As leader of both Spindle and 3D Picnic and a longtime member of The Negro Problem, Carolyn Edwards is one of the best and brightest musicians in Silver Lake's indie-pop underground, but she reveals the full breadth of her talent through her solo recordings. The local singer is an elegantly eloquent pianist with a melodically pure voice, but what sets her apart from most power-pop revivalists is her lyrical wit and intelligence — the way she discovers heart-catching moments of poignancy in the most unexpected places. A few years ago, Edwards found sympathy and a bit of overdue redemption for Monica Lewinsky via a charming country waltz, and she recently subverted Neil Young's kind of piggish “A Man Needs a Maid” with a delightfully sarcastic answer song, “Giant Shovel,” wherein she sweetly suggested that lazy rock stars pick up their own trash. Headliner Adam Marsland is another veteran pop maven, and his tunes take on an especially stellar glow when delivered by guitarist Evie Sands. —Falling James
John C. Reilly and Friends
John C. Reilly is a triple-threat kind of guy: Best known as an ace actor and comic, he's a gifted musician as well. Reilly recently has done a few singles for Jack White's Third Man label, including a cover of Ray Price's “I'll Be There If You Ever Want” with Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond, and a really fine take on the Louvin Brothers' “Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar” with singer-songwriter Tom Brosseau. Tonight Reilly, Stark and Brosseau sit 'round the proverbial fire at the Sanctuary, a Santa Monica church that doubles as a performance space (235 Hill St., at Main). They'll play traditional country/folk tunes heightened by the quirky radiance of singer Stark, a melodic force of nature and joyfully ethereal soul. Local country-folk-noir-blues boys RT & the 44s will chime in, along with singer-composer Simone White, who performs enchantingly dark tales from her latest album, Silver Silver. Admission is supercheap, with a suggested $5 to $10 donation; all ages welcome. —John Payne
Chrisette Michele's rich vocal endowments contain echoes of such jazz and R&B greats as Sarah Vaughan and Anita Baker. After an education notable for its immersion in music and the performing arts, the New York native enjoyed consistent work in the mid-2000s as a featured vocalist, appearing on tracks alongside Jay-Z, Kanye and Ghostface Killah. To say that many a hip-hop hook was enriched by her textured contralto would be a grave understatement. Michele's breakout moment came in 2009 when “Be OK,” from her sophomore release, Epiphany, scored the Grammy for Best Urban Alternative Performance. Her 2012 mixtape, Audio Visual Presentation: Audrey Hepburn, features appearances by Bilal (Oliver), 2 Chainz and Robert Glasper. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley
Steve Earle, Allison Moorer, The Living Sisters
Texas singer-guitarist Steve Earle lifted the title of the classic Hank Williams song “I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive” as the name of both his most recent studio album and his 2011 debut novel. The album is a set of generally serious-minded ballads influenced by the death of Earle's father, while the book is a fantasy about a drug-addicted doctor who's tormented by Williams' ghost. With his blustery manner and occasionally political folk-country sermons, Earle is likely to draw the lion's share of attention here, but the night's most enchanting sounds may come by way of Earle's frequently overshadowed wife, Tennessee country singer Allison Moorer. Where Earle likes to make big statements, Moorer prefers to capture the vagaries of life and romantic relationships with a subtler intimacy. Local femme-pop supergroup The Living Sisters also prefer harmonizing to ranting in their engagingly endearing chansons. —Falling James
Benefit for Kat Arthur
THE VEX ARTS L.A.
Of all the Hollywood punk singers who emerged in the late '70s and early '80s, Legal Weapon's Kat Arthur had the most soul, howling incendiary blasts like “Equalizer” and “Daddy's Gone Mad” with a fiery intensity and a raw, natural power that burned in stark contrast to the thinner, more amateurish screeching of other punk divas. Arthur exuded so much confidence and control with her brassy, sassy set of pipes that Legal Weapon were signed to a major-label deal in the mid-'80s. Today, she and founding guitarist Brian Hansen continue to churn out exhilarating hard-rock anthems, with a recent self-titled CD on Sewer Line Records. Sadly, Arthur's longtime partner, Fred Lewis, died from emphysema last month, so some of her friends are presenting tonight's benefit to cover funeral expenses. Not only does this bill feature several of L.A.'s most influential early punk bands — the recently reconfigured Alley Cats, surf-punk-rockabilly ravers The Gears and Legal Weapon — it also includes such vital newer groups as Brainspoon and Death on the Radio. —Falling James
Happy New Year and happy almost-new Warlocks album! Bobby Hecksher and his permashifting band of psychonauts are creeping toward the 2013 release of their follow-up to 2009's The Mirror Explodes, a deep and dark album that pulled its own version of high-gravity psychedelia from the other side of a black hole. Teasers so far are limited to YouTube clips involving an intimidating amount of guitar effects pedals, but that's a crucial part of any worthy Warlocks album. Some bands play chords, but the so-far-unstoppable Warlocks play clouds — songs that swirl around you like smoke and probably leave a little haze in your head, too. This will be a nice way to start the year after the world was supposed to end. With very compatible Spacemen 3-style reverbo-rockers The Cosmonauts and the high-energy punk-pop of Beach Party. —Chris Ziegler
Rainbow Arabia's Boys and Diamonds album, recorded for famed electronica label Kompakt, was probably the exact sort of thing William Gibson predicted for 2011 — digital pop music from an exploded world, where Kate Bush and Congolese experimentalists Konono No. 1 could forge a new sound that came from everywhere all at once. Boys and Diamonds was anxious, wild and bristling with bleeps and yelps beneath Tiffany Preston's horizonwide choruses. Now, however, Rainbow Arabia are very close to releasing their Boys and Diamonds follow-up. Not close enough for you to buy it, admittedly, but close enough for you to hear it live in its entirety at Part Time Punks. Next best thing? For now, sure. With alternate-timeline pop band Silver Hands, who come from a 1983 where there was less threat of nuclear annihilation. —Chris Ziegler
C.R.A.S.H., Regal Degal
You know what hurt when Mika Miko broke up? That Michelle Suarez's mind-grinding guitar tone would never again make a bunch of revved-up weirdos flop around in a puddle of beer on a cold, concrete floor. But the universe must have heard those flopping weirdos cry out in loss and pain. And so was formed the formidable band C.R.A.S.H., a fukkin' punk foursome with Suarez, No Age's Dean Spunt and mighty WRANGLER BRUTES (all-caps completely deserved) members Brooks Headley and Cundo Bermudez. C.R.A.S.H. did one go-for-the-throat 45 appropriately called A War on All Fronts and then dissolved into the back of the C section at the record store — until NOW! (All-caps again completely deserved.) Also on this show: the promising messtheticians of Regal Degal, who bring a Homosexuals/Chairs Missing–era Wire/Subway Sect DIY vibe to L.A. —Chris Ziegler
HARVARD AND STONE
Jordan Corso of Cotillon calls his music “flower-punk,” but this is really power-pop like it's supposed to be — hooky, raw and cheerfully bitter beneath the cuteness, just like Alex Chilton used to make. A Corso lyric such as “I don't have much, but I have a true heart” may sound like something Jonathan Richman would sing very sincerely, but Cotillon's recent Votive Flower EP is soaked in plenty of sarcasm, too. Corso's got a voice somewhere between Daniel Johnston and The Only Ones' supersneerer Peter Perrett. In songs like “I Wanna Move to Paris” or “Dream Girl/Infection Suite,” he pours a bottle of drain cleaner into the human heart: “You gave me an infection, just like you meant to,” goes one opening line. That's not love, but it sounds true nonetheless. —Chris Ziegler
Former Miles Davis pianist and 2010 Grammy nominee John Beasley is right in the middle of a Wednesday January residency at Little Tokyo's Blue Whale. Tonight Beasley offers up an evening of Brazilian music, backed by Cuban bassist Carlitos Del Puerto (Chris Botti/Steve Lukather) and drummer Gary Novak (Chick Corea). The program features works from composers including Ivan Lins and Gilberto Gil but also will vary from traditional bossa nova or samba styles. A slate of guests will join the trio for what promises to be an adventurous musical evening. The following Wednesday will see Beasley fronting his own “MONK'estra” big band. —Tom Meek
This or the Apocalypse
These Pennsylvania metalcore-ists look more and more like a boy band with every photo shoot and video. But, in fact, they're as brutally technical as anyone in the genre and, having formed in 2005, relative granddaddies of this precision-guided heavy-metal mutation. More sonically single-minded, detailed and ambitious than most of their peers, This or the Apocalypse make grandiose rhythmic sieges on the senses, spiked with melodic guitar refrains, Rick Armellino's ragged-yet-intelligible spewing and tuneful dalliances. Quasi-proggy song structures and short-attention-span arrangements hold the ear on 2012's The Dead Years, a collection oozing a sense of nothing-to-lose as metalcore's sun sulkily sets. With hit-seeking copyists diluting this type of music into footnote oblivion, This or the Apocalypse can at least stagger away with heads held high. (Also Tues. 1/15 at the Industry Theater in Lancaster) —Paul Rogers
In the decade since the demise of legendary metal act Pantera, vocalist Philip Anselmo has kept himself busy with numerous projects. But his pride and joy will always be Down. The group puts out hard rockers that pack not only power but also a lot of soul. As evident on their newest effort, Down IV, Pt. 1 — The Purple EP, the racket here is more laid-back and bluesy than the testosterone-fueled blast that was Pantera. But it still has enough riffage going on to get a pit moving. Having conquered the demons that brought down his live performances during the first part of the millennium, Anselmo has regained full power in his vocals. He again has the energy and stage presence to be a compelling master of ceremonies — leaving everyone with nothing but good-time vibes. —Jason Roche
Joe La Barbera
He was already a rising star with engagements with Woody Herman, Jim Hall and others when Joe La Barbera got the call to join Bill Evans, becoming the last drummer of the fabled piano trio. Of his young sideman, Evans remarked, “He does the right thing at the right time.” Maybe La Barbera should have stayed in Chuck Mangione's band until he became a household name, but otherwise Evans was absolutely correct: La Barbera is a superb accompanist with a deft touch and impeccable brushwork, yet he swings hard, with a confidence and fire that come partially from his illustrious experience but mostly from being a badass from day one. His quintet includes longtime colleagues Tom Warrington on bass and the exceptional pianist Bill Cunliffe, with saxist Bob Sheppard and trumpeter John Daversa. —Gary Fukushima
L.A. has produced and attracted some of the most happening female musical talent around: Anita O'Day, Joan Jett, Ella Mae Morse, Exene, Carolina Cotton, Poison Ivy Rorschach. The three gals who do business as Bombon are no exception. Truth to tell, they're daughters of San Pedro, home to a seaside rock & roll subculture all its own, and Bombon, naturally enough, trades in that most favorite of folk-music styles, the surf instrumental. No vapid beach bunnies these, Bombon display artful aggression, a sweetly salty, trashy expertise and a flair for material that's as atmospherically evocative as it is ineffably frugtastic. That's an enviable combination, and they pull it off with a maddeningly refined natural grace. —Jonny Whiteside
With Damien Jurado, Lucy Rose, Joshua James, and Curtis Peoples.
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