From the angst punk of Cherry Glazerr and the musu joy of the Playboy Jazz Festival to the “Blitzkrieg Bop” of CJ Ramone and the karate fun of Into the Dojo, here are some of the most exciting goings on in the L.A. area this week…

fri 6/7

French Vanilla


A lot of dance-music performers insist that they want to make you think, but French Vanilla are one of the few bands whose lyrics really will get your brain to do the twist while you're in a glittery daze out on the dance floor. On their new album, How Am I Not Myself?, the L.A. quartet pump up their compelling post-punk grooves with subversive sociopolitical intentions. In director P.J. Charles' video for the pulsing disco track “Suddenly,” the band members camp it up as boorish royalty before their oppressed servants finally rebel. And yet the song is also about the bittersweet paradox of how “going out in itself can feel like a performance, accompanied by the feeling of emptiness after it's over.” “All the Time” is another slinky, sax-driven dance workout, whereas “Lost Power” soars with a more Joy Division/Cure–style exhilaration. —Falling James

Cherry Glazerr 


After wowing at Coachella last year and then a few months later opening for old school punk supergroup Generation Sex at the Roxy, it's clear that Cherry Glazerr and mainwoman Clementine Creevy are now in the enviable position of being able to play just about anywhere to just about anyone, and lighting the place up. “I just feel like we have the best fans ever — everyone is so awesome, and I love our fans,” Creevy recently told this writer, and her gush is understandable. The third studio album, Stuffed and Ready, was released in February, and it brought with it lineup changes as every album does. But the quality never drops, and the fanbase looks to be in it for the long haul. This will be an odd little gig at the FIGat7th mall, but worth a look. —Brett Callwood

sat 6/8

Playboy Jazz Festival 


The litany of deaths in the world of jazz in 1979 — bassist Charles Mingus, pianist Stan Kenton and Greek singer Demetrio Stratos, to name a precious few — imbued the revival year of Hugh Hefner's Playboy Jazz Festival with a sense of purposeful urgency. It was as though something rare and brilliant was saved by gathering all those players — as much as any given lightning can be captured in any common bottle. This year is the 41st Annual Playboy Jazz Festival, and some of the stellar and skyclad performances you'll experience there happen courtesy of — among others — Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Benny Golson's 90th Birthday Quartet (Golson turned 90 back in January), Terence Blanchard, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Sheila E., The Family Stone, Kool & the Gang, Quiana Lynell, and Maceo Parker. Also Sunday, June 9. —David Cotner

Credit: Joel Ricard

Credit: Joel Ricard

CJ Ramone 


The sad fact is that all four original Ramones are no longer with us. Fortunately, there are three surviving ex-members (four if you could Clem “Elvis Ramone” Burke, but not many people do) that are regularly touring and performing the Ramones' material live — drummers Marky and Richie Ramone and bassist C.J. The latter joined the New York punk icons in 1989, replacing original member Dee Dee (who did continue to contribute in a songwriting capacity), and sticking around until the band called it a day in '96. C.J. has continued to release original music, the most recent being this year's The Holy Spell, and, while he's not the first name you think of when considering the Ramones, he's always done the band proud. —Brett Callwood

sun 6/9

Credit: Courtesy of Kari Faux

Credit: Courtesy of Kari Faux

Kari Faux 


Singer-songwriter Kari Faux hails from Little Rock, Arkansas, but traveled to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams. Aside from the sonically-appealing soundscape she creates, it's her lyrical content that fans can appreciate most. Kari makes it a point to be 100 percent real in all that she does, including singing about personal experiences and the most relatable situations. Her Cry 4 Help EP is a journal of experiences in mental health and the importance of keeping your sanity in this fucked-up world. Songs like “Medicated” and “Leave Me Alone” speak for themselves. —Shirley Ju

mon 6/10

Lucy & La Mer


“I'm a rebel babe/I ain't gonna break,” Lucy LaForge declares on her band Lucy & La Mer's swinging song “Rebel Babe,” which features a pointedly feminist rap break by Bugsy. Unlike other riot-grrl anthems such as Bikini Kill's “Rebel Girl,” LaForge doesn't use punk-rock vitriol to announce her identity and celebrate the blurring of boundaries between gay and straight, feminine and masculine. Instead, the local singer relies on her unabashed pop instincts to forthrightly revel in her “right to misbehave.” Even when she's standing up for herself, LaForge can't help charming listeners with her sunny, poppy melodies and hopeful messages of inclusiveness and tolerance. As part of Lucy & La Mer's Love Is Gay tour, the local indie-pop band is joined by likeminded allies WASI and Polartropica. —Falling James

tue 6/11

Patty Griffin


“Mama's worried all the time/She tells everyone she's fine,” Patty Griffin discloses somberly on “Mama's Worried,” the opening ballad from her self-titled new album. “People in their stylish clothes/They look at us and turn up their nose/A hunger deep inside me grows.” Griffin's lyrics speak to a lot of the anxieties that people are sharing during these uncertain, politically divisive times, and yet they also might allude to her own personal vulnerability after battling against and defeating cancer over the past several years. “Where I Come From,” “Luminous Places” and other songs of home, identity and longing are characterized by Griffin's delicate but determined vocals and spare acoustic-guitar settings. The record represents a triumphant return from silence after Griffin dealt with breast cancer following the release of her 2015 album, Servant of Love. —Falling James

wed 6/12

Zoë Keating


In many ways, the low tones of the cello are more visceral and deeply convulsive than the high-flying melodic sorties of a violin. In Zoë Keating's hands, the cello becomes an even more expressive instrument that's capable of expansive grandeur on her 2018 EP, Snowmelt. These “four songs from the end of a long winter” include the aptly titled “Icefloe,” a slow-moving soundscape that's distinguished by Keating's mournful streaks of cello, which move majestically across the ice like heavy, looming, slowly twisting clouds. “Possible” is another instrumental passage that's propelled by quivering shivers of cello that unwind and unfurl like flags in a cold, austere wind. Keating is a former member of Rasputina and has recorded with Amanda Palmer, but she reveals more of her range in her own engrossing compositions. —Falling James

Credit: Courtesy of Enter the Dojo

Credit: Courtesy of Enter the Dojo

Enter the Dojo: The Music of Cobra Kai 


Well, this looks interesting. The recent YouTube Cobra Kai TV series allowed children of the '80s to revisit the world of Daniel LaRusso, Johnny Lawrence and John Kreese, while introducing new audiences to the franchise far more effectively than the 2010 Jaden Smith remake. It's been a surprise hit, thanks to excellent casting, wonderful performance from the returning actors, some great writing and choreography, and of course mood-inducing music. At the Whisky, we get to see the main score composers Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson perform music from the show, with guest appearances from Myrone and Droid Bishop. Try to keep those crane kicks in check, but this promises to be an emotional night for nostalgia hounds and new fans alike. —Brett Callwood

Alexisonfire; Credit: Vanessa Heins

Alexisonfire; Credit: Vanessa Heins



Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire have been around since 2001, although they took a three-year break between 2012 and 2015. They went out on a farewell tour and everything, only to change their minds. Oh well. The most recent album predates all that — 2009's Old Crows/Young Cardinals — but this year they've dropped their first new material since then. February saw the release of the song “Familiar Drugs” (with a video following in April), and then “Complicit” was released in May. It's typically brilliant, noise Alexisonfire post-hardcore intensity, and hints at great things for the forthcoming album. Drug Church also plays these two shows, on Wednesday and Thursday. —Brett Callwood

thu 6/13

Imogen Heap


Imogen Heap has been working behind the curtain for the past few years. She hasn't toured the United States since 2000, and the English singer's most recent full-length album is Sparks, which was released in 2014. Heap composed the music for the 2016 play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which was released as an album last year. The gauzy Harry Potter score revealed intermittently intriguing glimpses of the singer's prowess at creating electronic passages, but Sparks was a better and more satisfying work that was highlighted by Heap's inventive vocal shadings on such tracks as “Entanglement” and the breezy choral exhalations of “The Listening Chair.” She's accompanied by Guy Sigsworth, her longtime collaborator in the electronic duo Frou Frou, on her current tour. —Falling James

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult performing at Sex Cells; Credit: Levan TK

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult performing at Sex Cells; Credit: Levan TK

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult 


Windy City outfit MLWTTKK formed in 1987 when core duo Buzz McCoy and Groovie Mann endeavored to make an art film called My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult. Tragically, the movie was never completed, but the soundtrack that the pair prepared was released that same year on Wax Trax! They clearly had a good time making it, because they adopted the name for an ongoing project and, the following year, put out the debut full-lengther, I See Good Spirits and I See Bad Spirits. The rest is history — the band is a Wax Trax! favorite, alongside the likes of Ministry and Revolting Cocks, though with a sleazy disco sound that sets them apart. This year's In the House of Strange Affairs album sees the band on typically shit-kicking form. —Brett Callwood

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