradamus are no slouches when it comes to throwing a party. Their tastes run the gamut from synth-y electro and sleazy soul (they've toured with Chromeo, natch) to the jacked house and minimal techno of their hometown. They also specialize in another Windy City original: juke, a chopped, sped-up and bass-damaged variant of house that has a close cousin in Big Freedia's New Orleans bounce. Members Autobot and J2K have remixed everyone from Matt & Kim to Mates of State to Major Lazer, and they fold plenty of familiar bits into their ceaseless mix. Opener Jonwayne isn't to be missed: This young producer-rapper from La Habra is earning a quickly growing reputation for channeling the heft and wit of Biggie Smalls over beat work that openly pays homage to Flying Lotus' Low End Theory scene. —Chris Martins
KATZEN KULTUR KLUB
Mira Billotte is a good witch with many mysterious powers. She possesses an unnatural, wraithlike voice that casts inexorably haunting spells, and it's flexible enough that, in recent months, she's been asked to sit in at tributes to such disparate musicians as The Slits and Can. (Her spacey rendition of The Slits' “Earthbeat” was one of the unexpected highlights at Part Time Punks' Ari Up homage back in January.) With White Magic, the New York exile chants like she's in a febrile trance as she spins hypnotizing soundscapes that expand outward from minimalist settings of piano and lo-fi percussion. Tonight, Billotte plans a “kosmic performance installation” as part of her show, and the bill also includes Lost Lockets and Sound Bath, a project with members of E.S.P. and Entrance Band. —Falling James
TIM LEFEBVRE, MATT CHAMBERLAIN, SCROTE, TROY ZEIGLER at Blue Whale; RUSSIAN CIRCLES at El Rey Theatre; EVERCLEAR, SUGAR RAY at Greek Theatre; IMAGES at Redwood Bar and Grill; AMANDA JO WILLIAMS at Origami Vinyl.
Cedric Gervais, Sharam
These days, Cedric Gervais may be best known as the producer whose recent single ended up at the center of Madonna's “Molly” controversy at Ultra Music Festival. The pop star later claimed that the alleged reference to MDMA was actually a reference to a song — as it happens, Gervais' then-unreleased single “Molly.” Drama aside, Gervais has led a storied career on the club circuit. Raised in France and now based in Miami, he racked up a string of impressive credits while still a teenager. He's more than capable of throwing out his share of festival jams, but his greatest strength is exploring the deep, pulsating house rhythms that make his 2011 album, Miamication, a real treat. Joining Gervais is party veteran Sharam. Well known as half of the duo Deep Dish, Sharam is responsible for two decades of major dance-floor hits and a slew of high-profile remixes. Certainly, this will make for a can't-miss double-header. —Liz Ohanesian
SAN MANUEL AMPHITHEATRE
Like soldiers heading into battle, concertgoers at this annual festival will need to get wired on the tour sponsor's energy drinks in order to survive the nonstop, daylong carnage of thrash and death-metal bands. Masked musical assassins Slipknot will headline — before heading back to their native Iowa in August to debut their own festival, Knotfest — but much of the day's excitement comes by way of Slayer, whose blood-soaked blasts still retain a brutally throttling intensity that's ultimately cathartic and exhilarating. Whereas the Rolling Stones want to paint it black, these Huntington Park homies prefer to drench everything in red on their 2009 album, World Painted Blood, which revels in the eternal obsessions (war, religion, Russian serial killers) of Messrs. King, Araya and Hanneman. Other highlights include the guttural eviscerations of Lemmy Kilmister's ongoing Motörhead and the New York thrashers Anthrax, fronted once again by prodigal lead singer Joey Belladonna. —Falling James
Luis and the Wildfires
SANTE FE SPRINGS SWAP MEET
If you ever saw THEE MIDNITERS on the marquee as you went gliding by on the 5, then you know already: There's no rock like swap-meet rock, just like there's no movie like a drive-in movie. This time, L.A.'s Wild Records sets up shop to deal in only the finest high-energy music with a showcase set headlined by its own Luis and the Wildfires. Led by Luis, who is the kind of heart-and-soul maniac true believer they simply don't make anymore, the Wildfires deliver purified, fortified rock & roll that bounces off the best of '56, '66 and '76. (And '86, too, if the Gories were playing out by then.) If they're a revival act, that's just because the paramedics need to be there to bring people back to life. —Chris Ziegler
In a past life, she was a circus performer and tree cutter from Cleveland, but now Baby Dee is a star, a charismatic harp player, pianist, vaudevillian songwriter and utterly beguiling chanteuse. Strutting the stage with great campy humor (though that “campy” part is a bit cursory), she makes music from another time and place. If her reference points can be arcane (“Palestrina, Victoria and Morales. The Glogaur Liederbuch. And the Bach organ preludes. Harry Ruby.”), they're also strangely familiar. A lushly arranged series of set pieces adorned by her own stately piano and harp and sundry chamber-ensemble accoutrements, Dee's new Regifted Light finds her delivering her songs with a trademark touching purity and acutely pitched, aching humor. “Find a sweetie and make mad love,” she has said. “Smoke lots of cigarettes and stop wearing underpants.” —John Payne
DUSTIN WONG, THE MOUNTAIN GOATS at McCabe's; SQUEEZE, THE B-52'S at Greek Theatre; BARBARA COOK at Valley Performing Arts Center; FOSTER THE PEOPLE at Gibson Amphitheatre; NO JOY at Troubadour; BOOGALOO ASSASSINS at Del Monte Speakeasy.
LEVITT PAVILION (Pasadena)
This local soul-rock dude has a new live album out, recorded last year at the Troubadour. (It's called Live at the Troubadour 2011.) But Van Hunt exudes the kind of onstage swagger that's better witnessed firsthand than on tape — especially at a free open-air gig like tonight's. Expect to hear stuff from his most recent studio disc, What Were You Hoping For? (which opens with a killer glam-funk ode to Hunt's North Hollywood stomping ground), as well as cuts from the pair of mid-'00s discs he made for Capitol. And he'll probably play at least a couple numbers off Popular, the appealingly freaky 2008 effort Blue Note declined to release for some dumb reason. —Mikael Wood
Doug Webb All-Stars
THE BAKED POTATO
Saxophonist Doug Webb came to California from Chicago as a boy, starting on clarinet and adding saxophones as a teen. His talents were such that he attended Boston's Berklee College of Music, and then began working and recording with the likes of Rod Stewart, Carly Simon and Stanley Clarke and on numerous television and movie soundtracks. His monthly Sunday appearances at the Baked Potato most often feature keyboard wizard Mitchel Forman, rock-solid bassist Jimmy Earl (from Jimmy Kimmel Live!) and, in a more unusual setting, Tool drummer Danny Carey. Webb's tenor playing is as good as anyone's in L.A., and the group here promises plenty of solid jazz. —Tom Meek
BEN HARPER at Hollywood Bowl; LAURA MARLING at Ford Amphitheater; FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS at the Hollywood Bowl.
Last year, the soft-pop smoothie released 15 Minutes, a weirdly acerbic reflection on fame and its discontents that made you wonder if Manilow were secretly tamping down some serious rage while making all those syrupy Greatest Songs collections with Clive Davis. Needless to say, Manilow is unlikely to spend much time exploring the new album tonight, the first of three July Fourth Fireworks Spectaculars at the Bowl. (The venue's program notes promise “his many hits” along with “traditional patriotic music.”) But we're hardly in a position to complain about hearing “Mandy,” “Copacabana” and “I Write the Songs” again. Nobody invests showbiz shlock with as much old-guard drama as Manilow. Also Tues. and Wed. —Mikael Wood
FAMILY OF THE YEAR, MONTE MAR at Bootleg Bar.
Future, Pusha T
HOUSE OF BLUES
He was born Nayvadius Wilburn, nicknamed the Astronaut Kid and dubbed “The Future of Rap Music” by OutKast-affiliated weird-rap O.G.s the Dungeon Family. It's hard to say exactly what Future is — he half-chants, sorta raps and mumble-sings while drenched in distorted Auto-Tune — but his particular brand of otherworldly hip-hop does seem made to stick around awhile. Murky as his sound may be, it's deeply engrossing and surprisingly at home on the radio alongside the stranger sizzurped emanations from Lil Wayne and his navel-gazing buddy Drake. The latter guests on Future's new LP, Pluto (which follows no fewer than six mixtapes in two years), a sprawling, purple-tinted nightmare that also features strong turns from Snoop Dogg, R. Kelly and T.I. Tonight, Virginia coke-rap kingpin Pusha T kicks things off taking a break from his beloved Clipse to sling his critically acclaimed solo LP, Fear of God II. —Chris Martins
EL REY THEATRE
Gauzy, shimmering waves of sound drift down gently like snowflakes over Victoria Legrand's echoing vocals on Beach House's new album, Bloom. Her musical partner, Alex Scally, summons forth spectral keyboard and guitar figures to adorn Legrand's languid lyrics on hazy soundscapes like “Lazuli” and “The Hours.” “It's deeper than you and me,” she coos enigmatically against Scally's candied backdrop. “It's all in a glance, you'll see.” Even though Legrand alludes to “violence in the flowers where they found you,” Beach House's soothing melodies ultimately are more flowery than violent, conjuring a romantic escape from the dull, gray real world. Much like their sonic inspirations the Cocteau Twins and Opal, the Baltimore duo's tunes seem to emanate from dreams rather than something as prosaic as reality. —Falling James
Gigamesh, Punks Jump Up, Willy Joy, Bones
DIM MAK STUDIOS
Give Matt Masurka a song and he'll turn into a disco jam worthy of the world's best dance floors. As Gigamesh, Masurka did that just last year with his slick, four-on-the-floor remix of Foster the People's inescapable hit “Pumped Up Kicks.” He's repeating that success with his recent take on Grouplove's alternative-radio smash, “Tongue Tied.” Masurka's forte is making the songs in regular radio rotation sound cool, but would you expect less from the guy who produced Mike Posner's breakthrough single, “Cooler Than Me”? Gigamesh's latest EP, All My Life, is out now through revered dance label Kitsune. On it, Masurka delves deep into the French house sounds that frequently creep up in the Minneapolis native's work. Joining Gigamesh are London-based duo Punks Jump Up, Chicago-based DJ Willy Joy and Bones of the EDM blog Gotta Dance Dirty. —Liz Ohanesian
LYLE LOVETT at Wiltern; DELICATE STEVE at the Echo.
Black Moth Super Rainbow's Tobacco makes blown-open digital psych-funk — just slimy with influence from strange dark places. It's like Parliament Funkadelic via Italian giallo and Dante Carfagna's private 45s collection, and visuals from one of the midnight movies at Cinefamily. Weird? We've not even yet begun. Tobacco is fearless when it comes to fucking with fucked-up sounds, and within his music, beauty and ugliness melt down into the same primordial bass. The vocoder and synths read technological, sure, but what we've really got here is the age-old struggle between spaceman and caveman — and the caveman is actually the one from the future. Heavy songs for heavy reasons, and a perfect psychic fit for the reality soldiers at Low End Theory. —Chris Ziegler
Wes Smith's Third Eye's Sight
Downtown L.A.'s Silo has a reputation as a hip vodka-and-sliders spot with DJs on weekends — but on Wednesday nights, saxophonist Wes Smith plays with his Brazilian jazz project, Third Eye's Sight. While Smith often can be found as a sideman for area performers such as vocalist Brenna Whitaker, he describes the music of Third Eye's Sight as “John Coltrane meets Tom Jobim” — the band plays familiar bossa nova and samba tunes as well as originals. Vocalist Carlinha (Carla Hassett) is featured, along with Brazil natives guitarist Roberto Montero and drummer Ze Bruno. —Tom Meek
Spanish diva Mala Rodríguez has a slinky, sinuous style that's more intoxicatingly melodic than most hip-hop performers. Her voice is so beguiling and versatile that she's collaborated with everyone from Calle 13 and Akon to Julieta Venegas, Nelly Furtado and Tego Calderón. La Mala can funk it up hard, rapping authoritatively on such heavy grooves as “En la linea,” before switching back to softly seductive pop songs like “Un Corazón.” Amid all of her shifts in tempo and mood, Rodríguez also reveals the wit and soul of a subversive poet. “Soy una mujer de recursos” (“I am a woman of resources”), she declares. “Me hago tirabuzones con las bombas que me tiran” (“I make corkscrews out of the bombs being hurled at me”). —Falling James
DOWN & OUT
Royal Thunder's new album, CVI, is a dirty slab of swampy Southern rock cut with dashes of mushroom trip–induced psychedelic metal. Their brand of Southern rock, though, isn't the stuff played as people wave Rebel flags at monster truck rallies. The Atlanta quartet's take on the sound is a heavy brew that is the soundtrack to finding a dead body in the swamp, one that's been soaking in the humidity for days. Straddling the line between Lynyrd Skynyrd and fellow Georgian metallers Mastodon, the proceedings are driven by the soulful rasp of bassist-vocalist Mlny Parsons. Her rock & roll swagger and mighty bellows help guide the band's more ambitious moments (the eight-minute, Zeppelin-esque roller coaster of “Drown”) and their more traditional hard rockers (the raging kick-him-to-the-curb anthem “No Good”) to a safe landing. Most importantly, she is capable of pulling it off live, too. —Jason Roche
MATES OF STATE, THE STEPKIDS at the Echo; YOUNG EMPIRES, HUMANS at Bootleg Bar.