The top story for this week is the trio of talented female performers making appearances in town.
On Monday, Clare Burson (www.myspace.com/clareburson) arrives at the Hotel Café in support of Silver & Ash, which will be released by Rounder on Tuesday. The Memphis-bred, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter has a sophisticated, assured sound. The history-mind Burson has crafted a song cycle about her grandmother’s life in Europe before the start of WW11. While tackling dark issues, she also creates some splendid chimey-ness on “I Will/With You.” She also was recently chronicled in the New Yorker for having an ancient piece of cheese (a story too intricate to synopsize.
On Friday, Nicole Simone (www.myspace.com/nicolesimone) has a show at the Hotel Café. I praised the L.A.-based singer-songwriter here last month, so just to briefly restate: she has a cool chanteuse vibe that recalls early Eleni Mandell.
The wonderful Elizabeth Cook (www.myspace.com/elizabethcook) comes to town from Nashville for a show at McCabe’s on Saturday. One of my favorite Americana female singers, Cook is a fun and feisty performer who can pen memorable tunes like “El Camino” and “Heroin Addict Sister” that are country without being country clichés.
There are several other interesting shows during this week too.
Tracy Bonham teams up with the duo KaiserCartel (www.myspace.com/kaisercartel) for a show at the Hotel Café on Tuesday. While I haven’t kept up much Bonham over the years, her new disc Masts of Manhatta has gotten some good notices. The KaiserCartel also have a new disc, Secret Transit, which I have heard and is a fine slice of indie pop.
Dan Mangan (www.myspace.com/danmangan), who is at the Henry Fonda on the 15th, hails from Vancouver (New Pornographers) and is on the Arts & Craft (Broken Social Scene, Feist) – and if that isn’t enough to make you curious. His album Nice, Nice, Very Nice lives up to its name with its nicely crafted literate folk-pop like the laidback but majestic “Fair Verona” and the cracked humor fanboy lament “Tina’s Glorious Comeback.”
JBM’s (www.myspace.com/jessemarchant) return to town, with a Spaceland show on 9/15. I had recommended his Hotel Café show earlier this month and I will recommend him again.
Blues icon Buddy Guy has a sit-down at the Grammy Museum on Thursday night the 16th; it's a rare chance to have an up-close opportunity to hear a living legend talk a little talking and play a little. Thursday too is when The Chapin Sisters (www.myspace.com/thechapinsisters) bring their delightful harmonies and a full band to the Echo Lounge on the 16th to showcase their new one, Two. On that night, Roy Jay (www.myspace.com/royjaymusic) opens up for Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers at the Troubadour. He has named his new album with a more locally significant title, Fairfax Avenue.
The esteemed (yet still somewhat underappreciated) Eliza Gilkyson (www.myspace.com/elizagilkyson) plays McCabe’s on Friday the 17th. The same night, Hanson will be at the House of Blues. Their latest Shout It Out comes stocked with savvy, soul-infused pop-rock.
This weekend’s Los Angeles Lobster Festival boosts a particularly strong music line with Leslie & the Badgers, We Barbarians, Fitz & The Tantrums and Dengue Fever among Saturday’s performers and John Doe & Exene headlining Sunday.