Sunday, October 31, 2010

Go See Hear In L.A.: Nov. 1-7

Welcome to November. Wow, somehow we're only weeks from Thanksgiving and only days from seeing Christmas decorations.
Anyway, it's another fine week with a wealth of musical choices and here is what I recommend.

This week’s top shows offer two cool pairings. Elton John and Leon Russell play the Palladium on Nov. 3 to support their new duet disc, The Union. It’s nice to see both musicians making relevant music again.

Mavis Staples and Billy Bragg haven’t made an album together but they are touring together (with a show at Royce Hall Nov. 5) and a common friend, Jeff Tweedy. The Wilco frontman produced Staples new album You Are Not Alone and teamed up with Bragg a few back on the Woody Guthrie project Mermaid Avenue.

Several shows this week I highlighted already in a piece I wrote for City’s Best Los Angeles ( The concerts include Paul Weller’s appearance at the Wiltern Nov. 3. His “check-them-out too” opening act, Alessi’s Ark ( at the Mint Nov. 2. UK troubadour Johnny Flynn ( is at the Hotel Café Nov. 5-6 with Americana chanteuse Cheyenne Marie Mize ( Massive Attack headlines the LA101 show at the Gibson Nov. 7.

Nov. 7 also is the big Frontier Records Anniversary show that Part Time Punks is hosting at the Echoplex. A number of old Frontier Records bands will be back to play, with the Pontiac Brothers being a particular favorite of this writer.

On the 5th, the Wiltern hosts a terrific double bill featuring Dr. Dog ( and Here We Go Magic ( – yes, another Brooklyn band but their song “Collecter” is indeed magical.

Other shows to recommend this week include The Apples In Stereo at the Echoplex Monday 11/1, where they’ll be showcasing their new delightful new offering, Travellers in Space And Time.

Fans of female singer/songwriters have a pair of choices on Nov. 3. With Ingrid Michaelson having a show at the Music Box and impressive newcomer Kelli Scarr (, whom I have recommended before, at the Hotel Café. If you time it right, you might be able to see both.

Nov. 4’s choice involves Loch & Key (, an enchanting local outfit that I have also praised here in the past, at the Silverlake Lounge and chamber folk artist Emily Wells ( at Largo with singer-songwriter Henry Wolfe.

Largo hosts Paula Cole on Friday the 5th, while the House of Blues welcomes Great Big Sea and Mississippi’s punkish
Colour Revolt ( comes to the Bootleg.

Blues fan should head to the Brixton in Redondo Beach on Nov. 6 because that’s where blues giant Charlie Musselwhite will be performing.

The eclectic UK dance-pop group Florence and the Machine ( has a string of shows at the Wiltern Nov. 6-8,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Go See Hear In L.A.: Oct. 25-31

Only have the chance to do a super brief roundup this week
A couple really interesting shows to start off with.
Free Energy and Foxy Shazam at the Troubadour on 10/28.
Kate Nash with openers Peggy Sue at the Music Box on 10/29
Stew and the Negro Problem at the Getty on Sat 10/30 and the Echoplex on Nov. 2.
The Icelandic Americana group Seabear plays the Troub with Grandchildren 10/26
Also notable are
JP, Chrissie & The Fairground Boys at the Sunset Blvd House of Blues on 10/25 and the Anaheim HoB 10/27
The Reigning Sound and the Ettes at the Echoplex 10/26 and Spaceland 10/27
Corinne Bailey Rae at the Avalon 10/28
The Secret Sisters at McCabes 10/29
Blame Sally at Boulevard Music 10/29
Joe Pug – Spaceland – 10/31

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Go See Hear In L.A.: Oct. 18-24: from Mt. Desolation to Gold Motel

If you are headed to the sold out Mumford & Sons show (and you have to love it these roots rock UK band has become such an under-the-radar hit), get there earlier enough to see Mt. Desolation (, another British country rock band featuring guys from Keane. Their debut actually comes out on Tuesday.

The Canadian collective Broken Social Scene sets up shop at the Wiltern on Oct. 19 in support of their latest effort, Forgiveness Rock Record. Who will be playing at this show? You’re never totally sure already frontman Kevin Drew should be leading the Scene.

Ra Ra Riot ( will be creating a “quiet storm” (and I don’t mean the soft rock radio format) at the Music Box on the 20th. This upstate NY band crafts elegant chamber-style indie rock that’s a joy to listen to.

It’s Irish night at the Hotel Café Oct. 20 Yep Roc/Bella Union recording artists Bell X1 ( is doing an acoustic tour, which is a great way to hear their sweet/bittersweet hooky pop tunes. Sharing the bill is the introspective Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow ( who is on his first American tour.

UCLALive offers a very special musical summit on Friday Oct. 22. when Taj Mahal and Vieux Farka Touré share the stage for a show that will undoubtedly be a unique exploration of the intertwined elements of American blues and African music.

Friday night finds the Ryan Montbleau Band ( at the Mint. Last month, the Boston-based band released Heavy On The Vine, which is heavy with fine and lively soulful folk-rock. Montbleau also penned “Something Beautiful” that is Trombone Shorty’s current hit single.

Texas honky tonker Wayne "The Train" Hancock rolls through Southern California again with shows at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Oct. 22 (with the Blasters) and Redondo Beach’s Brixton on Oct. 23.

Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor have reconstituted Azure Ray ( Their latest set of gentle, haunting music. Drawing Down The Moon, was released by Saddle Creek last month. They will be at the Troubador Oct. 22 along Tim Fite (, whose more abrasive music is a compelling combination of folk, rock and rap.

For jam band fans Oct. 22 means the return to town of the great live band, Widespread Panic, who will be putting on one of their customary epic shows at the Greek that night.

It’s tempting to say that Brooklyn’s The Defibulators ( play such lively music that they raise the dead. It is true that their music, which'll be on display at Molly Malone’s Sat. the 23rd, is spirited roots music that ties together the past and present.

L.A.’s own Juliette Commagere ( commemorates her solo album The Procession by opening for Air at the Shirne on the 23rd. The disc is filled with airy atmospheric but subtly textured music that makes for an enchanting listen.

NEeMA ( is an exotic, unusual name but she can create straightforward and enchanting melodic pop tunes. A Canadian of Middle Eastern decent, NEeMA has traveled around the globe and there is a worldly, philosophical side. Beautiful songs like “Escape” and “Elsa’s Lullaby” are about all you can ask for from a singer-songwriter. She has a show at the Hotel Café on Saturday.

The White Buffalo ( is man, not band nor beast. On his new EP, Prepare For Black & Blue, he plays his acoustic music with a fierce physicality that recalls a harder-edged Ray Lamontagne or an unplugged Eddie Vedder. He’ll be appearing at Hermosa Beach’s St. Rocke on Oct. 24.

I became instantly enamored with Gold Motel ( upon listening to their tunes. The Chicago pop-rockers, fronted by singer Greta Morgan, serve up a delightful sunny sound on the aptly named Summer House album that recalls Blondie in their prime. Hooky, energizing and hard to resist. They play the Echo Sunday Oct. 24 with Michael Runion and Family of the Year.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Go See Hear in L.A.: Oct. 11-17 - Danielle Ate The Sandwich to Hoodoo Gurus

Danielle Anderson goes by the stage name Danielle Ate The Sandwich (, so it’s not surprising that her music is quirky and eclectic. However, The intriguing uke-playing singer-songwriter can also be soul-searching and heartfelt – she’s something like those low-budget indie films chronicling twentysomethings’ lives but more charming than pretentious. You can find Danielle at the Hotel Café on Monday the 11th.

David Olney ( is a one of those singer-songwriter better known to his peers than the general public. He’s been recording albums over nearly 30 years and draws together various Americana strands – folk, rock, country, blues and even standards (he covered “I Only Have Eyes For You” on his last album) into something quite special. A sagacious, witty storyteller, Olney is something like John Prine with a bit more of an old school rock ‘n’ roll soul. He’ll be at the Coffee Gallery Backstage on the 11th and the Cinema Bar on the 13th.

The Ottawa-based quintet the Acorn ( is a band well worth digging up. On their CD, No Ghost (Bella Union) they reveal themselves as a really cool mix of woodsy-meets-city indie rock. While they aren’t at the anthemic state of fellow Canadian The Arcade Fire, the band’s music has a strong visceral pull. They are appearing at the Echo on Oct. 13.

Shadow Shadow Shade ( has created a lot of buzz around town (since the days when they were known as the Afternoons) and listening to their debut disc it is clear that they are deserving of all the praise. A swirling of colorful rock ‘n’ roll with patches of psyche., prog and other fuzzy guitar rock, SSS falls somewhere between the Flaming Lips and MGMT. “Say Yes” stands out as a rousing triumph while “Your Perfect Wilderness” is a rich Dark Forest rock exploration. Their 10/14 show at the Echoplex should be quite the record release party.

The Legendary Shack Shakers ( will bring their rip-roaring redneck-a-billy to Spaceland on 10/14 behind their latest offering Agridustrial. The band’s new guitarist Duane Denison comes from Hank III and Jesus Lizard, so expect the Shack Shakers to raise more of a racket.

Baltimore-based, Merge Recording artists Wye Oak (, who are basically the duo Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack) returns to town with their cool soft/loud sound that has a bluesy bottom and a freak folk-rocky topside. They share a bill with ex-Pedro The Lion frontman David Bazan at Spaceland on Oct. 15.

Armed with her comical, twangy bluesy tunes (her latest CD is entitled Donald Trump’s Hair), Kacey Jones ( comes from Nashville to Coffee Gallery Backstage on Friday night for her only Southern California show for the year.

Vincent Minor ( celebrates his recently released self-titled album with a gig at the Bootleg Theatre. His cleverly composed, Tin Pan Ally-ish tunes suggest Rufus Wainwright without the operatic aspirations. Seek out his delightful ditty “Late Night Show” to get a good taste of what he’s all about

Hoodoo Gurus ( hit the Viper Room on Oct. 17. These Aussies have been cranking out some wonderful garage rock-y music for many years. Tunes like “I Want You Back,” “What’s My Scene” and “Bittersweet” are a joy to hear any day. This Aussie outfit is still going strong as their latest Purity Of Essence (released earlier this year) amply proves.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Go See Hear in L.A.: Oct. 4-Oct. 10 - Tired Pony To Bearfoot

The first full week of October starts off with a Tired Pony and ends with a Bearfoot – sorta.

Tired Pony is the new collaboration between Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and REM”s Peter Buck. Place We Ran From is filled with pretty shimmery, textured pop-rock that makes for a quick pleasant listen – more Snow Patrol than REM if you’re curious where on the sound spectrum they fall.

Tuesday night offers Van the Man at the Greek. A cool autumn evening should match up well with Morrison’s melancholic music and often stormy (always mercurial) performing style.

The Stones will play the El Rey on Tuesday. Not the Rolling Stones, but Angus & Julia Stone ( These awesome Aussie siblings have been making compelling music together for the past few years – this year they released their sophomore album Down The Way - and it’s only a matter of time before they become better known for the hippie-ish folk-rock.

The Grammy Museum has another one of their fabulous events as it hosts a sit-down with Rosanne Cash. She has a new memoir, a rather current album, the List, and a totally fascinating life.

On Tuesday night too, First Aid Kit ( plays the Echo. Another band that I don’t know much about, but are very high on. The Swedish Soderberg sisters create fragile folkie music that’s quite alluring. Also on the bill is the Canadian autoharp-playing singer-songwriter Basia Bulat as well as Ferraby Lionheart (seek out the gorgeous tune, “Harry And Bess.”).

The Lee Boys ( might not be as well known as the Randolph Family Band but they too have been something special with sacred steel music. The Miami-based band bring together a number of styles (R&B, rock, hip-hop and country) in their energizing music. They’ll be at the Mint on Thursday night and Hermosa Beach’s Saint Rocke on Friday.

John Wicks and Paul Collins are two longtime figures in the power pop world. Wicks led the wonderful Records, who had such cool tunes as “Starry Eyes,” “Teenarama” and “Girls That Don’t Exist.” Paul Collins fronts the Beat (not the UK Beat), which was one of the key players in LA’s ‘70s pop scene. He also was in the Nerves with a pre-Plimsoul Peter Case. They share the stage at Genghis Cohen on Oct. 7.

Judy Collins is not just an American folk music legend but an American music legend. In the mid-Sixties, for example, she explored an innovative art-folk sound on albums like In My Life and Who Know Where The Time Goes. On this year’s Paradise, she still reveals her strong interpretative skills covering the likes of Harold Arlen, Tim Buckley and Jimmy Webb. She’s at the Broad Stage on Friday night.

Marley’s Ghost ( has been making acoustic-based music for over 20 years. They are skilled craftsmen who expertly mix together a range of styles into their music. This year they put out Ghost Town, produced by Cowboy Jack Clement, while their prior one Spooky was done with Van Dyke Parks. So if you judge people by the company that they keep, then you’ll have hold this band with respect. They’ll be at Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium on Saturday night.

Bearfoot ( is a one of those acoustic outfits that has enlivened the bluegrass scene in recent years (like Nickel Creek, Crooked Still, the Duhks, etc). I am not that familiar with this Compass Records artists, but was impressed with what I have heard. They play up at Ojai’s Matilija Auditorium on Saturday. Check them out if you're in that neighborhood.

Remember the Tom Tom Club? The beat-happy Talking Heads spinoff fronted by the Heads’ married rhythm section, bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Franz. They are on the road again as they’ve reissued their classic Genius of Love album. They will be at the non-club-like Getty on Sat. 10/9 and the more club-y Echoplex on Sunday the 10th. Will they have new music too? I can’t say.

Another couple, Deb Talen and Steve Tannen, does have a new album out. Better known as the Weepies (, they have filled the delightful Be My Thrill, their fourth full-length, with more smart pop tunes about life and love. It’s hard not to smile while listening to “I Was Made For Sunny Days.” They headline the El Rey on Sunday.