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Monday, June 15 Alien Ant Farm The Slidebar From their popular "Smooth Criminal" alternative rock cover in 2001 to their newly released their fifth album Always and Forever, Alien Ant Farm has proven that alt-metal rock can be catchy even for the most casual listener. The new album contains songs with heart-racing tempos and the rage factor, yes, but there are also rock ballads that declare love and inspiration. Take "American Pie," for example, where vocalist Dryden Mitchell sings, "Every day I pledge allegiance to my girl, 'cause you're the reason my sun rises in the West." Awww. Even with such intense instrumentation in most of the tracks, too, the messages remain sweet, like in "Homage" where Mitchell notes all of the musicians who have gotten him through rough times. If Alien Ant Farm had a particular audience in mind when writing Always and Forever, we'd guess it was for the listener who enjoys experiencing energizing sounds, impressive instrument-playing, and thoughtful lyrics all at once. (Kristine Hoang)
Action Bronson The Observatory Here's the skinny on rotund rapper Action Bronson: he's a culinary enthusiast by day and an MC by night, recording fastidiously well-worded tracks with the precision of Ghostface or Kool Keith. Every studio rat needs their leisure pursuits--Lil Wayne has his skateboarding; MF Doom has his masks--but Bronson's are uniquely childlike. This is a man who rhymes about butterscotch (no, that's not a euphemism) and pizza toppings. On record, Bronson favors weird, wonky production that leaves just enough breathing room for his tales of dining misadventure, which outline the following statement of purpose: to shut shit down at the food court, and tell every caterer they're the one for him. (MT Richards)
Tuesday, June 16
Nipsey Hussle The Observatory Last year, it seemed as though Nipsey Hussle was at a career crossroads. While his mixtapes and guest spots had people predicting big things, the rapper was in danger of becoming known for his guest spots and underground work rather than for parlaying his great talents into widespread fame. Yet with the 2014 release of his eighth official mixtape, Crenshaw (a compilation featuring guests including Rick Ross, Dom Kennedy and Slim Thug), Hussle once again reminded fans why they became enthralled with him in the first place. With Nip Hussle the Great: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, both released on iTunes around the same time as Crenshaw, the 28-year-old put himself back on the path to mainstream fame that many foresaw for him. Add this to the release of his ballyhooed debut solo effort, confidently entitled Victory Lap, and it's clear that Hussle is on his way. See him Tuesday night at the Observatory. (Daniel Kohn) Wednesday, June 17
Rhye The Observatory Rhye's Robin Hannibal has a way with vocalists. As the mastermind behind not only Rhye but also Quadron, the Danish-born, Los Angeles - based Hannibal creates soundtracks for seduction. On Rhye's debut, Woman, the title is the focus of these compositions - that is, the complete disarming and disrobing of the same. Woman draws from any sounds that lend themselves to sensuality: soft R&B beats, swooning strings, sultry vocals. On "One of Those Summer Days," Michael Milosh's sublime, androgynous voice is supported by a summery saxophone. In contrast, "Hunger" is more upbeat but keeps the seduction goal in mind. It's the sweeping strings of "Open" and the swooning grooves of "3 Days" that close the deal.
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Friday, June 19
The Misfits The Observatory What a long, weird trip it's been for horror punk peddlers The Misfits since the 1982 release of their debut album Walk Among Us. The album, which unleashed the New Jersey group's penchant for horror movie themes, monsters, 1950s science fiction and abrasive punk and metal stylings, would open the doors for exposure to wider audiences. But, as the story often goes, conflicting views and disagreements led to the demise of their original line-up, with members sprouting their own musical projects. For three nights at the Observatory, The Misfits, which currently includes only one original member Jerry Only, will be revisiting their classic studio material, from Static Age to Earth A.D., and tonight, of course, Walk Among Us. Also on the setlist: the group's greatest hits. (Aimee Murillo)