This Week in Live Music: Jack White, Boris, Sylvan Esso, and More


Much like Fauxchella season, LA’s increasingly institutional and influential FYF Music Festival acts as a westerly magnet for the most compelling acts in pop and independent music. The two-day festival goes down this weekend, and the Bay Area gets a few sneak peaks this week:

Wednesday: Boris at The Independent

Pop and decidedly non-pop things such as screamo and doom metal converge in the sound and discography of Japanese band Boris. The uber-prolific band embraces melody and its enemies at once, and the result is consistently fascinating.  Band member Takeshi recently explained how their creative process works to the Phoenix New Times. “Whatever you think about that, "pop" always appears out of our trial on unconscious level, both for melody and riff. Even though we play heavy stuff, it just "appears" unconsciously. Sometimes I felt uncomfortable with it though I can deal with it naturally now. I am not sure that pop music is conducive for experimentation, but that is what we have been influenced by.” The rest of the interview is worth a read.

Friday: Little Dragon at Fox Theater

Universally acclaimed lounge-electronica outfit Little Dragon keeps winning over fans and critics despite unconventional pop methods. The sonic universes they conceive are eerily familiar, parallel dimensions. As The New York Times put it, their latest album, Nabuma Rubberband trades “its austere electronic blueprints for 3-D renderings, making its music more approachable but no less eccentric.” Proceed with or without caution, but definitely proceed.

Friday and Saturday: Jack White and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

When did Jack White become the Kim Kardashian of rock? For reasons beyond our comprehension, logic, and kind-hearted sensibilities, we are now inundated by every detail of Jack White’s life, and I’m not sure anyone asked for anything other than his rock heroics. But here’s one piece of news worth digesting: Jack White just released an album called Lazaretto, and it’s 100% brilliant (ok, that last part is editorializing, but it’s basically a fact of the critical community).  

Friday: Four Tet/Jamie XX at 1015 Folsom 

What a power bill. Kudos to 1015 Folsom for booking one of the trail blazers of the late-'90s modern electronica movement AND one of today’s most daring electronica producers on the same marquee. Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden has long been regarded as a pioneer in the electronic arts, a forefather to Jamie xx’s generation of digital virtuosos. Jamie xx, who audiences likely know better from his work with the xx, has proven himself terrifyingly skilled and imaginative as a solo performer, mainly trafficking in minimal dubstep remixing, conjuring the bleak urban and subterranean landscapes of his native England at every turn.   

Saturday: Sylvan Esso at The Independent

Sylvan Esso’s opening set for tUnE-yArDs's Fillmore show this past spring is my early favorite for Show-Theftery of the Year. But that probably didn't surprise anyone familiar with the electro act’s onstage energy. Lead singer Amelia Meath’s interpretive dance electrifies each and every song (yes, even the slow bedroom jams), transforming otherwise mellow mood-pop into not-so-mellow bangers.

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