Monday, October 8
L.A.'s Superhumanoids make pop songs out of star parts -- like the glow, the heat, the empty space and of course the wisps of fire that make NASA scientists curse every time a space probe gets singed by the stuff. This is heavenly stuff, with singer Sarah Chernoff's vocals adrift in the darkness between reverb and synth-strings and digital drums, making for a sound somewhere in the territory left unexplored by the much-missed Rentals (especially on a song like "Geri," which is Superhumanoids at their most riled-up) and a cover of The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" that is itself a calmative of the highest order. 2010's "Hey Big Bang" was their big hit so far, but new songs like "Too Young for Love" reveal exactly the depth and sophistication you'd hope for from a band like this. Destined for stardom, in the most beautiful sense of the term. --Chris Ziegler
Tuesday, October 9
JEFF The Brotherhood
Don't worry: They really are brothers! And now that you've officially met Jake and Jamin Orrall, you won't feel awkward as their band happily tramples you flat. Originally debuting on their own Infinity Cat label, run in conjunction with their dad, the two-piece punk-and-then-some JEFF The Brotherhood spent years doing can't-say-no-to-a-killer-show tours and putting out records on gatekeeper labels like Jack White's Third Man (where they backed Insane Clown Posse!) and OC's Burger. Now officially on a major, their new Hypnotic Nights (produced with surprising amounts of sitar and synth by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys) finds these crazy kids smashing Pinkerton-era Weezer into The Wipers and Dinosaur Jr. on deadpan stoner-punk songs that admit, "Sometimes I wish that someone might punch me in the throat." Aww ... you had me at "punch," guys. --Chris Ziegler
Not so many years ago, Metric was playing tiny clubs like the Silverlake Lounge. Now the Canadian alt-rock band takes the stage at its largest L.A. venue yet, and deservedly so. It isn't surprising that singer-keyboardist Emily Haines is a good lyricist (her late father, Paul Haines, was a respected poet), but it's the contributions of bassist Joshua Winstead, guitarist James Shaw and drummer Joules Scott-Key that turn Haines' incisive words into supersonic rushes of musical delirium. Despite its title, Metric's new album, Synthetica, feels more organic than synthetic, with Winstead's buoyantly propulsive bass and Shaw's surging guitars illuminating such tracks as tracks "Youth Without Youth" and "Artificial Nocturne." On "Speed the Collapse," Haines coos, "We auctioned off our memories in the absence of a breeze/Scatter what remains," as icy sheets of synthesizer wash over her. Metric even manage to pull off the neat trick of getting the reclusive Lou Reed to guest star on "The Wanderlust." --Falling James
Seemingly laboratory-created for the Coachella crowd, Claire Boucher (aka Grimes) gently inflates an enveloping, carefully curated cloud of various in-vogue sounds: quirky, elusive and lyrically vague voices; Spartan, floor-fillin' beat-box grooves; textured electronic basslines; and squelchy, rave-recalling synths. The stare-out-the-window-on-a-rainy-day, Liz Fraser-y introspection of her main melodies largely (and mercifully) trumps the Starbucks-ready, Enya-esque oohs and aahs with which these often overlap and intertwine. But what keeps this Canadian credible is the sense that all of her stylistic hipster-hopping is in fact unconscious, almost fated. If you go to only this one gig this year, you'll save yourself 12 trips to the Bootleg to see bands tackling just one facet of Grimes' kaleidoscopic sound, and with just an ounce of her honesty. --Paul Rogers
Wednesday, October 10
Madonna burns brightest when her fearsome work ethic leads to polished, effervescent pop, yet doesn't betray itself through over-production, jaded vocal delivery or self-conscious wordplay. In this her latest album, MDNA, mostly succeeds, though, like the majority of her recordings, it's more a mirror than a maker of fashion. Reuniting with producer William Orbit for the first time in over a decade (on half of MDNA) helped create Madonna's most lucid collection since 1998's Ray of Light, also largely Orbit-helmed. Madge's current show features characteristically extravagant production numbers. The ones that work best are injected with the unexpected: Basque trio Kalakan lending old-world exotica, a dig into (and/or at) Lady Gaga in "Express Yourself," a minimalist, waltzing take on breakthrough romp "Like a Virgin." Also Thursday. --Paul Rogers
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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