Thursday’s fine things to do:
► The legendary Smokey Robinson joins the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the first of three night at the Hollywood Bowl’s annual “4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.”
► Influential New York post-punk quartet Television does the first of two nights at the Teragram Ballroom. Their game-changing album “Marquee Moon” came out 38 years ago.
► Infected Mushroom bring their trance-y psychedelia to the Club Nokia, supported by Sound Remedy and Randy Seidman.
► L.A. quartet Blue Blazer headlines the Troubadour, joined by Bruce Beacon, Stoneflower and David Divad.
► Japanese post-rockers Toe do a sold-out show at the Regent Theater, supported by StarRo.
► And David Serby brings his California country to El Cid for a show with Cal King.
Hunny, Northern American, Island Apollo and Raquel Rodriguez at Mrs. Fish
Dubfire and Miss Kitten at Exchange LA
The Burning of Rome, Fairy Bones, Edith Crash and Pleasure Burn at the Silverlake Lounge
Buyepongo at La Cita
Aaron Gillespie, William Beckett and Nathan Hussey at the Roxy Theatre
Area 51 at Levitt Pavilion Pasadena
Elvis Depressedly, Mitski and Eskimeaux Kitty at the Echo
Oncue, Milliyuan, Kasper, N.I.M.A. and Relaye at Los Globos
Teenage Exorcists, the Soaks and Seán Barna at Lot 1 Cafe
Alexa Merrill at Molly Malone’s
Charlie Greene at the Kibitz Room
Barnaby, Honey County, Jim & Sam and Lisa Halling & the Pacific Public at the Hotel Café
AnnMarie Stanislaus, Aldana and Jeff Jastrow at the Mint
Scattered Hamlet and Viernes 13 at the Whisky a Go Go
Cherokee Wise at the Viper Room
Craig Strickland at the House of Blues Sunset Strip (Foundation Room)
Ese, Pee Wee Herman Cholos, Foggy Notion and Los James Francos del Sur at Cafe NELA
Clorox Girls at the Redwood Bar
Sara Watkins, Sara Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan at the Largo at the Coronet
Harry & the Hitman, Professor Colombo and These Pilgrims at the Wayfarer
Death Hymn Number 9, Glitter Wizard, Occult Wisdom and Plant Tribe at Alex’s Bar
Lovely Bad Things, VHS, White Night, Audacity & the Memories at the Constellation Room
Brian Young at the House of Blues Anaheim
Etc! Etc! at the Yost Theater
Larry Hernandez at the San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino
Dizzy Wright at the Shark Club
Alexa Merrill, Heymous Molly and Danny Mercer at Molly Malone’s
Candi Sosa at the Catalina Bar & Grill
Note: Previously scheduled The Ting Tings and Kaneholler at the Fonda Theatre has been cancelled
Dutch multi-instrumentalist Jacco Gardner packed in the Echo last night in support of his new album “Hypnophobia.” His audience swayed in sweat with kaleidoscopic eyes as Gardner performed with no fanfare and very little between-song-banter.
||| Photos by Michelle Shiers
Backed by four other musicians, Gardner gave a good mix of new and old songs including the Mr. Kite-indebted “The Ballad Of Little Jane” from his first album “Cabinet Of Curiosities.”
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In the music she has made with Touché and Obi Best, Alex Lilly’s production has leaned toward the jazzy and left-field while her lyrical themes ventured into the playful and subversive. The singer-songwriter’s next step is to release music under her own name — and today she unveiled the funky new gem “Paranoid Times,” which features a guest turn from Tre Hardson of the Pharcyde. The collaboration has its own little twist, Lilly says. Producer Keefus Green (Kimbra, Mini Mansions) heard a demo of the song via Inara George of the Bird and the Bee (Lilly performs in the live band) and helped shape its big bump. Then, “I got a text late at night with what looked like a long poem about paranoia from an unknown number,” Lilly says. “Keefus neglected to tell me that he had sent the track to Tre Hardson, and Tre without any introduction sent me the rap. … A few weeks later I went to Portland to visit family and while I was at it went to Tre’s attic studio where we recorded the track in between drinks of coconut juice and rum and stories about Santeria and sex. That guy is fun to talk to.” The tune wields a pool party-ready bounce, except … “we’re living in paranoid times,” people. No firm release plans for Lilly’s new material yet, so best just dance and pay attention to that brightly colored cocktail.
||| Stream: “Paranoid Times”
||| Live: Alex Lilly performs Saturday, July 25, at Chinatown Summer Nights.
Photo by Daiana Feuer
This I thought while listening to the new singles from Small Wigs: There’s just not enough cowpunk being made, especially by people who should be too young to know what cowpunk is. Small Wigs is the work of singer-guitarist Elvis Kuehn (of FIDLAR) and singer-bassist Mikki Itzigsohn (of Isaac Rother & the Phantoms), along with Matt Zuk and Kuehn’s drumming brother Max. The songs, available on a 7-inch via Mock Records, crackle with a little twang and strut, and maybe remind me to dust off some of those old Meat Puppets records every so often.
||| Stream: “New Wig” and “Hangdog”
||| Live: Small Wigs play Viva Pomona at the Glass House on Sunday, July 19.
These faces may look familiar. The one on the left looks a lot like Barbara Gruska from the Belle Brigade. Next to her, is that Inara George from the Bird And The Bee? And on the far right, holding the weird dog, that chick bares a striking resemblance to Alex Lilly from Touché and Obi Best. Your eyes are playing tricks. From left to right, that’s Zima the keyboard player, drummer Zally, and bass player Zabrina of Zero DeZire, a band of miscreants from San Luis Obispo. They play minimal pop songs about fat ballerinas, fornicating, being naughty, drinking lots of alcohol, birthday parties and other savory subjects. In one song, they offer a friend’s (real) phone number, because he’s a good listener, and in another, they wish a sick friend gets well soon. So it’s not all about being bad, though there is a song specifically about being such devils that their wholesome other bandmate Zendy quits. What we have is a band of friends that decided not to take things too seriously, write songs about silly things on instruments that were not their specialties, and while they intended to make something ridiculous, they actually created something that’s kind of awesome. Live, the harmonies blossom like an itchy venereal disease and Zima performs solos that consist of her running around the keyboard repeatedly.
For the record, here is the true story of Zero DeZire:
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If you thought it got dark on Chelsea Wolfe’s 2013 album “Pain Is Beauty,” wait until you listen while she peeks into the “Abyss.” That’s the title of the goth-metal sorceress’s new album, due Aug. 7 via Sargent House, and it’s a riveting, if unsettling, collection of soundscapes that see-saw from fragile beauty to brawny menace. In the album announcement, Wolfe revealed that she suffers from sleep paralysis, explaining that this fifth album fully explores “the boundaries between dreams and reality.” Equally intense is the black-and-white video for the single “Carrion Flowers,” directed by Wolfe and her collaborator Ben Chisholm. Its apocalyptic visuals “allude to the drought in California and frustration about corporations being allowed to pump out all the water, destroying environments and communities, just to sell it back,” she says. “While writing ‘Abyss,’ I lived near where the water is piped into Los Angeles, but the lakes were dried up and the mountains were burned from fires.” The song also appears in the movie trailer for the forthcoming “Dark Places.”
||| Stream: “Iron Moon”
||| Live: Chelsea Wolfe plays the Regent Theater on Sept 25.
||| Watch: The video for “Carrion Flowers”:
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If like me you’ve only watched the video for Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” two or three times since it landed Tuesday, we’ve got some work to do. It’s a 7-minute action movie-meets-morality tale with a cast of hundreds that must have cost a fortune to shoot (the L.A. portions caused quite a stir). It’s well worth replaying and replaying, and director Colin Tilley backgrounded the whole production in an interview with MTV, right down to the (happy?) ending. Come for the song, stay for the stunts, repeat for the symbolism.
||| Watch: The video for “Alright”
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Have yourself a wonderful Wednesday:
► Honeyhoney [see “You and I”] headlines the El Rey Theatre, where the duo of Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe [pictured] are joined by Zero Dezire and Wheeler Walker Jr.
► Scott Bartenhagen [check out his “Black Dane” EP, if you haven’t already] holds forth at the Satellite. Jr. and Nightgown support.
► Singer Elle King visits the Troubadour in support of her debut album “Love Stuff,” with Gene Jr. & the Family and Barnaby opening.
► Long-running art-metal dudes Otep rock the Roxy, supported by the ReAktion, Downfall 2012 and Killset.
► Maudlin Strangers play the Echo behind their new EP “overdose,” with SWIMM and Royaljag opening.
► Synth-pop quartet LEX [see “Beam” and “Stare”] do what they describe as an “avant-garde fantasy show” at the LA Theater Center (501 S. Spring St., downtown).
► And Western Lows head up the lineup at Harvard & Stone, joined by Lady Low and Frankel.
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Cat Power and the Julie Ruin will be joined by the likes of Kim Gordon & Alex Knost (dba Glitterbust), Kate Nash, Kimya Dawson and Cherry Glazerr at Burger A-Go-Go 2 on Saturday, Sept. 5 at the Observatory. The annual Burger Records bash begins the night before with a pre-party featuring Cults and Bleached.
General admission tickets for the Saturday event are $40; tickets for the pre-party are $15; there is a $50 ticket for both events, as well as an $80 VIP option. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.
Has it really been 20 years since a then-teenaged Ben Lee released his first solo album? Seem like a long time — but it’s a drop in the bucket to the subjects of his new video for “Big Love.” They are John and Ann Betar, the longest-married couple in the U.S., celebrating their 82nd anniversary this year. Peter Harden directs the video, which culls from the Betars’ footage of home movies. Says Lee: “The video, like the song, is a tribute to deep love and surrender. It’s not a transient love. It’s not teen romance, a crush, or an infatuation. It is a wellspring of hope and possibility that lies dormant in the human heart until it is unlocked with will, commitment, and tenderness … Young people are so bombarded nowadays by messages about divorce and the failure of long-term relationships. I hope this video creates a counter-argument to that outlook.” The song, meanwhile, is from Lee’s 10th album, “Love Is the Great Rebellion,” released last month, which sees the still-boyish 36-year-old returning to his exuberant indie-pop roots. In addition to the album, the L.A.-based singer has also released “A Mixtape From Ben Lee,” which is also worth some long-playing. It features Lee originals with guest vocalists such as Ben Folds, Azure Ray, Zooey Deschanel, Nina Persson, Mark Oliver Everett, Sean Lennon and Neil Finn. Proceeds from the digital release go to the Q’eros Project, benefiting the Q’ero people of Peru.
||| Live: Ben Lee plays the Troubadour on July 17, supported by the Silverlake Chorus, Falls and Ryan Dilmore.
||| Watch: The video for “Big Love”:
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