Jessie Ware -- See Tuesday
Jessie Ware -- See Tuesday
Photo courtesy of Jessie Ware

The Best Concerts to See In L.A. This Week

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Monday, November 18



Chvrches' ascent to theater-headlining status on distant continents has been giddying. The Scottish trio released its debut single but a year back and only in September did an album, The Bones of What You Believe, appear. The mystery of this career curve is actually pretty straightforward: Chvrches create contemplative, melodic synth-pop topped with Lauren Mayberry's finely grained, rather detached timbre. Ostensibly, it's de rigueur, '80s-inspired stuff channeling New Order, A-ha and Kate Bush, but Chvrches' pleasure is in the details. Hooks emerge not just from Mayberry's lips but also in the way her utterances are studio-effected, as well as from the masterfully well-chosen keys, loops and the throbbing electro-pulses that surround them. Chvrches' current it-band cred will cool, but sheer excellence of execution ensures they'll long outlive "it." --Paul Rogers

Tuesday, November 19

Jessie Ware


"I will wait all night," Jessie Ware coos faithfully on her latest single, "Imagine It Was Us," her yearning vocals contrasting soulfully with the sometimes-slick but funky pop instrumentation. On other bedroom confessions, such as "Night Light," the British singer burns with a similarly steadfast passion that's often missing from the shiny arrangements. Hip-hop touches break up the austere glow of "If You're Never Gonna Move," as Ware's breathy exhalations alight like a gentle snowfall: "You keep me wishing in the dark." Her imaginatively layered vocals tend to dress up even the plainest sentiments and elevate them to the level of grand romantic drama. --Falling James

Insects vs. Robots


L.A.'s Insects vs. Robots have a new self-titled album just barely out, and they manage to cram a million different things into only six songs. An adjective like "folkapsychecanyondelic" probably is going to break the spellcheck and flummox the copy editor, but there's just no other word for it. Like Love, or the United States of America in the '60s, or Olivia Tremor Control or Neutral Milk Hotel in the '90s reincarnation of the '60s, Insects vs. Robots are about possibilities. That's why they can wrap a lyric like "please, fuck off" in lovely strings and make it sound so sweet. That's how they make their old-timey stringed instruments sound so cosmically futuristic, too. (And that's also why their electric guitar solos shred.) This is heady stuff, in all senses of the word. --Chris Ziegler

Wednesday, November 20

Howe Gelb


Howe Gelb has lost track of the number of albums he has recorded. Whether it is with his various groups, most notably Giant Sand, or on his own, such as on his latest LP, The Coincidentalist, Gelb puts his inimitable, desert touch on Americana. M. Ward's warbling guitar and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley's brushed drums back Gelb's gravelly baritone, creating a distinct branch of On "The 3 Deaths of Lucky," Gelb's rumbling tones tangle with KT Tunstall's clear ones for a Leonard Cohen-like seductive push-and-pull. He whispers his innermost feelings on the hushed "Picacho Peak" while stand-up bass and plinking keys steer things in a jazzy direction on "Instigated Crimes." In contrast, "Unforgiveable" is almost pop with its bubbly chorus. This amalgamation of styles is simply the work of a coincidentalist. --Lily Moayeri

The Happy Hollows


The Happy Hollows live up to the first part of their name on "Endless," a poppy song from their new album, Amethyst. Sarah Negahdari's vocals soar ebulliently over the sparkling bed of sounds laid down by her bandmates, Charlie Mahoney and Matthew Fry. Guitars and keyboards glisten and glimmer in the sunlight, while bass and drums tunnel underneath with a postpunk intensity. But the local trio never lives down to the second part of their name. Instead, Happy Hollows' sound is full, as on "Cloud Head," where Negahdari's birdlike trilling rings out grandly over propulsive chord changes, thick guitars and seesawing seas of strings for an overall impact that's both enchanting and momentous. --Falling James

Thursday, November 21

Over the Rhine


Over the Rhine have crossed over the river and disappeared deeper into the trees during the past few years as the husband-&-wife duo of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist have stripped down their band and retreated to the rural Ohio home they call Nowhere Farm. The place is reflected in the title of their latest album, Meet Me at the Edge of the World, where their intimate folk songs take place far from the busy noise of the rest of the planet. Instead, the couple has created their own rhythm, centered around their close-cropped voices and stark strums of guitar. "Take a left loneliness/There's a place to find forgiveness called home," they confide with soothing harmonies. --Falling James

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