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Friday, June 21

Sea Wolf


On the third Sea Wolf album, Old World Romance, lone wolf Alex Brown Church embraces adulthood. These beautifully crafted songs showcase Sea Wolf's signature emotive nature by turning themselves inside out with refreshing fluidity. Propelled by glistening melodies, which crib from Travis' Fran Healy a touch more than they should and take almost too many cues from Echo & the Bunnymen's Ian McCulloch's lucid tones, Old World Romance nevertheless displays marked advancement in songwriting. An elegantly strummed guitar drives the rises and falls of “Priscilla” and the wandering-cowboy tune “Dear Fellow Traveler.” Diaphanous layers uncover wrenching numbers like “Whirlpool.” Spare instrumentation keeps Old World Romance simple, and in the process strong. –Lily Moayeri


Kendrick Scott Oracle


Drummer Kendrick Scott is a man of faith, introspection and Conviction, the name of his latest, best-selling album. He's also a fan of Bruce Lee and The Matrix. How would that movie's Oracle respond to sharing her name with his band? She might say, “You didn't come here to make the choice, you've already made it. Now you have to understand it.” Understanding the depths of Scott's music might take a few passes, but his work immediately connects on a lyrical, emotional level. Pianist Taylor Eigsti, guitarist Mike Moreno, saxophonist John Ellis and bassist Joe Sanders faithfully support Scott's vision, displaying sensitive musicianship and the ferocity of virtuosity, fluid as the water that Lee compels us to be like. The Oracle is pleased, and she still doesn't care about that lamp. Also Sat., June 22. –Gary Fukushima

Saturday, June 22

Venice Music Crawl

various VENICE venues

In an effort to jumpstart a music scene on the Westside, the inaugural Venice Music Crawl is stacked with sponsors and a commendable roster of bands ready to take Venice to the next level. On the heels of Central SAPC closing, VMC is enthusiastic about launching the first weekend of summer and collecting music lovers in a fresh and untapped section of the city. Despite the Westside's “bubble” nickname, the Crawl will unite Eastside bands like Caught a Ghost with locals the Venice Philharmonic, and even desert folk including Palm Springs-based You Me & Us. This daylong outdoor party features 10 stages centered around Lincoln Boulevard and including Venice hubs the Love Shack, Floyd's Barbershop and Witzend. VMC has even created an App with set times, venues and a map. Calling itself a “small music project of epic proportions” the Crawl also features The Josh Boyd 3, Rainbow Jackson and Thee Rain Cats. There are even rumors of free beer. –Britt Witt

Iris DeMent


Although Iris DeMent was raised in Los Angeles, the Arkansas native rarely performs here, appearing in this city about as often as she releases albums. Her latest, 2012's Sing the Delta, was issued a mere eight years after her fourth album, a set of gospel standards titled Lifeline, but it's been more than 16 years since DeMent's previous collection of original tunes, 1996's The Way I Should. On Sing the Delta, the folk-country stylist sings the praises of the Arkansas delta region where she was born. “Time you took your rest in the sheltering loam,” she advises on “Go on Ahead and Go Home,” as a bluesy piano dances merrily around her countrified plaint. “The spirits of the dead will meet you up ahead/You won't be alone … Down where the cotton grows tall/And a fragrant delta breeze shakes the cypress trees.” Most modern country singers can only wish they were as authentic as DeMent, who has collaborated with John Prine and toured as a member of Merle Haggard's band. –Falling James


Sunday, June 23

Austra, Bestial Mouths


High-gloss synth-pop meets the damp 'n' doom in Toronto's Austra, whose 2011 Feel It Break debut earned wild huzzahs for its cold-ass treks down electro-rock's gothier paths. Katie Stelmanis doesn't so much sing as wield a vocal razor, in a tolerably affected operatic mode well matching the highly stylized, remorselessly machinelike textures and beats that envelop her on the band's new album, Olympia. This latest release is a far less gloomy (and even hookier) version of the first album's noirish delights. Meanwhile, Vice asks, “Is Bestial Mouths the 100 percent best band name ever?” (Could be. Cast your votes.) Bestial offers a raw, synth-blasting, industrial-goth type of pop music considerably notched up by ace howler Lynette Cerezo; new rekkid coming out in June on the esteemed Clan Destine Records. –John Payne

She & Him, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell


People seem to only love or hate Zooey Deschanel, finding her either adorably cute or insufferably contrived in her attempts to be cute, with hardly any middle ground in between. Perhaps folks confuse the singer with the ditzy character she portrays on the sitcom New Girl, but she's nonetheless a perfectly charming and credible pop chanteuse, especially when paired with the talented guitarist M. Ward in She & Him. On the duo's latest album, Volume 3, Deschanel swims through a sea of strings on the simply endearing “I Could've Been Your Girl” and the breezily bittersweet retro pop of “Never Wanted Your Love.” As good as She & Him are, it's hard to imagine them headlining over a living legend like Emmylou Harris, who achingly harmonizes with Rodney Crowell on their latest collaboration, Old Yellow Moon. Harris can be just as sweet as Deschanel, but she also imbues tracks like Allen Reynolds' “Dreaming My Dreams” with a lifetime of hard-won experience, deep wisdom and mournful heartbreak. –Falling James

See also: She & Him's Zooey Deschanel Is the Mormon Britney Spears!

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