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fri 2/15

Foxygen

ECHOPLEX

If you add up the ages of Foxygen's 20-something Sam France and Jonathan Rado, then subtract that total from the current year, you will verge on the era from which the duo's album, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, takes its cues. There isn't a '60s reference point that isn't included in the group's hiss-filled, throwback, classic folk-rock. Foxygen dip into a funk swing on “Oh Yeah,” heavy, densely layered rhythms on the instrumental “Bowling Trophies” and lazy poetic strumming on “No Destruction.” The amalgamation of styles is fully realized in the inventively arranged psychedelic title track. Listen carefully for biting, tongue-in-cheek lyrics thinly veiled in whimsical, floating, dandelion spores of melody. For example, “There's no need to be an asshole/You're not in Brooklyn anymore.” —Lily Moayeri

Eels, Nicole Atkins

The FONDA THEATRE

Eels' 10th album is a burst of raw sunshine — and a welcome clearing in a forest of tangled emotions — after the ponderousness of the Los Feliz group's previous three albums (the interconnected trilogy Hombre Lobo, End Times and Tomorrow Morning) and morbid early releases like Electro-Shock Blues. Of course, even a joyful title like Wonderful, Glorious is subverted by the album-cover art of a warplane spitting out bombs, but the record is nonetheless about as close as lead singer Mark Everett ever comes to a sincere expression of joy. He romps around the garden and chews up the flowers of the fuzz-rocker “Peach Blossom” like an overgrown puppy — or an unrepentant fool newly in love. While lyrical insights sometimes feel secondhand, there's no denying the disarming, romantic vulnerability of the hushed and languidly lovely idyll “I Am Building a Shrine.” Brooklyn chanteuse Nicole Atkins' candied ballads swell with even grander, more melodramatic orchestration and her intelligently passionate girl-group arrangements. —Falling James

Turtle Island Quartet With Tierney Sutton

ZIPPER HALL

Tonight, the double-Grammy-winning, San Francisco–based Turtle Island Quartet make a stop at the downtown Colburn School of Music's Zipper Hall. Turtle Island's 2007 interpretation of John Coltrane's seminal A Love Supreme won their latest Grammy Award for Best Crossover Album. For more than two decades, Turtle Island have reworked music from Bach to Hendrix to Clapton, taking on musical collaborators along the way. Vocalist Tierney Sutton, as evocative as any singer in contemporary jazz, has garnered four Grammy nominations, the latest for her 2012 album, American Road. Zipper Hall at downtown's Colburn School is one of the area's finest venues of fewer than 500 seats and should provide an apt setting for this Jazz Bakery–sponsored event. —Tom Meek

sat 2/16

David Friesen, Larry Koonse, Storm Nilson

BLUE WHALE

Many years ago in Seattle, a musician took a beautiful girl out on a date and left his bass at her house. Her brother saw it and thought, “What an ugly instrument, I'll never play one of those.” Yet somehow David Friesen became an exceptional bassist, playing with musicians from Johnny Griffin to Joe Henderson to Chick Corea. Hidden comfortably in Portland, Ore., for decades, he occasionally makes it down to L.A. to play with old friends like guitarist Larry Koonse, who (like Friesen) has local cult-hero status. They share a common disciple in Portland guitarist Storm Nilson, who once was mentored by Koonse and now is a favorite bandmate of Friesen's. This will be an interesting trio. Oh, and that sister of his? Dyan Cannon. —Gary Fukushima

Mouse on Mars

EL REY THEATRE

If dance music's predictable repetition is a kind of fulfillment of low expectations, Mouse on Mars seem intent on dashing them. Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma practice a form of electronic music that is equal parts progressive-art experimentalism and a philosophical excursion into the nature and purpose of sound. But then, they've also filled dance floors in Europe, the United Kingdom and beyond with state-of-the-art beats and their own mutated, melodious funk 'n' soul. Their sound links them to the club-music scene, as do their many remixes and collaborations with members of the dance-music world, an association that has always seemed tenuous, seeing how placing electronic flies in the aural ointment is part and parcel of Mouse on Mars' methodology. Hear how all this plays out on their crucial recent album, Parastrophics. —John Payne

Rich Medina

BLAZIN' 45S AT NOLA

Dublab regular and vinyl gunslinger extraordinaire Danny Holloway is the promoter behind the Blazin' 45s night, and if you don't recognize the Holloway name, know that he's a guy whose box of records opens up and sends out the same searing, bright light as the briefcase in Pulp Fiction or the Ark in Raiders. Will there be face-melting? Yes, there will be face-melting! Each installment of Blazin' 45s features a world-class DJ selecting and spinning nothing but vinyl singles, some of which surely are worth more than your used car. This time it's a two-hour, all-45s set by the legendary Rich Medina, globe-trotting master of pretty much any genre ever stamped on wax. Afro-beat, soul, funk, rare groove … oops, outta space! Put it this way: If you're looking for something you've never heard but are gonna love from the first note, Medina is your guy. —Chris Ziegler

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sun 2/17

The Gears

VIVA CANTINA

Punk rock doesn't get any more elemental, or fun, than it does with The Gears. Rather than being obsessed with saving the world (like the Clash), or destroying it (à la the Sex Pistols), The Gears have always been more interested in the eternal things that really matter: chasing high school girls, smoking pot, going to the beach and dancing during a nuclear apocalypse. This evening, Axxel G. Reese and crew draw a direct line between punk rock and early rock & roll by backing the legendary late '50s/early '60s singer Freddy Cannon (“Palisades Park,” “Tallahassee Lassie”). Other highlights on this free bill include the rambunctious, bone-rattling, garage-punk wreckages of San Pedro hellions Bombón, the punky/new wave diva Pearl Harbor (who used to tour with the Clash), eternally sodden country-rock rowdies Groovy Rednecks and garage rockers Thee Teepees. —Falling James

Graveyard

EL REY THEATRE

Sweden's Graveyard are at the forefront of a movement to make rock sound evil without resorting to Cookie Monster vocals or blast-beat drumming. Instead, this quartet puts together haunting, classic-rock ditties that take inspiration from the blues-oriented portions of the Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin songbooks. Vocalist/guitarist Joakim Nilsson has a psychedelic howl that calls to mind the range of Deep Purple's Ian Gillan during that band's early-'70s peak. The vintage-sounding production on Graveyard's newest album, Lights Out, is supplemented by lyrical subject matter that calls to mind the darkness of Vietnam War–era rock & roll. This wicked combination, added to some damn catchy songwriting, makes for a listening experience that's far more haunting than anything shat out by generic, brutal death-metal band No. 5,346. —Jason Roche

mon 2/18

Om

CENTER FOR THE ARTS, EAGLE ROCK

Om's Al Cisneros is a cosmic explorer of the highest order, the kind of guy whose every musical effort is one more step along a spiral path to … ultimate truth? Ultimate beauty? Something too ultimately primal and sacred for the guy who writes picks in L.A. Weekly to even comprehend? If ever anyone could peel back the veil of reality with just an electric bass, a killer drummer, a new guitarist and aspirations toward the infinite — which means songs that unfold like fractals, revealing just the tiniest glimpse of forever — it's gonna be Cisneros and Om. They're basically mantra incarnate, as the name suggests. It's heavy like a flower is heavy, man — and if you get what I mean, you're already in the front row of this show. —Chris Ziegler

tue 2/19

Tomahawk

THE MAYAN

Tomahawk are composed of Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle, Faith No More), John Stanier (Helmet), Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard, Unsemble) and Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Fantômas). Like their namesake, they're heavy, powerful, even animalistic. Tomahawk repurpose and rebuild in ways never before imagined, incorporating everything from metal to Native American influences. Their music feels chaotic, even when it's making sense. The madness of wild drumming, squealing synthesizers, solid guitars and heavily distorted vocals comes together like a stellar collision that is simultaneously violent and alluring. —Diamond Bodine-Fischer

Rainbow Arabia, Ryat

LOS GLOBOS

As their name implies, Rainbow Arabia create an ebullient, electronic-based sound that's mixed with exotic strains of Middle Eastern and North African influences for a combination that's truly unusual and engrossing. Actually, the husband-and-wife duo (keyboardist Danny Preston of Wiskey Biscuit and singer Tiffany Preston) prefers the term “ethnotronic” to describe the funky mélange of clattering percussion, chanting voices, slinky guitars and thumping synthesizers. Either way, there's no one else in L.A. making music quite like this, with Tiffany's airy vocals darting in and out of the beats like a trilling bird while Danny pumps out throbbing dance-floor grooves. The electropop diva Ryat also has a heavy, percussive sound that's layered with her ethereal vocals and shiny synthesizers. The enigmatic track “Superficial Friction” is simultaneously arty, freaky, poppy, danceable and febrile. —Falling James

wed 2/20

Warm Soda

THE SMELL

Oakland's Matthew Melton is the man of a thousand riffs. He's played with at least three or four bands, each of which has delved successively deeper into the world of the almost-punk outfits that played fast but weren't ever gonna give up their guitar solos and harmonies. Stiv Bators of The Dead Boys was the main dude for this sorta thing, with a solo album that was basically one evil boy's take on Cleveland legends The Raspberries. Melton's got just the same style. His newest band, Warm Soda, writes songs that are dripping with hooks and heartbreak but which still go roaring along just like classics by The Real Kids or The Nerves. Debut single “Reaction” is basically as perfect as it gets — plenty of pop but plenty of power, too. —Chris Ziegler

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thu 2/21

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

THE FONDA THEATRE

Singer, novelist, actor, screenwriter and film composer Nick Cave, a restless man to be sure, is now back with his old mates The Bad Seeds, whose 15th studio album, Push the Sky Away, is just out on Bad Seed Ltd. In schizo contrast to the cacophonous hellfire of Cave's Grinderman project, this Seeds outing finds Cave working his relatively pensive mode in an excellent batch of songs whose stately string, piano and guitar settings sneakily couch all that Cave-ish sinister aggression in florid loveliness — a more, um, “mature” approach to the fine-detailing of Cave's perpetual dilemmas regarding the will, thrill and chill of love. While that all sounds quite adult and respectable, this is Nick Cave we're talking about, so be prepared for something perhaps a bit … explosive. Pre-performance, filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard screen a short film about the making of Push the Sky Away. —John Payne

Old Testament, Fatso Jetson

THE SATELLITE

Dead Meadow's Jason Simon has a new project called Old Testament, where the singer-guitarist transmutes his stoner/hard-rock energy into trancelike, psychedelic passages like “Journey to the Center of My Mind.” Such songs aren't flashy or fiery; instead, they build power slowly through Simon's wispy curls of guitar, Ryan Rapsys' lulling tom-toms and Jessica Senteno's buzzing harmonium, all of it together sounding much like Doors epic “The End.” Fatso Jetson have long been one of SoCal's weirdest and most underappreciated bands. Led by guitarist Mario Lalli and his bassist brother, Larry Lalli, Fatso Jetson have the ability to throw down very heavy stoner-rock anthems while also mixing in a jazzy dexterity, thanks to saxophonist Vince Meghrouni. Fact is, these guys can play anything, which makes their music truly psychedelic; that is to say, it's mind-blowing, mind-expanding and yet eclectic and unpredictable. —Falling James

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