Freaky folkie Devendra Banhart’s evolution/devolution from the charmed if awkward songsmith of his early four-track output (listening to Oh Me Oh My as I type) into a full-fledged hippie-jam-band leader (Crippled Crow) into this year’s playfully stripped, attention-deficit disc Mala (supposedly means “sweetie pie” in Serbian, his gf’s native tongue) seems natural enough. On Planet Banhart.
I’m listening to Oh Me Oh My because Mala had whet my appetite for Banhart’s spare guitar, shuffling beats, and quaking poetry (often v. effectively sung in Spanish). Mala’s got all that but with that studio bloat, y’know? Happily, he doesn’t bring that onstage. Banhart has sold out his Belly Up show but will reappear Sunday night in Pioneertown at one of my favorite venues, Pappy & Harriet’s, on the outdoor stage. And he’ll be at the Observatory in Santa Ana on Tuesday and at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood on Thursday. Catch him if you can.... On the hip-hop tip: Sin City rapper Dizzy Wright takes the mic at Porter’s Pub at UCSD. The kid’s been killing it since signing with the Funk Volume label. His debut full-length, Smokeout Conversations, is “all up in them Billboard charts”...and Flynt Flossy and Whatchyamacallit’s comedic rap troupe Turquoise Jeep (“Lemme Smang It”) pulls into Casbah after Bay Area MCs NN$ & Telegraph and the L.A.-based Kosha Dillz, “an Israeli-Sephardic-American Jewish hip-hop MC who raps in English, Hebrew, and Spanish”.... Looking for something home-cooked? The soulful Americana songstress Nena Anderson and her Mules will be serving up country-fried fare at Soda Bar after County Fair and the Peripherals.
We’re closing in on a quarter century of Unwritten Law, y’all. Scott Russo and this year’s band will, as always, play their pop-punk hearts out at Casbah Friday night. That’s an early show (doors at 6p), which will be followed by alt-rock icon Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü, Sugar) and electronic artist Rich Morel doing their dance-party DJ thing, Blowoff.... Else: indie experimentalists Interrobang and Primitive Noyes plug in at Bankers Hill bar Tin Can Ale House...Bulletins, Manuok, and Hills Like Elephants fill a tasty indie-rock bill at Whistle Stop...the Bat Lords will be singing “songs about serial killers” out at Tower Bar after acoustic-punk duo International Dipshit...while a few blocks west, Black Cat Bar stages the Krass Bros. (Amandas, Mr Tube, Delta 72, Boss Hog) with Red Fox Tails (Euphoria Brass Band)...and SD’s post-core pretty boys Pierce the Veil take the main stage at Soma behind their well-received Fearless Records collection Collide with the Sky. All Time Low, Mayday Parade, and You Me at Six open the show.
Tim Nordwind (bassist from OK Go) and Drea Smith (singer from He Say, She Say) have teamed to build Pyyramids, an L.A.-based electro-rock outfit with indie-pop innards. Their debut, Brightest Darkest Day, dropped last month and the duo is gaining momentum behind Smith’s Tina Turner–meets–PJ Harvey stage style and voice. She’s wicked pretty, too. Check ’em out at Bar Pink Saturday night with the Milkcrates DJs at the decks.... Otherwise, you got the sunny psych-pop stylings of the Donkeys, odd-pop dance jams by Rafter, and blown-cone ponks Octa#Grape at Casbah...San Diego’s saltiest psychobilly band the Gore Horsemen ride into Soda Bar after Screamin’ Yeehaws and the Blackjackits...and SanFran jam band Tea Leaf Green’s at Belly Up with Venice Beach roots rockers Terraplane Sun.
From Minneapolis, Minnesota, baroque-pop big band Cloud Cult takes the stage at Porter’s Pub Sunday night. The eight-piece strings-and-things collective is out to tout this year’s Earthology Records release Love, which has indie critics comping Arcade Fire, Polyphonic Spree, and, um, Weezer. Not-too-terrible touchstones. Canadian singer/songwriter Jesse Marchant, aka JBM, opens the show.... At the way other end of the musical spectrum, House of Blues has hardcore hits Suicidal Tendencies, whose “Institutionalized” is still a masterpiece. They’re more of a groove-metal band now, I think. This year they released their first record in 13 years. It’s called, yup, 13. Sick of It All and Waking the Dead will get the pit going.... From Japan, Kawabata Makoto’s heavy-rock head-trippers Acid Mothers Temple land at Casbah. They’ll have two new discs at the merch table, their zillion and zillion-and-oneth releases, Cometary Orbital Drive to 2199 and In Search of Lost Divine Ark. Fans of the band are probably familiar with live fave “Cometary Orbital Drive.” Denver psych-rock outfit Tjutjuna will set it up.... Honorable mentionables: bedsit Brooklynite Jeremy Malvin and his Chrome Sparks will light up Soda Bar with Glass Canoe...the trio Week of Wonders says they play “tropical punk,” which is weird, considering their Seattle address. They’ll play the Ché Café with Mittens and Llamadors...and SoCal indie-folk duo the Milk Carton Kids will go with a seated show at Belly Up after nu-grass boy-girl band Barefoot Movement.
British EDM dance pioneers the Egg, featuring Zero 7 vocalist Sophie Barker, will be at Belly Up on Monday night. They are out to tout this year’s Something to Do.... Staying on this wavelength, “witch house/chillwave” artist Chris Dexter, aka oOOoOO, rolls into Soda Bar after Mister Goodnight...while a couple blocks west, Austin synth-pop quartet Speak will fill the Void with their electro-noise after Yawmen and local “indie shmindie” act Grizzly Business.
Tinnitus unite us! Soda Bar stages Scandinavian crust punks Rotten Sound. Since 1993, Rotten Sound has been grinding out face-quaking grindcore noise. About their definitive release, Murderworks, Allmusic writes, “This gives the listener no room to breathe; from start to finish, Murderworks is an exercise in sensory assault.” Yes. It is. Plug ’em up, people. Early Graves up first.... For all you fret junkies, the Swedish guitar guru Yngwie Malmsteen will sling his strat at House of Blues on Tues.
Singer/songwriter Bob Schneider will play a solo set at Birch Aquarium Wednesday night. The Texas troubadour is out in advance of this summer’s Burden of Proof, due to drop in June. Trawling the web to see what Bob’s been up to, I came across this headline from Arkansas Online: “Schneider Says Keeping Music Real Is No Hasselhoff.” That is all I have to report. Austin-based tourmates, the alt-rock quartet Alpha Rev, opens this Green Flash–sponsored concert.... Best of the rest: New York death-metal crew Cannibal Corpse headlines this year’s Decibel Magazine show at Ramona Mainstage. Napalm Death, Immolation, Cretin, and Beyond Creation fill the bill...from Chicago, alt-rock road warriors Filligar join our own Dead Feather Moon at Bay Park bar the Griffin...San Diego soul sister Lady Dottie dons her Diamonds for her Wednesday date at Gallagher’s in O.B...while trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos hosts his weekly jazz jam at Seven Grand. See you in the clubs.
— Barnaby Monk