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This Week in Live Music: 5 Shows Worth the Price of Admission (and Surcharges)

James Murphy

James Murphy DJs at Public Works on Friday. Get there early.

Nothing to report here. Plenty going on down here though…

Japandroids, The Fillmore, Monday

This is what two guys do when all they have is an electric guitar and a set of drums. They turn it up, and they get busy. That’s how the Vancouver duo known as Japandroids has made its mark. Pretty simple. Their show at the Independent earlier this year was an exercise in, well, exercise. The music video for “The House That Heaven Built” (see below) pretty much sums it up. Expect more sweat at Monday’s Fillmore show, and please don’t resist the call of the mosh pit. 

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Ben Gibbard, Palace of Fine Arts, Tuesday

It’s easy to dismiss Ben Gibbard as a face and a brand now, but the Death Cab For Cutie frontman has been making all the right moves in his 15+ year career. He’s taken his band from way-under-the-radar indie act to a major label success, without sacrificing much, if anything at all in terms of artistic gumption. He’s in solo mode at the moment, supporting an album called Former Lives, which could reference any number of personal highlights and lowlights in Gibbard’s life. But that’s not what it’s about, or so he said in a recent interview with the Seattle Times: “If a listener is trying to connect the series of dots in my life, they may not even have the right dots, and they aren't going to get it even remotely accurate." 

Tame Impala, The Fillmore, Thursday

The spirit of The Beatles is alive and slightly mutated in Tame Impala. The Australian psych-rockers borrow the warped, lollygagging riffs from decades ago, without any impulse to “update” the sound — ‘cause, hell, what was wrong with the Beatles? At the core of the sound is multi-instrumentalist/singer Kevin Parker, who handles the lion’s share of the writing and recording. He’s notorious for his near-OCD attention to detail, and this interview he gave to the Chicago Tribune is a glimpse into his tireless work philosophy. He also hints at the concept behind the latest Tame Impala record, Lonerism, a stunning trip into the psychology of human interactions and their limits. Tune in and trip out. 

James Murphy DJ Set, Public Works, Friday

So wait, let me get this straight. James Murphy broke up LCD Soundsystem because he was sick of the touring life and didn’t want to dig himself an early grave. Yet he’s been touring in solo mode, DJing around the world ever since (including upcoming gigs on the holy-shit-this-is-a-real-thing S.S. Coachella, an appropriate place for the quasi-retiree)? Can some major music festival just write him a check to get the band back together already? I can’t pretend they’re not meant to be together at all times. In the meantime, don’t expect any LCD fare in his DJ set. Expect plenty of hi-def beats and some old-fashioned ooonce-ooonce.

The Faint, Regency Ballroom, Saturday

Speaking of early 2000s dance rock, you remember the Faint, yes? Dance Macabre ring a bell? That tour de force dance rock album from the early 2000s, the one with caffeinated hooks like the elastic spasms of “Glass Dance.” Same went for “Call Call,” from Blank-Wave Arcade, with its ridiculously simple but extraterrestrial key riff. Ten-plus years later and the guys still have all the energy required to keep up with their own songs from those early albums (they'll be playing Dance Macabre in its entirety on Saturday). They proved it at L.A.’s FYF fest earlier this summer. Seefoyoself…

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@ChrisTrenchard