This week starts off on a dark, dark, dark note as the band Dark, Dark, Dark shares a bill with Emily Wells at the Echoplex on Monday night. Wells has an avant-orchestral quality while Dark Dark Dark have an eclectic, theatrical vibe to them too. There are few troubadours with a darker wit than Leonard Cohen. The grand master poet/singer plays the Nokia Theatre on Monday the 5th. On Thursday night, the Echoplex hosts Murder Ballads, a tribute of true crimes of passion, featuring over a dozen bands like Restavrant (who will play the Mint on Friday night too), Papercranes and RT N’ The 44s.
The Hotel Café entertains the subtle but substantial sounds of the Vespers on Tuesday with the talented Harper Blynn also checking into the Hotel that night. The laidback Swedish musician Jens Lekman headlines a mellow night at the Fonda on the 8th with Taken By Trees and Big Search as openers. Benjamin Francis Leftwich showcases his alluring acoustic tunes at the Bootleg on the 9th. Blues-infused singer-songwriter Marc Broussard has two shows at the Hotel Café on the 10th, while bass-playing troubadour Tom Freund shares some of his always evocative songs at McCabe’s on Sunday the 11th.
Cat Power has been known for her dark, introspective music but she explores some new sonic territories on her recently released Sun CD. She performs at the Palladium on the 8th. Lydia Lunch, that edgy, influential performer of New York’s late ‘70s No Wave scene, will appear at the Echo on the 11th.
Americana wunderkins Mumford & Sons headline the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday the 10th and Monday the 12th. Opening is Dawes, the local outfit that wonderfully updates the classic SoCal country rock sound. The Parson Red Heads also mine a similar sound; their recently reissued Yearling is a glorious set of harmony-rich twang rock. They play the Satellite on the 10th. Kate Earl, who also evokes the golden time of Laurel Canyon music in her songs, starts a Hotel Café residency this week. She’ll be there 11/8, 11/15 and 11/29 as well as being at the Troubadour with the UK-based musician Passenger on 12/14.
The terrific Nashville singer-songwriter Amelia White does another SoCal swing of dates starting this week. She’ll be at the Firefly Bistro on the 7th, the Cinema Bar on the 8th and a couple of house shows on the 9th and 10th. I saw her play the Cinema Bar her last time around and she delivered a marvelous set of smart and gritty tunes. Try to catch one of her performances.
Thursday is Garage Rock night in L.A. Two Cow Garage, from Columbus, Ohio, pulls into the Mint on the 8th. That night, the buzz band Japandroids headline the Fonda with Bleached opening. Just to make more of a concert conflict, Titus Andronicus will rule the El Rey with songs from their great new one Local Business. Those Darlins have traded twang for a garage-ier rock sound on their latest Screws Loose. The Nashville band headlines the Troubadour on Saturday night with Pangea and Heavy Cream also on the bill.
Omaha will be representing on Friday night as Tilly and the Wall headline the Troub. to showcase their first album in four years, Heavy Mood. Cursive, meanwhile, is part of a rockin’ bill at Club Nokia with Girl In A Coma and headliners Minus The Bear.
Friday night also finds a face-off between the resuscitated Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (at the El Rey with Quasi) and the revived Afghan Whigs (at the Fonda). These are two bands known for their powerhouse (and unpredictable) shows during their ‘90s heydays. Over at the Mint there will be more rabble-rousing music as the heavy-stomping blues-rock jamming trio Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band caps a bill that also includes Midwestern roots rockers Trapper Schoepp & The Shades, whose new album Run Engine Run I gave high marks to in a Blurt online review.
Another ‘90s alt.-rock outfit, The Sea and the Cake has a new album, Runner, coming out on Thrill Jockey as well as a show at the Bootleg on the 10th. Eighteen Individual Eyes, whose debut Unnovae Nights holds some intriguing darkly sensual music, are at the Bootleg on the 7th. On the 8th, the Zanzibar in Santa Monica will be alive with Afro-Soul led by talking drum master, Mohammed Alidu from Ghana.
Last, but certainly far from least, the Monkees come to the Greek Theater on Saturday night. The show, which commemorates both the 45th anniversary of the Headquarters album (the first where they got to play their own instruments) as well as the passing of Davy Jones, is the first U.S. tour with Mike Nesmith since 1969. Hey, Hey!