Choke You Out

(Too) $hort order

Post-Pixies pop rock and very measured vocals from ex-Stay At Home Bomb (Alice Bag's band from a few years back) guitarist-gone-solo Lysa Flores to headline the Day of the Dead celeb at the Festival Hall in downtown Santa Ana, and then total '94-style horn punk from Las 15 Letras—ow, it's like I'm waking up back in the middle of some AP chemistry midterm—and total slurring rock and rule mess from Terremoto who are actually from Santa Ana but sound like they're from Japan circa the Comes and the Stalin.
The spirit of the Fuse! lives on but you'll need a paramedic to detect it. Plus, afterparty with the Rolling Blackouts, now and forever the best rock & roll going, and currently doing a Zep/Ray Davies/Elvis Costello thing just to keep their knuckles limber.

PLUS: West Indian Girl—named from the pharmaceutical aisle that christened Blue Cheer; personally I like my references cut with a little more rat poison but they're still broadly okay—claims a lot of good sixties psych-isms but really this sounds like U2 trying to be Ride, half of which explains why KCRW loves them and the other half explains why Detroit loves them; and you get to choose which is which. With Northern and Brett Bixby.

Cramps are the greeting card you get this time of year: mad Daddy and mad Mommy are doing just fine with that rarities record (How To Make A Monster 2XCD on Vengeance) but baby Billy Batemen has departed from the drums for aspirations unknown so back comes Harry Drumdini, the Cousin Oliver of the latter-day Cramps lineup, and back behind him comes White Zombie's Sean Yseult on bass, stealing the spot for which the moofy blonde from the Raveonettes surely made a stilted pass. Cramps are a franchise now, says my rideshare, but that's fine—I buy my ticket and I want my 60 minutes of slime. At the HOB.

AND: "My style's aggressive as a pit bull terrier!" said the real K-Solo a long time back, and that was before he even started putting his crew the Sharpshooterz through paramilitary drill routines—is there harder on the boulevard? "I train with Ultimate Fighting dudes that will choke you out in under two minutes," he told allhiphop. "I'm good friends with Mike Tyson, too." He came up around all the golden age guys (he worked with EPMD before that split in half), but K-Solo is pure iron age: Edan called it fast rap but it's also pretty heavy, so I guess it's . . . Slayer? With Too $hort at a great show down at The Roc.

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BUT: Barney the dinosaur comes alive in ways Kiss or even Frampton never could and chokes you out in under two minutes at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center while your little kids just giggle and point and squeal, and then you are in hell.

Chicago-to-Whittier-and-back selector DJ Heather just checked in alongside similar spin-and-grin star DJ Colette on the latest House of Om Vol. 6 mix: included is "Picture of You," her self-released label debut that put her desultory sing/speak vox over a house-on-fire beat from the East Coast Boogiemen, probably her signature song and part of a set that takes her Chicago sound on ridiculously cosmopolitan/transcontinental trips to Istanbul and Ghent. But Saturday at Detroit for house/rhythm/soul/more Club Elevate's first anniv: happy birthday and congrats on the baby teeth and the superstar guests.

Technically it's the Zero Freshmen, since the last original guy—a hold-out more stubborn than the Japanese officer who fought World War Two in the Philippines all the way up to about 1982, which is battlefield tenure still shorter than the Final Freshmen finally clocked—retired in 1992 to an isolated barn in the Himalayas where he will never hear a human voice in harmony again. But this new Four Freshmen regime still drags in the raves, particularly from something called Downbeat magazine which I assume covers only the freshest hip hop mix tapes and which voted No Freshman the Best Vocal Group That Is Legally the Four Freshmen. But you know what they say: if it ain't broke, don't not charge money for people to listen to it. At Steamers for the strange and new.

Gustavo quit liking Aterciopelados when singer Andrea Echeverri had a kid, which he described as a "sellout"—that dude will choke you out in under two minutes if you don't watch it. But I guess he relented and he likes them again. Circle of life at JC Fandango.

Frank Lenz grabs from every guy who's made a name beyond a band: Neil Young for shaky vox and Elliott Smith for downer mood and orchestration ("Maybe heaven's better/I got no chance in hell . . . ") and Lou Reed for the complete VU-volution "Libertution," which sounds just fine by these sucker ears with a nice ugly solo flapping around in the middle. Hey, hey, bye-bye at the Prospector with reputed comer Ferraby Lionheart, off duty from slaying dragons or something. (Full disclosure: guy from OCW promotes this night. Fuller disclosure: but can you guess which one?)

PLUS: Modest Mouse on Johnny Marr at the Grove for two nights and two types of people.

Eagles of Death Metal: most decent journo-rock band since the Dictators? Yeah, sure, or same sense of humor anyway, and same affection for Little Richard—man, I accidentally broached a thesis. Give them an hour and they'll destroy your House of Blues. With Joan Jett for adult supervision!

Rappers skating isn't weird to anyone who spent a summer in LA (and/or heard a Murs record) and it's a lot better than skaters rapping—Muskabeats, what a sinker—but Lupe Fiasco is a smart guy who used that little bit of national "huh, what?" to shove a solid record into the hundred thousands. Savvy with good strategy—at the Galaxy, where Kanye West played a time or two, too.

PLUS: Kid Congo flappin' with his Pink Monkey Birds at Detroit; sun and fun with Sir Richard Bishop and Tara Jane ONeil at a rare Koo's show; Ray Parker too cold to hold at the Vault.

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