If there is a person who embodies New Orleans, it’s Dr. John, a guitarist-turned-gunshot-victim-turned pianist who supercharged jazz and funk with his own special blend of voodoo mysticism, R&B, and rock’n’roll. He performs Sat., Dec. 6, at UCLA Royce Hall and speaks now about livers, kitchen knives and arguing with that Spiritualized guy. This interview by Kristina Benson.
The peripatetic punk poet from Salford arrives late—20 minutes or 40 years late, depending in how you look at it—apologizing out of a halo of cigarette smoke, saying, “I got here a little late, too late to read the guest list.” It’s a failing he turns to his advantage as he then reads that guest list, making a poem out of it in which the names rhyme and people are caught unawares by his awareness and the utterly-packed house (courtesy of Part Time Punks) erupts into the rapture of applause. “I tried to make it entertaining as I can,” he shrugs.
MURDER BALLADS AND DARK SONGS @ ECHOPLEX
The 5th annual Murder Ballads & Dark Songs night at the Echoplex was as righteous and delightful as anticipated. Each performer brought a new spin to timeless songs about killers and bleeding broken hearts. …And there’s something about the audience sitting in chairs that makes it all feel more special and a little bit fancy.
KERA AND THE LESBIANS ARE BRINGING DUENDE BACK
“I’m so happy,” blurted an elated Marketing Director of the Fold, midway through Kera’s performance. Even if she didn’t mean it … the room compelled her to HAVE TO SAY IT.
BOY AND BEAR @ THE FONDA
With reverence for such staples of Americana (yes I know Young is from Canada), Boy & Bear has a lot to live up to but the band certainly met the mark, especially in categories of self-exploration, lyrical depth, and haunting harmonies.
AUSTIN PSYCH FEST @ CARSON CREEK RANCH
Yes, you heard that right: the Flamin’ Groovies have bested the Zombies.
Coomers (of Harlem, probably one of the more underrated bands on Matador) returns with his second solo-ish album as Lace Curtains, set in a semi-imagined L.A. somewhere between Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard and Warren Zevon’s Gower Avenue and soundtracked by what sounds like Gary Wilson’s Blind Dates and a pack of wolves. (Listen to ‘em howl on “Kali.”)
THEE COMMONS: ROCK IS DEAD: LONG LIVE PAPER AND SCISSORS
Rock is Dead: Long Live Paper and Scissors is a comprehensive anthology containing 20 tracks hand-picked from Thee Commons’ nine EP discography. For the first time in their relatively short (but extremely prolific) tenure as a band, they’ve released a compilation that brings together the best of the best from all of their mini-volumes into one CD, chronicling their growth as musicians and tracking the various influences that have shaped their unique style along the way. Here, they bring together a very diverse array of elements including 60’s-era garage riffs, strong surf-guitar melodies, cumbia rhythms and vocals heavy with retro-Latino flair.
TÜLIPS: “HOTSPUR” B/W “WAIT” CASSINGLE
It spurs fantasies in me of what Belinda Carlisle might have gotten up to if she’d never dropped the moniker “Dottie Danger” and had saved Sid Vicious’ life by getting him to play bass with her in Superchunk.
THE PHENOMENAUTS: ESCAPE VELOCITY
Imagine an after-hours party with Marc Bolan, Devo, and Cheap Trick . . . and then the Groovie Ghoulies show up!
THE EVANGENITALS: MOBY DICK; OR, THE ALBUM
I haven’t heard harmonies ring this good since the Chapin Sisters were on the scene.