SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO AT THE AVALON
It's not such a revelation at this point that what you'd loosely call indie rock and electronic dance can make pleasantly strange bedfellows, but U.K.-based production and remix fellas Jas Shaw and James Ford brought their Simian Mobile Disco to especially fine flower on their recent Temporary Pleasure(Wichita). With the spaced-out soul delights of the duo's ambience-drenched house holler firmly intact, the album found our primates of the month digging nostalgically into deep Britpop roots in a coldly techno'd set humanized substantially by guest vocalists including Beth Ditto of the Gossip, Jamie Lidell, Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor and Yeasayer's Chris Keating. SMD will offer a ripping DJ set tonight, all the better for a bone-rattling soak in what they do best: simply gargantuan, booming waves of electronic ecstasy. (John Payne)
Also playing Friday: POCAHAUNTED, INCA ORE, TUNNELS, & SLAVES at Echo Curio (see music feature); THE LOONS, PETER CASE at Rhino Records Pop-Up Store; NAS & DAMIAN MARLEY at the Wiltern; FROG EYES, MOUNT ST. HELEN'S VIETNAM BAND at the Echo; MOSES CAMPBELL, TERRORDACTYLS, STELLALUNA at the Smell; INDIAN BURN, GANTAZ WARRIOR at Space 15 Twenty; PLANTS AND ANIMALS at Origami Vinyl; LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE at the Oak Canyon Ranch; LUKAS NELSON at the Canyon; WINGED THINGS at Pehrspace; THE GROOVY REDNECKS, FAST OTTOS at Weber's Place; PITBULL at Nokia Theatre.
TOPANGA DAYS COUNTRY FAIR AT TOPANGA COMMUNITY CLUB
The steep hills of Topanga Canyon, perched on the northwestern edge of Los Angeles, are about as sylvan and natural as a place can get and still be close to the big city. At one time, before gentrification changed the rustic feel and character of the neighborhood, Topanga attracted a horde of counter-culture artists, actors and musicians, including such residents as Neil Young, Wallace Berman, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, Teri Garr, Dean Stockwell, Will Geer and Woody Guthrie. Despite its remote location atop a winding mountain road, the old Topanga Corral used to be a late-'60s hot spot that featured such luminaries as Canned Heat, Etta James, Little Feat and Emmylou Harris. The annual Topanga Days Country Fair aims to recapture much of that vibe at this weekend's three-day festival, which is headlined by longtime Canyon locals Canned Heat on Saturday. While the current version is a shadow of the band's classic 1970s lineup — when leader Bob “The Bear” Hite was still alive and schooling such young musicians as the Gun Club's Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the Blasters' Phil and Dave Alvin in the mysteries of the blues — Canned Heat remains a beloved Topanga fixture. Saturday's highlights also include former Lone Justice country-pop singer Maria McKee, who got her start in the late '70s doing Fleetwood Mac–style harmonies in the Bryan MacLean Band, which was led by her late brother, a founding member of Love. Sunday becomes a whole lot funkier with Meters founder Leo Nocentelli bringing in his Meters Experience, as well as a set from Ziggy Marley, who's expanded his trademark reggae sound into children's music in recent years. Memorial Day continues with more music, as well as a parade in honor of the late Topanga Canyon patriarch Will Geer. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Also Sun.-Mon. 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Road. topangadays.com. (Falling James)
ROSIE LEDET AT HARVELLE'S
Rosie Ledet probably pumps her own gas. The Louisiana singer already pumps her own accordion, somewhat of a rarity in zydeco bands, which are usually led by men. Singing in English and Creole French, Ledet draws upon traditional blues and zydeco styles but infuses them with soulful pop and R&B influences. With playful songs like “You Can Eat My Poussiere,” she's also more overtly sexual than most zydeco performers. Last year, however, Ledet was at the center of a disturbing controversy after reportedly having a miscarriage and then hiding the baby's body in a band mate's storage shed so she could continue a concert tour. After the band member called police, Ledet was investigated by the authorities but ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing. Still, one can only wonder how such a deep personal tragedy might affect her music, which has historically been so ebullient and festive. (Falling James)
Also playing Saturday: EMITT RHODES EVENT at Rhino Records Pop-Up Store; WAR, TOWER OF POWER, AVERAGE WHITE BAND at the Greek Theatre; 400 BLOWS at Spaceland; CAPTAIN AHAB, BITCHES at the Smell; SAY ANYTHING at the Palladium; DJ QUIK'S GROOVE, PARADOX, FANTANA at the Key Club; GAMBLE HOUSE, MYSTERY CLAWS, SLEEPING BAGS, SPECIAL GUEST at Pehrspace; LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE at the Oak Canyon Ranch; RANGERS, SWANOX, M. GEDDES GENGRAS at Echo Curio; “BEARRACUDA” at the Echoplex; ENRIQUE BUNBURY at House of Blues.
JAZZREGGAE FESTIVAL AT UCLA
Plenty of fine acts here worth braving the shade-free sun farm that is UCLA's Intramural Field during JazzReggae Festival, which this weekend celebrates its 24th year in business (in one form or another). Headlining Sunday's putatively jazz-centered bill are Raphael Saadiq, the former Tony! Toni! Toné! member who has become one of our most dependable purveyors of playfully retro-minded R&B, and Q-Tip, the former (and future?) Tribe Called Quest member whose solo work is generally better the less jazzy its aim. Also scheduled to appear Sunday: neo-soul crooner Bilal (recently signed to L.A. indie Plug Research), local lady Georgia Anne Muldrow and—hey, what do you know?—the UCLA Latin Jazz Big Band. Nas & Damian Marley top Monday's reggae line-up in support of Distant Relatives, their uneven new duo album. Show up early, though, for Barrington Levy, the Jamaican dance-hall great, and Nneka, whose Concrete Jungle is one of the year's finest polyglot pop discs. Also Mon. (Mikael Wood)
AMANDA JO WILLIAMS, JOHN NORWOOD, MATTHEW O'NEILL, GLASS GOBLINS AT ECHO COUNTRY OUTPOST
While the title of this event certainly says a lot — “Jesus Halibut Christ, It's a Fish Fry, Barbecue, Music Jamboree!” — it doesn't quite say it all. The underexposed East Side gallery space Echo Country Outpost is holding a boot-stomping fund-raiser for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Among the edible amenities that come with the 20-dollar price tag: fried fish, barbecued meats and veggies galore washed down with beer, tequila, wine and soda pop — though preferably not all at once, since that'd severely hinder attendees' ability to participate in all the face-painting, Frisbee-tossing and sidewalk-chalking that's to be had. All of which should pair quite nicely with the tunes that the Outpost has lined up for the day. Local folk-rocker Amanda Jo Williams sings with a voice that twangs like a jaw harp. John Norwood hews a bit more toward country with a comedic touch, while Matthew O'Neill specializes in quiet pastorals and Seattle's Glass Goblins makes rambling psych-rock. (Chris Martins)
MIIKE SNOW, CANON BLUE AT EL REY THEATRE
There's a great deal that's confusing about Miike Snow, not the least of which is the fact that the Stockholm-based band uses that enduring symbol of redneck superstition, the jackalope, as its logo. Furthermore, there's no one named Mike (or Miike) in the group, and in reality, only two of the members hail from Sweden. Singer Andrew Wyatt is actually American — he once played in a band with Greg Kurstin of the Bird and the Bee, and later was the keyboardist for the A.M. — while producers Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg are Scandinavian in heritage, but global in reach. As the songwriting team Bloodshy and Avant, they've crafted hits for Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Rob Thomas and Jennifer Lopez among countless others, which goes a long way to explaining the infectiousness of Miike Snow's songs. Strains of falsetto funk, airy pop and upbeat electronica mix freely in singles like “Animal” and “Black and Blue,” resulting in surprisingly guilt-free radio pleasures. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Sunday: THE LAST URINALS, WEDNESDAY WEEK at Rhino Records Pop-Up Store; NEIL HAMBURGER at Spaceland; JESUS MAKES THE SHOTGUN SOUND at the Smell; TECH N9NE at House of Blues; FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS at Hollywood Bowl; SUN ARAW, SEQUINS AND SKELETONS, SASQROTCH, OBSCURER at Echo Curio; LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE at the Oak Canyon Ranch; LIKE TRAINS & TAXIS, BONFIRE MADIGAN at the Bootleg Theater; THE BIG MANNY BAND at Liquid Kitty; BLUE JUNGLE at Redwood Bar & Grill.
SVARTE GREINER, CRYSTAL HELL POOL, MEM1, ROBIN AND CASSIA STREB AT SYNCHRONICITY SPACE
For six years, the CTRL+ALT+REPEAT series has been bringing excellent experimental music to L.A., largely focusing on the areas in which electronic forms intersect contemporary classical. Founders Mark and Laura Cetilia are the real deal — the former is a programming genius and the latter an accomplished cellist, and the married couple not only curates together, but performs as the improvisatory duo Mem1. As a headliner for this event, they've wrangled Norway's darkly ambient Svarte Greiner (also a member of Deaf Center), whose work has been embraced by fans of the greater “doom” genre, those inspired by the stark and crushing soundscapes of aural pioneers like Sunn O))). Seattle's Crystal Hell Pool, despite the name, isn't quite as dark, though bleakness is his M.O., while L.A.'s own Yann Novak uses digital manipulation to generate tones and textures that veer toward the bright and meditative. Filling out the classical side of the bill are sibling viola and violin players Robin and Cassia Streb, performing a piece by composer Cat Lamb. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Monday: DR. DEMENTO, WILDMAN FISHER, RUBEN & THE JETS, BARNES & BARNES, BIG DADDY, TEMPLE CITY KAZOO ORCHESTRA at Rhino Records Pop-Up Store ; MIIKE SNOW at the Music Box; THE LIKE, THE YOUNG VEINS, THE LIVING SICKNESS at the Echo; DAVID SCOTT STONE & TOM CARTER at Echo Curio; FOOD VILLAGE, BITCHES, NICOLE KIDMAN, FORTS at Pehrspace; LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE at the Oak Canyon Ranch; JAZZREGGAE FESTIVAL at UCLA; NEW MUSIC MONDAY at Echo Curio.
Playing Tuesday: MIIKE SNOW at the Music Box; FIRST AID KIT, SAMANTHA CRAIN at the Bootleg Theater; ABBY TRAVIS at Molly Malone's; MILLION KIDS at Redwood Bar & Grill.
MUSIC AND FILM BY HARRY PARTCH, LOU HARRISON, ANNE LEBARON AND MADELINE TOURTELOT AT REDCAT
John Schneider's Partch ensemble resumes its look at the legacy of microtonal composer/visionary/hobo Harry Partch with two nights of music performed on Schneider's custom-built reproductions of Partch's original instruments. Focusing on works inspired by indigenous American cultures, the performances include Partch's Even Wild Horses — Dance Music for an Absent Drama, featuring African and Latin American polyrhythms, tenor saxophone and excerpts from Rimbaud's “A Season in Hell” sung in English; works by Partch pal Lou Harrison, the similarly tone-pioneering iconoclast; and the West Coast debut of Anne LeBaron's Partch/flute/cello hybrid Southern Ephemera. There'll also be a screening of Madeline Tourtelot's Rotate the Body in All Its Planes, a short film documenting a Partch “ballet for gymnasts.” (John Payne)
X AT ALEX'S BAR
In a parallel universe, there was once a mighty punk scene in the late 1970s featuring bands with weirdly familiar names like X and Minuteman. However, this musical hotbed wasn't in Hollywood or even San Pedro. Instead, it was based in a land Down Under, on an island continent whose geographic isolation ensured that its bands would evolve in distinctly stranger ways than the rest of the punk world. Not to be confused with Exene Cervenka and John Doe's long-running group, X are a legendary punk combo who formed in Sydney, Australia, back in 1977. Unlike the roots-rocking local band, the Australian X have a more abrasively unsentimental and musically adventurous post-punk sound that's closer in spirit to Wire's artiness mixed with the teenage brattiness of Middle Class and Eater, on iconic tracks like “Suck Suck” (from the classic, rare album X-Aspirations). Founding member Ian Rilen (who was also in the great Aussie band Rose Tattoo) died in 2006, but apparently a reincarnated version of the band is finally getting around to visiting the United States, with a lineup that includes the Cosmic Psychos' Bill Walsh. (Falling James)
SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS AT THE ECHO
This New York dream-pop trio teams ex-Secret Machines guitarist Benjamin Curtis with Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, twin sisters who used to play in a group called On!Air!Library! (Incidentally, Curtis founded Secret Machines with his brother, Brandon. And aren't there like eight siblings in the National? I see a Brooklyn-based reality show here somewhere…) Anyway, School of Seven Bells released its debut, Alpinisms, in 2008, earning loads of rightful comparisons to such 120 Minutes alumni as My Bloody Valentine, Lush and Cocteau Twins. A follow-up, Disconnect from Desire, is due out July 13 and adds New Order and Stereolab to the swirl of influences. Can't say I understand the title, as the new songs sound prettier and more sensual than those on the first record. But maybe all of them are about the economy. (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Wednesday: HOT HOT HEAT, CHASING KINGS at the Bootleg Theater (see Music feature); MIIKE SNOW at the Music Box; DAEDELUS, NOSAJ THING, JNEIRO JAREL, THAVIUS BECK, ASURA at Low End Theory; JUNIOR CAT at the Echoplex; FRIENDO & GAMBLE HOUSE at Spaceland; SCARLET POMERS, JOHN WICKS & THE RECORDS at the Mint.
FREE KUTMAH BENEFIT WITH GASLAMP KILLER, DAEDELUS, DâM-FUNK, SAMIYAM, TEEBS, RAS G, ABCNT, OTHERS AT THE ECHOPLEX
This crackdown on “illegal” immigrants to our grand old USA is getting out of hand, and there's no better example than the case of Kutmah. A visual artist, DJ and producer whose high-quality work has made him a truly essential member of this little town's creative community, the U.K.-born Kutmah now faces immediate deportation after immigration agents recently interrogated him and moved him to a detention facility in New Mexico — this despite his family's repeated applications for green card status dating back to the mid-'80s. A sterling bunch of Kutmah's compatriot sound artists are rallying 'round with this night to benefit the cause, including the mighty Daedelus, Dâm-Funk, Ras G and surprise guests, along with host Gaslamp Killer. Meanwhile you can help by visiting freekutmah.comto sign the petition, write a letter of support and/or make a donation towards Kutmah's legal defense fund. (John Payne)
Also playing Thursday: MUMFORD & SONS, THE MIDDLE EAST at the Music Box; BORN RUFFIANS at the Echo; A FRAMES, WOUNDED LION, DUNES at the Smell; FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS at Spaceland; LUKAS NELSON at Air Conditioned Lounge; DON WAS at the Grammy Museum; BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY at Grove of Anaheim; JOHNNY MATHIS at San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino; THE DAMN WELL PLEASE ORGAN TRIO at Liquid Kitty.