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Monday, July 6
The Appleseed Cast The Constellation Room Formally-local-now-Kansas-based band The Appleseed Cast seemed to always choose the bumpy road down their musical career path. Consider their seemly-endless rotation of group members, rumors of an expelled drummer (which were true) followed by a brief hiatus, a drop by financially belly-up record label Tiger Style, and just when they were getting back on their feet: a tour van and trailer-wrecking car crash. An easy road, it ain't been. But like the tiny seed that grows into a fruit-giving tree, this group proved undyingly resilient. The band's latest album, 2013's Illumination Ritual, was a welcome reminder that Appleseed Cast is still relevant--and still quite adapt at blending eclectic melodies and hooks, skipping from dream pop to ambient noise to quick-tempered rock. Don't miss their show tonight at the Glass House and remember why you loved them in the first place. (Erin DeWitt)
Wednesday, July 8
Heathers The Wayfarer While we love Winona Ryder forever, we've got to shine a light on a completely different Heathers-- that is, the indie alt-pop trio from Los Angeles. Heathers' music, according to their one-line Facebook bio is "LA babies yelling about their feelings," and when you hear singer Michael Francis sing the lyric, "You're the only good part of me," over and over in the song "Life is Elsewhere" well it's probably true-- but then, who can say they've never repeated that same angsty, tortured love refrain over and over about someone? Their new EP Tanker continues some of the group's shimmery, indie pop sound they've cultivated over the years. Check them out at The Wayfarer's tonight, and quadruple your indie pop-punk pleasure with a full line-up of stellar bands with Post Life, Canyons, and Fugue. (Aimee Murillo)
Thursday, July 9
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Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson Irvine Meadows Amphitheater Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson scared the Dockers off mainstream America in 1995 with his goth cover of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" and accompanying psychotic music video, and was subsequently blamed for the shooting deaths at Columbine High School a few years later, even though the shooters were not reportedly Manson fans. Plagued by numerous lawsuits and a controversial personal life, Manson weathered the bad press and continued to sell out tours and sustain a large and adoring fan base. Less shocking today than 20 years ago, he remains an anti-status-quo icon. See him alongside the artsy, angsty alt-rock of The Smashing Pumpkins at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater. (SR Davies) X The Observatory The good do not die young. Sometimes, the good and the great live on and on--and we should thank our punky stars they do. Such is the case with LA's best export ever: X. Still rocking with vigor and venom, John Doe, Exene Cervenka, DJ Bonebrake and Billy Zoom may be less trim and raven-haired (though Zoom's bleach is still intact), but there's certainly nothing else "less" about these icons. It might be the brilliant side projects (The Knitters), the exceptional solo shows (Doe and Cervenka), and the multiple guesting with other prime artists (Doe recently sang Patsy Cline songs on a bill with Shirley Manson and John C. Reilly) that keeps them upright and seemingly airtight, but whatever it is, they still kick ass. This week, they're taking up residency at the Observatory for four full album shows, starting at the beginning of their legacy with 1980's iconic Los Angeles on Thursday night. (SR Davies)
Stick to Your Guns Chain Reaction Hardcore rock never sounded more...well, empowering, than the way Stick to Your Guns does it. The band, who hails from Orange County itself, has a knack for blending aggressive instrumentation with raw, positive lyrics. On their newly released album Disobedient, for example, "Nobody" is about how vocalist Jesse Barnett turned his earlier struggles with fitting in into an opportunity to love himself more. The same call to self-acceptance goes with other songs on the album like "It Starts With Me" and "Nothing You Can Do to Me." Needless to say, Stick to Your Guns' latest tour is not just about the music but, rather, being human and how our acceptance of that can help us go beyond our limits. See the first of their three-night stint of full album shows at Chain Reaction where they'll be performing the album The Hope Division in it's entirety. (Kristine Hoang)