It’s an old story: an ex-other calls because they’ve got a giant organ to sell you. Fifty bucks and a few hours later, the behemoth sits in your apartment, taking up half your living room, a significant metaphor for the heartache ex-other causes you. So, you sit and pump out five soulful songs for a breakup and call it Songs for a Break Up. You’re a hit. L.A. is like that. Casbah throws Fitz & the Tantrums on their Middletown stage. The L.A. soul-pop swingers’ full-length debut Picking Up the Pieces is due to drop next week. Early leaks champion late-’60s left-end radio fare with groove and flair that hasn’t been heard, well, since then. Dude’s not kicking homages, he’s come back to the future. O.C. punks-cum-R&B revivalists Black Diamond Riders go first. This is an ill bill, rump shakers. See you on the dance floor.... Utter mentionables: Colorado’s newgrass-and-granola gang the Yonder Mountain String Band will deliver The Show to House of Blues...Tin Can Ale House has hardcore hits Rats Eyes and promising punk upstarts Terremoto...and that slow-motion Mower Slower rolls into Soda Bar.
Garage-rock Texas trio Girl in a Coma plays Soda Bar with Atlanta psych-pop band Gringo Star and Austin’s Agent Ribbons. This is a trick triple bill if you like your barroom rock in sepia tones through blown cones. And wait till you hear the pipes on Girl in a Coma crooner Nina Diaz. You can’t wait? Click this: myspace.com/girlsinacoma.... A push from the left and a shove from the right, Bill Maher gets on Humphrey’s tonight. This oughta be good. The pro-pot atheist will bring his “sobering” humor to the conservative enclave. Kind of like inviting the vampire in, isn’t it, Humph?... Or go say goodbye to the Modlins. The natty lads swear this is very definitely their absolutely last gig. With Swim Party opening the show, South Park hot spot Whistle Stop is set to pop.... Adult-contempo radio staples the BoDeans will appear at Anthology. Led by singer-songwriters Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann, the BoDeans were once named by Rolling Stone the best new American band. That was 1987. They’re on tour in support of this year’s Mr. Sad Clown. And stick around for a late-night jam by bluesman Coco Montoya. Apparently, the Santa Monica man’s got an ax to grind with his new one, I Want It All Back.... Casbah fills a noise-pop bill with Austinites Woven Bones and like-minded locals the Crocodiles and Heavy Hawaii. And the kid with the coolest crate in town, Mario Orduno, will spin round sets.... Else: L.A. big band the Industrial Jazz Group hits Dizzy’s...Funky Latin dance band Ozomatli plays the postrace in the paddock at Del Mar...and Who and Paulo entertain Fluxx club downtown. They’re a DJ-and-guitar duo on to something new. Check ’em out: paulodarosa.giantsarise.com.
Hard-rocking Aussies Wolfmother stalk onstage at House of Blues Saturday night. The band went through a lineup change after their Grammy-winning eponymous debut and last year dropped a Cosmic Egg. Local rock writer Chris Nixon says their sound has “the pre-punk angst of MC5 and Steppenwolf’s hard-edged psychedelia.” Thanks, Chris, that’ll do. Rootsy quartet J. Roddy Walston and the Business will set the downtown stage... Classic rockers Dirty Sweet hit the beach at SoundWave. Did you see how much it is to ride the Belmont Coaster these days? Dang. Discovered Family Night Tuesdays, though, when everything’s half price from 4 till close. See, that’s useful info, family guy.... Synth-rock band Hot Hot Heat fires up Belly Up. The alt-rock quartet just dropped their fourth major-label load, Future Breeds. Indie critics are calling it a “return to form.” I guess they’ve been forgiven. 22-20s (they’re British) and Hey Rosetta (they’re Canadish) set the Solana Beach stage.... SanFran’s classic death-metal band Possessed takes the Ramona Main Stage after a slew of similars. Metalheads, hit this: ramonamainstage.com/possessed/.... Else: math-rockers Japandi drop a new EP CD at Ché Café with Drug Wars and Miniature Tree...local folkie Manuok drops his new one on Tin Can Ale House with Seattle’s By Sunlight...and Soda Bar plugz in the electronics, catching L.A. act Jogger with Chatsworth’s Baths and like-minded locals the Illuminauts.
H.R. and Dr. Know bring dub-punks Bad Brains to Belly Up. These D.C. legends put chocolate in peanut butter before Reese’s, yo, infusing reggae riddems into punk rock. Break out the Brains' ’86 staple i against i for a refresher.... Don’t dream it’s over. It’ll be Crowded House at Humphrey’s by the Bay Sunday night. Neil Finn’s alt-pop Aussie act returned this year with Intriguer, their sixth proper disc in 25 years. That’s taking your sweet time. It’s number one in Melbourne, as I type.... Cary Brothers is one guy. That’s his name. He’s a singer-songer from L.A. via Nashville. The numbers on his Space page suggest you already know all that. Mr. Brothers will strum-n-hum at Casbah.... And House of Blues hosts the little lady with the great big voice, Cyndi Lauper. Cyndi’s back with Memphis Blues, a rock-n-soul collection she recorded with the help of guys like B.B. King, Charlie Musselwhite, Jonny Lang, Memphis Slim. You heard of them.
From my hometown of Worcester, Mass (go, Sox!), hardcore band Bane plays the Ché. The straight-edge act has released a boat of singles since ’05’s The Note, one of the more engaging hardcore discs this decade, and looks as if they’ll be collected in a comp called At Both Ends...? If you go to the show, lemme know. Shit hits the fan at 7p, with Trapped Under Ice, Cruel Hand, Alpha and Omega, and Bankrobber.... White Apple Tree’s picked this Anti-Monday. The trio’s Bowie-flavored debut Velvet Mustache is out now. Young the Giant and Useless Keys set the Casbah stage.
The unexpected grin winner this week is Portland’s Blood Beach. The quartet pumps out psychedelic hip-swingers suffused in theremin. Go here for some “Soft Serve”: myspace.com/bloodbeachusa. The indie kids’ll play Tin Can Ale House with folk-pop locals Flowerthief for one of the gigs to get to this week.... Terrible Tuesday at Casbah tosses out L.A. prog-rockers Upsilon Acrux with Innerds, Black Songs, and Hing.
The Cricket’s big ticket this week is blues-pop player John Mayer. The Berklee grad and Grammy winner has another Billboard smash with his latest, Battle Studies. The heartthrob’s life in music hasn’t suffered from his media image as an actress killer and kiss-and-tell misogynist. We like that in our rock stars.... For those who don’t, Soda Bar sets up indie experimentalists Oh Air Night and Space Nature...Humphrey’s has rootsy crooner Chris Isaak (“Wicked Game”)...there’s a locals-only rock-roll show at Belly Up with the Howls, Little Hurricane, and Taming the Fox...and North County pop punks the Getdown play a CD-release at Ruby Room with cute-as-a-button boy-girl band the Bombpops! Exclamation mark theirs.
— Barnaby Monk