Vancouver musician Stephen McBean has a split personality. Lucky for him — and classic-rock revivalists — both personalities are guitarists into album rock. The diff: one’s got a closet full of hard-rock concert Tees (Zeppelin, Sabbath) and fronts a muscular heady metal band called Black Mountain, which I can’t recommend enough (start with last year’s Wilderness Heart, as it’s a better inroad to metal McBean, tho ’08’s In the Future is Black Mountain’s peak, imho); the other personality’s a kinder, gentler McBean with a closet full of psych-rock Tees (Floyd, VU), who you can meet when Soda Bar stages his Pink Mountaintops Thursday night. The Mountaintops are atmospheric, gray-to-goth, more roll than rock. Both their Axis of Evol (’06) and Outside Love (’09) were met with critical praise and commercial indifference. Vocation/avocation. Family Wagon rolls in first with the Strangers Family Band, and there’ll be psyops by liquid-light artists Operation:Mindblow. Measure your head before ordering.... Hot-shit bedsit piano-pop player Trevor Powers, aka Youth Lagoon, of Oxford, M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i, flows into Casbah behind debut Fat Possum platter Year of Hibernation. I got a press demo some months ago and I’m still peeling the layers off this disc. Drop the laser on “Posters” or “Afternoon” or “July” and you’ll see what I mean — melodies with purpose, head and heart, the kid’s got it all. It’s a little light in the Crocs, but he’s young, he’ll grow into his gifts. Young Magic and Range Rovers up first.... Else: swamp-blues slinger Kenny Neal’s at Anthology behind his new Blind Pig disc Hooked on Your Love...and Mutant Space Boy lands at Bar Pink with proggy/jazzy jam band the Brian Ellis Group.
Known as L.A.’s “ambassador of boogie funk,” Dam-Funk will represent citizens of the funkmosphere at Casbah. The funkmeister’s out to tout double-disc crit-hit Toeachizown (that’s 24 tracks and over 140 minutes of lippy badassery). Master Blazter and the Illuminauts will set it up at the Middletown mainstay.... Best of the rest Friday night has Tin Can Ale House popping the tops offa Portland shoegaze-punk band Anne and like-minded locals Shiva Trash, Tan Dollar, and Electric Healing Sound...Dizzy’s dishing greazy jazz-n-blues with Hammond man Joe Bagg pumpin’ the pedals, Brian Levy on sax, and Kevin Kanner on traps...’70s AM-pop staples America will talk and soft-rock the MOCA’s Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla for a Grammy Museum benefit...while ’80s wavers Missing Persons turn up at Ramona Mainstage.
Brooklyn big band Rubblebucket will spill into Soda Bar behind this year’s party platter Omega La La. A surefire cure for your joyless hipster friends, La La’s got all the indie kids dancing again. Check out yes-wave anthem “Down in the Yards” for a taste: rubblebucket.bandcamp.com.
With kraut-pop peeps Superhumanoids and one-man dance band Rafter on the bill, get set to sweat.... Bar Pink’s got a thing for trios Saturday night, as L.A. punk perennials the Urinals join the O.C.’s she-punk three-piece Spare Parts for Broken Hearts at the North Park nightspot. The Urinals started in ’78 at UCLA as a dorm-party parody of punk-rockers. You know how your mom says don’t cross your eyes because they’ll stay like that? Pretty sure that’s what happened t’these dudes. They got a knack for short, sharp tracks that somebody somewhere dubbed “punk haiku”.... The cult of Calabrese will meet at the Shakedown. The Zonies are known as the “greatest horror-rock band of all time.” Go see: myspace.com/calabrese. Dead Daze up first.... And if you’re “broke but stoked” — talking to you, 99 percenters — get with the collection of more than 30 musician/artists milling at Til-Two Saturday night, where they’ll be hanging their wares, celebrating the release of a new punk-rawk zine, and bobbin’ their noggins to the Lumps, the Kabbs, Space Nature, and Roach Spit, yes, Roach Spit. According theirSpace page, they specialize in hardcore samba. Fuck yes.
South Florida voodoo-rockers Viva Le Vox bring their new thing, Wayward Ones, to the Shakedown Sunday night. I’ve been lucky enough to catch these cats on their home turf when I go back East to visit the Moms.
Tony Bones and Antoine Dukes concoct a swampy cauldron that’s equal parts Cramps and Creedence, Cave and Cash, with the bon vivant of Tom Waits. Fans of the man will dig it. Strikers and Moosejaw open the show.... Kiwi indie-pop act Unknown Mortal Orchestra is at Casbah. Will Crain Of Noted that show, so flip or click to that for the of-notables. I like what I’ve heard (esp. “Ffunny Ffrends”), they’re really weird... Speaking of weird, local yokels Gary Wilson, Red Pony Clock, and Nothingful fill an art-rock bill at Soda Bar. It’s Nothingful Sasha’s birthday. Get there early, buy him one, and enjoy his set. Dude’s got interesting takes on some choice covers.
Couple of fun Monday-nighters, as Oregon punk trio Broadway Calls brings this year’s Toxic Kids to Eleven. Portland-based tourmates, the ripping acoustipunk duo Lee Corey Oswald, open the show...Aussie alt-pop act Little Red’s a block east at Soda Bar with local indie kids Italian Japanese and Foreign Film...and Portland electro-folkies Priory follow like-minded Los Angelino Christopher Pappas’s Miracle Parade into Tin Can Ale House.
Surf-jazz siblings the Mattson 2 play El Dorado downtown. This month’s Thrasher has a pretty cool interview with the twins. This is a good venue for these guys, so if you haven’t checked them out and you’re into Tortoise or Lounge Lizards, you should go. And grab a copy of their hip new disc Feeling Hands while you’re there. I’m not shilling. I don’t even know these guys. I’m just stoked that a couple SD skate rats are jamming on jazz and doing it well, with some pluck and punk bravado.... Utterwise, Belly Up books a locals-only showcase with eclectic sets by Heavy Glow, Hargo, and Gayle Skidmore.
Aww, yeah, s’more blues-rock badassery this week, as Fallbrook’s favorite son Nathan James and his trio plug in at Bar Pink. At 19 years young, Nathan was touring with hepcat harpist James freaking Harman. Proof positive there be mad mind bombs dropping from this man’s hands....
Steeltown rapper Mac Miller hits House of Blues behind his debut, Blue Slide Park, while Steve Miller trib Wild Mountain Honey’s upstairs in the Voodoo Room for all you midnight tokers.... From Upstate New York, indie-pop act Ra Ra Riot will be at Belly Up behind this year’s Barsuk offering Too Dramatic.... We Were Promised Jetpacks flies into Casbah. They’re an indie-rock quartet from Edinburgh with a FatCat record called In the Pit of the Stomach. I’ve listened to several minutes of it...
— Barnaby Monk