Russian Circles: See Monday.
Russian Circles: See Monday.
Photo by Chris Strong

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

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Monday, March 10
The Kooks
A nearly perfect poppy rock band, England's Kooks conjure relentless melody, hook-making harmony and just enough stylish perversity - flecks of pallid reggae and off-the-cuff acoustic doodles - to keep it all intriguing. Two and a half years since Kooks' confused, bet-hedging third album, Junk of the Heart, most fans are still more interested in its brilliantly consistent insta-classic predecessor, Konk, a 2008 release that wrung sufficient wistful beauty from youthful lust and loss to fuel an entire career. The Kooks' 2011 Troubadour show was staggering in its front-to-back quality, delivered with a rare swagger that comes only from holding a hand jammed with truly world-class tunes. Let's assume that Junk... is but a stumble, and that these tousle-haired talents will once again school their peers at the Troub. - Paul Rogers

Russian Circles
The Chicago trio's recent LP Memorial is a brontosaurus-heavy rock stomper guaranteed to bum you out in the most righteous ways. Misery: Our ugly times seem to call for it, and there's nothing fancy about the brutal way Russian Circles dole out their dark, unforgiving sonic punishment. Memorial is like the "well, you asked for it" show, and even if you're not sure that you did, you must submit and admit that it's cathartic as hell. On the other hand, the album is almost perversely rife with gorgeously orchestrated, super-hooky melodies to pair with all the bone-splintering metallic mayhem. The upshot is that this is very heavy rock music veering dangerously close to the overdramatized, but pulled off without a collapse into total corndoggery. - John Payne

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Tuesday, March 11

Real Estate
The five guys behind New Jersey - born band Real Estate are heading directly toward an overtly Wilco-esque spot in the pantheon of classic indie rock, and they wouldn't balk at the comparison. In addition to the interest and influence they've found in Wilco, Real Estate recorded their newest album, this month's Atlas, during a two-week stint in the band's Chicago studio. On their third full-length, as on their first two, the guys stick to what they do best: clean, guitar driven - melodies, lovely, layered instrumentation and relatable, hummable lyrics. Altogether, Atlas serves as a sort of map through the band's consistently engaging sound. While Real Estate have yet to miss a chance to charm, the new LP finds the band in its most adult space to date - more years, more marriages, more members, more maturity and more time on the road and toward a niche they neither want nor need to leave. - Kelsey Whipple
Wednesday, March 12

Psychedelic music has taken on many forms over the years, from the classic acid-rock excesses of the late 1960s to the less literal, but no less engrossing, passages of world-music bands like Tinariwen. British duo Shpongle, featuring Simon Posford and Raja Ram, takes the old trippy traditions and gooses them up with rampant electronics and ambient textures on fifth release Museum of Consciousness. Posford manipulates the modern world through his banks of synthesizers, while Ram evokes the natural mind with his weaving flute melodies. Extended tracks like "How the Jellyfish Jumped Up the Mountain" and "Brain in a Fishtank" shape and shift from frenetically spacey mechanization into more melodically languid sections. Also at the Observatory, Sunday, March 9. - Falling James

Thursday, March 13

Carsick Cars
Some time in the last decade, China cracked open and rock spilled out, thanks to bands like the ghostly, Velvet Under­ground - influenced droners Offset: Spectacles, the Joy Division - meets - Pere Ubu post-punkers P.K. 14 and the revved-up pop artistes Carsick Cars, a standout and maybe even breakout band from a particularly energetic Beijing scene. L.A. has been lucky enough to host a few shows by Carsick Cars, who return with promising and powerful new album 3, produced by Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom and The Clean's Hamish Kilgour. Lead single "15 Minutes Older" is an instant winner, animating the bent but beautiful melodies of Chairs Missing - era Wire with a heartfelt energy that recalls the best New Zealand indie pop. (Like, say ... The Clean!) It's a rare but welcome show from a band that's going to go far - and who has come so far already, right? - Chris Ziegler

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

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