“Well, it’s hard to get too bored when you pick the right two chords.” There’s the rub. Anti-folkie/cartoonist Jeffrey Lewis has a knack for the two-chord attack; like early Mountain Goats or Jonathan Richman, the songsmith keeps you hooked on the words. Lewis put a peach together with 2009’s Rough Trade disc ’Em Are I, a generous collection of nu-grass and acousti-punk that had indie critics lauding the folk-poet’s often-hilarious existential riffing. Check out “Whistle Past the Graveyard”: Lewis and his Junkyard will hit up M-Theory Records in Mission Hills today and Soda Bar tonight. That multitalented multi-instrumentalist from Texas, Daniel Hart, will open the Soda show.... ’Round the bend at Bar Pink, Scott Kelly of Neurosis joins Jay Munly of Slim Cessna’s and country-punk Bob Wayne (Outlaw Carnies) for a triple bill of solo-rolling front guys (little extra holiday cash)... Tennis, anyone? The Denver indie-pop duo plays Casbah in advance of Fat Possum disc Young & Old, the anticipated follow-up to last year’s crit-hit Cape Dory. Flip or click to Will Crain’s “Of Note” for the of notables on this show.
Seattle act the Cave Singers signed to Jagjaguwar for the release of this year’s No Witch, a gritty, psych-folk follow-up to their roots-rock essential (imho) Welcome Joy. The Cave Singers live evoke their backwoods bent, conjuring a tribal vibe that’s pretty, chilling. They’ll play Casbah with Nor’west tourmates, the like-minded Portlandians Builders and the Butchers, who will bring Dead Reckoning to the Middletown mainstay....
Jamaican dubmeister Lee “Scratch” Perry’s down at 4th&B. At 75 years young, “the Upsetter” has just dropped his zillionth disc, Rise Again, a retro-reggae set mixed and produced by Bill Laswell (Herbie Hancock, Iggy Pop) and featuring vocals by TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, Ethiopian chanteuse (and Laswell’s wife) Gigi Shibabaw, and Jamaican toaster Hawk(man).... Else: from Venice Beach, Russian-American rockabilly band the Red Elvises will stack ’em at Brick by Brick with Los Seafinks, the Gore Horsemen, and Shark Blood...Santa Cruz horror show Stellar Corpses bring their “December to Dismember” tour to Eleven...L.A. glam-punk perennials Prima Donna and Billy Bones will be out at Tower Bar with our own throwback punks the Last Years...and garage-pop trio the Mashtis will play a record-release thing — seven inches of vinyl called “A Canopy of Sundays” — at Whistle Stop.
Brick by Brick books well-aged Fullerton punks the Adolescents (b. 1979) with Youth Brigade and Johnny Castle. The Ads dropped Fastest Kid Alive this year, a moshpit of skate-punk politiking that took the touring machine three years to complete. (It’s their fifth full-length in 35(!) years)....
Tons of good junk Saturday night, so real quik: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Ha Ha Tonka, and the Lanterns fill an indie-pop bill at Soda Bar...Tower Bar has psych-pop sets by Short Eyes, Heavy Guilt, and Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel...Joey Harris and the Mentals bring their brand of barroom rock (drunk, deranged, or both — you tell me) to Eleven. Nena Anderson and the Mules and the Cutaways are also on that bill...Tin Can Ale House will hang the banner for Bad Andy’s birthday, with live ponk muzak by Christmas Island, the Plateaus, and acourse Bad Andy’s “dinnercore” band Bad Dad...Martha Davis and ’80s radio staples the Motels check into 4th&B...and up northways, the cult of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood plays Belly Up (he’s the beardo in Black Crowes)...while party punx the Taxpayers play Ché Café with high-speed skankers Grim Luck and a whole bunch more bands in a benefit for the campus collective.
Grammy winner Lenny Kravitz released his ninth studio set this year, Black and White America, to pretty positive reviews. Critics dig the looker’s retro “funk-rock” thing. I did, too. The consummate showman will take the stage at a p-p-p-packed House of Blues Sunday night....
Meanwhilst, uptown, Soda Bar sets up up-and-coming indie-rock band Races (racesband.tumblr.com/) from San Fernando...and North Park’s Skavolutionary Orchestra spills into Bar Pink.
From Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, punk-rawk quartet White Wives will take the stage at Soda Bar Monday night. The Wives are ex–Anti-Flag, –Dandelion Snow, and –American Armada and they have a newish disc called Happeners that rocks nothing like their former projects; i.e., it’s lyrical and melodic as well as rocking. Koji and Children of Nova go first.... Next exit down the 805, L.A. pop-punkers Fiction Reform play Tower Bar behind this year’s Revelation in the Palms of the Weak, which, according to their press, nods to Bad Religion, Rise Against, and the Distillers. Long Beach ska-punks Break the Cycle split the bill.
All I really need to know I learned from Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life. Not really. Fun read, tho, for fans of the brand. My favorite sections are on my hometown bands — Pixies, Mission of Burma, and Dinosaur Jr.
Azerrad made short work of the disconnect among the Dinosaurs while laying down alt-rock essential Bug (“Freak Scene,” “Yeah We Know”), and he draws a psych-major’s storyline through the songs: “The weirdness flows between us.” On “Don’t,” Lou Barlow screams, “Why, why don’t you like me?” for five minutes straight. J. Mascis admits in Our Band that it was “kind of twisted...demented” to make Barlow do that. “Barlow sang the song with such violence that he began coughing up blood afterward.” So, stand back a bit when Dinosaur Jr. dissects Bug on the Solana Beach stage. The band’ll be interviewed afterward by Henry Rollins, which oughta be a hoot. Portland garage-rock trio Pierced Arrows opens the show.
“Cosmic American” musician Rick Barton’s (Dropkick Murphys) new band, Continental, rolls into the Shakedown on humpnight. Their notable debut, Death of a Garage Band, is out now via Old Shoe Records. With like-minded locals Rat City Riot and the Getdown, this one’s a rock-roll hatrick.... Best of the rest: there’s gonna be an Occupy San Diego benefit at Ruby Room, which features well-traveled pop-rock outfit Liquid Blue...and Ray and Roy, the Manzarek-Rogers Band, play Belly Up behind their first collaboration, Translucent Blues — “Slide guitarist Rogers’s slippery grit cuts through Manzarek’s indelible bell-toned keyboard like tequila through lime, and the result is just as intoxicating.”
— Barnaby Monk