72 Hours: High Places, Still Corners among weekend's top gigs
The weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts.
• High Places @ the Smell. Since relocating to L.A. from Brooklyn a few years back, the duo of Rob Barber and Mary Pearson have remained relatively anonymous on the local scene. Their third album, "Original Colors" should raise the pair's profile. Released on Chicago's Thrill Jockey, this is electro art-rock that transcends the hotel lobby feel of much of the genre. Credit animated, tech-savvy beats and ghostly vocals that layer the digital landscapes with unexpected counter-melodies, be it the ping-pong atmospheres of "Morning Ritual" or the trippy, drifting out of orbit feel of "Sophia." The Smell, 247 S. Main Street. Admission is $8.
• Still Corners @ the Bootleg Theater. This London-based act has a piece of noir magic in "I Wrote in Blood." Vocalist Tessa Murray, who sings at a volume just above a whisper, seems to sashay over the twisted synths and tick-tocking hypnotism of the guitar like an alley-cat circling its prey. This is post-sundown mood music, and it stalks the line between seduction and terror. At 10 songs and 32 minutes, Still Corners' Sub Pop debut “Creatures of an Hour” leaves the listener wanting more, its layers of warmly Gothic atmospheres touching on Girl Group classicism and making like a less-aggressive Electrelane. Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles. Tickets are $10 in advance, not including surcharges.
• Earl Scruggs @ Royce Hall. The Jimi Hendrix of the banjo, Earl Scruggs pioneered a three-fingered picking style that continues to define the sound of bluegrass. Heard on the landmark recording "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" along with a slew of recordings that include the infectious "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," Scruggs is a uniquely American musical treasure. Also not to be missed is local band Merle Jagger, who deliver high-octane twang instrumentals certain to open the night on a raucous note. UCLA Live at Royce Hall, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. Tickets range from $20 to $75.
• Slow Club @ the Echo. Delightfully upbeat and modernly old-fashioned, British duo Slow Club are a scruffy, rootsy good time. Be it the sing-along blast of "Giving Up on Love," with its Motown groove and shout-along vocals, or the mangly rhythm and triumphant melody of "If We're Still Alive," Slow Club ache with snappy melodies that sound like long-lost '50s pop nuggets. New album "Paradise" packs in a few more ballads, but every good party needs a couple slow-dances. The Echo, 1822 W. Sunset Blvd. Tickets are $10 at the door.
-- Todd Martens & Chris Barton
Photo: High Places. Credit: Thrill Jockey Records