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Monday, April 13
Joey Altruda’s Crucial Five
Los Angeles bassist-bandleader Joey Altruda has staunchly pursued a fascinatingly individualistic and unpredictable career in music. Since his early-’80s launch with jazz-punk bizarros Tupelo Chain Sex, which featured legendary electric fiddler Sugarcane Harris (Mothers of Invention), Altruda’s groove-wrangling always involved drastically talented collaborators. With cohorts like Wrecking Crew saxophone titan Plas Johnson, trail-blazing Jamaican ska-reggae guitarist Ernest Ranglin and de facto fifth Beastie Boy Money Mark, Altruda’s exquisitely wrought jazz-mambo-dub concoctions are consistently thrilling. After a near five-year-long disappearing act, he returns with new combo the Crucial Five, for an every-Monday-in-April stand. Expect a sumptuous feast of, as Altruda describes it, “dubbed-out Jamaican treatments of classic soul, funk, musica popular Brasileira and the occasional ska favorite.” — Jonny Whiteside
Tuesday, April 14
Part exquisite pop craftsman, part pop-eyed Peter Pan man-boy and all-around, all-American, chart-clogging phenom, Barry Manilow’s 40-plus years of deliciously simple-minded, hyper-vanilla hit-making rates him as the Eighth Wonder of the Bubblegum World. Manilow has established such an inescapable presence and made such an indisputable impact (would you believe more than 80 million records sold, 25 consecutive Top 40 chart hits and 13 No. 1’s?) that he almost dwarfs such illustrious forebears as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and, er, Andy Williams. No one has ever ruled the middle of the road quite the way Manilow does. If you think you’ll ever be able to get “Mandy,” “Copacabana” or “Daybreak” out of your head, well, guess again. This appearance demands one inevitable response. Just face it head on. And yeah, sing along. — Jonny Whiteside
Swans, Angel Olsen
EL REY THEATRE
Swans were more like ugly ducklings in their early days in New York City, cranking out massive amounts of awesomely sinister noise. But bandleader Michael Gira has evolved over the decades, infusing his repetitive, hypnotic incantations with acoustic guitars and moments of overt beauty. After reconfiguring Swans in 2010 following a long absence, Gira continues to revel within moments of ethereal softness, such as the bell chimes of “Kirsten Supine” and the shrouded, baleful murmurings of “Some Things We Do.” But his latest version of the group, which includes longtime guitarist Norman Westberg, also calls up the old sound and fury on the title track of Swans’ latest album, To Be Kind, where a traffic jam of violins and guitars culminates in a heavenly cacophony. North Carolina chanteuse Angel Olsen contrasts the insistent fuzz-pop of “Forgiven/Forgotten” with glassily delicate ballads such as “Windows.” — Falling James
THE FONDA THEATRE
Glass Animals have the seal of approval of superstar producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence and the Machine) as the first signing to his Wolf Tone label. On their 2014 debut album, Zaba, the Oxford, England, experimental pop group sounds like a male-fronted Morcheeba recorded in a critter-filled forest with really high-end technology. It’s best not to listen too closely to frontman David Bayley’s confounding lyrics and instead focus on his luring delivery. Heavy bass underscores chiming melodies, which in turn are peppered with inventively derived percussion, shaking hollowly on opener “Flip” and taking a Far Eastern turn on the spine-tingling “Hazey.” Waterdrop-like textures line the (contrary to its title) slick and sultry “Gooey.” With their visually charged soundscapes, Glass Animals exude effortless cool, making Zaba, despite its clinical electronics, the perfect seduction tool. — Lily Moayeri
Wednesday, April 15
Who are these new Replacements who dare to mess with our memories of the beloved ’80s Minneapolis punk-pop layabouts? The late, great, brilliantly sodden lead-guitar maestro Bob Stinson is still dead, and even his replacement, Slim Dunlap, is too ill to take part in this reunion. But we do get Stinson’s brother, bassist Tommy Stinson, who, before he joined Guns N’ Roses, was actually a pretty smart power-pop stylist in his own right, as well as a coolly swaggering onstage foil for Replacements lead singer Paul Westerberg. The duo actually sound great on their recent EP, Songs for Slim, on which they intersperse covers of Dunlap’s originals with a surprisingly engaging remake of Gordon Lightfoot’s “I’m Not Sayin’?” and a charmingly sarcastic version of the Broadway standard (and possible GNR homage) “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” Also Thursday, April 16. — Falling James
Thursday, April 16
SHRINE EXPO HALL
Detached and meshing stringed instruments like nighttime traffic flows, Interpol are a voice of the Internet-era near-life urban experience. Initially indebted to Joy Division, these New Yorkers have, over five albums, moved toward warmer, less angular expressions, though they’re still defined by harmonized guitar-bass interplay and Paul Banks’ resigned, almost oblivious timbre. Last year’s hiatus-breaking El Pintor inevitably misses Carlos Dengler’s charismatic, talkative basslines, being the band’s first album since his 2010 departure. But, adopting four-string duties himself, Banks wisely opts not to attempt to mimic his former bandmate, instead underpinning the record in supple, fuzzy fashion. Interpol could so easily be forever frozen as the flagship of early-aughts postpunk revivalism, were not El Pintor’s thoughtful songwriting and still-recognizable signature sound so defiantly here-and-now. — Paul Rogers
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Ponder your place in the universe to the gargantuan, gossamer synthscapes of Eskmo’s recent second album, Sol (Apollo Records), which put the open-eared listener behind the wheel of one’s own private spacecraft, the stars and planets whizzing by. L.A.-based producer-composer Brendan Angelides has created a widescreen wonderama inspired by our friend the sun, a sumptuously textured atmosphere in which it does seem credible that the graceful, slow spinning of the heavenly bodies could have a direct effect on our earthly, all-too-human dreams and desires. Sol is a profound musical space where spare, muted beats zigzag through velvet string sections and twinkling pianos like the constellations above, plaited with intriguing field recordings from Los Angeles, redwood groves in Northern California and the deep, dark woods of Yosemite and Costa Rica. — John Payne