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Tropa MagicaEXPAND
Tropa Magica
Clariza Reyes

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 the glorious antics of pro–organic food hard rockers Mac Sabbath to a kick-ass party to launch your New Year's weekend, folk songstress Laura Veirs and a sound bath to start 2019 in the right spirit, here are the 12 best music shows in L.A. for your post-Christmas week!

fri 12/28

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Mac Sabbath, The Dickies

THE FONDA THEATRE

On paper, this would appear to be a lineup of supremely ridiculous punk and hard-rock bands to close the year. Mac Sabbath perform Black Sabbath songs while wearing costumes of characters from McDonaldland, whereas The Dickies' oeuvre consists of homages to Barney Rubble, killer clowns, Howdy Doody, hunchbacks, Tritia Toyota and Sammy Davis' glass eye. But Mac Sabbath's parodies are laced with barbed lyrics about factory farming that even Morrissey might appreciate ("We found ways to feed cows scraps of other cows that get left behind"), and The Dickies' silly symphonies and Banana Splits covers are mixed with non-sarcastic pure pop gems such as "Rosemary" and "Fan Mail." Meanwhile, PPL MVR dress in yeti costumes, and Captured by Robots features two robots bossing around a single human acolyte. —Falling James

Tropa Magica

ECHOPLEX

Brothers David and Rene Pacheco already stir up a frantic ruckus as Thee Commons, recklessly mixing garage, punk and cumbia to create a newly compelling variation on these three ancient music forms. But when they perform in their latest project, Tropa Magica, the Pacheco brothers conjure a much more mysterious sound that they describe as possessing a "cinematic, orchestrated and carnivalesque twist." The song "Tropavision" unwinds with a febrile sax melody over a cyclical groove. "LSD Roma" is even more exotic, as jazzy tendrils of acoustic guitar splinter outward against a spaghetti Western backdrop. Elements of Manu Chao's shape-shifting of genres blend with a Django Reinhardt–style traditionalism to form music that is both danceable and psychedelic, familiar yet also strange. —Falling James

sat 12/29

Jamie Jones b2b The Martinez Brothers

HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM

There is never a shortage of party choices for New Year's Eve weekend in Los Angeles. Insomniac's "underground" brand, Factory 93, offers one of the better options with Jamie Jones b2b The Martinez Brothers from open to close at the historic Hollywood Palladium. Both Jones and the Martinezes are leaders in classic house and melodic techno sounds and standard bearers in DJing, producing and releasing the highest quality music in those genres. Having them going head-to-head will be sure to enhance the already superior experience. The pro tip here is to carbo-load, arrive before doors and be mentally and physically prepared for the long haul into the early hours. This kind of singular curated event does not need a special occasion to make it the destination party that it is. —Lily Moayeri

sun 12/30

Adler's Appetite

WHISKY A GO GO

Steven Adler could be forgiven for feeling a little aggrieved as his former Guns N' Roses colleagues tour the world's arenas and stadiums, raking in the cash. Sure, Slash, Axl and Duff have thrown him the occasional bone and allowed him to guest at a gig here and there. But Adler has openly admitted in the press that he wants to be in a band with his friends again. That doesn't look as if it'll happen anytime soon, though, so for now he's going to have to satisfy that thirst with these club dates with his own Adler's Appetite band, performing GNR classics with some competent session players. Hey, there are worse ways to spend the night before New Year's Eve — both for Adler and for us. Venrez, Motor Sickle, 79', Wild Ride, Charlie Bonnet III & the Folkin' Gasholes and Crowded Reflections also play. —Brett Callwood

Laura Veirs

MOROCCAN LOUNGE

"Now she's married to the swell/She's swaying in the shells/A whisper in the waves," Laura Veirs coos on "Margaret Sands," a track from her latest album, The Lookout. With images of bones and seagulls, the tune is a typically gentle folk-pop interlude, much like the rest of the record. Produced by Veirs' husband, Tucker Martine, the album segues from laid-back pop (the title track) to intimate folk balladry ("The Meadow") as the singer charts the course of her heart via nature-based imagery. This has been a productive year for Veirs, who debuted Midnight Lightning, a new podcast about musicians with kids, and wrote a children's book, Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten. She's also part of a folk supergroup with Neko Case and k.d. lang that's simply titled case/lang/veirs, but her personality shines brightest on her solo recordings. —Falling James

Jesika Von Rabbit

THE VIPER ROOM

Former Gram Rabbit frontwoman Jesika Von Rabbit is one of music's great one-offs. She's simultaneously pop and art, accessible and avant-garde. Her new album is called Dessert Rock, and that's just fucking perfect because it manages to bring to mind dusty, grimy rock & roll (Joshua Tree is her home) and the sugary goodness of dessert. Von Rabbit's music is all of that and more. She's a mass of contradictions in the most glorious way and her influences, which touch on '80s MTV pop and '70s tie-dye psychedelia with dabs of Gaga and Nico, prove that very thing. Her new album is wonderful, but she really excels in the live environment. That's where she can allow the visuals to blend seamlessly with the sound. Above all, Von Rabbit is a true artist. ARSNK and Jane Machine also play. —Brett Callwood

mon 12/31

Sex Cell, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult

ECHOPLEX

Maybe 2018 was a year that needs saying goodbye to with a night of harsh, cold industrial music. That seems appropriate. This Sex Cells event at the Echoplex should provide exactly that, and the highlight, of course, will be Groovie Mann's sleaze-soaked Chicago Wax Trax stalwarts My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult. There are many reasons to love TKK, not least the fact that they came under constant fire from the Parents Music Resource Center back in the early '90s thanks to their explicit and subversive lyrics. That alone is enough to offer the band tenure in the college of awesomeness, but, hey, they didn't quit there. The last studio album, 2014's Spooky Tricks, is a typically brilliant industrial disco treat. Hopefully there's more new music to come. Egyptian Lover, Sateen, DJ Matthew Pernicano and DJ Danny Lethal also perform. —Brett Callwood

Ariel Pink, Redd Kross

THE STANDARD, HOLLYWOOD

Burger Records presents a rocking yet trippy lineup to send the year out with a big bang. Indie-pop shaman Ariel Pink tops the bill with his psychedelic musings, which range from gently weird breezy-listening pop chansons to occasionally heavier new wave–style opuses such as "Time to Meet Your God," from the 2017 album Dedicated to Bobby Jameson. Redd Kross rock considerably harder, fusing punk, classic rock and bubble gum into a thoroughly heavy and bitchin' brew suffused with a knowing sarcasm and littered with pop-culture references that somehow never get in the way of the catchy melodies and head-banging grooves — a rare trick that most self-professed joke bands can never pull off. The Flytraps are an all-femme punk quartet whose jagged riffs are spiked with hints of surf and garage rock and crowned with furious, bratty vocals. —Falling James

Faster Pussycat, Hookers & Blow

WHISKY A GO GO

A solid New Year's Eve night out. Taime Downe grew tired of Pussycat after the '80s pomp, calling it quits after 1992's Whipped! received a lukewarm reception and forming S&M-themed industrial rock band The Newlydeads. By the mid-2000s, however, Downe had put together a new lineup of Pussycat, blending that old-school cock rock with some Newlydeads darkness. 2006's The Power and the Glory Hole is under-heard, though Pussycat have toured hard since then. Meanwhile, Guns N' Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed will be joined by a revolving lineup of hard rockers for a hard-partying set. It all makes for a stunningly decadent double bill, and you can be sure that the booze will be flowing freely as the countdown to 2019 commences. The Whisky will be the best cathouse in town. —Brett Callwood

tue 1/1

Sound Bath

Philosophical Research Society

There's nothing like starting off the day with a song. While this New Year's Day noon sound bath might not give you a song bristling with words or melody, it's still a work of art — in a transformational vibrational vein. Sound bath lifeguard Kristin Palombo guides you via the energy of pure tones played on quartz crystal singing bowls. Those tones are designed to shift your mind — unless you're a real jerk or a crybaby — into a more relaxed and receptive state of being, slowing down your brainwaves and presenting a state of mind known as the alpha state. The alpha state is renowned for unveiling inspiration, focus and creativity, the likes of which are generally reserved for us artists and visionaries who usually experience these things every damn day. —David Cotner

Secret StareEXPAND
Secret Stare
Adam Boren Bennett

wed 1/2

Secret Stare

THE ECHO

Secret Stare are a new local band fronted by Erin Emslie. She's best known as the drummer for Bay Area provocateurs Hunx & His Punx, but she takes on an entirely different persona with her new project. There's a punk influence in some of Secret Stare's still-unreleased songs but without the overtly campy goofiness of Hunx. Instead, Emslie's originals with Secret Stare, such as "Lone Wolf" and "Subterranean Brain," are infused with traces of psychedelia, glitter and garage rock, and the overall mood is more mysterious than kitschy as Emslie casts out her dreamy imprecations with a regal, otherworldly charisma. Much of Secret Stare's power comes from guitarist Sharif Doumani (Alice Bag Band), whose fuzzy chords and inventive licks lace together Emslie's shadowy melodies. Foie Gras, Pink $ock and Tigercide also play. —Falling James

thu 1/3

Twin Seas

ALEX'S BAR

East L.A. band Twin Seas claim to blend the synth-soaked sounds of '80s new wave with the dreamier tones of 1960s and '70s psychedelia. As far as they're concerned, they couldn't have been birthed in any other city; the beachy vibe was appealing from day one to the core duo of Eduardo Bueno (vocals and guitar) and Jose Cruz (guitar and keys), and the music reflects that very thing. By Thursday, the New Year hangovers might just be under control, and these guys will offer a set that is both warmly calming and thrilling. Chola Orange, The Kid Chocolate Band and The Charities also play. —Brett Callwood

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