This Week in Music: When L.A. Gave San Francisco a Gift, Part 2


The wake of L.A.’s FYF indie music extrava-cluster, which delighted SoCal music snobs over the weekend, is still being felt in the Bay Area this week. These five shows are only the crème de la crème of what’s coming through town:

Purity Ring, Bottom of the Hill, Monday

Good luck not developing an incurable addiction to Purity Ring. The Canadian duo’s sound conjures dark, foreign worlds of sound, where ghoulish sonic images appear out of nowhere and vanish before you realized they were ever there, like an interpretation of Inception dreams. Eerie synths bend and break in unexpected ways, and Megan James’ twee but tortured vocals exist within Corin Roddick’s helter-skelter electronica in a manner not unlike Karin Elisabeth Dreijer Andersson’s Fever Ray/The Knife projects. The artistic impulse is strong in these ones, as you can see here in some fairly raw footage from a recent live set.

Beirut, Fox Theater, Monday
This might be as close to Millennials ever get to embracing a type of music that could be defined as baroque, operatic or “Balkan Folk.” Zach Condon has hit the fringes of the mainstream with his Santa Fe, N.M.-based band by also incorporating elements of electronica and the idiosyncacies associated with the indie world. Basically, what that means is he doesn’t discriminate between genres when figuring out where to take a song, and that’s a damn refreshing thing to experience. His live shows have a rare element of cultural romance to them, a Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World quality we can chalk up to the melting pot of his musical output.

Gold Panda, Great American Music Hall, Monday
Erwin Panda, the brain and laptop virtuoso behind Gold Panda, has made a name for himself by mirroring the digitized compositional sophistication of artists such as Four Tet, Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada. Much as those acts did, Panda deftly experiments with algor-hymthmic beat formulas while exploring expansive, alien soundscapes. Having first gained notoriety remixing the work of contemporaries such as Bloc Party, Simian Mobile Disco, Health and The Field, Gold Panda takes a DJ’s approach to his own recordings, too. Sonic ideas are tinkered and tinkered again, until its unequivocally his.

Future Islands, The Independent, Tuesday

Indie pop isn’t a perfect descriptor for Baltimore’s Future Islands, mostly because Samuel T. Herring’s haunting vocals seem to transcend simple “pop” boundaries. By now, the band has released three fascinatingly dense albums, all with a clear vision in mind: Wave Like Home (2008), In Evening Air (2010) and On The Water (2011). Pay special attention to William Cashion’s moody bass lines, which are appropriately featured as dramatic interludes between Herring’s worn-down lyrical growls.

The Tallest Man On Earth, Fox Theater, Thursday

Many have called Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson a Bob Dylan reincarnate, and I won’t be the one to tell you that’s not a fair comparison. Dude’s got the same raspy wail, the same freewheelin’ demeanor and abandon, the same strummin’-and-pickin’-and-storytelling calling, the same thousand-mile stare into an abyss we mortals will never know. And like Dylan, his songs seem to come from some innate place where poetry and righteousness intersect, and the effect is consistently dizzying.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Greek Theatre, Friday
Believe it or not, this band exists right now, in the year 2012:

Doesn’t that warm your heart?


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