Go stuff yourself.
It’s Black Friday, that vortex of consumerism that sucks us into the holiday shopping season. Go easy, you don’t want to throw out your credit-card sliding arm this early on, and you certainly don’t want to miss alt-country cult act Lucero at Casbah. The hardscrabble Memphis men put a lot of punk-rock karaang! in their twang, and they tour a ton. After ten years of hauling the load, though, Ben Nichols and co. signed to Universal and last year dropped their major-label debut, 1372 Overton Park, to critical kudos but commercial indifference. The collection’s jump-up horns smack of Springsteen with Southern soul, and the songsmithing and vocal chops stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Boss and Greg Cartwright of the Reigning Sound — another criminally underappreciated band of this ilk. With like-minded Colorado quintet Drag the River settin’ it up, this gig’s a must, rock-roll fan. Attention, shoppers, here’s a gift idear for the American gothic on your list: stuff Ben Nichols’s Last Pale Light in the West into a dog-eared copy of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, wrap it in butcher paper and twine.... Else: the Shakedown Bar exhumes O.C. punks of the past Death on Wednesday...Bay Area indie-pop band Birds & Batteries alight at Soda Bar...Soul sister Lady Dottie and her Diamonds are back from Europe and will play a homecoming at Whistle Stop. Miho Gastrotruck will be there for when the beer munchies hitcha...and here’s some lewd food for thought: if you’re feelin’ it, the micro wrestling championships are at Ramona Mainstage. It’s “the greatest little show on Earth.” No? Whatevs.
Bar Pink books a bon voyage for dirty blues duo Little Hurricane, which is gigging up the coast in December. With an acoustic set by the Brothers Grimm of Silent Comedy and lounge lady Miss Erika Davies on the bill, that’s a tasty homegrown show.... My officemate turned me on to Laurel Canyon country-fried quartet Dawes this year, which was curious, considering his collection is heavy on the metal. I get a lo-fi MMJ vibe from these guys. Check out “When My Time Comes”: myspace.com/dawestheband. Dawes drops into Casbah behind ATO Records debut North Hills. Seattleites the Moondoggies set the stage.... Best of the rest: Phoenix four-piece Soulfly delivers the melodic metal of this year’s Omen to House of Blues...the Old In Out, Space Nature, and Jon Beals fill a garage-rock bill at Tin Can Ale House...from Denmark, psychobilly band the Wrecking Dead hit the Shakedown Bar...it’ll be the Dynotones doing retro-surf at the Til-Two Club...Ruby Room hosts a Pyrate Punx showcase featuring Youth Envy, Midnight Eagle, and BCH5...If Guns Are Outlawed, Can We Use Swords? Attack Attack! attacks the main stage at Soma...and the ultimate club crawlers, comics Zane Lamprey and Steve McKenna of the Travel Channel’s Three Sheets, will be at Belly Up with their Sing the Booze tour. They had a good run at the best job in the world — stumbling all over the globe, drinking on TV — but the party’s over. Travel Channel dropped it, so it’s back to work. Not work work, but, y’know, giggin’.
Glowing in the Darkest Night, Pretty Lights adorn House of Blues with electropop. Pretty Lights is Colorado-based producer-sampler Derek Smith. The one-man band breaks his beats with glitch and touches bottom with vintage funk and soul. Free the Robots and Gramatik go first.... Or if you prefer a good old-fashioned record player, guest deej Zack Wentz (Kill Me Tomorrow, the Dabbers) will be spinning “jazz, roots, and raw blues” for Whistle Stop’s Night of the Cookers.
Tin Can Ale House fills an indie-eclectic bill with Mini Mansions, Street of Little Girls, the Kabbs, and D/Wolves. Beatles-y band Mini Mansions is an L.A.-based alt-pop trio started by QOTSA bassist Michael Shuman (aka Mikey Shoes). They’re out to tout their s/t Ipecac debut.... Zonie fiddle player Tobie Milford strums and bows at Soda Bar behind his Alyosha EP. North County acousticats Brent Nettles & the Texas Tea Party will set that up.
Underground hip-hop revivalists Thes One and Double K, aka People Under the Stairs, will be “Trippin’ at the Disco” when they rock the mics at Casbah Tuesday night. The latest from these jazzy MCs is last year’s Carried Away, the duo’s seventh studio set.... An Analog Wave hits Tin Can Ale House with existential dread from L.A. acts Bestial Mouths and Violet Tremors. I’m going to call it gothtronica.
You know Grinderman canceled its House of Blues date here, right? Well, sorry, you do now. I thought, No biggie, I’ll go see ’em in L.A., and then that one sold out right before my dewy, fluttering eyes. Life’s so unfair sometimes. Oh, look, Grinderman 2 just cracked the Billboard Top 40. Good, I’m glad they’re not coming. Sellouts.... I like Aloe Blacc because he likes Mel “the Velvet Fog” Tormé. And I like Aloe Blacc because he’s a late bloomer and a soulful experimentalist. I like his new record, Good Things, because it was made by one wide-eyed student of roots music. Rapper-cum-crooner Aloe Blacc and his band the Grand Scheme steamrolled Europe on this year’s I Need a Dollar Tour, and they are back and at the Casbah for your hump-night highlight. Aussie hip-hop hit Maya Jupiter up first.
— Barnaby Monk