72 Hours: The Autumn Defense, forgetters and more lead this weekend's gig lineup
Pop & Hiss points you to the best shows of the weekend. Attend at your own risk. Pop & Hiss is not responsible for a bad time, lost shoes, a stolen wallet and/or any fights with your significant other.
War Tapes @ Silver Lake Lounge. Yes, the recooked Afternoons (Shadow Shadow Shade) kick off their residency tonight at the Satellite, but one will have a few more weeks to see them, and they're not the only locals who have retooled a bit. Written off by many as purveyors of the post-Joy Division gloom-and-doom rock that was so recently in vogue, War Tapes have gotten a little softer, a little sunnier and a little more dreamy. They're starting to sound like a band less interested in conquering KROQ than just having fun. Silver Lake Lounge, 2906 W. Sunset Blvd. Admission is $8.
MEN @ Fingerprints. Late notice, but here's a chance to catch the disco-pop creation from Le Tigre’s JD Samson in a more stripped-down setting. For those who missed the act Wednesday night, a trip to Fingerprints' new digs may be worth the drive, as MEN are the rare crew that can bring politics to the dance floor. Pop & Hiss has had extensive coverage of MEN thus far. Here's a review, and a short feature. Fingerprints, 1420 E. 4th St. Long Beach. The free in-store is expected to start around 7 p.m.
George Herms: 'The Artist's Life' @ REDCAT. An influential California sculptor steeped in the spirit of Beat poetry, Herms will fuse his found object-oriented art with the free-wheeling sound of the Bobby Bradford Mo'tet and other jazz heavyweights for "The Artist's Life." A category-defying autobiographical piece billed as a "free-jazz opera," the evening's mix of percussive exploration on Herms' unique sculptures along with a live, improvised jazz score should further illuminate the artist's vivid body of work. REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles. 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, $20 ($25 for Saturday).
forgetters @ the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts. Aging emo fans of Los Angeles take note, you want to be at this show. Led by Blake Schwarzenbach, he of Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil fame, not to mention the object of lust among every geeky music-nerd girl throughout the late '80s and early '90s, is back for a rare West Coast date with his latest outfit, forgetters. Yes, he prefers the lower-case 'f,' but whatever, this is sturdy, literate and unfussy punk rock. From the YouTube videos, it seems forgetters lean more political, but Schwarzenbach has always been able to tackle bad relationships and bad government with equal aplomb. The Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd. Tickets are $10. forgetters also play Saturday at the Echo.
Tennis @ the Echoplex. Buzzy band beloved by the bearded folk, and is being included here to warn all the lovely Pop & Hiss readers to approach with skepticism. The Denver husband and wife duo go all low-fi and loungy, but adding some static over a weakly defined melody line does not magic make. Indeed, the effect is more lovey-dovey and amateur, and this writer can't stomach such stuff this close to Valentine's Day. Here on the West Coast, Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls wear vintage with far more style. The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd. Advance tickets are sold out, but try your luck at the door.
The Autumn Defense @ the Troubadour. Though Wilco's 2007 effort "Sky Blue Sky" was received positively by critics, it's not championed among Wilco-philes in the same heavenly manner as is "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" or "Summerteeth." But over time, the subtle beauties of "Sky Blue Sky" hold up better than could have been anticipated, and with the Autumn Defense, Wilco members John Stirratt and Pat Samsone traffic in a similar brand of '70s soft-rock lushness. There's no Nels Cline to knife a guitar through the balminess (although fingers are crossed that Cline, who plays earlier in the night elsewhere, will make an appearance), but the harmonies and tone shifts of songs such as "Tell Me What You Want" work just fine without the experimentation of Stirratt's and Sansone's day jobs. The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Tickets are $12, not including surcharges.
Religious Girls @ the Smell. It's weird, it's more pretty than annoying and the Bay Area three-piece will make good use of the Smell's stage. There don't appear to be any lyrics in the repertoire of the Religious Girls, but the wordless harmonizing acts as an instrument and an anchor. Rhythms sound lost at sea, and keyboards sound as if they're sending coded messages to outer space. The Smell, 247 S. Main St. Admission is $5.
Cat Power @ the Music Box. The show is sold out, and exactly what Chan Marshall will be performing remains something of a mystery. There is a new album in the works, and expect to hear some of it on Sunday, although earlier reports from Marshall's tour mention a lot of jamming. If the new set makes it out in 2011, word is it won't hit stores until the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, Marshall has quietly relocated to Los Angeles, and her soft, increasingly gospel- and blues-tinged songs will no doubt receive the proper warm welcome they deserve. On the secondary market, tickets can be had for about $60. The Music Box, 6126 Hollywood Blvd.
-- Todd Martens with a jazz assist from Chris Barton
Photo of the Autumn Defense courtesy of the Autumn Defense