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Monday, December 22
There is very little that feels retro on this Silver Lake quintet’s latest EP, In With Them. The title track thunders with Melissa Pleckham’s booming bass and Amanda Paganini’s grungy guitar, but Heather Heywood’s yearning vocals are too moodily melodic to align with punk and hard-rock groups. It’s this bewitching combination of sludgy power mixed with serene vocals that makes Kissing Cousins so unusual, and so full of potential. Alabama native Heywood also plays in husband Ben Heywood’s alt-rock band, Summer Darling, but she’s a revelation as a lead singer, imbuing tracks such as “Cover Me” and “Throw Her Body in the River” with an air of Southern Gothic dread and dream-pop mystery. — Falling James
Tuesday, December 23
Dan Schnelle, Kevin Kanner, Josh Nelson, Dave Robaire & Walter Smith III
Two albums unknown to most except jazz drummers and vinyl collectors are the legendary “drum battle” albums: Gretsch Drum Night at Birdland, showcasing Art Blakey, “Philly” Joe Jones, Elvin Jones and Charlie Persip; and Rich Versus Roach, featuring Buddy Rich and Max Roach. In an homage to the seldom-heard multiple-drummers-in-one-band format, drummers Dan Schnelle and Kevin Kanner will engage in a little friendly-fire back-and-forth, with pianist Josh Nelson, saxophonist Walter Smith III and bassist Dave Robaire. Kanner for years led the best jam session in town before moving to Brooklyn, and L.A. hasn’t swung as hard since. Schnelle stayed out west and has matured into a dynamic, rhythmic force and an essential cog in our jazz mechanism. — Gary Fukushima
THE GLASS HOUSE
There was a moment in the late 1990s, in the wake of Korn’s genre-blending 1994 eponymous debut (and before “nu-metal” became synonymous with knuckle-dragging bilge), when heavy metal, hardcore punk and hip-hop were cross-pollinating in fascinating and invigorating fashion. The opening offering from Santa Barbara quintet Snot, 1997’s Get Some, personified and perhaps perfected this adrenalized brew, brilliantly peppering angry guitars and Lynn Strait’s bleached-throat ranting with bouts of rhythmic quasi-rapping, wonderfully mobile bass lines, and taut, perky beats. It’s an album bawdy and bruising, kept nimble by a rare stylistic open-mindedness, organic rough edges and a pervading sense of humor. Strait died in an auto accident in 1998, but a reunited Snot (now fronted by Vitiate vocalist Carl Bensley) are performing Get Some in its entirety on the band’s first world tour. — Paul Rogers
Wednesday, December 24
Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
ROCKWELL TABLE & STAGE
Actor Jeff Goldblum was a teenage pianist in Pittsburgh before his acting career blossomed into starring roles in some of Hollywood’s biggest films. But his love for the piano and music has never stopped. For nearly two decades he’s been performing with a band he calls The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra (after an old family friend) at Hollywood’s Rockwell Table & Stage on most Wednesday nights. The music starts around 9 p.m., but get there closer to 8 p.m. for Goldblum’s opening monologue/stream-of-consciousness/audience-participation session, as the actor-musician talks and jokes with an audience usually made up more of film buffs than lovers of jazz. The running dialogue continues throughout the show, with occasional sit-in guest performers as well. After each performance, Goldblum is incredibly accommodating with well-wishers and photo requests. — Tom Meek
Thursday, December 25
CODY'S VIVA CANTINA
Multi-instrumental virtuoso Cody Bryant is a stone country music zealot. Obsessed with the rich California honky-tonk tradition, Bryant has long since given over his entire life to pursuit of the neon-lit dream, performing here in his Viva Cantina for the better part of 20 years and enjoying a rich, productive alliance with the legendary Bard of Bakersfield, Red Simpson, along with a horde of gifted Southern California players. Bryant’s unflagging dedication brings him to the bandstand even on Christmas Day, for a no-admission yuletide hoedown certain to be a soulful exercise in passionate musicality and a dazzling display of his capabilities as a picker and strong, communicative tenor. — Jonny Whiteside
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