Noise-rock duo Sleigh Bells ring at Block 16 Saturday night.
L.A.'s slo-fi sextet Radar Bros. plug in at Bar Pink Thursday night.
Also on Thursday, art-school hardcore crew Fucked Up takes the Casbah stage.
If life were lived at 33 rpm, Jim Putnam’s music would be universal. His original Radar Bros. were at the forefront of slo-fi, their Singing Hatchet an essential set to get and get. I came to the L.A. outsider group by way of Elliot Smith’s Heatmiser and Dean Wareham’s Galaxie 500, but where Smith and Wareham played citified verse-chorus guitar rock, Putnam lingered on the bridge, describing desert color and texture over whisk-broom beats and fleshy open strums, a confessional (the noun and the adjective) cadence and timbre in his voice. I haven’t followed Putnam through his recent psych-pop and electronic explorations but have seen him onstage enough to know the ham-fisted everyman knows when/where/how his hardtack toast is buttered. This year’s Radars is a bigger band, out to tout the bigger sound found on recent Merge offering Eight. Couldn’t be a more appropriate opening act for the Radars than our own Little White Teeth, whose imagistic slow-folk is filmic, indelible.... At the opposite end of the musical spectrum, Canada band Fucked Up brings its art-school hardcore to Casbah. Their Polaris-prize-winning Chemistry of Common Life put the band on the international map for its palatable punk and universal plaints. This is a rollicking, communal big band that demands audience attention if not participation. Fans of the Jesus Lizard, Les Savvy Fav brand would do well to hump it down to Middletown. SanFran’s excellent one-man power-pop band Tony Molina opens the show.... Honorable mentionable: Soda Bar sets up electronic odd-pop acts Helado Negro, Rafter, and Pal&Drome.
Shakedown stages L.A. punk perennials T.S.O.L. on Friday night.
Old-school punx T.S.O.L. will take down the Shakedown Friday night after our own Marsupials and Uncle Bill get the pit spinning. True Sounds of Liberty’s what it stands for, a punk credo if ever there was for these late-’70s Long Beach originals. The on-again, off-again hardcore quintet has wrapped a 2013 world tour and is back in SoCal for a few dates. On Saturday, they’ll join O.C. stalwarts the Vandals and the Dickies at the Fairplex in Pomona. And a heads up for you Jack Grisham fans, the T.S.O.L. frontman’s memoir, An American Demon, is out in paperback now. Fa-reaky read.... More L.A. heaviosity at the Void, where glamcore quartet the Icarus Line headlines sets by our own noisy boys, Buddy Banter and Prayers. Icarus’ Joey Cardamone and crew are out to tout this summer’s very well received Slave Vows, a retro-ish rocker that has critics pinging between jam and jammy, groove and groovy. It’s rhythmic — tribal, even — but it’s got lots of adventurous guitar skronk. And Cardamone’s anti-melodies haven’t held such import since 2004’s essential Penance Soiree.... Stellar SanFran garage-pop man Kelley Stoltz is down the street at Soda Bar behind his new deal, Double Exposure. Totally digging “Kim Chee Taco Man” as I type. Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer calls Double Exposure “a piece of gold in your ear. This record is perfect.” Okay. With Loons and Schitzophonics up first, the Soda’s sure to fizz.... Best of the rest: L.A. “global bass” DJs Subsuelo spin into Til-Two...English heady-metal band Diamond Head stacks at Brick by Brick...and SoCal hip-hop hit Pac Div’s at Porter’s Pub at UCSD. The trio’s touring in support of its second studio set, GMB. That’s Gabe, Mike, and Brian for you newbs.
SoFlo indie hits Surfer Blood wash up at the Irenic — never mind, no they don’t. I’ll delete what I wrote about them and replace the art while you go refund your tickets.... Next! Brooklyn noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells ring at Block 16 behind Bitter Rivals, their third and least likely to... according to critics. Bitter got Pitch-slapped last week as the girl-boy band’s “growing pains” record. I never got the Bells, I guess, because I like this one best of all. It’s not just bracingly loud, it’s also got songlike songs.... Else: Chica Diabla, Hocus, the Seks, Oddball, and Sculpins fill a fun-punk bill at Til-Two....Bay Park bar the Griffin stages Nashville pop-rock trio — excuse me, “ethereal joy explosions of pop and rock” — Leagues after Palace Ballroom...northa town, Restorations and Weatherbox play the Ché Café. Mr. Good gave you the goods on that gig in this week’s Of Note if you care to flip/click there for more on them...and Swedish psychedelic folkies Junip deliver their s/t critical hit to the Loft at UCSD...and northa northa town, at Ramona Mainstage, radio-ready dance-rock group the Greg Kihn Band — “The Breakup Song” (They don’t write like that anymoooore...) — turn up the classics for the ruralistas.
According to European improv trio Konk Pack’s one-sheet, “a heavy rocking swing echoes out of loose noise conglomerations. Nasty!” Bonnie Wright’s Fresh Sound series serves up the Konks: Tim Hodgkinson (Henry Cow) on table-top guitar and clarinet, Thomas Lehn on synthesizer, and Roger Turner on percussion. They’ll do their impulsive and propulsive thing at the equally inspired Bread & Salt building in Barrio Logan Sunday night.... Lower on the brow? Sure. Eddie Spaghetti’s Supersuckers take the Casbah stage after Hellbound Glory and Neighbors to the North. According to Mr. Spaghetti, the Supersuckers are the “greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the world.” Hm.
Cursive’s Tim Kashner’s at Casbah. He’s got a new solo record called Adult Film, with material that runs the emotional gamut from weepy to creepy. It’s either “manically therapeutic” or “therapeutically manic,” depends who you read... And the Giants are playing the Vikings. It’s just one of those Mondays.
Synth-pop hits Passion Pit play the Open Air on Tuesday.
From Beantown, synth-pop four-piece Passion Pit hits the Open Air Theatre at SDSU. The Berklee College of Music group is touring in support of its new Constant Conversations EP, a re-recording (“Constant Conversations”) and some holdovers from last year’s breakthrough record Gossamer.... Otherwises: from the Estonian underground, chillwave chanteuse Maria Manerva Blesses the Void...House of Blues delivers a “street beat” Phantogram...TJ group Glasmus joins Stripes & Lines and Elephant King to fill an all-local alt-rock bill at the Griffin...and Mad Traffic jams at Casbah with Gayle Skidmore and the Phantoms in support of this year’s Staring at the Sun comp, volume 11.
From Franklin, Tennessee, critical darlings Paramore play the Viejas Arena at SDSU. The emo trio’s new s/t set is a mixed bag, according to Absolute Punk: “The band pursues every genre under the sun... You never know whether a throwback pop hit, a ukulele interlude, or a country jam will appear.” That’s not very emo.... As if anything else even matters: A.F.I., the white-glove guys, will be at House of Blues with Touché Amoré...L.A. singer/songer (“for anyone who has ever been shot or hit by a train”) Hanni El Khalib plays Casbah with garage-rock duo Bass Drum of Death...and, from Hollyweird, “horror psycho-rockabilly” band Cold Blue Rebels hit Brick by Brick with Mortified Mortician. Out.
— Barnaby Monk