72 Hours: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., EMA and more
A look at some of the weekend's top concerts...
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
The Bad Plus @ Catalina Jazz Club. An invigorating piano trio that covers the Pixies as readily as Stravinsky (the composer’s “Rite of Spring” was a recent target), their 2010 album, “Never Stop,” celebrated the group's 10 years together by highlighting its skewed originals. Expect multiple evenings of jaw-dropping technique and telekinetic interplay between pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and Dave King, whose percussive feats of strength and nuance seem to bend time and space. Catalina Jazz Club, 6725 W Sunset Boulevard., Los Angeles. Thursday through Sunday. $20-$30. -- Chris Barton
Damon and Naomi @ the Satellite. The names Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang generally get the rock crit types salivating, but one doesn't need to know that the pair were the rhythm section of dreamy pop act Galaxy 500 to appreciate the sometimes trippy hypnotics of their current outfit. Seventh album "False Beats and True Hearts" is as fine an entry point as any. Take the jazzy orchestrations and piercing guitars that turn "Shadow Boxing" into a spell-binding mix of layers, or the piano, rhythmic patters and mini-orchestra that creates pure electro-pop coziness on "Embers." Each track unfolds as a subtle exploration of all things light. The Satellite, 717 Silverlake Blvd. Saturday. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 at the door. Silver Lake. -- TM
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Photo: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Credit: Jeff Snow