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

May 13, 2011 |  1:31 pm

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


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

The Kills @ The Music Box at the Henry Fonda. In the wake of collaborating with Jack White with the band Dead Weather, Alison Mosshart returns to her day job with Jamie Hince to further mine the gritty and noirish seam of blues-adjacent rock on the new album "Blood Pressures." The Music Box at the Henry Fonda, 6126 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, The Music Box at the Henry Fonda, Friday. Tickets were $25, not including surcharges, but the show is sold-out and those who want to go will have to hunt them down on Craigslist. But our tip: The Music Box borders the Blue Palms Brewhouse, and the bar has started rolling out rare California beers in anticipation of Craft Beer Week, which officially beings May 16. Head to Hollywood and look for a ticket, and have some of the finest beers around if you fail. -- CB

The Black Angeles & Sleepy Sun @ the El Rey. A double bill of psychadelics, each from drastically different perspectives. The Black Angeles layer on the guitars and find the hypnotics in loudness. It's retro, old-fashioned and sludgy, and while one can't hear a vinyl hiss, the layers of reverb more than make up for it. Meanwhile, the Bay Area's Sleepy Sun align more closely with the metal world, yet also has a foot in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury scene of yore. On the downside, vocalist Rachel Williams, who sang as if she could have easily be fronting a soul band, has left Sleepy Sun. El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los AngelesSunday. Tickets are $20, not including surcharges. -- TM

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Photo: Man Man. Credit: Mike Persico / Anti- Records