How many times have you torn past the windmills on your way up to Joshua Tree with the high desert’s fragrant furnace and Car Wheels on a Gravel Road blasting in the truck cab? If it’s too many to count, we should totally hang out. Regulars here know I love me some Lucinda Williams, but last year’s Blessed found the first lady of Heartland hoodoo rock “a little mushy around the edges” (Christgau). Still, it debuted at number 15 on Billboard, and Miss Williams has done sold out the Belly Up again. So, you need to call your ticket guy. I’m not condoning, I’m just saying....
If, however, you get locked out of that one, go cry in your beer at Bar Pink, where Bastard Sons and Rio Peligroso will be more’n happy to oblige you with some alternatonk. If I know Rio P’s Michael Rennie, he could probably play you some Lucinda. He might be more of a Little Honey guy, though.... L.A.’s “brutal love triangle of rock, funk, and blues,” Nico Vega, will play Casbah behind their new EP, Nico Vega Covers Nico Vega and Rod Stewart. They absolutely crush “Young Turks,” so ask for it. Deap Vally and the Filthy Violets set it up.... Else: over at Little Italy supper club Anthology, Queensrÿche’s Geoff Tate will play nice — acoustical and unplugged-like...Oakland cello punks Tornado Rider hit Brick by Brick with our own prog-punk wackadudes Schmaltz...and our friends up in the NC, Red Hand, were able to put their beers down long enough to press “record.” The hard-rocking trio will play a CD release at the Boar Cross’n in Carlsbad. Dallas alt-rockers Messer split the bill.
Nathan and Aaron Weaver of Olympia are Wolves in the Throne Room. The black-metal brothers were selected by Godspeed! for last year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival on the strength of their last Southern Lord set, Celestial Lineage. Pitchfork called it “American black metal’s idiosyncratic defining record of 2011.” I never know what they mean. The brothers Weaver say they’re “channeling the energies of the Pacific Northwest landscape.” The record’s centerpiece, “Woodland Cathedral,” is streaming at NPR. Wolves lope into Ché Café with Griever and Ten Thousand Leagues.... Further up the 5, Latin-jams dance band Ozomatli kicks off a couple nights at Belly Up. Quick listen to last year’s funk’d-up Fire Away, and you’ll get it — this L.A.-based big band brings the bounce.... “Mr. Telecaster,” Albert Lee, will be at Anthology Friday night. The English guitarist is that clichéd “musician’s musician”; but don’t listen to me, listen to Emmylou Harris: “His sound is unmistakable, often emulated, never equalled. When St. Peter asks me to chronicle the highlights of my time down here on Earth, I’ll be able to say that for a while I played rhythm guitar in a band with Albert Lee.” With our own Farmers opening the show, this’d be your gig to get to, blues-rock fan.... Brick by Brick pours Classic Cream all over Bay Park. This trib features Ginger Baker’s kid Kofi on skins. Click this for a video prevue of “Strange Brew”: myspace.com/tributetocream. Unfortunately, I’m both lactose and Clapton intolerant.... Utter mentionables: sideman to Eazy-E, Snoop Dogg, and N.W.A., Kokane, will rock the mic on a record-release for his own thang, Funk Upon a Rhyme, at 4th&B...roots-rock roustabouts the Bedbreakers bounce into Whistle Stop — wait, no they don’t. This just in on bookface: “Sorry friends — We have to postpone the Jan. 27 show. Something about a drummer and an emergency appendectomy. Hopefully we can reschedule in a month or so. Get well soon, James!”.... Anywhich, Casbah hosts a Howls CD release. These guys got on the 94/9 morning show a couple weeks back for an in-studio and played an absolute cringer called “Atlantic” — quaking a capella vocals, blown-out harmonica, and a guitar that sounded like it was leaking in from another station. Yet, they still came off as one sincere rock-n-soul outfit. Is sincerity in this year?
Art Fag’s surfy psych-poppers Heavy Hawaii will drop a new seven-inch, “Super Bowl XXIX,” at M-Theory Saturday, with a live in-store sometime between 6 and 9....
Then, Saturday night, Los Angelino punk-pop trio the Muffs dive into Casbah’s anniversary weekend. They’ll be joined by the Widows and that loud-ass bar band that comes back once a year like a herpes sore, Uncle Joe’s Big Ol’ Driver. I joke because I love those guys, and I wouldn’t miss this gig for the worl — hol’up, New York alt-rock trio Nada Surf’s at 4th&B with like-minded locals the Soft Pack, Republic of Letters, and Cuckoo Chaos? Eesh, hafta catch UJBOD at their super-secret, night-before warm-up show. Anyone know where that is this year?... Soda Bar sets up local lo-fi faves New Mexico, Chairs Missing, and Tropical Popsicle.... While the punkabilly Gore Horsemen ride into Tin Can Ale House with my favorite SanFran psych-folk band Blank Tapes.
There’re a couple sweet Sunday nighters, Sunday nighters, as Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skibe will split a bill with Asian Man Records owner Mike Park at Bar Pink.... House of Blues hosts English punk droogies the Adicts, with World Inferno Friendship Society and F.O.A. The Adicts have been at it since 1975!... And Casbah comes down with Dengue Fever — that's a Cambodian strain of pop–infected psychedelic rock. They’re out to tout last year’s Cannibal Courtship. Secret Chiefs 3 and Dark Thirty open that show.
Up-and-coming L.A. indie kids American Royalty (“...somewhere between the Black Keys and the Bloody Beetroots”?!) grace the stage at the Loft at UCSD. The merch guy should be selling a seven-inch called “Lately” that has an infectious electro-beat pop and vocal wash. Check it: myspace.com/aroyalty.... And on the downbeat, Whistle Stop sets up its final Musical Pursuit with Adam Gimbel, “a curtain call on a great musical-trivia event.” Good job, Adam. The few I ventured to were a blast.
Louris and Olson’s meaty Americana band the Jayhawks alight at Belly Up behind its new disc, Mockingbird Time.
I have not bought a Jayhawks CD since Green Grass, soooo, according to the experts at Spin magazine, it’s got “sugared pop strut (‘She Walks in So Many Ways’), tempered by heart-wrenching harmonies and a sinister vibe (‘Tiny Arrows’). Ignore the mouth-breathing rock bangers, and Mockingbird is as comfortable as well-worn denim.” Nice.... Fujiya & Miyagi play Casbah with Pal & Drome. One of the Of Notes covers these ampersand bands for you if you want to flip or click to that for the fat.... And the classic-rocking Richie Furay Band takes the stage at Anthology. Furay is a rock-roll Hall of Famer for his hand in forming Buffalo Springfield.
Detroit electro-pop duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. skids into Soda Bar behind last year’s crit hit It’s a Corporate World.... Tom DeLonge’s space-rock project Angels & Airwaves sold out their Belly Up gig humpnight...but Twin Sister plays upthataway at UCSD’s Porter’s Pub. They are an indie-pop band from Long Island, NY, they have a newish record called In Heaven, yet they feature neither a twin nor a sister — that’s false advertising.
— Barnaby Monk