Silver Lake Jubilee: Five artists to see at the weekend rock fest
If there's one thing that this year's Silver Lake Jubilee music lineup proves, it's that gravitational forces can work in mysterious ways. The pulling-together of bands from all corners of L.A. has resulted in a variety of indie acts that, like the local music scene, is tough to categorize. Among the lineup of 50-plus bands (not to mention the hordes of poets and visual artists) are a few particularly notable acts that stretch the boundaries of genre and approach. Most are acts that can be found sweating inside venues across L.A. on any given night, but this weekend offers an opportunity to check them out in the open air.
Doused in a coat of Technicolor vibrancy, Rainbow Arabia uses their drum pads and saw-toothed synths to plug into a world of far-away psychedelic sounds from all corners of the globe. Their journey into bandhood, reported in a recent March article, has resulted in a spot on the roster of German dance label Kompakt -- although the beat-driven live show of this husband-and-wife duo would rather have its audience dance like hip-shaking revelers in a balmy Turkish discotheque. Rainbow Arabia takes the Santa Monica stage at the Jubilee at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, and will no doubt showcase the electropop mosaic they fashioned on latest album "Boys and Diamonds."
Releasing a smoldering brand of Latin pop from left field, Ximena Sarinaña is one of those artists in the Jubilee lineup that represents not only a crossover in genres at the festival but in overall artistic approach. Diminutive but powerful, the vocals of this Grammy- and Latin Grammy-nominated artist have lent themselves to a variety of interesting projects -- including her run as the vocalist for the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group in 2009 -- that have created a swell of praise for the 25-year-old songstress. Sarinaña performs in anticipation of the summer release of her self-titled sophomore album -- her first in English.
Long Beach-bred Crystal Antlers harness a distorted, melodic thrash madness that house parties can no longer contain. It's been two years since their debut album, "Tentacles," became the last battle cry of Touch and Go Records before its massive downsizing. In that time, the band has distilled the dissonant angst of songs such as "A Thousand Eyes" into something slightly more ethereal. On the cusp of their latest album, "Two-Way Mirror," out July 12, this will be one of their last big chances to tease out their newest batch of frenzied psychedelics. Catch them on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Santa Monica stage.
The baroque-flavored garage pop of Jail Weddings isn't something you can just casually walk past on a busy festival ground. Besides their sheer numbers, this band of L.A.-based musicians make up one of the regions more theatrical vintage outfits. Old-time R&B basement jams coalesce with Vegas showmanship, punk fervor and saccharine female vocals. Fronted by Gabriel Hart (formerly of defunct L.A. noir punk act the Starvations), the rowdy 10-piece is often described as Nick Cave fronting the Shangri-Las. Whatever comparisons you'd like to draw, this is one band that shamelessly prides itself on creating a beer-soaked doo-wop ruckus. See them Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the Santa Monica stage.
Although there are plenty of costume-wearing family-sized bands vying for your attention at the Jubilee, there's something to be said for a solid three-piece that can whip up the same whirlwind of bodies and sweat with their surf-inspired Americana sound. Formed in 2008, Slang Chickens' knack for synthesizing influences such as X, Neil Young and the Gun Club through a mix of electric guitar, banjo and lapsteel earned them slots at well-lauded local gigs and a tour through Austin this year at South by Southwest. Recently, the band's intense backwoods whirlwind was co-signed by seminal rock-a-billy hybrid the Knitters, who shared the stage with them at the Autry on May 12. On Sunday, Slang Chickens translate packed shows at haunts such as the Smell into a festival set at the Santa Monica stage at 3:50 p.m.
-- Nate Jackson