Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From the return of Joe Jackson to the explorations of Julia Holter, from local favorites Cherry Glazerr to the kid-friendly tunes of Gustafer Yellowgold, here are the 12 best music shows in L.A. this week!
It's been 40 years since Joe Jackson glided onto the music scene with his signature mixture of beautifully introspective songwriting, intimately captivating showmanship and raucously exciting piano playing. To celebrate the intervening four decades — and all the ceaseless creativity that implies — Jackson tours America, with a stop tonight at the Orpheum, one of the few venues able to truly showcase the radiance of his works. You'll hear Jackson's renditions of songs from five of his albums: 1979's Look Sharp, 1982's Night and Day, 1991's Laughter and Lust, 2008's Rain and his latest, Fool, released in January. Besides all that, he'll play some covers and odds and ends from other albums along the way. You never quite know what Jackson will do with the songs he commands — even his own music — so much so that every time he plays a song you love, he makes it new and unique. —David Cotner
THE HI HAT
Among the personal interests listed on the Facebook page of Rosie Tucker, a solo singer and member of post-rock band Gypsum, are "spotting the homoerotic subtext, abandoning epic novels and DIY projects, junk art and Pauline Oliveros." Several of the L.A. vocalist's obsessions converge on her upcoming album on New Professor Music, Never Not Never Not Never Not. The first single, "Gay Bar," is a loving look at the different characters at a favorite hangout. "If you told me that we'd died and gone to the gay bar, I woulda said, 'That seems right,'" Tucker purrs dreamily. "Baby isn't this the afterlife? Singing karaoke in a dive." The harder-rocking "Habit" is an affecting lamentation about missing old friends. "I woke up bereft with no poetry left except that to be found in sweat stains and coffee grounds," she confesses evocatively. —Falling James
Spear of Destiny
THE REGENT THEATER
There was a time in the mid-'80s when British mildly Goth post-punkers Spear of Destiny, led by the charmingly moody Kirk Brandon, had a string of hits, not least the endearing call to arms of "Never Take Me Alive." Brandon had a previous brush with near-fame thanks to the band Theatre of Hate and their "Do You Believe in the Westworld" single that seems to end up on every punk compilation album and box set. But anyway, the days of chart success are firmly behind Spear of Destiny, and now they have to be content touring as cult heroes before a loyal set of fans. In a just world, Brandon would be bigger than Morrissey. Local punk oiks The Wraith also play. —Brett Callwood
Julia Holter's music falls into an uncharted territory that's somewhere between art rock, chamber pop and ambient electronica. The L.A. singer's latest album, Aviary, is an epic work with 15 tracks, most of which clock in at well over six minutes apiece. Holter wails into a musical maelstrom on the opening song, "Turn the Light on," a Björk-like reverie that swirls around her chaotically. "Whether" sounds like a slice of straightforward '60s garage-rock psychedelia, followed by more experimental passages such as "Chaitius" and "Everyday Is an Emergency," which wallow in a trance-like buzz of subdued instrumentation. Holter switches into a more playfully romantic idyll on "Les Jeux to You." Elsewhere, she skates softly across the icy edges of the string-laden "Words I Heard." —Falling James
MCCABE'S GUITAR SHOP
Gustafer Yellowgold is the creation of singer-songwriter Morgan Taylor, and the whole endeavor is quite ingenious. Without the financial support of a Nickelodeon or Disney, Taylor has melded his own children's character into a cottage industry. There are songs and accompanying cartoons, stuffed toys and T-shirts. Gustafer Yellowgold, incidentally, came from the sun and he's friends with an eel and a rock band composed of bees. He looks a bit like a yellow Smurf, minus the hat and stretched out a bit. More important, the music is actually wonderful. If parents want a break after being driven to distraction by the awful warbling of The Wiggles, Morgan Taylor and Gustafer offer just that. —Brett Callwood
The Monochrome Set
Although The Monochrome Set emerged during the British punk-rock explosion in 1978, their music soon evolved into a wide variety of styles that anticipated modern indie pop. Lead singer Bid was briefly in The B-Sides, a group with Adam Ant (then known as Stuart Goddard). Former Adam Ant bassist Andy Warren has been a longtime member of The Monochrome Set, although the group's lineup has changed many times during their extensive career. The compilations Volume, Contrast, Brilliance ... (Sessions & Singles Vol. 1) and last year's The Monochrome Set: 1979-1985: Complete Recordings are good places to catch up with their idiosyncratic early work. Their most recent album of new material, 2018's Maisieworld, encompasses stirring pop-rock anthems such as "Stage Fright" and the sly folk-rock ditty "I Feel Fine (Really)." —Falling James
The chisel-faced Sam Fender, who stares balefully out of his photographs, part belligerent, part come-hither, is the recipient of the Critics' Choice Award at the 2019 Brits — the English cousin to our Grammys. Besides the credibility this accolade bestows on the 22-year-old singer-songwriter, it also means Fender is treading the same ground as Adele, Sam Smith, James Bay and Florence + the Machine, among many lauded others. In the couple of years Fender has been making the live circuit rounds, he has released an album's worth of ear-catching singles, plus the Dead Boys EP. His song "Play God" found its way onto FIFA 19 and his suicide lament, "Dead Boys," is a prime example of Fender's social-commentary lyricism that is largely informed by his Northern England birthplace, not too far from where his music gets its Arctic Monkeys–meet–The Smiths flavor. —Lily Moayeri
"I can't pretend to know anything because I'm just an idiot like the rest of you," Clementine Creevy writes about Cherry Glazerr's new album, Stuffed and Ready. "So it's about me coming to terms with some of my major problems and trying to look them in the face." The 22-year-old singer-guitarist turns her insecurities into a fascinating series of punk-grunge anthems for these chaotic times. On the surging "That's Not My Real Life," Creevy sees herself as "your naked tree" rooted unwillingly to the Earth. "I can sit in misery like a proper woman easier to see," she sings enigmatically. "The suits, they don't want me to go/They just want me to bear it all for all the women." The L.A. trio alternate between the hazy hard rock of "Ohio" and more melodic indie-pop asides such as "Distressor" and "Stupid Fish." Also Tuesday, March 12. —Falling James
Kudos, whoever is responsible for putting this tour together (the same show also hits Alex's Bar in Long Beach the following night). As if the presence of hopelessly melodic Seattle punkers The Briefs weren't enough, we also get local horror-surf punks The Flytraps, hard-hitting Latin punks Generacion Suicida and snotty punks The Stitches. They all have "punk" in common, clearly. But this is a multicultural, diverse bill that highlights all that's great about the wider genre. People from all walks of life are welcome, and you don't have to conform to a uniform sound (indeed, you shouldn't). You just have to mean what you say, and give it your all. All four of these bands do exactly that. Should be a killer night. —Brett Callwood
This show promises to be brutally, extremely heavy. San Francisco "post-metal' band Deafheaven have been blending black metal and screamo since forming in 2010 and releasing the frankly stunning Roads to Judah album the following year. Their fourth full-length record, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, came out a year ago and cemented their standing as one of the most exciting and innovative extreme-metal bands on the circuit. Meanwhile Baroness, out of Savannah, Georgia, have been kicking around since 2003. Like Weezer, they've used a color theme for their albums, the most recent being 2015's Purple. That's where the similarity with Weezer ends, though. These guys play prog-sludge that is both impressively complex and uncompromising monolithic. —Brett Callwood
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Anna Ash possesses a lilting, stirring voice that courses through her songs like a delicate bird. The Michigan native belies the title track of her 2017 EP, Going Down Fast, by singing in a languid tempo, her vocals draped across an austere backing of electric guitar. There are traces of Emmylou Harris' graceful intonations on such reverential country-folk ballads as "Time to Waste." "Everybody's telling you, what a rough day they've had," Ash murmurs consolingly on the aptly titled "Sweet Voice." The L.A. singer opens her heart further on her 2016 full-length album, Floodlights, a similarly engaging collection of laid-back pop-country. She rocks out a little on the soulful track "Holding Out," but most of the record centers on such tranquil interludes as the heartfelt "Let Me Love You." —Falling James
iHeartRadio Music Awards
Yeah, we all know by now that Post Malone smells as bad as you think he's gonna. And we also know that his face tattoos make him look like the wall of a dive bar bathroom. But it's undeniable that, in recent years, he's had a massive cultural impact. He's just one of the artists set to be honored at this year's iHeartRadio Music Awards, alongside Cardi B, Drake, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, the interminably dull Maroon 5 and the ludicrously bad Imagine Dragons. Hey, this is a celebration of the big hitters and the mega-sellers. The bands that fill arenas and get the biggest listening figures. It's tough to debate, so just dive in. —Brett Callwood