The ten best concerts of the week
While Bob Seger might be immortalized by his long-running Chevy ads that feature "Like a Rock" and the scene in Risky Business where Tom Cruise sings along to "Old Time Rock and Roll," there's a lot more to the guy than that. He's carved out a spot in the rock pantheon with albums like Night Moves, Stranger in Town and Against the Wind, and he's sold more than 52 million records throughout his four-decade long career. The legendary Joe Walsh, who released Analog Man last year (his first album in a decade), shares this anticipated classic rock lineup.
The members of Iceage, from Copenhagen, Denmark are all in their early twenties, but in their relatively short time together, the band has garnered a buzz for the sonic savagery of its live shows and the harrowingly resonant emotional tenor of its music. The group's debut album, New Brigade, recalls the haunted desperation and urgency of early Joy Division and the nervier end of Wire, with none of the rough edges sanded off. With clear connections to the experimental-music scene in Copenhagen, Iceage straddles the worlds of noise and punk rock in a way that is similar to, but sonically very different, from the bands that came out of the Fort Thunder scene in Providence, Rhode Island, in the '90s -- the kinds of bands you're likely to find on the 31G imprint.
Part conspiracy theorist, part activist, B. Dolan is a multifaceted force to be reckoned with. As a rapper, the East Coaster brings his slam poet style to life with post-apocalyptic stories of a desolate earth, utilizing beats from the dubstep to marching band variety to take on his science fiction world and the realities of current political landscapes and social issues. Dolan's ability to frame his dark tales of the future with commentary on present-day social injustice makes him a unique voice in a world of often vapid popular music.
Originally named after an early Brian Eno and Robert Fripp song called "Swastika Girls," this Seattle band wisely settled on the more congenial moniker of Parenthetical Girls. Along with a shifting membership that includes Jherek Bischoff and Sam Mickens of the Dead Science, the Girls' core consists of Jeremy Cooper and Slender Means Society label head Zac Pennington. Fans of Xiu Xiu's electro-noise pop experimentalism and Devendra Banhart's frayed and fragile take on folk will find much to like about Parenthetical Girls. The band's delicate male-female vocal harmonies lend its music a certain grace, and the combination of ambient electronic sounds and acoustic instruments create a mood of nostalgia, evoking that point in your life when it seemed you had all the time in the world to indulge your whimsy. These tasteful collages of noisy, richly textured tunes and yesteryear pop sensibility would make Wall of Sound producer Phil Spector proud.
There's no denying just how derivative and calculating the music of the Airborne Toxic Event is. But tapping into zeitgeists both sonic and emotional, the band works equally well for music fans who grew up on the Cure and Smashing Pumpkins as those who cut their teeth on Arcade Fire and Interpol. And the group's success has only underscored just how much some people still crave literate, well-made, cathartic pop.
Exodus was founded in 1980 by a group of high school friends that included a pre-Metallica Kirk Hammett. Bonded By Blood is a landmark thrash record and was the first of many excellent subsequent offerings from Exodus. Like many of their peers, the guys in this band got into both hardcore punk and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal around the same time in the early '80s and produced thrash, a synthesis of the two that became and remains influential to this day. Thrash's Big Four -- Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer -- are rightfully credited as having the biggest impact on the genre, but it has often been said that should that Big Four could be expanded to the Big Five or Big Six, with the addition of Testament and Exodus. After multiple line-up changes over a career spanning more than three decades, Exodus still puts out relevant metal, especially now that that form of music has experienced a bit of a renaissance. (Anthrax, High On Fire, Municipal Waste and Holy Grail are sharing the bill on this Metal Alliance Tour stop.)
Once good friends with the A$AP crew, SpaceGhostPurrp is frequently credited with engineering the moody, atmospheric aesthetic that the group has capitalized on. Purrp relishes the darkness, and he manages to tell a lot about himself by revealing very little. His music is deeply introspective and bleakly isolationist, which further informs his sinister tone. His aggressive lyrics are, in one respect, played out and worn, but the overall effect is surprisingly sophisticated and fresh. Purrp's debut album, Mysterious Phonk: The Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp, is off the beaten path, but his earlier music sounds at times like it was recorded on an airport runway, and he creates effects that don't seem possible.
In contrast to the deafening blog-shouting that accompanied the Cold War Kids' 2006 debut, 2011's release of their third LP, Mine Is Yours, prompted little more than a squeak. Once largely dismissed as simpering riders of a long-since-crashed wave of toothless indie pop, the Kids got older and slipped into a larger mainstream; the disc was a studio-polished radio-pop album. For the most part, they've abandoned what little menace they held to begin with, which doesn't sound like much of an endorsement -- but this seems like the place they belonged all along. Whereas before his voice sounded thin and skittish, Nathan Willett actually sounds at home among these arching melodies and sailing guitars. The Kids are slated to release Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, their fourth studio album, the same day they play the Gothic.
Jason Pierce formed Spiritualized after the split of his previous band, the influential and fuzzily psychedelic Spacemen 3. In the move, Pierce shed most of the jagged, cutting guitar tones of his old group and went much further into dreamy atmospherics. Spiritualized's full-length debut, 1992's Lazer Guided Melodies, served as a template for much of the space rock put out in the decades that followed. Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, from 1997, nodded to the R&B leanings that help shape the core of Pierce's sensibilities, as well as the influence of 13th Floor Elevators and the Velvet Underground's proto-drone masterpiece White Light/White Heat. Live, Spiritualized is able to create an intimate yet otherworldly experience.
Singer, novelist, actor, screenwriter and film composer Nick Cave, a restless man to be sure, is now back with his old mates, the Bad Seeds, with their fifteenth studio album, Push the Sky Away, which came out in February. In schizo contrast to the cacophonous hellfire of Cave's Grinderman project, this Seeds outing finds Cave working his relatively pensive mode in an excellent batch of songs whose stately string, piano and guitar settings sneakily couch all that Cave-ish sinister aggression in florid loveliness -- a more, um, "mature" approach to the fine-detailing of Cave's perpetual dilemmas regarding the will, thrill and chill of love. While that all sounds quite adult and respectable, this is Nick Cave we're talking about, so be prepared for something perhaps a bit ... explosive.
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