I get the feeling the Southern gothic author Flannery O’Connor would have dug Natalie Mering’s Weyes Blood output, particularly last year’s Front Row Seat to Earth, an alt-folk collection that is writerly — beautiful and eerie, like O’Connor’s namesake novel Wise Blood. With its Laurel Canyon songstyle, Mering has brought back ghosts from her hometown’s past and used some timeless tools that forged Front Row Seat into one of 2016’s top releases. Pitchfork scored it an 8.3, saying it “overflows with the misty sounds of late ’60s folk and ’70s AM radio, but [Mering’s] presence in these songs is modern and slyly knowing.” Weyes Blood splits a Soda Bar bill with L.A.’s pleasure-pop cult star Marlon Belle, aka Fatal Jamz Thursday night.... Else: Grammy-winning East Coast rap act Bone, Thugs-N-Harmony hit the Observatory stage...while New Orleans jazz-funk jam band Galactic brings its winter tour to Belly Up.
...and speaking of gothic, one of Denver’s best, the dark-Americana act Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, will set up at Soda Bar behind last year’s Commandments According to SCAC, a country-fried collection of Western rock and psychedelic gospel. And, yes, the songs are called “Commandment 1” through “Commandment 10”; you do the biblical interpretin’ with lines like “Every body is a casket for a promise given free.” Psych-folk locals Heart Beat Trail will open the show...while right down the street from the Soda, San Diego’s fuzz-toned int’l indie act Crocodiles slither into the Hideout behind last year’s Dreamless release. Stereogum, which dubs the duo a “band to watch,” says Dreamless “sweats gooey drops of dream pop, ringing pristinely with bright keyboards and sultry acoustic guitars rather than their classic fuzz-pedal feedback.” Don’t get down, I’m sure Brandon and Charles will bring their fuzz pedals. AJ Davila and Keepers open the show.... Best of the rest Friday night: Finnish Steve ’N’ Seagulls alight at Casbah, bringing their brand of bluegrass heavy metal...while the multi-faceted artist Erykah Badu brings her neo-soul show to the Observatory...and hard-rock guitarist Uli Jon Roth (Scorpions) headlines sets by Pet Shark, RDG, and Taz Taylor at Bay Park bar Brick by Brick.
Garage-punk Atlanta band Coathangers plays Casbah Saturday night. The trio is touring in support of last year’s well-received Nosebleed Weekend. The Dean of modern rock Robert Christgau gave it an A-, saying “Hoo-hooing guitarist Julia Kugel and gravel-voiced drummer Stephanie Luke are happy to cheerlead a happy mob through three-chord dithyrambs of fury, frustration, and love hard love: ‘Hiya,’ ‘Dumb Baby,’ ‘Make It Right,’ you bet!” Just cuz I know you need to know, a dithyramb is “a wild choral hymn of ancient Greece, especially one dedicated to Dionysus.” Fucking Christgau... Zig Zags and the Dabbers set it up with dithyrambs of their own.... Surfer Blood washes up at Soda Bar behind this year’s critical hit Snowdonia, their first release since the death of guitarist Thomas Fekete. Agreeing with Pitchfork’s premise that Snowdonia is, “paradoxically, Surfer Blood’s sunniest and loosest record in years.” Give a listen to the blues-pop stomp “Six Flags in F or G.” Prism Tats’ Garett van der Spek is L.A.’s answer to Britt Daniel, w/out the perfectionist production, just effortless pop-rock hook after effortless pop-rock hook. Fans of Spoon, the Kills, and Raveonettes will dig in when he opens the show.... Get your recommended daily allowance of glam-pop “Ant Music” when ’80s oddity Adam Ant (“Desperate but Not Serious,” “Goody Two Shoes”) revisits his 1980 sophomore set Kings of the Wild Frontier at the Observatory North Park.... Soma’s all-day-Saturday jam “You Are Going to Hate This,” hosted by Fidlar’s Zac Carter, features the Frights, Tijuana Panthers, the Garden, the Regrettes (read all about the Regrettes in this week’s “High school survivalists” Blurt), among many other bands. Starts at 3p and costs just 20 bones.... Prefer it old-school? Drop the kids off at the all-ages Soma and head over to Brick by Brick, where blues-rock slide-guitar great Eric Sardinas and our own retro rock-rollers the Blitz Brothers split a hard-chops bill at the Bay Park bar.
Follow the Crawler into next week...