THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9
Global Drum Project at UCLA’s Royce Hall
In Mickey Hart’s big-bang theory, the universal noise signaling the creation of all things evolved into rhythm, and those mighty grooves vibrate at the core of existence, nurturing the life force. Should we be surprised that this worldview comes from a guy best known as half of the Grateful Dead’s drumming tandem? After all, he has done a shitload of psychedelics in his day and devoted himself to the study and advocacy of the planet’s percussive traditions. But Hart is no resting-on-his-laurels, pseudo-academic acid casualty, because for him the best of all things is putting hand, stick or mallet to drum in the company of simpatico groove merchants. His latest venture, Global Drum Project, features Hart, bata-conguero extraordinaire Giovanni Hidalgo, eloquent talking drummer Sikiru Adepoju and, especially, Hart’s long-time comrade in the groove, the insane tabla talent Zakir Hussain. Hart and his beat-crazy buddies have been deep diving into the planetary pulse stream for years, and the Project’s organic-electronic soundscapes represent some of their most evocative explorations yet. (Tom Cheyney)
Killing Joke, Pigmy Love Circus at House of Blues
Tonight there will be heavy-duty balls-to-the wall violence with doom and gloom as Killing Joke hits the stage. They’re only playing three U.S. cities on this tour and are gracing House of Blues in the same pounding-rhythm, grinding-vocal form they employed at their 1979 birth. Not only revered by the world of industrial music, Killing Joke have been cited and thanked by everyone from Ministry and Prong (both of which onetime K.J. bassist Raven later joined) to the Foo Fighters and Napalm Death. They’ve had a career spanning almost 30 years and over a dozen albums, and the set is likely to include everything from “Wardance” to “Democracy” and everything between. Hitting the stage before Killing Joke with the force of a beef-powered locomotive is Pigmy Love Circus. Prepare to be violated; get on stage and belt out a little “Dagwood Killed Blondie” with Mr. Savage — if you have the balls for it, that is. (Diamond Bodine-Fischer)
Also playing Thursday:
EMILY WELLS at the Hotel Café; GENGHIS TRON, HEALTH, YIP YIP, CLIPD BEAKS at the Knitting Factory; FLYING TOURBILLON ORCHESTRA, LISTING SHIP at Pehrspace; LOVE PSYCHEDELICO at the Troubadour; RANDY TRAVIS at Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10
Facing New York at the Troubadour
Facing New York aren’t terribly impressed by the visual aesthetics of some of the unfashionable police officers in their neighborhood. “How you gonna bust me in them little shorts?” wiseass singer-guitarist Eric Frederic wants to know on “Cops on Bikes,” the first track on the San Francisco trio’s new CD, Get Hot. With its quirky, funky grooves and rudely witty lyrics (“cops on bikes in those little socks/little schoolgirls wear the same socks”), the song sounds like it could be a big novelty hit, but Facing New York are more than just a one-note joke band. These guys are real players, with bassist Brandon Canchola and drummer Omar Cuellar laying down some muscular rhythms that give Frederic room to philosophize. There’s some prog-rock here, a little Steely Dan sophistication, and a whole lot of Parliament-Funkadelic’s surrealistic whimsy, filtered through the band’s non-genre-specific rambling. Frederic’s adventures doing laundry and looking for romance (“I need someone my age who can talk about campaign-finance reform and the Velvet Underground”) are entertaining enough, but the masterful hard-rock riffery and fun-kay space riddims really nail down these tunes. (Falling James)
Joan Osborne at El Rey Theatre
The Kentucky-born singer Joan Osborne is so in love with her adopted New York hometown, the city pops up like a recurring character throughout her new album, Little Wild One. She’s positively rhapsodic on “Hallelujah in the City,” which kicks off with folksy Appalachian acoustic-guitar plucking before descending into the bright lights and jangly electric guitars of the Big Apple. She sounds like she’s born again, as she floats ecstatically along Riverside Drive to Morningside Heights, then back through seemingly every church in Brooklyn. “Bury me on the Battery,” she insists with a heartfelt gospel emphasis that’s ironically more deeply rural than citified. Osborne’s at her best when she speaks for herself on “Light of This World,” which has a simple hymnlike purity. More problematic are the tracks credited to as many as five songwriters, none of whom can avoid rampant clichés about dreams (they keep her hanging on), needing someone (as much as the air that she breathes), cards (they’re always on the table) and angels (the ones who are fallen). Perhaps as a result of this Frankenstein song-cobbling, potentially promising verses often lead to ordinary choruses and weak bridges, such as “To the One I Love,” whose wistfully mysterious opening melody ultimately goes nowhere despite Osborne’s lovely voice and charming presence. (Falling James)
The Physics of Memory at Pehrspace
You can’t accuse Daniel Hart of not having lofty creative ambitions. The North Carolina multi-instrumentalist, who’s worked with John Vanderslice, St. Vincent and the Polyphonic Spree, leads his own chamber-rock outfit, the Physics of Meaning, which just released its second grand opus, Snake Charmer and Destiny at the Stroke of Midnight. But Hart risks being labeled pretentious with such clunky, nonironic songs as “Destiny Reveals an Unbelievable Truth” and “In Dreams, We Discover Ourselves, Broken and Yearning” — the kind of titles that aspire to profundity but instead come off like overwrought, faux-intellectual nonsense along the lines of the Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed and Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The album appears to be an obsessive-romantic rock opera of sorts, starting off with an interlude of Hart’s torrid violin scraping before segueing into slow, occasionally windy classic-rock-influenced songs. Hart’s clear-voiced, if earnestly bland, singing unwittingly evokes Firehose’s Ed Crawford, and the overall impact is sort of like a Monkees simplification of what L.A. oddballs W.A.C.O. were doing many years before the current chamber-rock fad. Not that that’s entirely a bad thing; several of the more straightforward tracks, especially “We Were Made for This World,” “No More Sleeping in the Shadows” and the non-meandering sections of “Song for a Snake Charmer,” have memorable melodies that transcend the pompous settings. (Falling James)
Also playing Friday:
DUFFY, ELI “PAPERBOY” REED at Orpheum Theatre; JULIETA VENEGAS at Nokia Theatre; PANIC AT THE DISCO, DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL, PLAIN WHITE T’S at Staples Center; ROBERTA FLACK at USC’s Bovard Auditorium; MIKE WATT & THE MISSINGMEN at Alex’s Bar; QUINTRON & MISS PUSSYCAT at the Echoplex; DITTY BOPS at McCabe’s; ZOLAR X at Pig ’N Whistle; YEAR LONG DISASTER at the Roxy; SUNN0))) at Safari Sam’s; ABE VIGODA, DAVID SCOTT STONE at the Smell; ATOMIC SHERPAS at Taix; GUITAR BOY at Beyond Baroque.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11
CÉSARIA ÉVORA at Royce Hall; LUDACRIS at Cal State Northridge, Sierra Quad Lawn, noon; PENNYWISE, GORILLA BISCUITS at Oak Canyon Ranch, Silverado; PATTI LABELLE, ANGIE STONE, SARAH DASH, SIEDAH GARRETT at Wilshire Theatre; THE SWORD, BLACK COBRA at Henry Fonda Theater; SARA BAREILLES at the Wiltern; BOZ SCAGGS at Cerritos Center; POLAR GOLDIE CATS at Echo Curio; CARBON 9 at Paladino’s; BAJOFONDO at the Roxy.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12
Health-Care-Reform Benefit at the Echoplex
With the crappy economy and the wars on the political forefront, an equally vital issue has seemingly been pushed aside: health-care reform, a fundamental void in this country we only truly understand when we — or someone we know — gets really sick. A bunch of local rockers have banded together to help a pal battling cancer sans insurance. They’ll make some noise about the problem, and, with this lineup, expect serious noise. Chaotic and dirty yet artful and beguiling, the sounds of Sub Pop duo No Age will headline the rockin’ rally. Considering the circumstances, the guys are sure to bring it with even more passion (if that’s possible), spewing the spacey fuzz-laden throb and gritty punk gobs that not only made ’em unofficial ambassadors farther east, at the Smell, but garnered their last disc, Nouns, critical fancy. The equally potent yet melodic (and conscientious) stylings of David Scott Stone, the Movies, Modern Memory, the Tyde and Dublab DJs are also on tap, as are speakers and raffles from local businesses. Doors open at 4 p.m.; $12, includes a raffle ticket. (Lina Lecaro)
Killdozer at the Echo
Hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since the Madison madmen known as Killdozer gathered to purvey their concept of cynical and precise rock assaults. For the uninitiated, titles like “Intellectuals Are the Shoeshine Boys of the Ruling Elite” give you some idea of where they’re coming from. Sonically, it’s as if they’d sprung fully formed from the head of a god — or, at least, a frog that got kissed and didn’t change all the way. It’s the classic Hobson/Gerald/Hobson lineup this time out, with the Hobson brothers flying in from Wisconsin; lead growler Michael Gerald spends time these days as a lawyer (!) in Los Angeles. They’ve been inspired since reuniting for Touch & Go’s 25th-anniversary concerts in 2006 — their first appearance since splitting in 1996 — and you’ll reap the benefits from falling in love with their snide saturnine glories all over again. Killdozer are the forced handjob of rock music, and it’s a beautiful day to be held hostage to it. (David Cotner)
Also playing Sunday:
NICKELBACK at the Forum, 4 p.m.; YNGWIE MALMSTEEM at Avalon; K.D. LANG at Malibu Performing Arts Center; DEAD ROCK WEST, CHRIS SHIFLETT at the Echo, 5 p.m.; VAUD & THE VILLAINS at Fais Do-Do; DJ MUGGS, LARGE PROFESSOR, PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS at Knitting Factory; INARA GEORGE & GREG KURSTIN at Tangier.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 13
Jolie Holland at the Troubadour
Jolie Holland’s fourth album, The Living and the Dead (Anti- Records), is touted as one of the folk singer’s rare forays into rock music. “I love rock & roll, but I think it was hard for me to trust its motives till now,” she says playfully. Longtime fans shouldn’t worry that she’s ranging too far from the sweetly homespun roots-country tunes she’s written in the past; as a rock & roll exercise, The Living and the Dead is a very tentative testing of the waters, with only the low-key Stones-y riffs of “Your Big Hands” coming across as really rocking. With shimmering, shape-shifting guitars from M. Ward and the ace Tom Waits sideman Marc Ribot, much of the album swims in lulling balladry, especially “Fox in Its Hole,” whose spectral plucking and hazy droning are positively enchanting. Holland specializes in a form of folk-pop that sounds vaguely old-timey without really being chained to any one specific place or era. She revels in a timeless dreaminess that somehow ends up sounding brand new on shadowy interludes like “Love Henry,” where her hushed, confessional singing has a sensually morbid intimacy. Long live the dead. (Falling James)
Also playing Monday:
TINA TURNER at Staples Center; RADEMACHER, EXIT MUSIC, EAGLE & TALON, TRANSMISSION at the Echo; MIKE STINSON at Redwood Bar & Grill; MAIA SHARP at Room 5 Lounge.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14
Antony & the Johnsons at Walt Disney Concert Hall
It’s been nearly four years since this New York–based avant-cabaret outfit released I Am a Bird Now, the Mercury Music Prize–winning album that took Antony & the Johnsons from local cult act to international art-scene sensation. Of course, given the epic scale that the group’s music works on, four years isn’t a terribly long time, especially when you consider all the extracurricular work Antony’s been doing lately: duetting with Björk on her Volta; touring a stage show called Turning with video artist Charles Atlas; pulling disco-diva duty on this year’s terrific debut by Hercules & Love Affair. That said, The Crying Light, Bird’s long-awaited follow-up, is finally due out in January on Secretly Canadian; this week, the label releases a fine teaser EP, Another World, featuring the album’s lead single and four other tracks (including “Shake That Devil,” a sax-equipped juke-joint jam). At Disney Hall, Antony and his band are joined by a 20-piece orchestra performing arrangements devised by Nico Muhly, the buzzed-about young classical composer. Another world awaits. (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Tuesday:
WEEZER, ANGELS & AIRWAVES, TOKYO POLICE CLUB at the Forum; THE TING TINGS, SANTOGOLD at the Wiltern; WIRE at the Echoplex (see Music feature); JOHNETTE NAPOLITANO at the Hotel Café (see Hoopla); JANEANE GAROFALO at Largo; DEVON WILLIAMS’ SOMETHING at the Smell.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15
Kings of Leon at Nokia Theatre
We want rock bands to both beam us into larger-than-life, fantastic scenarios and to vividly articulate the closer-to-home, sometimes-cloudy sensations clogging our heads and hearts. Tennessee brothers (and a cousin) Kings of Leon artfully cover these disparate bases on their just-released fourth album, Only by the Night, a strapping-yet-sensitive, Southern- and sepia-toned road-trip rawk record that throbs with country music’s melancholic ache but not its weary Wal-Mart melodrama. It probably took weeks of tech-y tweaking to achieve the disc’s deliberately earthy, honest-to-goodness guitar and bass tones (and similar effort to bulk up the occasionally stadium-ready drums), but it’s Caleb Followill’s wrinkly, last-thing-I’ll-ever-say-to-you timbre that lends emotional weight to Only by the Night’s transporting songcraft. “Closer”’s moonlit guitars and head-in-hands vocal will be a soundtrack to so many chapters in so many lives, as will the lonesome backwoods U2-isms of “Use Somebody.” And that, my friends, is what this rock & roll thing is all about. (Paul Rogers)
Jay-Z at the Hollywood Palladium
It’s only been a year since Live Nation shuttered the Palladium last fall for renovations following a 10-night stand by Morrissey. But I suppose that when Jay-Z agrees to play your grand-reopening party, the wise move is to let him — even if the occasion isn’t exactly once in a lifetime. In any event, rocking the house that Frank Sinatra once rocked was probably an offer Jay couldn’t refuse: Though he stepped down after a successful run as president of Def Jam last year, Mr. Beyoncé Knowles is back in chairman-of-the-board mode, as reflected by the recent announcement of StarRoc, a new joint-venture label he’s forming with the dudes in the Norwegian production team StarGate. Tonight, the rapper will be backed by a 12-piece band; expect to hear all the hits, as well as a possible preview of stuff from The Blueprint 3, which Jay has reportedly promised he’ll have out by December. (Mikael Wood)
Earl Zero at the Echoplex
Veteran roots-reggae chanter Earl Zero brings both an impressive catalog of mid-1970s reggae classics (“None Shall Escape the Judgment,” “Shackles & Chains,” “Righteous Works”) and an insanely deep, fated personal pedigree. Born and raised in Kingston’s Greenwich Town, he grew up alongside close childhood friend Earl “Chinna” Smith — one of reggae’s most potent ax men — and, between the dozen or so Greenwich Sound Systems, a burgeoning Rastafarian faith and a natural gift for spiritually provocative music, Zero came to perfectly represent the abiding, quietly revolutionary stance of the Jamaican Rasta. In fact, Zero’s serene dignity led him to a particularly notable sideline, after Bob Marley personally selected the youth to serve as his herbsman, which entailed chopping and blending the ideal mixture of ganja to best serve the superstar’s head. Tonight, Zero will be working with a full, live band, and, with the King Tubby–groomed dub genius Scientist at the controls, it’s a damn near-perfect proposition. (Jonny Whiteside)
Also playing Wednesday:
BLACK KIDS at the Mayan; GREG GINN at Blue Cafe; ARMY NAVY, HENRY CLAY PEOPLE at the Echo; HELIOS CREED’S CHROME, SAVAGE REPUBLIC at Knitting Factory; JOHN C. REILLY at Largo; THE LOCUST at the Smell; DANNY B. HARVEY at Taix; JACKIE GREENE at the Troubadour.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16
Petra Haden & Woody Jackson at Largo at the Coronet
Judging by the gently heart-stabbing, utterly captivating charms of their upcoming disc, Ten Years (released digitally on DashGo Records), Petra Haden and Woody Jackson have invented their own new sort of music, whose total magic would be substantially squashed by a hamfisted rock critic trying give it a proper context and “rate” its relative worth. But it’s like that. Triple-double-threat Haden is the side player par excellence of soaring violin skills and equally formidable singing chops; she’s plied her trade with musicians as varied as Beck, Cibo Matto, Sean Lennon, Foo Fighters, Spain, Victoria Williams and Rickie Lee Jones, not to mention her own wondrously strange duo with Miss Murgatroid and her recent work with her famous bass-playing legend dad, Charlie, on their new Charlie Haden Family and Friends disc, Ocean of Diamonds. On Ten Years, she braids an especially hypnotic vocalese and violin around acoustic guitarist Woody Jackson in a dozen interludes of subtly shaded, quietly devastating and very, very pure beauty. (John Payne)
Also playing Thursday:
TINA TURNER at Staples Center; RUBEN GUEVARA at Eastside Luv; THE ORIGINAL WAILERS at the Key Club; HAYES CARLL at the Mint; JAGUAR LOVE at Silverlake Lounge; BAD DUDES at the Smell; MATT HALES at Paul Gleason Theater; PILAR DIAZ at SiteLA.