fri 12/28

Fishbone, Quinto Sol


Fishbone have gone through a lot of changes since emerging from South Central L.A. in 1979, but the group can always be counted on for a funky good time. Lead singer/saxist Angelo Moore, bassist Norwood Fisher and crew have evolved from a ska-reggae combo into a wildly expansive outfit that hurls punk, funk, soul and hard rock into the mix. Pumped up by a brassy, sassy horn section, Fishbone keeps things lively and surreally ebullient, even when examining such heavy issues as war and racism; Moore sees no reason why saving the world can't also be a party. The band's Laurence Fishburne–narrated documentary, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, recently was released on DVD, and they were still in righteously freaky form on their 2011 EP, Crazy Glue. The East L.A. reggae collective Quinto Sol sets the mood with their uplifting reggae grooves. —Falling James



“Who's the one that's been running a race? Me. Who's the one that's been running in place? You,” Evidence says on his most recent album, Cats & Dogs. “I'm on another level.” The Dilated Peoples rapper-producer always keeps it on the level, even as he takes his solo music to the next level, all the while trying to craft “the perfect sentence.” Switching to the third person on song “The Liner Notes,” Evidence declares, “L.A. made him, L.A. grazed him, then L.A. saved him. … Seems the only safe place is Venice Beach.” The former Michael Perretta is joined on Cats & Dogs by such empathetic colleagues as Aesop Rock, Raekwon and Aloe Blacc, but ultimately it's his singular vision that burns through the fog: “Try to right my wrongs/Try to write my songs/Shine lights, but the night is gone.” —Falling James

The Growlers


Legend has it that The Growlers' new record, Hung at Heart (out in January on the esteemed Everloving label), was at one point in danger of being sanded smooth by star producer Dan Auerbach of the world-famous white-blues combo Black Keys. But the collaboration didn't work out. Whew! That was close! The Long Beach hobo-rock surfadelicists are truest and realest when they're twanging out an echoed-out, warped cheapness, a sound they've developed all on their own. Why that crappy sound is so powerful is a mystery, but it is, and it's a core element in Growler greatness and the seemingly infinite catalog of excellent songs the band's writing team of Brooks Nielsen and Matt Taylor is capable of creating. Hung is twang all around, sinister/jokey rock tuneage soaked in reverbed guitars, Doors-y organs and a singer nasally warbling about women, tallboys, beach rats and baloney — and the pursuit of happiness on the endless road to who knows where. —John Payne

sat 12/29

Funky Sole


For 12 years now, DJ Miles Tackett (aka Music Man Miles) has brought the funk and, yes, raw soul to this fair city, pumping it out pure and unfiltered through the analog warmth of good old vinyl from the 1960s and '70s. After starting out at Star Shoes, he's been hosting his Funky Sole dance party at the Echo every week, joined for the past three years by simpatico cohort DJ Clifton (aka Soft Touch). Two weeks ago, they celebrated in high style at the Vanguard, with Tackett's Breakestra breaking it down live alongside such luminaries as Syl Johnson, the Beatnuts, Connie Price & the Keystones, Aloe Blacc and Buyepongo. Tonight, the party continues with former Ozomatli/Jurassic 5 turntablist Cut Chemist, a longtime Funky Sole mainstay, who'll sculpt an all-vinyl set on his spinning wheels of steel. —Falling James

Father John Misty


“Look out, Hollywood, here I come,” sang J. Tillman as he left Fleet Foxes, rechristened himself Father John Misty and headed south toward Los Angeles. Turns out the city was waiting to welcome him. His Fear Fun album suits L.A. — music made by, and for, dudes who blew into town with shit to say and shit to talk and maybe even shit to smoke, which is a long tradition out in the canyons. There's a lotta cosmic country vibes in here, of course, but Misty's more than what the Beachwood Sparks guys might call an “InstaGram Parsons.” (Actual joke by Beachwood Sparks — credit to 'em!) Instead, he's a funny guy and a sharp writer, like Townes Van Zandt or Loudon Wainwright before him. That makes the lows lower, the highs higher and the hilarious parts highest of all. “I'm no doctor,” he admits on one song, “but that monkey may be right.” Laugh now … but you'll be thinking that one over later. —Chris Ziegler



By all accounts, drummer Jamire Williams is doing great, working with jazz musicians like trumpeter Christian Scott and pianists Jason Moran and Robert Glasper. He also plays with soul artists like Corinne Bailey Rae and Bilal. As the name of his band suggests, ERIMAJ follows a contrariwise path toward greater things by skillfully incorporating jazz, soul and hip-hop into a wide-ranging melange of music that is undefinable yet redolent. In other words, it's the bomb. The accompanying music videos are iconic and capture the essence of Williams' vision, reinforcing an ongoing trend toward sophisticated hipness in urban culture. With guitarist Matthew Stevens, who also plays with Christian Scott; Joshua Crumbly, bassist for Terence Blanchard; and Corey King, a trombonist and keyboardist who is in Esperanza Spaulding's band. — Gary Fukushima


Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic


Zydeco, that rockin' Creole-R&B sound, is definitely a wild child of Louisiana's singular cultural crossfire, yet California has nonetheless produced some significant forces in the genre. Certain districts in San Francisco, West Oakland and nearby Richmond are so saturated in Louisiana emigres that a stroll through them feels more like visiting the Ninth Ward than Funky Broadway; their progeny include such squeeze-box paragons as San Francisco-based Queen Ida and Richmond-born live-wire zydeco overlord Andre Thierry. With a soulful set of pipes and a left hand that churns out the French boogie with masterly emphasis, Thierry is one of the hottest torchbearers on the West Coast. With his wildly capable Zydeco Magic band, he dispenses a highly spiced, irresistibly exotic sound with downright delirious effect. —Jonny Whiteside

The Aggrolites


Jamaica's original 1960s reggae was as grimy as it was groovy, offering both an escape from and a reflection of life in the island's teeming, violent slums. Though a new-millennium L.A. creation (formed in 2002 as the backing band for reggae godfather Derrick Morgan), The Aggrolites adhere to this organic, organ-stained strain of the genre, albeit one injected with the ska-inflected skinhead angst of England's late-'70s 2 Tone scene. Though they clearly come to skank and celebrate, snapping snare drums and slightly spooky fairground keys hint that a single misplaced elbow could flip the quintet's mood entirely. Last year's lo-fi, largely instrumental Rugged Road has many a mellow moment, but the album's bold bucking of stylistic (and production) trends makes it proudly punk-as-fuck nonetheless. —Paul Rogers

sun 12/30

Kelly Rowland


Main mouth Beyoncé Knowles so dominated mega-selling Texan R&B trio Destiny's Child that, as she writhed toward mononymous ubiquity in the early aughts, her bandmates seemed threatened with obscurity. But not Kelly Rowland, who grew up with Knowles in Houston and survived Destiny's Child's commercial explosion and Y2K switch-up (in which original members LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett departed). Rowland was actually the first Child to go it alone. Her 2002 debut, Simply Deep, spawned globally chart-topping Nelly duet “Dilemma,” one year before Beyoncé's solo bow, Dangerously in Love. In '09 Rowland teamed with DJ David Guetta for another worldwide floor-filler, “When Love Takes Over,” and her versatile, suggestively cooed vibrato and knee-weakening onstage glamour continue to remind that Destiny's Child wasn't all Knowles after all. —Paul Rogers



Ludacris (nee Chris Bridges) made the transition from Atlanta-based urban radio jockey to hip-hop heavyweight in the early 2000s, shortly after the release of his game-changing debut, Back for the First Time. The Billboard-charting tracks “What's Your Fantasy” and “Southern Hospitality” received heavy urban-radio rotation and quickly became hallmarks of rap's Dirty South movement. The three-time Grammy Award winner continued to churn out a flock of chart-topping singles during the 2000s. To date, he's sold more than 20 million albums just in the United States. More than a musical force, Bridges has successfully enjoyed careers as a SAG Award–winning actor, restaurateur and philanthropist. His highly anticipated 2013 release Ludaversal includes production by Pharrell Williams and David Guetta. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

mon 12/31

Redd Kross, The Melvins


Despite the myriad achievements of the human race throughout history — moonshots, pyramids, penicillin and the late-night food truck — one never-realized dream haunted civilization: getting Redd Kross and The Melvins to play on the same show. If you were thinking about something with artificial intelligence or faster-than-light travel, then obviously you've never sensed the capacity for societal advancement inherent in a limited-edition 12-inch EP. So: Finally, these undisputed titans of punk and rock — these choosers of perfect cover songs, these producers of the shits which rippeth, these knowers of the single awesome Osmonds track — will share a bill on the last night of 2012. This must be that oft-discussed “rapture of the nerds,” right? Cocktails served and black formal attire requested. This is history, people! —Chris Ziegler

tue 1/1

Religious Girls, Hex Horizontal


It's a new year, which requires a brave new soundtrack rather than the usual retro background noise of tired nostalgia. The Oakland trio Religious Girls clearly are aiming for something unusual in attempting to “to push aside the standards of popular songwriting with nonrepeating structures [and] an intricate mathematical style.” What they end up is a molten stew of disembodied ghostly voices, electronic trickery and psychedelic weirdness on their generally instrumental album Open Your Heart to Fantasy. The local guitar-drums duo Hex Horizontal also say what's on their collective mind without actually using words, instead employing harsh slabs of electronic noise interspersed with intimately spacey prog-rock interludes. —Falling James


wed 1/2



The prehistory of 8-bit beats in Los Angeles gets more and more pixilated the farther you look back, but believe that Watts beatmaker Dibia$e was there early and enthusiastically. In fact, he used to get the pieces for his Nintendified songs by playing video games live through his sampler and trying not to die before he got to hear Bowser growl at him. A longtime Low End Theory regular, his previous releases on Alpha Pup and All City — the twin tentpoles of L.A. beat — prove that he's just as agile a producer as he is a Player 1. His newest LP, Looney Goons, is bristling with sci-fi robo music that crackles with adrenalin and menace both. The last man on the last level with the timer counting down to disintegration? That's when Dibia$e feels most at home. —Chris Ziegler

Sister Ruby Band


Johnny Ruby and his “sisters” — who are actually two misters named Carlos and Sam — have their own reverent take on the true foundational texts of rock & roll, much like Primal Scream did when they spent an album or so exploring the Rolling Stones canon. As Spiritualized does now and Dream Syndicate did a generation ago — wow, has it been so long? — the Sister Ruby Band follows '60s originals like Skip Spence, Dr. John or Lee Hazlewood way out into the darkness, returning with songs that seem like barely tamed animals. This is the kind of thing that'll get huge the day the U.K. finds out about it, but you can maybe hustle up close now, while they're still standing on the dirty city streets they came from. —Chris Ziegler

thu 1/3

Louie Cruz Beltran


Bakersfield native Louie Cruz Beltran comes from a family of 10 brothers and sisters, more than one a prominent entertainer. His brother Robert starred in the popular cult film “Eating Raoul” and went on to play Chakotay in Star Trek: Voyager. Louie himself had a role in 2005's A Mexican Werewolf in Texas. Beltran has been one of SoCal's more popular Latin percussionists for decades, fronting everything from small groups to full-blown Latin orchestras. Tonight's performance at Vibrato finds him with a quartet in an evening devoted to Beltran as vocalist, and his usual running audience dialogue will likely be at full speed at Bel-Air's classy Vibrato supper club. If you've overdosed on football and just want an evening out to relax and be entertained, Louie Cruz Beltran is well worth checking out. —Tom Meek

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