Tonight, Long Beach's Blue Café features four bands kicking things into gear. The Junk, the Crazy Squeeze and Smogtown will all be doing their respective things-one definitely can't fault the Crazy Squeeze in particular for going right ahead and calling themselves "the pub-rock masterpiece" on their webpage. But Costa Mesa's Cat Party might be the best reason of all to attend, with their "Heartache Over Headache" single newly released and kicking out some jams in a deeply energetic '80s post-punk style. (Given how rapidly a band like Interpol became a parody of itself it's great to see newer bands show them up.)
Also on Friday in Long Beach, Taller Sur perform as part of their regular first Friday of the month series at the Viento y Aqua Coffeehouse. Growing out of initial low key jam sessions, the four piece act, with members originally from Mexico and Ecuador, blend musics and inspirations from their backgrounds with low key roots touches from across the US, making it all more of a truly all-American sound than most bands who might claim the name would allow for. Besides, anyone who claims Mercedes Sosa as a source of inspiration has the right idea.
Saturday brings the return of School of Seven Bells to the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, after a memorable performance there the previous year. One of our featured artists in this week's music section, the three piece (now a touring quartet with the addition of a live drummer) have won considerable praise for their fusion of shoegaze-inspired sonics, a relentless electronic underpinning and some simply beautiful singing courtesy of sister Aly and Claudia Reheza. Guitarist Ben Curtis lets his instrument do the talking for him on stage and the end result, as you can see here, is breathtaking:
Down the road a bit that evening-if the 5 Freeway's a road-Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are doing, well, exactly what they've been doing for years at the Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre. It's a sound that's almost beyond criticism at this point, and if Petty's going to go to his grave wishing he was performing with all of his musical heroes out in California around 1969 or so then you can't knock him for not merely trying to live the dream but doing his damnedest to make his own mark. Somewhere, right now, there's a car on the road with this playing on the radio:
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Also on Saturday, Thee Spectors, along with the even more inspiringly named The Mission Creeps, will be tearing it up at the Juke Joint in Anaheim, all while no doubt hoping you'll be along to rock out in appropriately garage/surf/punk/rockabilly fashion. As the intentional misspelling gives away, Thee Spectors are happily obsessed with the demi-mythic period that prompted the release of the Nuggets compilation and every other archival release that followed. They're always dressed in black and their lead singer mentions having been lucky enough to meet the late Lux Interior, which is about all you need to know.
Sunday finds another iteration of the duo approach to rock and roll arriving-Matt and Kim, armed with piano and drums rather than power chords (at least of the strummed variety), will be showing up at the Glass House in Pomona. If they share a fondness with Erykah Badu for going to somewhere famous and filming a video via public nudity then one wonders why they weren't on the tour with her but perhaps next time through. Meantime they've got a new album appearing a few weeks so don't be surprised to hear this at the show: