This week, in case you have lost track, finds April transforming into May. If that isn’t enough of a sign that summer will be arriving soon, this week also brings the first big shows at the Greek Theater. On Friday, it’ll be a magical night with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and on Saturday, there’s a super Cinco de Mayo special concert featuring Los Lobos, Neko Case and Alejandro Escovedo.
This weekend also is the big L.A. Bluegrass Situation festival at Largo as well as an extra, outdoor show on Sunday at Coldwater Canyon Park. The eclectic lineup includes organizer Ed Helms, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, the Punch Brothers, Sara & Sean Watkins, John C. Reilly and other surprise guests. Good luck getting tickets for any of the shows, however.
But good music is around from Monday onward. Yukon Blonde, a fine young Vancouver band that from an interesting bridge between Americana and Britpop, will spotlight their new album Tiger Talk at KCRW’s School at the Bardot.
On May 1st, the Grammy Museum hosts a conversation about Rock, Race and Radio with local legends Big Jay McNeely, Little Willie G and Art Laboe. Two terrific Nashville singer-songwriters (who are popular with music supervisors among other), Andrew Belle and Katie Herzig will share new songs and old at the Troubadour on Tuesday. Herzig’s The Waking Sleep is an alluring slice of folk-pop while Belle’s The Daylight EP finds him finding his intimate sound. Another May Day choice is singer/songwriter/actress Naama Kates, who has a gig at the Hotel Café.
The Troubadour has another excellent show on Wednesday. The buzzed-about Colorado group Tennis headlines there behind their attention-grabbing CD Young and Old. There’s a lovely timeless quality on this Patrick Carney-produced disc, brings to mind classic Fleetwood Mac with some Anglo rock touches tossed in too. It’s worth coming early to catch the opener, Wild Belle, who serves up hooky electro-pop. Speaking of electro-pop, Sophie Barker of Zero 7 fame, has a solo gig at the Bootleg on Wednesday showcasing her chilled-out, atmospheric music off of her new album, Seagull.
On May 3rd, the English neo-soul singer James Morrison is at the Avalon Hollywood but I recommend the opening act honeyhoney. I got enamored with their tune, “Little Toy Gun,” a few years back and they recently unveiled a gorgeous album Billy Jack that is a little bit country and a little bit everything else.
Thursday offers the first of two cool, free (donations welcome) shows at the Echo Country Outpost with a bill that includes Cave Country and Haroula Rose, who each have new EPs. On Saturday, they’ll have East Coast chamber pop-sters Cuddle Magic with Leslie Stevens (of “and the Badgers” fame) and John Elliott. Stick around Echo Park on Sunday for the Grand Ole Echo which has Grant Langston and the Supermodels as headliners.
Friday delivers the enigmatic genius of Lindsay Buckingham at the Wiltern, the show I want to talk about is at the Mint. Back in the ‘90s, I remember getting discs from a Brooklyn band, Elysian Fields, from the cut-out bins. There was something strange and compelling about their arty rock music. Their new album, Last Night On Earth, is their first US release in a decade and there still is something strange and compelling about their music.
Another type of art-y band, Nashville’s Americana chamber outfit, Lambchop, performs at McCabe’s on Saturday. Their acclaimed new album is simply (if mysteriously) called Mr. M. The El Rey will be the place for Deer Tick and Turbo Fruit. Deer Trick is a raucous (somewhat rootsy) rock ‘n’ roll band from Rhode Island. Their new EP is entitled Tim, which might or might not be a hint to their affection for the Replacements.
At the Hotel Café, Julian Velard (a NYC-born pop crooner who is big in Europe) will be performing on Sunday, while Sunday holds Jesca Hoop, another stylish American who is big overseas (and on KCRW).