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Monday, October 21
Phantogram The Observatory New York duo Phantogram are a revelation, mixing in ecstatic hip hop beats with soft synthesizer and hypnotizing psychedelic pop guitar riffs. Sara Barthel and Josh Carter both provide vocals on their tracks, which anchor all the sounds together with romantic, yet melancholy lyrics. Their first full length album Eyelid Movies best exemplifies this, putting on full display the depth of Phantogram's eclectic range of musical influences. Their follow up Nightlife continues in the same ecstasy-laden vein, with reflections of shoegaze. Fall in a trance tonight with Phantogram at the Observatory. (Aimee Murillo)
Tuesday, October 22
7th Annual Rocktober Costume Concert House of Blues Anaheim Got a ghastly over-the-top Halloween costume that's just begging to be worn before the big party weekend? Acropolis Records gets the festivities started early this season with their 7th Annual Rocktober Costume Concert at the House of Blues on Tuesday night. Brush out that wig and get those appendages glued on just right--Halloween deserves more than just one night of wicked celebrating. In the Main Hall, rock out to such "spooky" bands as My Own Ghost, The Resurrectionists, Sons of Guns, Faceless Angels and more--then, on the Rose Terrace Patio (re-dubbed the EDM Patio), get down to DJs Black Magic, Bad Birdy, NuModern, PUMA, and, of course, many more. The night crescendos in a costume contest--we just hope your getup includes dancing shoes. (Erin DeWitt)
STRFKR The Glass House Though they tread in the same musical territory as bands like MGMT, Portland's STRFKR separates itself from the digital players with a uniquely sweet sound. Founded in 2007, this dance-pop quartet quickly grabbed the attention of ad agencies who've used the band's catchy tunes in several commercial spots, including one for Target that dared to ask why Pepto Bismol is pink. Rank consumerism aside, we adore this band--they're just that good. The 2010 track "Julius" features STRFKR at its best with vacillating waves of digital sound punctuated by what is best described as danceable Morse-code signals. The endorphin-releasing melody demonstrates that while their musical peers are concerned with how they look on the dance floor, STRFKR is more focused on the joy of dancing. (Brandon Ferguson)
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Thursday, October 24
Hanni El Khatib The Glass House Last we heard from Hanni El Khatib was his 2011 album release Will The Guns Come Out--and figuratively speaking, the guns came out blazing. So did El Khatib's soul, which he bore with acoustic love songs like "Wait Wait Wait" and a cover of "Heartbreak Hotel," alongside boisterous jams mixed with '60s fuzzy garage punk. With new album Head in the Dirt, El Khatib continues to fire up the blues engine, this time lacing his guitar with a touch of psychedelia and bridging the gap between soft Motown-esque love songs and rock n' roll hand jive beats for a more danceable listening experience. Opening for El Khatib are fellow energetic punk boys Bass Drum of Death, whose bluesy punk tracks are heralded by lo-fi vocals, distorted guitar and bass working together--or maybe against each other. (Aimee Murillo)
Alkaline Trio The Observatory Back in the early 2000s, the dark, cultish, catchy songs of Alkaline Trio held a special place among our mixed CDs--and though they may have faded a little bit from our current playlists of new music, they remain forever embedded in our hearts as a seminal angst-ridden, pop-punk band. But the band is as hard-working as ever, putting out an album every few years--in February, they released My Shame Is True, a 40-minute high-energy collection of tracks recorded with the help of musician/producer Bill Stevenson (Black Flag, Descendents). It's got more grit than the last few Trio records, but fans can still sink into that trademark sound of heartbreak and exuberance. See them at the Observatory this week with New Found Glory and H20. (Erin DeWitt)