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Death Valley GirlsEXPAND
Death Valley Girls
Michael Haight

12 Best Music Shows in L.A. This Week

Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From a hands-on guitar camp hosted by Dweezil Zappa to Echo & the Bunnymen (in a church!), the ridiculousness of Har Mar Superstar and local pop singer Sasha Sloan, here are the 12 best music shows in Los Angeles this week!

fri 11/30

Death Valley Girls, Secret Stare

THE ECHO

With singer Bonnie Bloomgarden's endearingly unpredictable stage patter and irrepressible personality paired with guitarist Larry Schemel's driving, unrelenting riffs, Death Valley Girls are a fun, energetic band. The L.A. band's latest album, Darkness Rains, is a collection of mostly uptempo hard-rock, grunge and punk blasts. But with such tracks as "More Dead," "Wear Black" and "(One Less Thing) Before I Die," the aptly titled record is heavier — both musically and emotionally — and much more morbid than previous releases. "Born Again and Again" begins with spidery strands of guitar before shifting into a kind of shadowy goth metal. Secret Stare are a new local band fronted by Hunx & His Punx drummer Erin Emslie with guitarist Sharif Dumani and former Death Valley Girls bassist Alana Amram. Emslie is a mysteriously alluring presence as she casts out bewitching imprecations and girl-group melodies against a psychedelic, hard-rock attack. Salt Lick and Adult Parts also play. —Falling James

Neneh Cherry

THE MASONIC LODGE AT HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

The phenomenon of young kids leaving home to win the fortunes of punk rock is much like how kids used to run away to join the circus. There's young Philip Best stealing away to join Whitehouse in Spain; the teen menaces in Eater; even the pint-sized Reagan haters of Old Skull. Neneh Cherry has a new album out — Broken Politics, on Smalltown Supersound. It's a far cry from her own early days touring Europe at 14 with her stepfather, fusion trumpeter Don Cherry, as she's been developing her art ever since. Broken Politics, produced by Kieran Hebden, is admittedly more reflective than the albums that have come before for Cherry — but as her life and art are so storied, it's a record that's literally a record of everything that's come before in her life, unspooling as an endless groove playing forward from the center. —David Cotner

Dweezil ZappaEXPAND
Dweezil Zappa
Chad Jenkins

sat 12/1

Dweezil Zappa

THE FONDA THEATRE

Most magicians don't give private workshops revealing their secrets right before they go onstage, but Dweezil Zappa is offering a "Master Class Add-on" option ($75) to those who attend his concert at the Fonda. Condensing his four-day music camp, Dweezilla, into a single workshop before the performance, the guitarist will help students "Learn and Destroy" the tricks and intricacies behind not just his own music but also that of his father, Frank Zappa. "I transformed my guitar technique before starting Zappa Plays Zappa out of necessity to play my dad's most sophisticated and challenging melodies," Dweezil says about unveiling the venerable mysteries of the ancient guitar gods to mere mortals. Then, as part of his Choice Cuts tour, he'll go onstage and sift through as many as 30 selections from the disparate work of his father. —Falling James

Zebra

WHISKY A GO GO

Randy Jackson's hard rockers Zebra formed in New Orleans way back in 1975. A year earlier, they were called Shepherd's Bush and performed covers of Led Zeppelin, Yes and Jethro Tull tunes. But after (literally) seeing a picture of a woman riding a zebra on the cover of Vogue, their lives were changed forever. Kinda. Zebra have never achieved the sort of mega–rock stardom that their music perhaps deserves. The self-titled debut in '83 was a gem — unrestrained power-pop melodies, bubble-gum tunes with a hard edge. It was a great start but the follow-up, No Tellin' Lies, didn't perform commercially at all, despite coming only a year later. That said, the quality has never dropped, right up to 2003's Zebra IV, the most recent album. They still kill live, too, and as far as we can tell the core lineup of Jackson, bassist Felix Hanemann and drummer Guy Gelso is still in place. —Brett Callwood

Haunted Garage

CAFE NELA

There was a point in the early '90s when the British rock press tried to capitalize on the fleeting success of Green Jellö/Jellÿ by aligning them with fellow L.A. band Haunted Garage, as some sort of SoCal horror-rock scene. Truth is, though, Haunted Garage were always far darker and heavier, despite being bathed in campy B-movie gory glory. Dukey Flyswatter formed the Garage in '85, with the sole studio album, 1991's Possession Park, coming out in '91 on Metal Blade. There have been a handful of EPs and soundtrack appearances, too, but it's always been about the live show with these guys. Bathed in blood and surrounded by their signature "gore gore girls" (not Amy Gore's Detroit band of the same name), the prop-filled live extravaganza is a true experience, and this show, a benefit for Flyswatter (he undergoes brain surgery Dec. 10), should be no different. —Brett Callwood

sun 12/2

Triptykon

THE WILTERN

Over this Saturday and Sunday, Decibel magazine's Metal & Beer Fest will take over the Wiltern, with the likes of Testament, Godflesh, The Black Dahlia Murder, Pig Destroyer, Power Trip, Khemmis and Skeletal Remains, among many others, providing the intense entertainment. It's the Sunday headliner that will likely raise the most eyebrows, through. Triptykon are a Swiss metal band formed by former Celtic Frost mainman Thomas Gabriel Fischer, aka Tom Warrior (also of Hellhammer and Apollyon Sun). Metal pioneers Celtic Frost have been on-and-off for decades, most recently splitting in 2008, but on Sunday, Triptykon will perform a special Celtic Frost set. It should be good, too; Fischer stated his intention early on to make Triptykon sound as close to Celtic Frost as "humanly possible," and he's done just that. Also Saturday, Dec. 1. —Brett Callwood

Hand Habits
Hand Habits
Aubrey Trinnamen

mon 12/3

Hand Habits, Emily Sprague, Julianna Barwick, Anna St. Louis

ZEBULON

Hand Habits is a project from Meg Duffy, an L.A. singer and guitarist from upstate New York who has played with Weyes Blood, Mega Bog and Kevin Morby. The songs on Hand Habits' 2017 album, Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void), are generally laid-back indie-pop reveries, with such gentle ballads as "Flower Glass" and "Actress" alternating with occasional arty interludes like the sound collage of murmuring voices "Greater L.A. (Scene)." Emily Sprague is another local singer with roots back east, and her new album, Mount Vision, is a more synthesized array of lulling electronic and piano-driven soundscapes. Julianna Barwick spins her ethereal voice within hypnotic electronic loops on such moving, slowly unwinding releases as Nepenthe and Will. Anna St. Louis' new album, If Only There Was a River, is streaked with contemplative strains of rural folk and Americana. —Falling James

Sasha Sloan
Sasha Sloan
Dari Kreitenberg Photo

tue 12/4

Sasha Sloan

MOROCCAN LOUNGE

"Why do I try to fit in?" Sasha Sloan wonders on "Normal," from her debut EP, sad girl. "I just want to feel normal for the night, keep on kissing that guy that's not my type." It's an appealing revelation of vulnerability from the local pop singer, who was born in Boston. The six songs on Sloan's new EP are coated in a veneer of sugary arrangements and production, and she's clearly aiming for the middle of the road and a mainstream kind of success, but there are nonetheless charmingly idiosyncratic moments interspersed among such piano ballads as "Fall." The singer infuses "Ready Yet" with a laid-back R&B vibe, and she finds herself "strung out in the back of a black car" on the romantic lamentation "Runaway." Also Wednesday, Dec. 4. —Falling James

Echo & the Bunnymen

THE CATHEDRAL SANCTUARY AT IMMANUEL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Ian McCulloch's Echo & the Bunnymen are back, and this time they're performing at the impressive Immanuel Presbyterian Church. Yeah, this won't be an ordinary gig, though the imposing surroundings should work beautifully well with the Liverpool band's dark, sensual post-punk. This year's The Stars, the Oceans & the Moon is a fascinating piece of work, as they revisit a bunch of their fan-fave tunes and add "strings and things." McCulloch, as well as fellow original member Will Sergeant, has always had the ability to blend the traditional with the contemporary, and this new album showcases that very thing perfectly. The new version of "Seven Seas" (originally on 1984's Ocean Rain), for example, is reinvigorated, refreshed and doubly emotional. Also Wednesday, Dec. 4. —Brett Callwood

wed 12/5

GØGGS

ECHOPLEX

One of Ty Segall's myriad side projects, GØGGS is fronted by Ex-Cult vocalist Chris Shaw. Frequent Segall collaborator Charles Moothart completes the trio and trades guitar and percussion duties with Segall on the group's albums, of which there are thus far two: 2016's self-titled debut and Pre Strike Sweep, released in September. On both, GØGGS squeeze off short, aggressive bursts of menacing garage punk, as you might expect from L.A. indie imprint In the Red Records, home to prime output from Jay Reatard (Blood Visions) and Thee Oh Sees (Help, Carrion Crawler/The Dream). —Matt Miner

Béla Fleck & Abigail WashburnEXPAND
Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn
Jim McGuire

thu 12/6

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn

ROYCE HALL, UCLA

Abigail Washburn and Béla Fleck use only their voices and their fingers as they pluck stark Americana balladry and folk songs on their latest album, Echo in the Valley. The wife-and-husband duo knit together wild, intricate brambles of banjo underneath Washburn's keening vocals on such rootsy tunes as "Come All You Coal Miners" and "Take Me to Harlan." She offers rueful advice to herself on "If I Could Talk to a Younger Me" and intones the repetitive, hopeful incantation "Don't Let It Bring You Down" (not the Neil Young song) as a response to the 2016 presidential election. It's all woven together by the couple's deft, sparkling flurries of banjo, which stand out even more in the stripped-down, acoustic-duo format. —Falling James

Har Mar Superstar

THE REGENT THEATER

In many ways, it's frankly astonishing that Har Mar Superstar has lasted this long. The gimmick of a young Ron Jeremy dancing to disco in his underpants — that would appear to have a very short shelf life. But Har Mar deceived us all, because the underlying secret, the trick, is that his music is actually really good. The temptation is to see him as some sort of indie-R&B "Weird Al" Yancovic — a parody. But albums such as 2000's self-titled debut, 2002's You Can Feel Me and even 2016's Best Summer Ever are jam-packed with danceable contemporary disco anthems. Yeah, songs like "Power Lunch" and "Rhythm Bruises" are hardly intellectually brilliant. But the music is easy to like and, in the live arena, very easy to get carried away with. That said, this show sees the man performing the music of Dirty Dancing with Sabrina Ellis. This is going to be hilarious. —Brett Callwood