LAWeekly — May 31, 2012
Change Language:
Music
Michael Wilton

VAN HALEN’S BABYSITTER

The band’s record label assigned Ted Cohen to go on tour with them in their glory years. Here’s what he saw

On the first night of Van Halen’s 1978 world tour, in Madison, Wis., the band burst into the hotel room of their artist development director, Ted Cohen, and threw all of the furniture out of the window. This was madness, for sure, but a calculated madness. When Cohen — the man sent by the record label to keep them on time and on task — confronted them about the incident, they said they’d read about Led Zeppelin and The Who doing the same thing. Thus, for years to come they left a trail of broken tables, shattered mirrors and stained carpeting in their wake, not to mention fire alarms set off in the middle of the night. The strange thing was the group always took responsibility; in fact, they would budget cash to pay for their hijinks.

That infamous night in Madison began Cohen’s trial by fire with the Southern California hard-rock legends, who went on to pioneer a stadium sound that would help them sell tens of millions of records. Van Halen were equally known for their bad-boy personas, not to mention wardrobes that spawned a whole new generation of hair metalers in Spandex.

Of course, Cohen was no stranger to rockstar behavior. In his role at Warner Music, he’d shared private jets with Fleetwood Mac, received home visits from Prince and witnessed firsthand the Sex Pistols’ breakup.

With Van Halen, he spent huge chunks of time with them during their late-’70s and early-’80s glory years, in tour buses, hotel rooms, radio station green rooms and backstage, where he was given the duty of distributing backstage passes to the cutest girls in the audience. “Sixty or 70 of them would show up backstage,” Cohen says, “and then there was the usual casting call.”

If this sounds sleazy, it was; the band members would determine a dozen or so of this group worthy of the “semi-finals” (Cohen’s words), at which point about half would be invited back to the hotel to party. Next, “the portable bar was rolled in, and an all-nighter took place,” he says.

It’s fair to say Cohen was unprepared for this seemingly nonstop bacchanal. Originally from Cleveland, he preferred a casual uniform of jeans and T-shirts and, rather than feathered bangs, sported short hair and a mustache. These days Cohen lives in the Hollywood Hills, and on the occasion of the band’s latest tour — which hits Staples Center on June 1 and June 9 — and comeback album, A Diff erent Kind of Truth, he reminisced about his time with the act in the bad old days, at the height of their fame and decadence.

“I was there to keep the lightning in the bottle and make sure they kept their heads on straight,” he explains. “Control was elusive, but staying on schedule and on target was mandatory.” The band managed to stay focused due to their first-rate work ethic, he adds, but their disparate personalities would eventually rip them apart.

In 1972 brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen enlisted charismatic frontman David Lee Roth and drummer Michael Anthony to round out their group. Cohen first saw them perform at a rehearsal for Warner Music executives at Whisky a Go Go in early 1978. He immediately predicted big things. “It was obvious just how hard they’d been working for the previous six years,” he says.

“Their craftsmanship was excellent: Eddie was a genius on his guitar, and they jelled incredibly well on stage.” The band’s secret, he came to realize, was that even in stadiums they were able to recreate the feeling of an intimate club show.

In the beginning, the members viewed themselves as a foursome of equals, dividing up the songwriting credits and royalties equally, Cohen says. “It was done with the whole attitude of ‘We’re not going to let anything or anyone beak up this band.’¡”

Unfortunately, there was a wild card — Valerie Bertinelli, the stunning star of hit sitcom One Day at a Time. After she and Eddie Van Halen met backstage at a 1980 concert, their unlikely union generated an avalanche of tabloid columns. But Cohen maintains that as soon as the television star appeared on the scene, she began to drive a wedge between the members of the group, Yoko Ono–style. (Neither Van Halen’s nor Bertinelli’s management responded to repeated requests for comment.)

The actress believed Eddie Van Halen should receive the lion’s share of the credit for the band’s triumphs, whereas Roth was essentially expendable, Cohen says. Cohen believed diff erently, however: “David was an integral part of the band’s success. He was brilliant.”

As a result of Bertinelli’s interference, Cohen adds, Eddie Van Halen began distancing himself from the band, staying in his hotel room and not spending as much off time with the others.

Cohen recalls the guitarist pouring his heart out to him at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, which had recently been purchased by Wayne Newton, shortly after Van Halen and Bertinelli wed in 1981. They spoke from 3 a.m. until dawn, watching workmen in a crane replacing the existing Aladdin sign with a neon one. “We kept hitting the minibar in the room and we got toasted,” Cohen remembers, “and I just felt really bad because Eddie was so utterly depressed.”

Had he erred in marrying Bertinelli? Cohen asked him. “I’ve made a terrible mistake,” Van Halen affirmed with a glum look. (Why the couple stayed together for decades afterward remains a mystery to the record-company man.)

The band’s 1982 album, Diver Down, sold more than 4 million copies, but the band began to unravel. Eddie Van Halen and Roth reportedly clashed over their musical direction, with the latter preferring a more pop-oriented path. Their next work, 1984, sold even better, but that tour brought the band’s creative forces to the brink.

As for Cohen, he became disenchanted with the business, and during a 1984 screening of seminal mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, decided once and for all to wash his hands of touring. (His decision was based on disgust over the antics of other groups he was simultaneously working with, like Roxy Music and Asia.)

Two months later, he says, he saw Eddie Van Halen “trashed and miserable” at the Palladium, and before long Roth had been booted from the band and replaced by Sammy Hagar.

Aft er quitting his job at Warner, Cohen immersed himself in tech culture. He now helms local digital consulting firm TAG Strategic, which works with multinational entertainment companies.

Meanwhile, after a tumultuous relationship reportedly tarnished by substance

abuse and infidelity, Van Halen and Bertinelli divorced in 2005. Cohen was not surprised to see Roth reinstated with the band a year later. “If Valerie had never appeared on the scene,” he opines, “David would probably have never been kicked out in the first place.”

That’s not to say everything is now rosy in Van Halen, as they’ve been plagued by reports of infighting, with dozens of tour dates recently wiped from their schedule.

Yet Cohen remains nostalgic for his time with the group. Their appeal remains, he concludes, in their joyful, childlike approach to music. “I’m absolutely certain they still know how to have a really good time,” he says. “It’s in their blood.”

Ecstasy Hangover? Be Gone!

A VITAMIN-COCKTAIL ENTREPRENEUR MIXES UP THE MEDICINE

The campground at Coachella is the place for a lot of things: body painting, boxed-wine keg stands, even dunkaroos — submerging one’s head in a cooler of ice water for as long as possible, then shotgunning a beer. One might not expect a successful business idea to strike there, but it was at Coachella 2010 that Roy Krebs lit on his idea for RaveAid, the first multivitamin designed to stave off the ill effects of a night of raving.

Nowadays, the 27-year-old Krebs, who is based outside of San Diego, leads a global operation. Blended in Iowa, RaveAid is distributed out of a center in Ohio and shipped to customers as far away as Australia, Belgium and Argentina. Online, it’s sold by rave specialists such as RaveReady.com and Emazinglights.Com, and Krebs says he has sold 1,600 bottles within the last year.

He developed the idea after watching the routines of his friends, seasoned festivalgoers who brought secret weapons to help them survive a weekend of partying. “They were taking a handful of vitamins before they were going to sleep to help with their recovery,” he says, “so they could party harder the next day.” It turned out it wasn’t just his friends.

Krebs found that hard-core ravers — the kind of EDM enthusiasts who make graphs plotting the exact time a high should hit to match the peak of a DJ’s set — were sharing tips with each other via online message boards about specific supplements to counteract ecstasy hangovers.

“I’d call them home recipes,” Krebs says of such over-the-counter vitamin cocktails. “Each person would have five to 10 [pills] that they would take, and they would recommend them to each other.”

This involved lots of hassle, however; it would take several trips to diff erent stores, and sometimes upward of $100 to get all the component supplies. Krebs saw an opportunity.

And so, starting with an Excel spreadsheet where he compiled the most recommended supplements and dosages, Krebs narrowed the list to six or seven ingredients, then worked with blending experts at several nutritional-supplement manufacturers to refine the formula.

The finished product contains 5-HTP, an amino acid that helps increase serotonin production (which ecstasy and other drugs of its class deplete), as well as B6, thought to facilitate the body’s absorption of 5-HTP. Rounding out the mixture is alpha lipoic acid, which increases blood flow and recycles antioxidants like vitamins C and E (also RaveAid components), and magnesium, which helps with hydration and relaxes muscles after a night of strenuous dancing.

RaveAid is meant to help detox, as well as aid with problems such as overexertion, dehydration and lack of sleep. Krebs also sees his product as encouraging “raving responsibly.” RaveAid is about “health, safety and respect for your body,” he says.

Or at least, one suspects, getting it back into fighting shape so you can abuse it more. —Tessa Stuart

Bizarre Ride

by Jeff Weiss

THE DEPTHS OF GEORGIA ANNE MULDROW’S SOUL

To invoke Bobby Byrd, Rakim and Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, soul is difficult to define, but you know it when you see it. It can’t be calculated, borrowed or bought. Th e idea is more ancient than Scripture, and its eff ects are equally ineff able “Soul” is pure cliché and an unavoidable ascription. So I asked Georgia Anne Muldrow what it meant to her — because there may be no more soulful woman in the Western states than this L. A.-raised 29-year-old.

Her main residence is in the Mojave, but Muldrow frequently returns home, and she remains one of the city’s most celebrated astral travelers. She’s worked closely with Sa-Ra and J*DaVeY, and her latest greatest record is March’s Seeds, produced entirely by the enigmatic Madlib, L.A.’s reigning jazz beats and blunts baron.

“Soul is a real and beautiful thing,” Muldrow says from the home in Las Vegas that she shares with her children and “husfriend,” Dudley Perkins, a funkdafied rapper-crooner who has released several albums on Stones Th row.

“When Curtis Mayfield sings, it’s soulful because it comes from his soul, not the sounds that he makes. I think Neil Young is soulful, but he doesn’t make ‘soul’ music. It’s about singing from your life experiences — the diff erence between singing from the spirit in your body versus only your body.”

In Muldrow’s case, soul is birthright. Her father was renowned local jazz guitarist Ronald Muldrow. Her mother is Rickie Byars-Beckwith, musical director of the Agape Spiritual Center in Culver City. Her stepdad is the center’s founder, Rev. Michael Beckwith, famed for his role as one of the teachers in Th e Secret. Raised in the Mid-City area around Little Ethiopia, Muldrow grew up singing in the church. But her intellectual epicenter was Leimert Park, the bohemian enclave in South L.A., which nurtured her love of poetry, politics and social concern.

Released on her and Perkins’ own SomeOthaShip imprint, Seeds is beatific but worried, balancing blissful soul samples and earthgoddess vocals with humanistic concerns (including an attack on Monsato for genetic food engineering). On its cover, Muldrow wears a caft an and afro, looking like the soulful spawn of Angela Davis. Inspirations include Aretha Franklin, Hindu scripture, Curtis Mayfield, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, racial inequity, Leimert Park and the year 1979.

But calling it soulful is one-dimensional; its definition of soul attempts to illuminate the obscure and the primal, the alchemy of digging deeper.

“The adjective I like to use to describe my music is tribal. Tribal is uncharted territory. In ancient cultures, music was a chief form of technology. It could celebrate a coming of age or calm down a crying child,” Muldrow says. “For me, it’s about trying to create music from an eternal place, something that affirms the spirit and supports those fighting the good fight. I want to help people heal.”

One Embattled Punk

PUBLIC IMAGE LTD.’S JOHN LYDON HAS PUT ALL THAT MESS BEHIND HIM

There’s a cartoonish irony to punk patriarch John Lydon funding the reunion of his band Public Image Ltd. With money he made portraying a gentrified exaggeration of himself in TV commercials for Country Life butter. Quipped one You- Tube uploader of the humorous U.K. spots, which aired in 2008: “All comments that don’t call him a sell-out will be removed.”

Yet the shock-haired ex–Sex Pistols frontman — formerly Johnny Rotten, and an Angeleno since the late 1980s — is unapologetically pragmatic about it all.

“The money got us out of no end of troubles, [and] they were the best people I’ve ever worked with,” says Lydon, 56, adding that he funneled his Country Life cash into the Public Image Ltd. (PiL) rehearsals that in 2009 ended the band’s 17-year hiatus. Th e ensuing tours funded the recording of a new album, Th is Is PiL, and its release on May 29.

Today the designer-garbed, sun-kissed Lydon lounges poolside at the Marina del Rey Ritz-Carlton. The scene feels far removed from his working-class London roots, his three years squawking antiestablishment anthems like “Anarchy in the U.K.” with the Pistols and a careerlong reputation for noncooperation (he allegedly assaulted a TV producer at this very hotel in 2007, a case settled out of court three years later).

Lydon formed PiL upon the Pistols’ 1978 demise. Fourteen years and dozens of members later (Lydon is the band’s sole constant), PiL had eight studio albums and hits such as 1983’s “Th is Is Not a Love Song.” But, frustrated by lack of recordlabel support, Lydon froze PiL in 1992, a break prolonged by record companies keeping him contractually bound and “financially destroyed,” he says.

This Is PiL continues where the band left off in the pre-Internet era: proudly eclectic, bass-heavy noise-rock distinguished by Lydon’s tremulous ranting and wry wordplay. It’s an album of both artsy pretense and accessible melody, with exotic guitars elevating his belligerent barks and frail wail to places of uneasy, unlikely beauty.

He says the work was mostly improvised in the studio aft er his “preparatory work” was destroyed by a fire at his home. It shuns the frantic oompah beats and fuzzy barre chords of what’s become defined as “punk rock,” but the album’s sonic irreverence and lyrical lucidity make it a croaked call to prayer from one of the genre’s few original minarets.

PiL is “the greatest opportunity I have in my life,” Lydon notes, “to explain exactly how I view the world in the most accurate way.” —Paul Rogers

Henry Rollins
The Column!

GLOBE-TROTTING BLUES

I Am on my way back to Los Angeles, on the second of two flights to get back from Johannesburg, South Africa. The first flight to New York City was 15 hours and 22 minutes. I think that beats Dubai to L.A. by a few minutes, making it the longest single flight I have ever been on. My seat, 51D, was especially brutal. The back pain I was in for the last seven hours was exceptional.

On a happier note, Gene Simmons and his wife were ahead of me in the customs and immigration line at JFK a couple of hours ago.

Also, this morning, I think I pulled off one of the greatest fails of my life. I have been experiencing less-than-consistent coffee over the last week in Africa and was looking forward to an upgrade. And so I got a cup of coffee on my way back to the gate, took the smallest sip and, damn, did it taste good.

My mood elevated and I had an almost Proustian opening of the mind — I was taken back to the streets of my old neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

I walked into the men’s room and, as I was putting my cup of coffee on the flat surface above the urinal, my left foot started sliding out from under me. Here’s what happened next:

I am now making a slow, Matrix-like clockwise turn. I feel myself going down and try to secure the cup but drop it.

My backpack, which is on my right shoulder, slides off as I watch my coffee drop in agonizing, De Palma slow motion into the urinal and explode.

My left hand, now free of coffee, manages to grab the upper edge of the urinal divider, and my backpack strap lands in the crook of my right elbow with the backpack hanging about an inch off the ground.

My coffee empties down the drain, triggering the flush cycle. Not a single drop hit the floor.

Total time, about two seconds. There is some Caddyshack Ty Webb perfection in there somewhere.

Many hours later: back in my office in Los Angeles. That was a long day and night of travel.

I am tired but feeling pretty good. I get a momentary energy surge when I get off the road — perhaps that whole “long march to the sea” thing.

When I get back from the leg of a tour, I always go to the office first. I have done this ever since I had an office. Immediately, back up the hard drives and get a sit rep (situation report) from Heidi, the woman who runs my life.

Today was a briefing of all the hoops I will be jumping through with press and studio obligations, meetings that start tomorrow morning and go until the day I leave again, about a week from now.

Whenever I get off the road, there are always some songs that I can’t wait to play, even though I have had the songs available for all the weeks I have been out.

Today, it’s been “Ed’s Babe” by The Fall, “Messin’ With the Kid” by the Saints, “Candy Says” by the Velvet Underground and Bowie’s version of “Where Have All the Good Times Gone.”

This evening, when I walk in the door of my utilitarian hovel, I will hear “Siegfried’s Death and Funeral March” from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung playing in my head. I don’t know why, but that’s what always hits me when I drop my backpack on the floor.

Now, back at the house the laundry is done, and I am keeping myself hydrated in an effort to get on the current time zone.

The transition from Australia to South Africa was very difficult, with press and shows, and then to go from that to Los Angeles is another hard one to deal with.

A good part of my year is spent in these transitions, and it’s very easy for things to go down the memory hole in a prolonged state of blurriness. It must lead some people to think that I am perpetually stoned.

I am 88 shows into the year since January, and at this point the only thing I want to do is be onstage every night.

I wish I were heading back to the airport to go to Australia to start the leg of the tour I just completed all over again.

Touring is hard. But being away from it is for me, much harder.

The only thing I have going for me is the music. I think if I didn’t have music playing at high volume at this moment, the immense hollowness I feel between tours would be extremely hard to endure.

At this moment, the new album by High on Fire, De Vermis Mysteriis, is shaking the walls at lower-your-IQ levels. There are no bad albums by this band.

I honestly don’t know how I would get through life without music. I like it more than anything else. I would be the lab rat in the experiment who keeps pushing the pedal for music instead of food and eventually starves to death.

To stave off the crushing re-entry depression that is coming on as I write this, I will listen to music and start packing for the next leg of the tour — a month in Canada, where this tour will become very real at 100 shows.

Until then, I medicate with music and chew time.

fri 6/1

Krautrock Classics
@ FORD AMPHITHEATRE

Barring a reunion of Ege Bamyasi–era Can, which would involve a resurrection, it’s hard to imagine a more exciting event for L.A.-area fans of Krautrock, the ’60s-born German experimental movement that continues to deeply inform most progressive music today. The Dublab crew and Teutonic cultural org the Goethe-Institut have assembled a veritable who’s who of local left-fielders — including Dntel, Daedelus, Sun Araw, White Magic, Pharaohs, David Scott Stone, Carlos Niño and many more — to cover songs from the era. While one set each will be devoted to the music of Popul Vuh and Ash Ra Tempel’s Manuel Göttsching, respectively, the highlight of the night will come with the cosmic closer. Eastside art-pop icon Nite Jewel will team up with Peanut Butter Wolf, Eddie Ruscha, Nedelle and Ariel Pink collaborator Cole MGN to perform Kraftwerk’s Computer World in its entirety.

—Chris Martins

Santigold
@ CLUB NOKIA

It’s almost comical to label an artist as groundbreaking in today’s rinse-and-repeat musical landscape. But in 2008, when Santi White, better known as Santigold, emerged with her dub-inflected eponymous debut stuff ed with polyrhythmic electro pulses and whiplash rhymes — not to mention an overarching punk-rock purpose and a well-crafted urban-chic aesthetic to match — it was hard to imagine the then–31-year-old would do less than continue fighting against the bloated mediocrity plaguing the industry. While it’s far too simplistic to believe that the Philly native’s recently released sophomore turn, Master of My Make Believe, fell altogether flat, there’s no denying the oomph that catapulted this singer-rapper into the spotlight has been diminished. Perhaps the Gagas and Minajs of the world stole some of her shine. Whatever. As she proved at Coachella, the girl puts on a damn good, albeit slightly less wacky, show. —Dan Hyman

Rusko
@ PALLADIUM

He’s got a string of upcoming festival dates (including Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas) and a collaborative EP with Cypress Hill due out June 5. But first Rusko hits the Palladium tonight for the final date of his North American tour in support of this spring’s Songs. As that title suggests, the L.A.-based dubstep don is embracing his love of pop these days: “Thunder” features vocals by Top 40 songwriter Bonnie McKee (who’s worked with Katy Perry and Adam Lambert), while “Somebody to Love” could easily pass for something by England’s Sugababes. Will you feel that devotion to tunecraft as you rub sweaty shoulders with a couple thousand 19-year-olds desperate for the drop? Probably not.

Vital Information
@ CATALINA JAZZ CLUB

Not long after becoming a member of the soon-to-be-superstar band Journey in 1978, drummer Steve Smith began what has become jazz fusion’s longest-running ensemble, Vital Information. It has developed into one of the genre’s most successful groups under Smith’s consistent hand. Trained at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Smith also has shown a fondness for legendary big-band drummer Buddy Rich. Through the past four decades, Smith has earned a reputation as one of the most respected drummers anywhere in both rock and jazz. The current lineup of VI includes bassist Baron Browne, guitarist Vinny Valentino and the superb former Santana keyboardist Tom Coster. Vital Information celebrate the 30th anniversary of their first album on both Friday and Saturday. —Tom Meek

Also playing:

XIU XIU, YAMANTAKA at Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock; TYCHO at Troubadour; VAN HALEN at Staples Center; EMILE SANDE at El Rey Theatre

sat 6/2

Charli XCX
@ BOOTLEG BAR

Though she’s only 19, London’s Charli XCX peddles a dark but infectious brand of synthesized pop that seems destined to fill arenas in the near future. The sultry and charismatic future star is taking a break from opening for Santigold’s tour to play this intimate headliner in honor of her upcoming EP, You’re the One, for L. A. indie powerhouse IAMSOUND. The songs contained therein showcase a deep aff ection for a decade she’s only learned about secondhand — the ’80s, natch — but perhaps that’s why she’s able to avoid tired retread. Charli eff ortlessly sidesteps the era’s cheesier inclinations via a mix of arty sass à la Lykke Li and shadowy creep that seems derived from the so-called witch house movement (see Pictureplane, Salem, et al.). Considering she’s been collaborating with producers Patrik Berger (Robyn) and Ariel Rechtshaid (Glasser), expect an even mix of neon buzz and organic gloom. —Chris Martins

Star & Dagger, The Hangmen
@ EL CID

It might be hard to remember now, but Sean Yseult was the bassist back when White Zombie were actually a somewhat terrifying hard-rock ensemble, before leader Rob Zombie took the act in a safely cartoonish and more predictable direction. Now Yseult is back in black with the new band Star & Dagger, whose heavy stoner-rock riff s are drawn from Black Sabbath (of course) but melded with the serenely witchy imprecations of lead singer Von Hesseling. Yseult’s spiny bass lines are buttressed further by doom-ridden chords from guitarists Dave Catching (Earthlings?, Eagles of Death Metal) and Donna She Wolf, who rocks with more authenticity here than she did in her somewhat silly former group, Cycle Sluts From Hell. Despite numerous lineup changes, The Hangmen’s primal Crampsmeets– Johnny Thunders sound hasn’t changed much since lead singer Bryan Small moved out here from Boise, Idaho, in the late 1980s. The song may remain the same, but Small continues to write thunderously catchy, elegantly wasted anthems on The Hangmen’s latest album, East of Western. —Falling James

Also playing:

THE BEACH BOYS at Hollywood Bowl; CASS MCCOMBS BAND, THE ENTRANCE BAND at El Rey Theatre; MOGWAI at Music Box; PETER CASE at McCabe’s; SUGARLAND, LAUREN ALAINA at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.

sun 6/3

The Duke Spirit
@ THE ECHOPLEX

The Duke Spirit break off from their recent tour with Jane’s Addiction long enough to headline their own show tonight at the Echoplex. It feels like it’s been ages since the English quintet made a dramatic breakthrough on these shores with their second album, Neptune, whose shadowy tunes were given greater heft (and some considerable psychedelic mystery) after being recorded with Chris Goss out in Joshua Tree. Last year’s follow-up CD, Bruiser, had its moments, but the band’s most intriguing and memorable melodies — such as the underground hit “The Step & the Walk” — appeared earlier on Neptune. Liela Moss is still a captivating lead singer, contrasting her mates’ heavier passages with her lithesome, winsome entreaties, and it will be interesting to see where The Duke Spirit go from here and if they can maintain their early momentum and promise. —Falling James

Also playing:

LANA DEL REY, ZEBRA KATZ at El Rey Theatre; VIOLENS, CATWALK at the Echo.

mon 6/4

Yo Gotti
@ KEY CLUB

This scrappy Memphis rapper — best known for his series of Cocaine Muzik mixtapes — didn’t quite set the world on fire earlier this year with the release of Live From the Kitchen, his long-delayed studio debut for RCA. But Yo Gotti’s been in the biz for too long to give up now, so tonight he hits town on what he’s calling the Road to Riches Tour. If hit singles don’t deliver the dough, he evidently figures, midsized club gigs might get the job done. Soft sales notwithstanding, Kitchen contains its fair share of taste treats, including the Lex Luger–produced “Second Chance” and “Go Girl,” a weirdly tender posse cut with Big K.R.I.T., Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa. Bet that you’ll hear (at least a few verses of) both here. —Mikael Wood

Emily Jane White
@ THE MINT

Steeped in the deep woods around Santa Cruz and the wide-open fields of California’s “up north,” Emily Jane White sings slow and heartbreaking songs that echo Townes Van Zandt (“The Cliff ,” on her upcoming Ode to Sentience) but sound like they come from somewhere between the utter desolation of lost Teutonic bedroom folk singer Sibylle Baier and the sentimental complexity of Laura Veirs. Overseas, White packs ’em in — picture a smoky room full of sniffling Frenchmen, and yearn — but here in America you can still see her in intimate rooms like the Mint, where her voice slips and flows between her guitar, the stars and nothingness. For people who wonder if they still make ’em like they used to, because they do.

—Chris Ziegler

Walk the Moon @ TROUBADOUR Smartly combining pop sensibilities with a postmodern spin on The Killers’ waiflike appearance and Brandon Flowers’ anguished howls, Walk the Moon are sure to bring the bounce tonight, touring behind their EP Anna Sun. Regularly upstaging bigger touring partners such as Young the Giant, it’s about time the Cincinnati four-piece got its own headlining spot. As common as a dance quartet may be in these parts, Walk the Moon have an edge on most with the popularity of their single “Anna Sun,” which lies heavily in the vein of Foster the People. Big on the synth sound and massive hooks, Walk the Moon are sure to incite a riotous dance party.

—K.C. Libman

Also playing: JJAMZ at the Satellite.

tue 6/5

Church of Misery
@ THE SATELLITE

Church of Misery are a metal band that couldn’t care less about Satan. For almost 20 years, the depraved acts of living men have provided more than enough lyrical fodder for this Japanese quartet’s brand of stoner doom. There is nothing thrash, death or –core about what Church of Misery do. They instead use riff s from the Sabbath playbook to provide the backdrop for their sordid tales inspired by notorious serial killers such as John Wayne Gacy and Albert Fish. Bassist Tatsu Mikami has been the only constant for the band’s career, but the thunder of his rumble is strong support for psychedelic guitar solos, the razor-gargle vocals of Hideki Fukasawa and creepy samples from news reports and interviews with the inspirations behind their madness. If the Manson Family were around today, this would be the crazed soundtrack to their atrocities.

—Jason Roche

LMFAO, Far East Movement
@ STAPLES CENTER

Call us crazy, but there’s something supremely satisfying about giving yourself fully to the temptations of an adolescent, substance-free pop song. SkyBlu and Red- Foo, the two afro-ed, self-proclaimed party rockers who call themselves LMFAO, know this to be true. Because they surely have to know their No. 1 smash hits, “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It,” are destined to the same glorious “remember- when-we-used-to-drink-to-that?” fate as, say, J-Kwon’s “Tipsy.” But that’s the beauty of it all. It’s the duo’s goofb all charm and lack of regard for outside perception that make them so damn lovable and fun to laugh alongside. —Dan Hyman

Also playing:

BEN HOWARD, BAHAMAS at Troubadour; WARREN G at Detroit Bar (Costa Mesa); HAIL!HORNET at the Satellite.

wed 6/6

Vinny Golia, Slumgum
@ BLUE WHALE

When Vincent James Golia Jr. Founded Nine Winds Records in 1977, it was primarily a vehicle to record and promote his own works and those of his associates, but the label has come to symbolize the gradual and mostly hidden revolution in improvised music in Los Angeles. Golia is the right man to lead the insurgency. The former baseball player turned painter turned musiciancomposer is a charismatic, even iconic, rule breaker, and his long tenure at California Institute of the Arts has produced countless disciples who have bolstered his counter-mainstream brand of music. Those include the excellent band Slumgum, who open the evening as the first show of a monthlong celebration for the 35th anniversary of Nine Winds. The founder himself follows with a new work for woodwinds, strings and piano. Vive la résistance! —Gary Fukushima

Go Betty Go
@HOWL AT THE MOON

When this Glendale-based, all-Latina pop-punk band first started making noise 10 years ago, they faced an almost immediate wave of classically misguided chick-band derision. Led by sisters Aixa and Nicolette Vilar and driven by Betty Cisneros’ walloping guitar, the band’s weeknight Mr. T’s residency quickly evolved into a prominent spot on the Warped Tour and a blossoming national rep. Back in Tinseltown, despite the fact they simply played unadorned, straight-up, good old-fashioned punk rock, a weird, choking haze of smug, dismissive Kim Fowley–itis seemed to hover over them. Between the tide of green-eyed snide and the rat race of life on the road, lead singer Nicolette up and quit. Although GBG found a fill-in, things were never the same. Well, she’s back for this apropos-of-nada, one-off reunion, and you know what? It should be a hell of a lot of fun.

—Jonny Whiteside

Also playing:

DESTROYER, SANDRO PERRI at El Rey Theatre; CAPPADONNA at Detroit Bar (Costa Mesa); SOPHIA KNAPP at Bootleg Bar.

thu 6/7

Lazer Sword, Salva, Sodapop
@ LOS GLOBOS

While Los Angeles–to-Berlin producers Lando Kal and Low Limit may have moved on from the brutal bass and nasty noise that typified early Lazer Sword favorites such as “Gucci Sweatshirt,” the pair still churns out tracks that ring with unusual immediacy. Their new album, Memory, glistens with Detroit-bred fourfour bliss and ’80s electro bump, while their flair for wild eff ects and moody atmosphere seems to owe to the panoply of contemporary British EDM. They revel in the details but aren’t afraid to get lost in the moment, and a Lazer Sword live show is known to include an impressive degree of improvised tangents. Buzzing beatsmith Paul Salva has earned a name around L.A. and beyond for his eclectic productions, which combine soulful synth work with crunked-up percussion, hip-hop head-knock and experimental gravitas. His latest is a club-busting collaboration with producer Grenier fittingly dubbed “Wake the Dead.” —Chris Martins

Julia Nunes
@ ECHO

While we’re all familiar with the You- Tube star–cum–songwriter sensation, few have parlayed it into a real career as well as New York’s Julia Nunes. While she began as a cam video girl with a ukulele, Nunes has begun to blossom into a multi-instrumentalist of sorts, writing earnest pop pieces that will sit well with the date-night crowd. She’s known for spinning tongue-in-cheek tales and quirky takes on pop perennials, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what her first national tour will hold. If her past performances are any indication, expect a jangly sing-along performance that’s perfect for the coziness of the Echo. —K.C. Libman

Theresa Andersson
@ TROUBADOUR

Much as KT Tunstall used to do when she was still a one-woman band, Swedish singer Theresa Andersson cleverly employs a loop pedal to surround herself with a variety of her own instrumental backing, including violin, guitar and dulcimer. Surrounded by a semicircle of pedals, Andersson creates a bewitching atmosphere, as her voice(s) and instruments cycle behind her while she claps her hands and merrily steps on and off various pedals with her bare feet to change musical directions. Based now in New Orleans, she infuses the airy pop songs on her latest album, Street Parade, with Crescent City rhythms and soulful adornments. Given her background and her current location, Andersson is a most unusual performer, and probably the only singer who has dueted with both Norwegian diva Ane Brun and N’Awlins kingpin Allen Toussaint.

—Falling James

Kurt Vile,

Michael Chapman
@ LARGO

Philly guitar savant Kurt Vile has a crusty, J Mascis–meets–Lee Hazlewood baritone and a Fugs-y sense of image and sense of humor both — between his impeccably deployed shreddery and obsessively iconoclastic production, you get moments of awesomely naked hilarity on songs like the anthemic “Freak Train,” where Vile wedges apart verse and chorus with the reverbed declaration, “I ain’t never been so insulted in my whole life … SHIT!” Laugh it up, of course, but there’s a special kind of goofy beauty there, too. This is for people who like a guitarist as much Thurston Moore as he is Charles Portis. Plus he’s a perfect match for Michael Chapman, the similarly determined British folk-and-waymore wildman whose Fully Qualified Survivor LP was one of last year’s most notable reissues. —Chris Ziegler
VIEW ALL ARTICLES
Message
SEND