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Monday, December 15
Vocalist Laura Dickinson is a striking redhead who’s equally comfortable in the worlds of cabaret, television and jazz. Dickinson first made her mark in the late 1990s as a vocal talent on Disney shows such as Phineas and Ferb and Sofia the First. In addition to extensive commercial work, the SoCal native has appeared in dozens of cabaret and stage productions over the past two decades. In recent years Dickinson has developed an affinity for jazz standards, including those made famous by Frank Sinatra, to whom her self-produced debut album, One for My Baby, is dedicated. Dickinson debuts the CD tonight at Vitello’s in Studio City with a cast of some of L.A.’s finest session players, accompanying the soaring high notes that have become a hallmark of her vocal prowess. — Tom Meek
Tuesday, December 16
MASONIC LODGE AT HOLLYWOOD FOREVER
About a decade ago, Moby released his ode to the touring lifestyle, Hotel. The album featured a limited-edition bonus disc with the self-explanatory title, Hotel: Ambient. Long out of print, Hotel: Ambient is belatedly getting its time in the spotlight with a remastered reissue featuring extended tracks and previously unreleased material. It’s modern classical music, made for solo listening in hotel rooms, staring into an alien city through windows that won’t open. The album’s live representation is a multimedia experience, including ambient versions of some of Moby’s more popular songs and visual collaborations with avant-garde filmmaker David Lynch. The melancholy and peaceful movements of Hotel: Ambient are the perfect soundtrack with which to reflect back upon the year. Also Wednesday, Dec. 17, and Thursday, Dec. 18, with a sold-out benefit show Sunday, Dec. 21, at the Integratron in Joshua Tree. — Lily Moayeri
EL REY THEATRE
Actress-singer Amber Riley blessed Angelenos last December at the Roxy, where she offered up soulful and unorthodox renditions of such hackneyed holiday classics as “Sleigh Ride” and “Santa Baby.” She even rapped. According to her Facebook page, we should expect nothing less this year. Tonight’s show will feature performances by Grammy-winning R&B legend Faith Evans, Jordin Sparks, Shoshana Bean and frequent Riley collaborator Tori Kelly, plus another “very special guest.” Riley might also debut new material from the forthcoming solo project she’s reportedly working on with serial pop hitmaker Adam Anders (Backstreet Boys, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers). In April, the mezzo-soprano debuted the introspective, self-penned ballad “Colorblind” on both Glee and The Queen Latifah Show. VIP ticket packages include a meet-and-greet and official photo with Riley. — Jacqueline Michael Whatley
Wednesday, December 17
Over the past 20 years, it’s hard to find another songwriter as prolific as Ryan Adams. With the release of his self-titled 14th solo album in September, as the usual critical accolades rolled in, the 40-year-old managed to accomplish something he’d yet to do in his career: a top-five debut on the Billboard 200 album chart. Adams rarely stays in one place stylistically, so it’s no surprise that the new record is a departure from his last, 2011’s mostly acoustic Ashes & Fire, with a grander, more atmospheric sound. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Adams has the rare ability to seamlessly explore genres while challenging himself as an artist, which not only proves his prowess as a musician but cements his status as one of the best songwriters of his generation. Also Thursday, Dec. 18. — Daniel Kohn
Thursday, December 18
THE VIPER ROOM
After a seemingly endless absence from local stages, Fireball Ministry finally return to their hometown to save what’s left of our souls. Of course, such salvation comes by way of thunderous Black Sabbath–style riffs, lead singer/guitarist James A. Rota II’s surly howling and the twin-guitar attack of Rota and Emily Burton, not via prayers and sermons. It’s been more than four years since these metallurgists released their fifth full-length album, the self-titled Fireball Ministry, but in an era when so much heavy metal is about retro posturing and hollow-minded bluster, Fireball Ministry still crank out a fully satisfying sound that’s heavier than grunge and smarter than most hard rock. — Falling James
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