It wasn't so long ago that Silver Lake was bursting with promising alt-rock bands like Fluorescein, each of them seemingly poised to leave behind the hip backyard barbecues and gigs at dives and break on through into the big time. But even when in the midst of their disparate, late-'90s indie-rock peers like Possum Dixon, Touchcandy, Lutefisk and POPdEFECT, Fluorescein always stood out. Lead singer Greg Mora's odes to local scenesters (such as the anthemic “Cathy's on Crank”) melded underground quirkiness with compulsively driving chorus hooks that wouldn't have been all that out of place on KROQ. Heavy grunge riffs rode alongside unexpectedly poppy melodies that recalled the smart and arty songs of the Pixies more than they evoked, say, Pearl Jam. After lying low for much of the past decade, Mora resuscitates the old gang for a free set tonight. —Falling James

Azure Ray


Both Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor went on to successful solo careers and side projects after their band Azure Ray broke up in 2004, but there was something irreplaceable about the way the two singers used to blend their sweetly sad voices together. When the Omaha, Neb., duo briefly reunited in 2008, they realized they could still stir up that old magic. To their credit, they didn't just coast on past successes. Instead, they released mesmerizing new pop gems on their 2012 album, Drawing Down the Moon, and they've expanded their sound further on the upcoming release As Above So Below, where their languid voices drift in and out of consciousness, just like dreams. —Falling James

Six Organs of Admittance


Six Organs of Admittance guitarist/singer/mastermind Ben Chasny can shred with the best of them, and apparently, that's exactly what he decided to do on his new album, Ascent — recruit the instrumental talents from his on-hiatus heavy-beyond-heavy rock band Comets on Fire for a set of songs practically boiling in their own intensity. The John Fahey–style guitar explorations are there, somewhere, but this is loud and limitless music that comes off as if Hawkwind, Crazy Horse and Ash Ra Tempel crash-landed on an unexplored planet where man must riff to survive. Ascent is an awesome record in both formal (“inspiring awe”) and informal (“whoa, dude”) ways, and should leave scorch marks on any speaker cones it touches. —Chris Ziegler

Mike Miller All-Stars


Tonight's show at Studio City's cozy Baked Potato gathers five of Los Angeles' most respected musicians for an evening of musical semi-madness. Leading the festivities is Mike Miller (Chick Corea Elektric Band), one of the area's finest guitarists and composer of tunes that frequently have an offbeat edge. Joining the fray are trumpeter Walt Fowler (Frank Zappa), who played with Miller in the Zappa ultra-tribute group Band From Utopia; keyboard wiz Mitchel Forman (Mahavishnu Orchestra); former Tonight Show drum king Marvin “Smitty” Smith; and Jimmy Johnson, the longtime James Taylor bandmate regarded by some as the finest electric bassist in the world. With this much virtuosity on one small stage, the club's nightly potatoes may eventually end up flame-broiled. —Tom Meek

sat 9/22

Delta Rae


The North Carolina folk-pop group Delta Rae have been getting a lot of attention lately, and not just because they were signed by prescient Warner Bros. vice president Seymour Stein (The Ramones, Madonna, Talking Heads). On their new debut album, Carry the Fire, the band features four strikingly talented lead singers — Elizabeth Hopkins and Hölljes siblings Brittany, Eric and Ian — whose seamless coed harmonies have already led some critics to see them as a more down-home Fleetwood Mac. At their best, on tracks like Brittany Hölljes' captivating, soulful gospel lament “Bottom of the River,” Delta Rae transcend such easy comparisons. When they landed at the Troubadour in June, the four singers broke down the barrier between performer and audience by climbing down onto the crowded dance floor, where they belted out their rootsy tunes a cappella. —Falling James

sun 9/23

Flying Lotus

Hollywood BOWL

Los Angeles beatmaker Flying Lotus really should be called a composer, and since he's playing the Hollywood Bowl, the time would seem right to make it official. 2010's Cosmogramma was an epochal record, less a piece of music than a sliver of actual human experience — all density and intensity, overwhelming by design and cathartic in its conclusion. His brand-new Until the Quiet Comes, however, is sharper and more focused. It's a single star instead of an entire universe; its melodies and beats bloom and fade like a time-lapse film of a flower; its fractal-within-a-fractal songs fit together on some four-dimensional level — only at the exact place and time and depth Lotus needs them to, and then they all dissolve into their component pixels. This is the real deal. When you see him play, look up at the night sky: That's when it will all become clear. —Chris Ziegler


mon 9/24

Lavender Diamond


Lavender Diamond are back, and they come in peace, as usual, and also with synthesizers, which is a bit more unusual. The heartbroke piano-folk they made on their one-and-a-half beautiful albums about five years ago is still there on the new Incorruptible Heart, but there is also approximately 147 percent more bleeps and boops and all kinds of other never-before-Lavenderized things, thanks to producer Damian Kulash of OK GO. And truly, he produces the hell outta this thing — can you say “hell” in a piece about Lavender Diamond? Truly, too, it's beautiful in ways no one would've expected. This is a record that wants to climb up high and sit pretty next to Kate Bush, Tom Tom Club or even Blondie. It's pop that's equal parts art, smarts and heart. —Chris Ziegler



New Zealand–born multi-instrumentalist Pip Brown takes her stage name, Ladyhawke, from the 1985 fantasy film. Before taking that moniker, Brown was part of a band named after the 1971 classic Two-Lane Blacktop. Both of these nods to film are perfectly fitting, as Brown's music creates lucid visuals, from soft-focus fantasy to roadside stands flying by in a reckless, late-night drive. To craft her songs, the Kiwi uses signature sounds from a vast array of genres, incorporating crunched guitars, fuzzy synths, super-clean precision bass lines, wah effects and more. She blends these effects and styles so that her sound rarely embraces a single one, yet each is always present — like a delicious smoothie studded with pieces of fruit. Her synth-driven mix of pop and rock walks a line between the very latest in pop music and memory-invoking vintage sounds. —Diamond Bodine-Fischer

tue 9/25

Beach House, Dustin Wong


Dream-pop indie heroes Beach House are back with their third release,  Bloom (Sub Pop), with which they officially quantum-jump into the indie-rock stratosphere, should they care to reside there. This Baltimore duo, featuring singer Victoria Legrand and guitarist Alex Scally, has labored long and hard to refine the hazy charms of its teenage pop symphonies/anthems. Bloom, aided immensely by higher production standards, echoes with elegance and superior songwriting craft; the non-ironic intensity of the band's passion shines. Ex–Ponytail/Ecstatic Sunshine guitar seeker Dustin Wong's second solo record, Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads, loops out sound through a mini-mountain of digital octave-splitters, distorters and other toodlebugs; when he filigrees and layers melodic leads atop it all, it's aural ecstasy, like hearing light through a kaleidoscope. —John Payne

Ferraby Lionheart


Gentle but firm, Ferraby Lionheart strikes with a focused intelligence underlying his down-to-earth, laid-back persona and his engrossing story-songs. He's a real musician with superior technical craft: His acoustic guitar- and piano-accompanied pieces take their cues from Dylan's '60s folk and, a bit strangely, what sounds like Elton John channeling Cole Porter. Ferraby's love-and-loss-and-love-again subject matter often is paired with bubbly, bouncy music, giving his songs a resonant ambiguity and highly visual impact. With eyes shut and a slight grimace, he'll deliver a lyrically involving and musically deep set from his Catch the  Brass Ring EP and Jack of Hearts full-length, and a few new tunes to boot. —John Payne

wed 9/26

Taken by Trees


When Victoria Bergsman was still the leader of mellow Swedish pop band The Concretes, she memorably turned the old Rolling Stones warhorse “Miss You” inside out by taking away the disco groove and Mick Jagger's fey-macho swagger, replacing them with a softly whispered intimacy and a haunting sparseness that really brought out the poignant loneliness of the melody. Now with her solo project Taken by Trees, Bergsman continues to defy expectations with subtle transformations of such hard-rock anthems as Guns N' Roses' “Sweet Child o' Mine.” But she's much more engaging when she plumbs the watery depths of her own original songs on Trees' new album, Other Worlds. Washes of synthesized strings and percolating electronics illuminate Bergsman's gentle cooing on “Large,” while her airy vocals float lightly over the gauzy landscape of the aptly titled serenade “Dreams.” —Falling James

Accept, Kreator


While Accept's brand of metal is more grounded in hard rock than the punishing thrash executed by fellow German natives Kreator, both groups have joined the growing club of heavy-metal acts that are aging gracefully. Accept's new album, Stalingrad, is a bruising ripper that stands strong alongside their classic '80s material. Though he doesn't make longtime fans forget the rasp of original vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, new screamer Mark Tornillo leaves an impressive mark on Accept's metallic blueprint. Our favorite German metal record this year, though, is Kreator's Phantom Antichrist. The band has completed its return to the ruthlessly efficient thrash that made fans mosh worldwide three decades ago. Kreator have one simple purpose with their music: brute force. Together, Accept and Kreator lead a German invasion that we welcome. —Jason Roche


thu 9/27

Brian Charette Organ Sextette


This fabulous NYC organist sports a wide-ranging résumé, having played with everyone from Joni Mitchell to Max Weinberg, and his inspiration comes from an equally diverse subset, from kung-fu to Olivier Messiaen. Imagine an austere French composer chasing birds while leaping from tree to tree in a yellow Bruce Lee jumpsuit, and you'll have an idea of what this music is about. Charette's arrangements draw upon Messiaen's harmonic innovations, but while Messiaen was ever in pursuit of the sublime, Charette manages to keep things grounded, even earthy. A faithful lifetime church organist, Messiaen might raise an eyebrow over titles like “Computer God” or “Prayer for an Agnostic,” but were he to meet Charette, they might have a nice time, comparing scale modes and White Crane to Wing Chun. —Gary Fukushima



It's easy to paint death-metal bands as just twisted kids who replaced pulling wings off insects with abusing funny-shaped guitars and scribbling slasher-flick lyrics. But Obituary, which helped define their genre with 1989's head-shakingly heavy yet boldly diverse debut Slowly We Rot and continue to command rabid crowds worldwide, clearly have more to offer than just perma-pubescent spite. At a time when Metallica were going (relatively) soft, these Floridian heshers were still seeking sonically violent, fanatical escapism. They've been exploring the extremes of an intrinsically extreme genre ever since, delivering both blur-speed belligerence and wallowing sludge. This might seem passé in the context of contemporary metalcore, but Obituary were buckling metal's edges back when few dared do so, and their brutal honesty still rings (loudly) true. —Paul Rogers

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