Sunday, May 16, 2010

Go See Hear: May 17-21

This week offers a mix of cult heroes and up & comers

The legendary Jonathan Richman swings through town for a couple of shows, which will undoubtedly be as idiosyncratic as ever. I got into his music way back during his vinyl days on Berserkley Records (“Hey, Ice Cream Man!”) but he still keeps cranking out his quirky stuff. Apparently his last disc is a Spanish import only where he sings in a variety of languages. He plays the Smell on the 18th and di Piazza’s in Long Beach from the 20-22.

Also, on the 18th, Roky Erickson has a show at the Mayan. Another legendary cult figure, Erickson’s life has sadly been plagued by mental illness and drug arrests. He is best known as the man behind the 13th Floor Elevators, whose hit “We’re Gonna Miss Me” is on the great garage rock nuggets. Happily he returns now on an up note with a great new disc, True Love Cast Out All Evil, on Anti-, that he did with the guys in Okkervil River. Even without Erickson’s backstory, the disc is powerful, memorable effort. Opening the show is a terrific local outfit, Leslie and the Badgers, who sound a bit like Emmylou Harris crossed with Neko Case. Their disc, Roomful of Smoke has been a favorite of mine for the past several month. The strong double bill, mixing the old and the new, stands as my “show of the week.”

On Thursday night, the Grammy Museum hosts an intimate event with Chris Hillman. Founding member of both the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Hillman has helped make country-rock what it is today. I was at the Grammy Museum recently for their night with the Court Yard Hounds, it is a great little room to hear a musician talk and play a few tunes, so this night provides a unique opportunity to hear a Hall-of-Famer.

The Shout Out Louds and the Freelance Whales have a pair of shows at the El Rey May 20-21, although the show on the 21st is sold out, I believe. The Swedish Shout Out Loud continue to create melodic rock on their new disc, Work. Freelance Whales are a hip young band from the hip Brooklyn scene, but I have been liking the off-kilter Americana/indie rock sound of their debut, Weathervane.

Dan Mangan hails from the inventive Vancouver pop scene. His album, Nice, Nice, Nice, Very Nice not only reference Kurt Vonnegut but also attracted a bunch of acclaim in his homeland. He’s not as elaborate a Vancouver pop-ster as say A.C. Newman but his music holds intriguing qualities.

If you are looking for a show on Saturday night the 20th, the place to be is McCabe’s as the two of the more popular local Americana acts, The Chapin Sisters and I See Hawks In LA, hold court there. You can go wrong seeing either in a night and here you get both.

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