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Tuesday, May 13
In the Valley Below Constellation Room Los Angeles Duo In The Valley Below have a harmonious union between their two members Jeffrey Jacobs and Angela Gail, so it's surprising to know that the two only got to know each other fairly recently; according to the group, both met years into their adulthood from mutual social circles after Gail moved to LA from Michigan. Their separate musical upbringings have united to form a soulful collaboration characterized by a lush, melodic pop sound and soft vocals. But listen deeper past the danceable nature of their music and you'll be entranced by the lyrics as they sing emotional songs about love, heartbreak and, in their own words, "sex, crime and religion." But hey, they still keep it light and fun, which you'll be able to see tonight when they play The Constellation Room in Santa Ana. (Aimee Murillo)
The Mercy Beat The Constellation Room Los Angeles based trio The Mercy Beat maintain an air of secrecy. They haven't gone on record with their full names, and not much about them is known, other than they're transplanted from New York, Hong Kong, and Hawaii, and that they're named for the British Invasion-era Liverpool music newspaper Mersey Beat. (Can you can believe tabloid-format music rags once existed?) Their debut, self-titled EP comes out June 17 on the French label Oskar Recordings. But you know what? The first song, "Sweet," is so sublime that we won't hold their secrecy against them. With its buoyant beat and shimmering synths, it feels like summer. (Ben Westhoff)
Wednesday, May 14
Iggy Azalea The Observatory Rapper Iggy Azalea grew up in Tinytown, Australia, where her grandma made her custom outfits and she did her own hip-hop routine at the school dance, and everyone else thought she must have been insane. But then she moved to the USA all by herself at age 16 and clawed her way from those initial WTF? years to a 2012 XXL cover--she was the first woman and first non-American to get in one of those "Freshman Class" shots--and now after a long delay, her major label debut The New Classic drops. It's a very determined album, and a very Iggy release: ambitious and intense, powered by her reverse-engineered Southern sound and sheer unflagging charisma. And knowing Iggy, it's prelude to something truly unique in the near future. (Chris Ziegler) Thursday, May 15
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Primal Fear City National Grove of Anaheim Since its inception in 1997, Primal Fear has steadily proved to be one of the preeminent and most popular metal bands to emerge from the head-banging hub of Germany. Their first few albums won plaudits from fans and contemporaries alike, proving not only was the band was here to stay, but also a genuine force in the power- and speed-metal communities--there's even much debate within Primal Fear's fan base about the band's science fiction lyrical content. Despite a current lineup that only features band originators Ralf Scheepers and Mat Sinner, the group is as formidable as ever. Touring in support of its latest release, Delivering the Black, it looks like Primal Fear is doing something many metal bands have found difficult: become even more popular as the years go on. (Daniel Kohn)
Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs Alex's Bar Many people first became aware of Holly Golightly when she sang a charming duet, "It's True That We Love One Another," with Jack White on The White Stripes' 2003 Elephant. But the British songbird came to attention earlier as a member of one of Billy Childish's garage combos, Thee Headcoatees. Since then, she's moved away from garage rock into rootsy Americana, joined by her longtime accompanist, Lawyer Dave. The duo's latest album, All Her Fault, alternates between energetic barnburners like "Can't Pretend" and such country-blues laments as "SLC." At times, their roots digging and slide guitars are mighty pleasin', but elsewhere the pair's cornpone accents and stylized, down-home affectations come across as studiously mannered instead of truly authentic. Former Morningwood chanteuse Chantal Claret adds considerable energy with her newfound R&B-infused sizzle and quick-stepping choreography. (Falling James)