72 Hours: New Year's weekend edition
The should-be-weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts.
• Matthew Sweet @ the Echoplex. Long an unashamed devotee of pure power pop buoyed by winning harmonies and gluey hooks, Sweet celebrates the 20th anniversary of his landmark album "Girlfriend" with a full-length performance. Once that drum solo kicks in during Sweet's addictive title track, there will be little doubt that this was an album worth celebrating. Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets are $20, not including surcharges. — Chris Barton
• Kreayshawn @ The Observatory. Her Internet-driven hit "Gucci Gucci" seemed to generate as many music journalism "think pieces" as it did YouTube views (a young white girl rapping about identity-via-branding is like catnip in rock critic circles). Yet with her major label debut for Columbia on the horizon, it remains to be seen whether the playfully sarcastic, tech-savy youngster has a career or a novelty hit. Get a hint here. The Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana. Fri. Tickets are $22.50, not including surcharges. — Todd Martens
• Best Coast & Wanda Jackson @ Club Nokia. An inspired bill dedicated to a pair of artists focused on timeless rock 'n' roll songcraft. Wanda Jackson is a legend and has been a pioneer when it comes to bringing country, the blues and a snarl into the modern rock 'n' roll era. Locals Best Coast carry far less fire, putting the emphasis on youthful longing rather than a stray-cat strut, but Bethany Cosentino has a knack for hook, presenting a fuzzed-up take on early Cali surf rock and '60s garage pop. Club Nokia, 800 W. Olympic Blvd. Tickets range from $28.50-$45. — TM
• The Cults with Jenny & Johnny @ the Standard, West Hollywood. A more stylish combo than the rock 'n' roll roughness posted just above. Jenny Lewis' indie-pop project with beau Johnathan Rice doesn't pack as many left turns and vocal workouts as her solo efforts, but it's crisp, clean and loaded with snappier melodies than her work with Rilo Kiley. It can also be devilishly sharp. Take "Big Wave," an exuberant rush of call-and-response harmonies and brisk riffs. The Cults take their inspiration from '60s girl groups and '70s soul, and leave enough space for the occasional guitar wave to break up the preciousness. The Standard Hotel, 8300 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Tickets range from $75-$125, not including surcharges. — TM
• Lupe Fiasco @ the Hollywood/Highland Center. Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco has practically dedicated an album's worth of material in protest of gluttony, glitz and debauchery — in essence, all the elements that will likely fuel this New Year's Eve celebration in Hollywood. His 2011 effort, "Lasers," was slightly overlooked when it came to year-end accolades, because it was a mix of hip-hop activism and trendy production. With appearances also slated by pop-rock throwaways Cobra Starship and "TV personality" Mario Lopez as well as "aerial artists" (oooooh!), here's hoping Lupe plays it tough and breaks out his rock-infused attack on corporate cool that is "State Run Radio." The Hollywood & Center, 6801 Hollywood Blvd. Tickets range from $75 to $3,500, not including surcharges. — T
• For more New Year's Eve musical offerings, including info on the Together as One 2012 event and Pink Martini, come hither.
Image: Wanda Jackson with her band at the 2011 Stagecoach Festival. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.