FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13
SAUL WILLIAMS & KRAK ATTACK, AMERICAN FANGS, KIMYA DAWSON, NEW KINGDOM, THE BOTS AT THE ROXY
Rapper/poet Saul Williams has always been one for a good show. Whether playing Sivad on the sorely missed CBS sitcom Girlfriends or delivering searing spoken word at the Nuyorican Poets Café, where the 37-year-old got his start, Williams has defined himself as a bona fide performance artist over the years, so it makes sense that his alias Niggy Tardust would eventually rise. His 2007 collaborative album with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, The Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, found Williams delivering his heavy words over music with just as much heft (industrial noise, jagged guitar, broken beats), and under the guise of a glammy, Afro-oriented rock star. Reznor, as far as we know, won’t be joining Williams on this tour, but “The Niggy Tardust Experience” has grown to include instrumental backing by freaky punk-rap duo Krak Attack, not to mention an impressive array of opening acts wrangled by the organizers of NYC’s Afro-Punk festival: Texas emo rockers American Fangs, the Moldy Peaches’ Kimya Dawson, proggy soulsters New Kingdom and sibling kid-punk duo the Bots. (Chris Martins)
THE RAVEONETTES, CROCODILES AT HENRY FONDA THEATER
Denmark’s Raveonettes allow themselves slightly more creative leeway these days than they did on their 2003 debut, Chain Gang of Love, which found the Dogme 95–influenced duo restricting themselves to three chords per song, each of which was written in the key of B-flat major. Still, it’s not as though singer-guitarist Sune Rose Wagner and singer-bassist Sharin Foo (who currently calls L.A. home) pull any unexpected left turns on In and Out of Control, the Raveonettes’ new one; these style-obsessed film-noir fanatics are still churning out fuzz-drenched goth-guitar jams that sound like the Jesus and Mary Chain covering The Buddy Holly Collection. With such lovely titles as “Suicide,” “D.R.U.G.S.” and “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed),” Control isn’t quite as fun as 2007’s Lust Lust Lust. Fortunately, Wagner and Foo never shy from playing up their appealing absurdity onstage. With San Diego’s buzzy (and similarly fuzzy) Crocodiles. (Mikael Wood)
LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III & RICHARD THOMPSON AT ROYCE HALL
Loudon and Richard, billed as “Loud and Rich,” are, in fact, neither, which betrays their mutual fondness for what the late Walter Matthau used to call “iony” (that’s “irony” to you and me). They both, however, can be labeled under what I like to call “The Three F’s”: folkie, funny and friends. (1) While Loudon might more likely be thought of as the troubadour, Richard co-founded British folk-rockers Fairport Convention and has mastered the folk process, when not showing the kids how to shred a Stratocaster, admittedly a little loudly. (2) Thompson is the funniest man in music, except for Wainwright, who not only gives great concert but sings lots of funny songs — “Dead Skunk” most popularly. (3) They are good friends and actually do things such as have meals together and share stages, the latter of which they’ll do tonight. (Maybe the first too, but I don’t want to pry by asking.) Loud will go on solo first and be joined by Rich, and the order will reverse after intermission. This show follows huzzahs for Thompson’s four-CD Walking on a Wire (1968–2009) and Wainwright’s High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project — which is only two CDs but still fine. “Fine” is the fourth F, and no one is finer than these two vets. (Michael Simmons)
Also playing Friday:
PLAYING FOR CHANGE, TOOTS HIBBERT, ZIGGY MARLEY at Club Nokia; JULIAN CASABLANCAS, THE GROWLERS, RAINBOW ARABIA at Palace Theatre; EVIL BEAVER at the Doll Factory; DR. KNOW at Alex’s Bar; GRAND ARCHIVES, SARA LOV at Bootleg Theater; BOMBA ESTÉREO at the Echo; BOLL WEEVIL at Mr. T’s Bowl; CAPTAIN AHAB at Pehrspace; TOTIMOSHI at Spaceland; LOVVERS, URINALS at the Smell; DANNY B. HARVEY at Taix; EVIL BEAVER at Viper Room.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14
TALK NORMAL AT THE SMELL
All-female, all noise, all the time? Sort of, but not quite. Drummer-yeller Andrya Ambro and guitarist-yowler Sarah Register of Brooklyn’s Talk Normal make a radical and rude sludge-stomp and severed-head screech on their new album, Sugarland (Rare Book Room), though upon scrupulous listening one might discern patterns among the punishment, even a lot of weirdly memorable melodic stuff. It’s all very DNA/Lydia Lunch and brashly post-post-post Sonic Youth, with smart attention paid to sonic architecture. Yea, verily, there’s something inspiring about the blatantly harsh reality we glean from the new skull-scratch rock, especially witnessing the intense focus and uncompromising air people like Andrya and Sarah bring to it. And cathartic, okay, but Talk Normal make music like it’s an art form: no apologies! (John Payne)
RAY DAVIES AT THE ORPHEUM THEATRE
Following the breakup of the Kinks in 1996, singer-guitarist Ray Davies spent much of the past decade working on such solo albums as Other People’s Lives and Working Man’s Café, where he examined his ambivalent attraction to New Orleans (the city where he was shot during a robbery attempt in 2004). But the music of the Kinks is always close at hand, whether he’s trotting out the old hits at solo concerts or refashioning them into musicals like his recent stage production, Come Dancing. Davies confronts his awesome legacy head-on with his latest CD, The Kinks Choral Collection (Decca), where he reinterprets various Kinks klassics with the help of the Crouch End Festival Chorus. While putting choral arrangements to rock & roll tunes might seem like an exercise in stuffiness and pretentiousness, some of the remakes, such as “Days” and “Waterloo Sunset,” take on a beautiful new grandeur. Some of the other experiments don’t fare as well, with the white-bread choral harmonies giving “You Really Got Me” a Muzak-y veneer. Similarly, the chorus vocals on “Victoria” alternate between gospel warmth and soulless Vegas schmaltz, but when they work, they can be quite affecting. Of course, if Davies is feeling so sentimental about the Kinks, one wonders why he simply doesn’t reunite with his long-estranged guitarist-brother, Dave Davies, who’s reportedly getting ready to go out on his own solo tour. (Falling James)
Also playing Saturday:
GREAT NORTHERN, DUM DUM GIRLS, DEADLY SYNDROME, NICO STAI at Henry Fonda Theater, 3 p.m.; THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS at Royce Hall, 3 & 8 p.m.; AMIRI BARAKA at the Echo, 5 p.m.; LOVE GRENADES at Bardot Hollywood; PINBACK at El Rey Theatre; VAMPIRE WEEKEND at Lomita VFW Hall; JENNY LEWIS at Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Substation Theater; SUPERSUCKERS, THE LAST VEGAS at Alex’s Bar; HOLY ROLLING EMPIRE, TERRY DE CASTRO at Echo Curio; RUSSIAN CIRCLES at the Echoplex; LOVER, WOUNDED LION at Five Stars Bar; GIL MANTERA’S PARTY DREAM, ABE VIGODA at Spaceland.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15
MISSION OF BURMA AT THE ECHO
When Mission of Burma reunited in 2002 after a 19-year break from show business, it was a major event if only because it offered the world a second chance to catch up to the post-punk trio’s massively influential (and sonically massive) sound. During their absence, such musicians as Moby and R.E.M. popularized previously obscure MOB classics “Academy Fight Song” and “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” (albeit in wimpy, watered-down versions), while groups like Sonic Youth, the Pixies and Nirvana were heavily inspired by the Boston band’s artfully distorted blur of noise. Even more impressive (and unlike so many reunions of once-legendary performers), Mission of Burma returned to action fully armed, with two great comeback CDs, ONoffON (2004) and The Obliterati (2006), which were as musically adventurous as their early albums. Their latest CD, The Sound, The Speed, The Light (Matador), expands just a little on their nonformulaic formula, but it’s still light-years ahead of most modern bands, with Clint Conley’s fuzzily mesmerizing melodies swirling within muscular, terminally propulsive bass lines (“Feed,” “1, 2, 3, Partyy!”) and guitarist Roger Miller chopping up ponderously throbbing, mountain-sized prog-punk riffs (“Possession,” “Slow Faucet”) alongside drummer Peter Prescott’s usual shapeless, euphoric ranting (“Good Cheer,” “Blunder”). (Falling James)
THE MOUNTAIN GOATS, FINAL FANTASY AT HENRY FONDA THEATER
If we’re talking 2009 indie-rock albums about a songwriter’s struggle with the slippery concept of faith, well, I’ll throw in my lot with Curse Your Branches by former Pedro the Lion front man David Bazan. Coming in a close second, though, is the latest from North Carolina’s Mountain Goats, The Life of the World to Come, on which singer-guitarist John Darnielle searches the Good Book for guidance (or not) following a sorry series of personal calamities. (As befits Darnielle’s literary mien, each tune is named after a different Bible verse.) Fellow Goats on the new album (as well as on the band’s current tour) include Darnielle’s longtime bassist Peter Hughes, Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster, and Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy, who composed supple string arrangements for several tracks. Pallett will open tonight’s show as well; expect, perhaps, a preview of next year’s Final Fantasy album, reportedly titled Heartland. (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Sunday:
MARK MATOS & OS BEACHES, DAMEON LEE, THE CHOKE, BUMTECH at Echo Curio; LESLIE & THE BADGERS, CHARLOTTE MARTIN, LELIA BROUSSARD, MANDA MOSHER at the Hotel Café; THE RICK HOLMSTROM BAND at Liquid Kitty; BIPOLAR BEAR, INFANTE’S INFERNO at the Smell; FERRABY LIONHEART, PAIGE STARK, CHARLIE WADHAMS at Spaceland.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16
BOMBA ESTÉREO AT AMOEBA MUSIC
Bomba Estéreo might seem like an obvious name for a band from war-torn Colombia, but the Bogatá group live up to their explosive moniker with an infectiously danceable sound that often expands into fairly trippy territory. Far from being a traditional cumbia band, Bomba Estéreo pump their new CD, Blow Up (Nacional Records), with spacy tracks like “Camino Evitar,” which pulsates with shifting keyboard textures over an evocatively lonely indigenous flute. Singer Liliana “Li” Saumet chants rapid-fire Spanish (and occasionally English) lyrics on frenetic tunes like “Fuego” and “Cosita Rica,” as Simón Mejía wraps her up in a tangle of guitars, bass and electronic loops. The duo’s interplay keeps the dance floor grooving, broken up by occasional interludes like the psychedelic instrumental “Palenke.” Bomba Estéreo make their West Coast debut on this tour, with a free set tonight at 7 p.m. Also at the Echo, Fri. (Falling James)
Also playing Monday:
ROBBY KRIEGER & RAY MANZAREK at the Canyon; MISS JILLY at the Cat Club; GWAR at House of Blues; HONEYHONEY, JIM TURNER in the Little Room at Largo at the Coronet; THE HAPPY HOLLOWS, THE DRUMS, EVAN WAY at Spaceland.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17
CHARLIE HADEN FAMILY & FRIENDS AT DISNEY HALL
Revered jazz-bass boss Charlie Haden rose long ago to the pinnacle of that field, anchoring and enhancing innumerable classic recordings with the consistently muscular cool that’s always distinguished his playing. Yet when he released last year’s stone trad-country Rambling Boy, it was an upside-the-head switcheroo that was positively glorious in its back-to-basics simplicity. Haden, of course, began his musical life as an unreconstructed hillbilly, yodeling away his youth with his family’s own professional barnstorming country band, and even rising to a job as staff bassist on Red Foley’s Ozark Jubilee, where he backed Eddy Arnold and jammed, after hours, on jazz tunes with redneck hepcats Hank Garland and Grady Martin. Half a century later, Haden’s return to country is as sincere and heartfelt as anything he’s previously achieved. Since he’ll be accompanied by stellar pickers like Jerry Douglas and Sam Bush, not to mention the capable Haden Triplets and celebrated in-law Jack Black, this rates as the sweetest conceivable collision of two separate worlds. (Jonny Whiteside)
THEM CROOKED VULTURES, MINI MANSIONS AT THE WILTERN
It’s natural to greet the arrival of a new supergroup with a certain degree of skepticism. Vanity projects are a dime a dozen in this industry, and most aren’t worth a damn. But even on paper it’s hard to scoff at the star-studded trio that is Them Crooked Vultures: Queens of the Stone Age main man Josh Homme on vocals and guitar, the kit-destroying Dave Grohl on drums, and none other than the legendary Led Zep bassist John Paul Jones playing his array of custom low-end axes. The band has plans to prove itself on an album soon enough — in fact, its hard-rocking, blues-fueled debut is out the day of the show — but Them Crooked Vultures has already been tearing up European ballrooms to glowing reviews in a series of dates that sold out in about 12 minutes (before a single song was released). This is one case where the hype is indeed to be believed. Mini Mansions, featuring QOTSA bassist Michael Shuman, opens. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Tuesday:
A FINE FRENZY, LANDON PIGG at El Rey Theatre; MAN’S ASSASSINATION MAN, NEON NAVAJO, SHOWGIRLS at Echo Curio; NITZER EBB at the Key Club; EMILY WELLS at Largo at the Coronet; STAB CITY at the Redwood Bar & Grill; SUPERSUCKERS, THE LAST VEGAS at Spaceland; KING KHAN & THE BBQ SHOW, THOSE DARLINS at the Troubadour; MISS JILLY at Hyperion Tavern.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18
RÖYKSOPP AT CLUB NOKIA
Anyone who’s bought a Mac over the past two years knows Röyksopp’s biggest hit, “Eple” (which is Norwegian for “apple,” of course). The track served as a musical introduction to Apple’s Panther operating system precisely because it sounded future-forward, bursting with technological glee and relentlessly infectious loops. Röyksopp’s undeniable marketability made 2001’s “Eple” a belated household soundtrack, yes, but it’s clear these two Norsemen — named after “a puff of mushroom smoke” — have served up a consistently gorgeous sonic mess for 10 years now because they are two monstrously talented producers. Theirs is a sound so visual and visceral that — like the best of illusionists — Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge bedazzle audiences, making them forget completely about the pure technical chops at hand. In March, the duo released Junior, the perky Part 1 of their latest double album. Soon to follow will be the second half, Senior — deeper, darker and probably not advisable for dowdier PCs-turning-to-Macs this gift-giving season. Devoted fans, however, can catch loads of soaring, shimmering, beat-driven pop from the Junior/Senior double punch this evening. (Wendy Gilmartin)
Also playing Wednesday:
BIG PINK, CRYSTAL ANTLERS, IO ECHO at El Rey Theatre; SNOOP DOGG at Grove of Anaheim; THE SWELL SEASON, JOSH RITTER at the Wiltern; BUTCH WALKER, HOLLY CONLAN at the Hotel Café; RAEKWON at House of Blues; DAVID GARZA at Largo at the Coronet; DOUBLE NAUGHT SPY CAR at Taix; THE GROWLERS at Fingerprints, Long Beach.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
JOHNNY ECHOLS’ TURN AT SPACELAND
The late Arthur Lee played with a lot of dazzling guitarists during the five decades he fronted various incarnations of the psychedelic pop band Love. During the last 10 years of his life, he was backed by the versatile Baby Lemonade guitarist Mike Randle, who faithfully replicated the early lineups’ complicated arrangements; in the ’70s and ’80s, he was accompanied by the hard blues of Melvan Whittington, Velvert Turner and the underrated, supremely fluid John Sterling; and in the late ’60s Lee was joined by Jay Donnellan, Gary Rowles and even an old pal named Jimi Hendrix. But the greatest lead guitarist in the greatest Los Angeles rock band of all time might well have been Lee’s first guitarist, Johnny Echols. It was Echols who set the scene with memorable licks on such early hits as “7 & 7 Is” and “Can’t Explain,” not to mention the distinctive embellishments he crafted on Love’s classic 1967 album, Forever Changes. Following the breakup of the original Love lineup in the late ’60s, Echols didn’t play much with Lee until they finally reunited a couple of years before Lee died of leukemia in 2006. At tonight’s show, Echols will be backed by Randle and other members of Baby Lemonade in a set of Love classics and obscurities from the band’s lost, semimythical, never-released fourth album, Gethsemane. (There are actually several “lost” Love albums, including the wonderful, just-released Love Lost CD on Sundazed Music, which captures Lee in a series of playfully engaging acoustic and electric interludes with a post-Echols lineup, circa 1971.) (Falling James)
MISS JILLY AT THE GOOD HURT
“Nobody loves me like I do,” Jill Fiore confides enigmatically in a feverishly bluesy voice, as she slices up and shuffles together low, ominous guitar chords that follow her tightly like shadows. The New York City chanteuse, who’s better known as Miss Jilly, has a fiery, soulful set of pipes and a dramatic presence that evokes her idols Chrissie Hynde and Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano (and perhaps even the local balladeer Jonneine Zapata). Miss Jilly’s compelling songs evoke dark alleyways and late-night confessions, such as the unreleased “Crazy Issues,” where she slips into her best high heels and grabs the nearest bottle of booze so she can properly obsess about an absent lover. When Fiore moodily howls, “Take my phone before I use it,” she makes it sound positively scary, like she’s talking about a gun instead of a phone. Miss Jilly also performs at the Cat Club, Mon.; and the Hyperion Tavern, Tues. (Falling James)
Also playing Thursday:
JOHN ALTMAN at Charlie O’s; SNOOP DOGG at Club Nokia; FINLAND STATION at Mr. T’s Bowl; THE FRAY at Galen Center, USC; DETHKLOK, MASTODON at Hollywood Palladium; THE SWELL SEASON, JOSH RITTER at the Wiltern; ELENI MANDELL JAZZ COMBO at Bootleg Theater; DAM-FUNK, PEANUT BUTTER WOLF at the Echo; WHITE FANG, STAB CITY at Echo Curio; THE RUBY FRIEDMAN ORCHESTRA at the Hotel Café; DISCO BISCUITS at House of Blues; GHOSTLAND OBSERVATORY at the Key Club; STORM LARGE at Molly Malone’s; ROSE’S PAWN SHOP, MERLE JAGGER at Redwood Bar & Grill.