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Monday, March 3
The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers
Cynics should be forgiven, so to speak, if they're initially suspicious of a band calling itself The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers. Surely such a group of musicians must be trying to be hip or ironic or funny with a name like that, but the local coed octet is going for something much more surprising - they're absolutely sincere. Their song "Little Light" is a fiery plea for salvation, handed down with such a knowingly groovy piano line that even nonbelievers can appreciate the tune's rollicking, R&B funkiness. A track like "Simple Shining" is a fascinating contradiction, combining a traditional, rousing gospel chorus with a sinfully bluesy beat and rebellious post-punk guitars. It wasn't so long ago that many Christians decried such influences as the devil's own music, which goes to show that even the devoted can (eventually) see the light. - Falling James
Tuesday, March 4
For the better part of the last year, Orange County - based The Colourist have cut their teeth on the indie-pop circuit. But unlike other budding outfits, the quartet learned the ropes by opening midsized theaters for the likes of Metric, Panic! at the Disco, Atlas Genius and the Naked and Famous, plus an appearance at last year's Coachella. Such esteemed gigs came on the strength of their four-song EP Lido, which featured a mini alt-rock hit in "Little Games." What better way to kick off their own six-week tour than with a headlining show at the Troub, a venue from which the band have seen many of their own favorite acts blow up? With their self-titled debut LP slated for release later this month via Republic Records, The Colourist are setting themselves up for a busy 2014. - Daniel Kohn
On Painted Palms' debut full-length, Forever, the hallucinogenic textures and beat exploration of the duo's Canopy EP are cushioned in a bubbly, breezy, synth-laden pop blanket - from half a century ago. The entirety of Forever would be an excellent companion piece for The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, while the title track and patches of "Hypnotic" could easily fit on The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The sounds are classic but the production is fresh. "Spinning Sounds" is all swirling synths and jittery upbeat melodies; "Too High" sounds like it's playing backwards; "Soft Hammer" is simply syncopated lo-fi organ sounds; and "Carousel" goes around and around with the barest of humming vocals. Forever closes by looking in the rearview mirror with the monotones of "Empty Gun." - Lily Moayeri
Wednesday, March 5
Dream pop was never any dreamier than on Nicole Atkins' 2007 debut album, Neptune City, an ambivalent Valentine to her fading Neptune, N.J., hometown. Her voice soared grandly over the ruined seascape like a reincarnated Cass Elliot's, and she neatly positioned herself to be the next great modern '60s-pop diva à la Rachael Nagy or Amy Winehouse. But Atkins tossed that style aside and went in a harder, more spacey direction on her second LP, 2011's Mondo Amore, working with the brilliant guitar soothsayer Irina Yalkowsky and wrapping her vocals inside even more sublime settings. Atkins describes her new album, Slow Phaser, as a "dark, desert disco rock album." She's like a funky-but-chic Chrissie Hynde lying on a Giorgio Moroder bed of electronics on "Girl You Look Amazing," but her singing retains its trademark allure on noirish passages such as "Who Killed the Moonlight." Among her latest revelations: "In the gutter, you discover all the things you miss" and "The only dress I wear is my shadow on the wall." - Falling James
Thursday, March 6
Four Tet, Nobody, ?Anthony Naples
You might call Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, a DJ, but that doesn't quite cover it. The London multigenre-ist takes leaps from project to project, having graced us with everything from pastoral acoustic ambiance to funky blends of house raveups and backpack-hiphop grooves. He has teamed with jazz drummer Steve Reid on a series of electronics and percussion improvs that reaches way outside the rave/hip-hop realms, and has also remixed a varied bunch of artists including Explosions in the Sky, Thom Yorke and Steve Reich. These remixes were all trademarked with Four Tet's organic/acoustic textural bent, arcanely pretty electronic grain and truly sophisticated polyrhythms. Sheer sonic chameleonics it is. The same can be expected from L.A. hero Nobody (aka Elvin Estela), the Low End Theory resident DJ and painterly hip-hop/psychedelia/soft-rock/metal & more masher. Add that to a manner of house/electronic boundary-pushin' from NYC's Anthony Naples. - John Payne
Thirty-five years since pioneering the genre with his former band Tubeway Army, Gary Numan retains a haunting electromagnetism. Last year's Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind) throbs with the android aura of neon-flecked alienation, a style that built Numan's rep and, however cartoonish it occasionally gets, always seems utterly, wonderfully sincere. The 50-something Numan still turns out sounds that wouldn't sound out of place on late-'70s Tubeway Army records: monophonic (if now software-generated) synths and bleak beats (though programmed rather than played, as on his early albums). He melds all this into introverted mini-operas replete with ominous guitars (some from NIN's Robin Finck) and Middle Eastern - ish melodic inflections. Onstage, the sallow, somber and lately L.A.-based Numan rocks harder than his recordings imply, with much humanoid input amidst his machine-fed mélange. - Paul Rogers
Myele Manzanza Trio with Quartetto Fantastico and?Nina Andrews
Although its main inhabitants are sheep, New Zealand is rather progressive. (For example, prostitution and gay marriage are legal - though not with those sheep.) It's no wonder that so much innovative music has recently come from the other Down Under. The Myele Manzanza Trio features three Kiwis, not the fruit but rare birds who are blurring the boundaries of jazz, soul and electronica, compelling folks to get down under a mirror ball. Manzanza learned about rhythm from his father, a Congolese master percussionist, and he made some beautiful noise with New Zealand - based Electric Wire Hustle. On tour to promote his solo debut, One, he is joined tonight by virtuoso bassist Ben Shepherd and pianist/sound wizard Mark de Clive-Lowe. Quartetto Fantastico (led by string master Miguel Atwood-Ferguson) and vocalist Nia Andrews complete the band. DJs Carlos Nino and Jeremy Sole will ensure the fun doesn't cease until closing time. - Gary Fukushima
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