fri 8/24

Diana Krall


The celebrated singer-pianist has a new album coming out in October, Glad Rag Doll, a rootsy, relatively bumptious collaboration with producer T Bone Burnett and some of his regular sidemen, including guitarist Marc Ribot and keyboardist Keefus Green. (It follows a pair of recent Burnett-helmed discs by Krall's husband, Elvis Costello.) That said, at the Bowl don't expect her to focus on that record. Here she'll team with the L.A. Phil for “an evening of jazz standards and beautiful ballads,” as the official program notes put it. No quarrel with that here: Though she tends to drain the passion from the material she tackles, Krall does upmarket elegance as well as any mainstream jazz act working today. Also Saturday. —Mikael Wood

AM & Shawn Lee


The bicontinental music marriage between Los Angeles' groovy soulboy AM and London's rhythmic funkmaster Shawn Lee has birthed the psychedelic Celestial Electric. This tropicalia-dipped love child easily could have been conceived in the '70s, yet it maintains an utterly modern edge. That's exemplified on the vibrating rhythms and contrasting temperate vocals of “Dark Into Light,” while fluid synths drive the smooth falsetto tones on “Lonely Life.” Both AM and Shawn Lee have coinciding solo works, the former previewing his upcoming album with a simmering cover of Harry Nilsson's “Me and My Arrow,” the latter with an acid trip in album form, called Synthesizers in Space, as well as the multigenre, cinematic Reel to Reel, which he recorded as the all-instrumental Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra. Together or alone, these two bring style to pop sensibility. —Lily Moayeri

Friends of Friends


L.A. lad Shlohmo brings sample-based, song-oriented R&B turntablism to his recent Bad Vibes full-length, sautéeing lo-fi, hip-hop, dubstep and beautifully odd sound design. As for Salva, he's been known to jack bassy, jungly warehouse and ethereal whimsy at the same time. He's also a free-thinking remixer of Shlohmo, Barford, Para One, the Glitch Mob, Beans, Rainbow Arabia and many relevant others. Along with Shlohmo, Friends of Friends features L.A./Montreal duo LOL Boys, who showcase their jazzed-out/house-style EP, Changes, with vocals courtesy of Heart Streets and Angelina Lucero. There's also a founding member of Shlohmo's Wedidit Collective, Groundislava, who offers his fresh Feel Me set, which features Baths and Clive Tanaka. Fans can also savor prime new cuts from FoF sister label Young Adults Recordings, featuring Dublab's Suzanne Kraft, LOL Boys & Grown Folk, Urulu and the Dead Rose Music Company. —John Payne

sat 8/25

Ana Tijoux and Nomadic Massive


French/Chilean MC Ana Tijoux returns to L.A. for a free downtown concert to promote her latest album, La Bala, which she released through L.A.-based label Nacional Records. The female Zack de la Rocha was born to Chilean political exiles in France, where she befriended other children of South American exiles. Following her family's return to Chile, Tijoux made a career of her love for hip-hop and has been crafting politically conscious music ever since. Her latest single, “Shock,” is a manifesto in support of Chile's student protesters. She'll share the stage with multilingual, multicultural, experimental hip-hop supergroup Nomadic Massive. It's all part of Grand Performances' mission to bring world music to Grand and Fourth. —Ivan Fernandez

Echo Park Rising


Echo Park will rise again, although the hip, not-quite-on-the-Eastside neighborhood isn't exactly on the decline. (In fact, it's been notoriously fashionable for a long time.) Still, just in case you forgot, local businesses are celebrating with a daylong festival upstairs at the Echo, downstairs in the Echoplex and across the street at Taix. Starting at the un–rock & roll hour of 11 a.m., seemingly every indie-rock band from the area performs a free set, ranging from soul-garage pranksters Dante vs. Zombies and the urgently compelling post-punk throb of Gothic Tropic to charismatic new-wavy popsters Raw Geronimo and the timeless Americana keening of the Driftwood Singers. Buyepongo stir up buoyant cumbia, while Stones Throw and Dublab DJs exchange fusillades of brainy hip-hop and arty experimentation. Lavender Diamond's pure pop is aptly radiant and colorfully exuberant, and the folkies come in flavors both classically traditional (Ruthann Friedman) and endearingly offbeat (Amanda Jo Williams). You even get two kinds of lions: funky reggae (The Lions) and introspective alt-country (A House for Lions). —Falling James

The Woolly Bandits


Decked out in mod mini-dresses, white go-go boots and kohl-slathered eyes, Christa Collins makes for a persuasively seductive '60s-style frontwoman, but her groovy image wouldn't mean anything if she couldn't also howl bittersweet tunes like “Midnight Movie” and “Woman of Mass Destruction” with a spitfire intensity. It helps that her guitarist-husband, Rik Collins, powers her garage-rock anthems along with a punk-rock fuzz and volume that keep the L.A. quintet from coming across as safely retro. So many modern garage bands act cheesy, but there's something deliciously sinister about The Woolly Bandits' tangle of spidery guitar riffs, ballpark-organ blasts and pleading vocals. For all the group's rock authenticity, though, it's a pity that Christa Collins has nabbed more attention recently for her stint as a contestant on televised cattle call The X Factor. —Falling James


Mad Decent Block Party


Founded by M.I.A.'s scorned lover-producer Diplo, the Los Angeles–based Mad Decent label has been a key tastemaker in guiding international electronic trends, the commercially buff equivalent of Low End Theory's arty influence. With an emphasis on all things heavy, multiculti and danceable, the imprint's roster cuts a broad swath through hypermodern sounds — comprising dubstep, Baile funk, electro-house and swag rap, to name but a few. Their traveling Block Party bill reflects this. Headlining here are Canuck bass fiends Zeds Dead, Brooklyn PBR&B rap star Theophilus London and Brazilian funk-punk provocateurs Bonde do Rolê. Of course, Mad Decent's always looking ahead, so don't skip on the support: epically inclined beatsmith Paper Diamonds, Odd Future's quick-witted cousin Casey Veggies and party-rocking DJ Paul Devro. Oh, and don't forget Three Loco, an outlandish rhyme-saying supergroup peopled by RiFF RaFF, Dirt Nasty and, yes, Andy Milonakis. —Chris Martins

sun 8/26

Hot Natured


Jamie Jones and Lee Foss have a hit on their hands. Individually, the two jet-setting DJ-producers have for years earned rave reviews from even the most cynical dance-music fans. Together, they've become a force within the international party world. As Hot Natured, their joint DJ sets hit the same sophisticated groove as their acclaimed “Re-Rubs” series of releases. This summer, their label, Hot Creations, has launched a successful residency in the world's summer party capital, Ibiza. Sunday's Culprit Sessions gig is a big return for the duo. Jones and Foss have played the monthly summer parties before and their track “H.E.A.D.S.” was featured on the L.A. record label's first EP. Joining them are Richy Ahmed, Robert James and, of course, DJ trio Droog, who founded Culprit. —Liz Ohanesian

mon 8/27

Jason Marsalis


While he doesn't have the star power of brothers Wynton or Branford, drummer Jason Marsalis began cutting his musical teeth earlier than any of his siblings. Jason was first a member of father Ellis' working jazz groups at age 7, and then trombonist brother Delfeayo's at age 9, branching out in recent years to perform on the vibraphone. To many, the Marsalis family is not only New Orleans' first family of jazz but America's: Trumpeter Wynton serves as artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, while saxophonist Branford did a stint as musical director for The Tonight Show, as well as high-profile tours with Sting and other guest appearances. Jason is likely the Marsalis brother still most closely part of the New Orleans jazz scene, and opportunities to hear him in Los Angeles are rare indeed. —Tom Meek


Summer Twins


Summer's here and the time is right for a pure-pop escape. Sisters Chelsea (lead vocals and guitar) and Justine Brown (drums) lay down a simple, unabashedly irony-free form of pop that layers '60s garage rock with dreamy harmonies. “I'm just a piece of gum stuck under your shoe,” Chelsea confesses on the heartfelt valentine “The More I Think of You,” but that's about as dark as it gets, as she and her sister playfully and wistfully kick the tune down the road. The 20-something Browns started out in Riverside as a duo, but they've gained more oomph with recent additions Michael Rey Villavicencio (bass) and Marcio Rivera (guitar). Summer Twins' literal and metaphoric sun-worshipping invites comparisons to Best Coast, but they reveal their own style and versatility on rambling odes like “The Good Life.” —Falling James

tue 8/28

Divine Fits


Indie-inclined readers already know about Divine Fits: a notionally L.A.-based supergroup featuring Spoon frontman Britt Daniel, New Bomb Turks drummer Sam Brown and Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs. They've been playing around town (including gigs at the Bootleg and Hotel Cafe) in the run-up to their sort-of-self-titled debut, A Thing Called Divine Fits, and tonight they celebrate its release with a cemetery show well suited to the spooky-creepy keyboard settings that earned them a slot at October's Moogfest. Speaking of which, the band's record leans a little heavily on those atmospherics for our taste; we could've done with a bit more of Daniel's terse, soul-pop economy. But, hey, stretching out is why dudes do side projects, right? Also Sept. 4 at the Echo. —Mikael Wood

Kristin Hersh


Whether she's strumming solo or thrashing it out with her punk trio, 50 Foot Wave, Kristin Hersh always imbues her songs with thoughtfully poetic lyrics and contrastingly intense music. “You paint your own TV on the wall/Carve out insects to feed us all,” she croons slyly on “Mississippi Kite,” from her 2010 album, Crooked. A mesmerizing, descending acoustic-guitar riff gives way to swirling, stormy electric-guitar string bends, which feels like falling into a vortex. At her best, on austere new demos like “Chipping Teeth” and “Detox,” or with her influential '80s band Throwing Muses on such fully rocking anthems as “Same Sun,” Hersh's music is both catchy and cathartic. —Falling James


wed 8/29

Herbie Hancock


The Dalai Lama. Nelson Mandela. Gandhi. Herbie Hancock. Perhaps that last name seems strange next to the others, but the legendary jazz pianist was named last year by the United Nations as a Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogues, an honor likely bestowed upon him because of his 2010 Imagine Project, a multicultural musical treatment of John Lennon's profound vision. Hancock has rededicated his life to promoting world peace; it's pretty much all that's left for him to do, considering his monumental artistic achievements. This concert is aptly titled “Celebrating Peace” and features a load of peace-loving artists, including iconic saxophonist Wayne Shorter, bassists Dave Holland and Marcus Miller, drummer Cindy Blackman Santana and special guest Carlos Santana. Leave it to Herbie to turn “Kumbaya” into the hippest shit ever. —Gary Fukushima

Concrete Blonde


Singer/bassist Johnette Napolitano and guitarist James Mankey's Concrete Blonde have been carrying the post-punk/alt-rock torch since the early '80s. Always a critics' fave, the band's records on the old IRS label defined a deeply felt, often savagely melancholic sound, as heard on their hits “Joey” and “God Is a Bullet.” This is an electrifying live band that places a premium on rocking very, very hard, and they're given special gravitas by ex-Sparks fella Mankey's painterly instrumental settings and Napolitano's genuinely poetic articulations on gang violence, urban decay, alcoholism and other unfunny stuff. Along with drummer Gabriel Ramirez from the rock en Español band Maria Fatal, they'll rip songs from a new album (their first in seven years) scheduled for release in late 2012. —John Payne

thu 8/30

Don Carlos


Veteran reggae vocalist Don Carlos has always been a fascinating combination of conflicting characters, often presenting as the classic cut-and-run renegade yet remaining a solid, reliable craftsman. One of the founding voices in the critical vocal trio Black Uhuru, Carlos is the cat whose colorful, free flights of evocative, beyond-scat vocal lines gave the band such a distinctive sound. Yet he walked away almost as soon as the band became an established and cherished reggae sensation. Such devilish impulse is a bit puzzling, but Carlos has always pulled it off: His voice has a sweet, shadowy quality that insinuates its way deep into the inner heart of a lyric, displaying a singular kicked-back, smoldering soul passion that has enabled him to navigate, quite credibly, thank you, as both a boss roots radical and a lively dancehall chanter. He also brings a trove of fine numbers like “Soldier Man a Come,” “From Creation,” “Plantation” — classics all. And for free? Like, wow! —Jonny Whiteside

Casino Madrid


When these San Diegans unleashed “4:42 Reminds Me of You” last summer, they struck commercial metalcore's mother lode. The song squeezes all that's exhilarating about the genre into three minutes: Frontman Joe Demaio spits bitterness toward a lost love in two contrasting timbres (deranged demonic screech and deranged guttural grunt), with an obligatory sing-along hook courtesy of pretty-boy guitarist Marcelo Sedano, while kick drums batter like Aleppo artillery and lurking electro keys lend contemporary glow-stick gloss. Though the recording never reaches the titular 4:42, Demaio clearly needs no reminding of “you.” Like most Casino Madrid material, “4:42” culminates in a breakdown so epic in intent, and so expert in execution, that time itself almost appears to regress for a few seconds — just like when that breakup call hits. —Paul Rogers

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