by Brad Roberts
A couple of heady shows last weekend really primed me to get out and see more this week. Joanna Newsom (at right) very easily knocked my head off Friday night at The Orpheum. The extraordinary range of her talent, amazing to observe up close. The music, impossible to categorize, is difficult and dense but the rewards are enormous. Rob Crow's Gloomy Place on Saturday evening at The Echo tried to put it back on but they sounded so good I was a goner. It was everything anyone who has been mourning the loss of Pinback could have hoped for. The pounding, throbbing bass lines are all there, topped by the bouyant melodies and Rob's virtuoso guitar playing and sturdy and flexible vocals. His voice is in great shape. The lyrics are dark and earnest and imbued with a bracing honesty, a product of his recent voyage of self-discovery. His five-piece band plays with equal dedication and the results sounded just as good as the recent record, You're Doomed. Be Nice., which they played most of. Also pulling material from his two solo albums, it was great to hear some of these songs reworked for this new project.
Now to this week... The Hi Hat is making a name for itself by booking some fantastic shows, and on a regular basis. Winter are on the schedule for Wednesday night, along with Billy Changer. And in the coming weeks they'll be presenting Fakers and Haunted Summer. Emerson Star wrap up their highly lauded residency at Harvard and Stone, and they put an extra exclamation point on their month by appearing at Bootleg Bar on Monday as part of the Fell Runner residency.
I have my Feed Your Head show on Saturday night and I'm excited to be presenting Gregg Garvey and his new back up band, as I have featured his solo act any number of times. A talented singer/songwriter on his own, he now has the opportunity to expand his sound outward.
Also on Saturday night, Field Music return to L.A., for the first time since 2010, to play at The Roxy. I was a fanatical fan back then, when I saw them at Bootleg and at an in-store at Amoeba, where we had a few conversations and I found them to be as accessible as they were nice. Their inventive, unique musical voice remains as distinctive as ever.