Category: 72 Hours

72 Hours: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., EMA and more

A look at some of the weekend's top concerts...

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. & EMA @ the Echo.
Excuse, if ye will, the absurdity of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.'s name. At one of the band's evening performances at this year's South by Southwest conference and festival in Austin, Texas, potential fans stood in line wondering whether they were about to catch an appearance by the son of the famed race car driver. They weren't, of course, and a song or two into the set, one will soon forget the silly name. The trio's genre-mixing sound is rooted in multi-part harmonies, and it melds a rootsy backdrop with the occasional downbeat hip-hop exploration. Sound experiments are explored, such as singing into a telephone handset that's strapped to a microphone, but they're all used to add to the dusty atmospheres. 

And stay for EMA. The latest project from avant-garde artist Erika Anderson takes a conventional song-based structure and then adds and strips away with a multitude of sounds -- a scraping fiddle, background tape hiss, sharp and minimalist guitar strikes, and a sampling of electronics. Songs may start low-key, but just when one thinks Anderson is going soft, momentum builds into a more rapacious release. Los Angeles music fans may be familiar with Anderson. Her first band, Gowns, did some time in the Southland, and Anderson has performed with the long-running experimental outfit Amps for Christ. The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, Friday. Tickets are $10 in advance  and $12 at the door. -- Todd Martens

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72 Hours: Joan as Police Woman, Lupe Fiasco, My Chemical Romance and more

A look at some of the weekend's top concerts...

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Joan as Police Woman @ The Bootleg. Joan Wasser's third album under the Police Woman moniker hasn't been met with the open-armed underground reception as her prior two efforts, but the classically trained musician, who has gradually been drifting deeper into the world of soul and R&B, has too civilized a sound to not warrant attention. She's caught somewhere between joy and sorrow on "The Deep Field," and while she does sultry ("Chemmie") less well than desperation ("Nervous"), this is an album about stretching out (the guitar is much more prominent) and taking a breather from her more laid-back sadness. Friday at The Bootleg Theatre, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Los AngelesTickets are $12.  -- Todd Martens

Red Pony Clock @ the Smell. How, exactly, this San Diego artsy-pop collective has graduated beyond SoCal house parties is a bit of a mystery, but just be glad Red Pony Clock is finding its deserved audience. Largely the brainchild of the bearded and round Gabe Saucedo, this loosely knit string of instrument-swapping musicians (think horns, accordions, banjos, whatever toy will fit on the tour bus) write the kind of bouncy indie-pop that could soundtrack a cool kid's quinceanera. It's silly, mariachi-inspired rock 'n' roll, at least sometimes. There's a good chance Red Pony Clock aren't exactly sure where things will end up. Friday at The Smell, 247 S. Main St., Los Angeles. Admission is $5. -- TM

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72 Hours: Joan of Arc strip out the oddness and Man Man make the experimental focused

A look at some of the weekend's top concerts...

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Man Man @ the El Rey
. A curious yet curiously irresistible mix of Tom Waits' carnival barker blues and the lushly twisted pop of late-period Mr. Bungle, this Philadelphia band specializes in unleashing a wildly creative mania in concert. The group's latest album, "Life Fantastic," may be its most focused yet, with a mix of surreal lyrics, clattering percussion and surprisingly sharp melodies. El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los AngelesFriday. Tickets are $17.50, not including surcharges and are still available via Ticketmaster at the time of writing. -- Chris Barton

Joan of Arc @ the Smell. Chicago's long-runnging art-rock project from Tim Kinsella -- a name that will mean the world to those who have at least three emo albums in their collection -- is well entrenched in the world of unpredictability. Loose song structures, some of which build to the shaky, full-scream vocals of Kinsella's Cap'n Jazz, and many others of which rely on samples, loops and jazz-like improvisation, have flirted with the more melodic of late.

Released in 2008, "Boo! Human" is intricate and made by a rotating cast, but songs are fleshed-out with unexpected harmonies and softer tones to balance the angular guitars. Released just this week, "Life Like" is Joan of Arc at its most stripped down. The album was recorded as a four-piece, and songs were written on the road. If not a straightforward rock record, it's one that captures experimental arrangements before all the tinkering has set in. The Smell, 247 S. Main St., Los Angeles, Saturday. Admission is $8. -- Todd Martens

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72 Hours: Ezra Furman and the art of crabbiness, Dessa, Fleet Foxes and more

A look at some of the weekend's top concerts, starting TONIGHT. 

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Ezra Furman & the Harpoons @ the Satellite.
There's a glorious moment of pure frustration near the end of "Mysterious Power," the latest from Ezra Furman & the Harpoons. "Too Strung Out" is less than two minutes, and it's faster and cruder than much of the album, but it's the feeling of annoyance at its most distilled. "I'm not like the guy you see in most bands," Furman wails over an outburst of scrappy, punk rock guitars, and then declares he doesn't want any fans, he doesn't want a girlfriend, he doesn't want to bother looking pretty and he is just plain "done." Consider it crabbiness for the sake of crabbiness, but there's plenty more colorful sides to Furman's personality. Throughout "Mysterious Power," one will find vampires in love, magical flowers and false threats of self-destructing. Arrangements are bright, the hooks are a-plenty and Furman is comfortable as a balladeer, a bluesman and a rioter. The Satellite, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles. Friday. $10. -- Todd Martens

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72 Hours: Sean Rowe's stark storytelling, Beaches bring the noise and more

A look at some of the weekend's top concerts, with one Thursday night gig added as well (96 hours?).

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Don't be fooled by the quiet nature of Sean Rowe's music. These are songs that are unexpectedly disarming. First, Rowe's baritone commands attention -- a deep, lived-in, worn-out and seen-it-all voice, one belonging to a barroom storyteller with a slyly understated grasp of melodic twists and turns. Then, his lyrics don't leave much room for a listener to turn away.

The bluesy highway haunt of "Jonathan" makes for a gripping landscape, and the memoir -- seemingly from the point of view of the victim of a tragic car wreck -- is full of tension. Details come quick, a curdling snapshot of the visions that make a lasting impression. "Remember Megan with her makeup off," Rowe sings, a moment of nostalgia amid the wreckage.

"That story was a lot longer than the final product," Rowe said. "It’s a real challenge to edit without losing the original intent in the songs, and that was really tough to record. I still don’t feel like it’s totally right. I don’t like to go into details on it, but that song was based on a true story. It was a car accident, and the people involved were people I was close to, and the song is taken from different perspectives."

Rowe's debut, released earlier this year on local indie Anti-, was recorded back in 2009. But Rowe wasn't necessarily an easy artist for a label to track down, living in upstate New York and scraping a living by playing to disinterested crowds and foraging for food in the wilderness. When Rowe appears at the Bootleg Theater on Friday night, opening for the folksy Olin & the Moon, it will be a long way removed from his marathon sets loaded with soul and R&B covers. 

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72 Hours: Le Butcherettes and Devotchka among the weekend's top gigs

72 Hours apologizes for missing its deadline.

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Friday

Medeski Martin and Wood @ the El Rey. Now heading into their 20th year, the category-busting jazz trio of keyboardist John Medeski, drummer Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood show no sign of slowing down. After experimenting with the recording process with the self-released, three-album "Radiolarians" set, which was workshopped on tour, the band has cooked up 20 new tracks to be released digitally at the end of the month. Whatever those tracks have in store, expect them (and this show) to be filled with high-flying improvisations, head-bobbing jazz and something completely their own that's only grown sharper two decades in. El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd. Tickets are $28, not including surcharges. -- Chris Barton

Marshall Crenshaw @ McCabes. Crenshaw has two gigs Friday, but tickets remain only for the 10 p.m. show, and late planners now have their date. Quietly, for more than 25 years Crenshaw has become a more than reliable source for sturdy and dependable Midwestern power pop. His more recent work may strike a quieter tone than his lush and excitable rock of the '80s, but Crenshaw's words have always been built for introspecton. McCabes, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Tickets are $25. -- Todd Martens

Mike Watt and Le Butcherettes @ the Echo. It might be blasmphemous in this town to write about the support act rather than garage rock legend Mike Watt, but let's face it: Watt's a regular, and we are, to be sure, lucky to have him. But perhaps just as exciting is the opportunity to catch Mexican punk rockers Le Butcherettes before everyone falls in love with the act at the South by Southwest conference and festival in Austin, Texas, next week. There's some performance art in a Le Butcherettes gig, but leader Teri Gender Bender doesn't need many, if any, adornments. She has a striking snarl, one that lashes its way around the rhythm like a whip in "Dress Off" and one that reaches spine-wringing heights in "Bang." Don't be alarmed Americans, it's only U.S. foreign policy she's giving a lashing when she shouts, "You love me / You love me / And now you want to kill me." The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd. Tickets are $12 at the door. -- TM 

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72 Hours: Wild Nothing, Broken Records, Diamond Rings among the weekend's top gigs

A weekly Pop & Hiss look at some of the weekend's top shows. Many are already sold out, such as the Baths gig at the Troubadour, as well some of the gigs in this post. But good stuff can still be found.  

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Friday

Wild Nothing, Abe Vigoda @ the Natural History Museum. The solo project of East Coaster Jack Tatum, Wild Nothing is all fuzz-laden familiarity -- a retro, '80s-focused synthy-guitar sound that's been just a little too in vogue of late. But that's not Tatum's fault, and his wearily distressed vocals are neatly buried under keyboard atmospheres, new-wave bass lines and dainty hooks. Backed with a live band, hopefully the pretty bedroom melodies of Wild Nothing get a little scratched up. With local garage rockers Abe Vigoda. Natural History Museum, 800 Exposition Blvd. The event is sold out online, but the museum reserves a limited number of tickets for door sales. Tickets range from $2 to $70. Doors open at 4 p.m. -- Todd Martens

Trey Anastasio @ the Music Box. However you may feel about all the baggage that comes with the average Phish concert (patchouli oil, parking lot-forged veggie wraps, endless soloing), there's no denying the group are virtuoso musicians. Performing at least partially removed from the trappings of his band's marathon outdoor shows, guitarist Trey Anastasio will flex his upbeat songwriting and mind-scrambling musicianship both on his own and with his brassy side project TAB, touching on a mix of acoustic and electric blues, funk and world music. Jerry would be proud. Music Box, 6126 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, Fri. 8 p.m. The show is sold out, and tickets on the secondary market are topping $200. -- Chris Barton

The Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour @ The Satellite. A much-cherished label throughout the '90s, the Elephant 6 brand briefly became synonymous with indie-pop. Be it the sugar-rush perfection of the Apples in Stereo or the odd, "Pet Sounds"-inspired world of Neutral Milk Hotel, the best of the Elephant 6 acts had as much love for melody as they did songcraft and experimentation. There's plenty more bands to discuss, and if advance tickets weren't sold out, this write-up would be longer. Those willing to line up and hope for the best probably already know that a dozen Elephant 6 vets have about 50 songs from the label's history at the ready, as well a game that involves a 12-foot snowman. Satellite, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd. Advance tickets are sold out. Tickets at the door will cost $14. -- TM

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72 Hours: Local Natives, Death among the weekend's top gigs

A weekly Pop & Hiss look at some of the weekend's top shows, which is a little rock-heavy this week. If you prefer something a bit more dancey, we also have you covered. 

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Friday

Sic Alps @ the Smell. San Francisco's Sic Alps can sound a little chintzy. Haphazard and washed out, the Sic Alps key into the long-standing garage rock tradition of blown-out instrumentation and washed-out vocals. Song titles such as "Wasted at Church" don't leave much to the imagination, but while the Sic Alps can be rough around the edges, these Bay Area boys are harmless. This is rudimentary rock 'n' roll at its most downbeat, where the instrumental hiss obscures, but rarely roars. It's loudness with a frown. The Smell, 247 S. Main St. Admission is $5. -- Todd Martens

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72 Hours: Ted Leo, Gang of Four, Admiral Radley lead this weekend's show lineup

A weekly(-ish) look at some of this weekend's top gigs around Los Angeles.

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Friday

Twin @ the Smell. A quiet headliner at downtown's Smell, but one still worth a look. Hailing from Winnipeg, Canada, and largely the moniker of David Fort, who also plays with Canadian group Absent Sound, Twin's folk is full of hurried acoustic guitar lines and spooky backing harmonies that conjure lonely nights in mountainous lands and a life of hard living. Yet Fort takes a matter-of-fact approach toward tragedy, urging listeners -- and the objects of his affection -- not to do the same. The Smell, 247 S. Main St. Admission is $5. -- Todd Martens

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72 Hours: As the Arcade Fire keep fans guessing, a look at the weekend's top gigs

A quick look at some of the weekend's best shows -- no Grammy parties included. 

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Friday

The Arcade Fire @ ???????. Any Arcade Fire show would be in high demand, but a surprise gig at a small(-ish) venue raises the stakes. Also, there's no telling when exactly the band will be back in Los Angeles, as its next gig in the area will be headlining the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which has already sold out (a late summer/early fall date at the Hollywood Bowl should be considered something of a high possibility at this point). So this is what we know: The gig is Friday night, tickets will go on sale Friday at noon at three separate locations, and the venue is said to be on the intimate side without a proper bar. Our guesses? Downtown's Palace or Los Angeles theaters, or the Hollywood American Legion Hall, but those are just guesses. The show is being promoted by FYF Fest, and monitor these Twitter accounts for tickets. Two ticket max, and to eliminate scalping, you will have to give the name of those attending at the point of purchase. Just plan to not get in. -- Todd Martens

The Smith Westerns @ the Echo. Here's what a little hype does: The Smith Westerns' $10 gig at the Echo has long been sold out, and is going for around $40 on the secondary markets. Yet in this case it's deserved, and perhaps even a little puzzling why the act wasn't booked at a slightly bigger venue. Nevertheless, the Chicago quartet's second album -- and first for Fat Possum -- is a girl-obsessed 10-track effort of symphonic pop tragedies. With harmonies to swoon over, classic rock guitar work, heavily layered arrangements and soft vocals that fall somewhere between heartache and yearning, the Smith Westerns key into  timeless power-pop traditions. For displaced Chicagoans who miss the best work of Material Issue and the Smoking Popes, the Smith Westerns are something of a dream come true. The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets are $10, but the show is sold out. --TM

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