The Weekend's Music in LA: Jonathan Richman, Simone White, Billy Bragg, free vegan pancakes (and No Age) at The Smell
FRIDAY, JUNE 6
There are many immortal words in rock and roll, but one of the great expressions of untethered joy was originally uttered by Jonathan Richman: "Roadrunner once, Roadrunner twice/I'm in love with rock & roll, and I'll be out all night." Covered by everyone from Joan Jett to the Sex Pistols to Motorhead (not really, but wouldn't that be awesome?), the song contains a primal rock riff that will outlive us all; our grandchildren's grandchildren will still feel a touch of android glee when that song comes on the a.m. radio. That from the genius behind the Modern Lovers, whose "Hospital" remains one of our favorite heartbreaking love songs ("When you get out of the hospital/Let me back into your life..."), and whose first album remains vital and insistent thirty years after its release. Since then, he's carved a nice little cave for himself in the pop music world, and remains an American original. He continues his four day stint at the Mint tonight and tomorrow night. (Above: The Modern Lovers doing "Egyptian Reggae.")
Dethklok's "Thunderhorse" video.
Dethklok man. Dethklok. They play the Wiltern tonight. In the immortal words of their "Thunderhorse": "Thunderhorse. Thunderhorse. Thunderhorse/Revenge. Revenge. Revenge/Thunder. Horse. Thunder. Horse. Thunder. Horse/Thunder. Thunder. Thunder. Horse."
Jon Brion doing the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset."
At the absolute other end of the spectrum from Dethklok would be Jon Brion, who will make his solo debut at the new Largo at the Coronet tonight (and tomorrow night). The vibe's different over there, but, as Aimee Mann proved on Monday night, the spirit of the old Largo on Fairfax remains.
And James plays a show at Spaceland tonight. Good luck getting in to that one.
SATURDAY, JUNE 7
Ashley Jax over at Rock Insider is hot on L.A.'s The Sweet Hurt , who play at Pehrspace. They deliver on fluffy clouds a dreamy brand of melodic guitar pop, with the echoed vocals of Wendy Wang and an overall soft-rock feel. At times, in fact, they sound like some of those classic Carpenters jams -- say, "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "Superstar." The Sweet Hurt play with Evan Slamka of Marjorie Fair, Alex Lily, and Liz Pappademas.
And in case you need a reminder of the greatness of Billy Bragg (here doing a Woody Guthrie song), here's this. He plays the El Rey on Sunday night. Billy Bragg: a true hero.
SUNDAY, JUNE 8
Speaking of Largo, Brad Mehldau is an exquisite pianist whose album of the same name, produced by Jon Brion, remains an underrated masterpiece. And Mehldau's always good for a Radiohead cover (and he does a great version of Nick Drake's "River Man," to boot).
Haim: "Black metal/Black metal/Black metal"
This one will be really good, and free vegan pancakes, to boot! The Smell presents a matinee show featuring a few of the scene's best bands: No Age, Mika Miko, Abe Vigoda HAIM. And did we mention free vegan pancakes? Starts at 11 a.m., goes til 3 p.m.
And over at the Hotel Cafe, Simone White, who's based in Venice, has a new CD out on Honest Jon's Records out of England, the label founded by former Blur front man Damon Albern. White's an odd one, and writes gymnastic, playful little songs about sadness and joy and whatnot, ditties that could have come from 1940 or today.
Simone White: timeless