XOXO: Mark your calendars

Sophia Rankin & The Sound

Mark your calendars…

Thursday, Oct. 28

Performing bolero, pop, cumbia and salsa, in addition to being the recipient of numerous international awards and distinctions, this Chilean firebrand is the most-streamed Chilean artist ever. La Chica de Rojo, Mon Laferte, with an emphasis on tear-jerking sentimentality, offers a taste of música cebolla. At Rialto Theater. With Flor de Toloache... Stalled at the precarious intersection between seductive fantasy and thorny reality (the foundation upon which the dream factory that is L.A. was erected), jangly surf-punks Egg Drop Soup “lash out at all the bullshit dreams” they so willfully chase. At Club Congress. With Lucky Baby Daddy and Female Gaze... 

Friday, Oct. 29

Emerging from the underbelly of Los Angeles’ South Bay, the Circle Jerks debut release Group Sex (1980)—a breakneck collection of 14 songs (totaling just 15 minutes), featuring gems “Live Fast Die Young” and “World Up My Ass”—is a hardcore punk tour de force. With appearances in Penelope Spheeris’ documentary Decline of Western Civilization (1981) and Alex Cox’s cult classic film Repo Man (1984) immortalized this band of misfits in the pantheon of all-time punk rock greats. Running “Wild in the Streets” after a decade-long touring hiatus, Circle Jerks fire off a Golden Shower of Hits. At Rialto Theater. Flanked by The Adolescents and Negative Approach... With a voice smooth like “Henny & Ginger Ale,” Mayer Hawthorne attributes his early musical education to his hippie dad. Growing up in Michigan, at breakfast in-between scoops of Cap’n Crunch, his father would spin records by Motown legends. Hawthorne’s old man would edify, “You hear him singing there? That’s David Ruffin.” A young Hawthorne absorbed it all. Drawing from a deep well—after DJing in clubs during the height of hip-hop, recording nine studio albums and receiving a Grammy nod—Hawthorne has bridled at the notion of being purely a “throwback” artist. Hawthorne also cites Detroit rapper/producer J Dilla, Norwegian singer-songwriter Hanne Hukkelberg, and genre-defying Santigold, as significant influences. His latest release, Rare Changes (2020), a collection of recent singles, is dedicated to “the brave people of planet earth who are fighting for change.” With renewed vigor, Mayer Hawthorne returns. At Club Congress. With India Shawn... 

Saturday, Oct. 30

Depicting street life in gritty detail, slowly building Hitchcockian tension and suspense with his well-measured flow, this Detroiter’s lyrics convey a world-weariness that seems to emanate from the Rust Belt itself; seeped into its water, soil, and poverty-stricken streets. Following 2020’s critically acclaimed collaboration, The Price of Tea in China, with The Alchemist (whose minimalist production strikes a potent chemistry with James’ unflinching narratives), Boldy James presents Bo Jackson (2021). At 191 Toole... According to Guinness World Records, Carl Terrell Mitchell is recognized as the fastest rapper on the planet. No joke. This mad chopper can spit out 598 syllables in 55 seconds. Twista performs his greatest hits. At Club 4th Avenue. With HardEarnCash... Employing costumes, makeup and props to set off a lush, ’80s-influenced soundscape, Drab Majesty is methodical experiment in the identity of creativity layered atop a darkwave/dream pop/goth/shoegaze project. Its humble origins trace back to Andrew Clinco’s bedroom (2011) where he began to write and record. With alarm, Clinco recalls, “Listening back I just didn’t feel like I was listening to myself. It sounded like someone else.” Insisting that his musical inspiration is received from an other-worldly source, this preternatural experience gave birth to his alter ego, Deb Demure, an imposing 6’4” harlequinesque figure. Musical conduits, Drab Majesty release “Oxytocin.” At Hotel Congress (plaza). With Body of Light... An accomplished multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, Sophia Rankin released her first solo recordings while attending the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music. On Too Close To The Riptide (2021), she expands from a solo artist to a band leader, exploring themes of love, mourning, new beginnings and acceptance. Up-and-comers Sophia Rankin & The Sound reach far beyond their folk roots. At MotoSonora Brewing Company... Led by maestro José Luis Gomez, the mighty Tucson Symphony Orchestra performs a program featuring Ludwig van Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat major and Sergei Prokofiev’s: Overture on Hebrew Themes. At Tucson Symphony Center...

Sunday, Oct. 31: Halloween!

Equally comfortable “mopping up the tears on the barroom floor” while crooning a ballad as he is veering off the rails on a firewater-fueled, honky-tonk hellride, this country outlaw hasn’t released an album of original material since 2010’s The Guitar Song. Jamey Johnson recently told Rolling Stone: “I only want to put out an album if it’s going to be good, something that I want to go out and play every night.” To fill the space in between, Johnson finds satisfaction on the road. “It’s almost like that little two-hour session on stage has taken the place of making a record for me. It’s a new set. We don’t do the same stuff in Virginia that we do in North Carolina,” Johnson says. “By the time I get to California, we’re practically a rock band.” Live and “In Color,” Jamey Johnson is still “Mowin’ Down the Roses.” At Rialto Theater... 

Monday, Nov. 1

Constantly being advertised, your life commercialized and disguised as happiness in pills and potions, fancy threads and cars in motion. –Excerpt from “Revolution” by Heartless Bastards 

Austin’s Heartless Bastards are anchored by Erika Wennerstrom’s gnarled voice. On A Beautiful Life (2021), her observations on living in the age of instant gratification fan the flames of contemplation. “It’s so easy to get caught up in material goals prioritized by our society and the every-man-for-himself mentality of late-stage capitalism,” Wennerstrom says of the album’s central theme. “That way of thinking presents a false idea. It’s so important that we ask ourselves what it truly means to have a beautiful life?” The revolution begins in our minds. Breaking a mold that’s ages old, Heartless Bastards think twice. At 191 Toole. With Valley Queen... A microgenre of electronic music, vaporwave is defined by its slowed-down, chopped and screwed samples of smooth jazz, elevator, R&B and lounge music from the 1980s and ’90s. It rose in reaction to economic and social forces: Globalization, runaway consumerism, and manufactured nostalgia. In 2016, Esquire declared that this exploration of anti-consumerist music died the way it lived. One of the movement’s leading lights, George Clanton, carries the torch. At Club Congress. With Magdalena Bay and Negative Gemini... 

Tuesday, Nov. 2

Rising from the ashes of Shoreline Mafia (a now defunct hip-hop crew that evolved out of L.A.’s graffiti scene), rapper OhGeesy enters the next level of his career with the release of GEEZYWORLD (2021), his Atlantic Records debut. Pitchfork hails the album as “a quintessential L.A. rap record.” With a nod to Dr. Dre’s legendarily tight production style, sonically the album is “as crisp as a freshly printed $100 bill.” Lyrically, Geesy doesn’t stray far, keeping to the tried and true: Sticky sex raps and chest-thumping braggadocio. Now, out on his first solo tour, selling out shows far outside of his Southern California base, Geesy is appreciative for “the love” he’s received from his “cult following.” The “Big Bad Wolf,” OhGeesy is ready to bring the bounce. At Rialto Theater... From humble beginnings busking on the streets of Tokyo back in 2012, this tight-knit group bonded over their shared passions. Japanese shredders Kikaguku Moyo explore space and psychedelia. At Hotel Congress (plaza). With Los Esplifs and Mute Swan... 

Wednesday, Nov. 3

In stark contrast to Japanese Breakfast’s 2016 debut album Psychopomp (described by Michelle Zauner as a “dark and heavy-handed” confrontation of her mother’s death), 2021’s Jubilee is about joy. Combining synthesizer patches, piano and emotive strings with layers of triumphant horns, saxophones, and marching snares to create anthems of joyful noise, Zauner discovers new aspects to her expressiveness. Awash in trademark experimental lo-fi pop, on “Savage Good Boy” Zauner sarcastically examines the excesses of modern capitalism “I don’t want to weave politics into my music in a way that feels cheap, but I couldn’t make something that doesn’t comment on the reality we live in,” says Zauner. “...You need to push yourself to care. And that’s part of what this album is about. If you want change, in anything, you need to go to war for it.” In brilliant Technicolor flourishes, Japanese Breakfast sets the scene for a new era of hope. At Hotel Congress (plaza)... 

Thursday, Nov. 4

Originally known as “Homeless Johnson,” after his dad kicked him out of his house, this emo-rap vocalist came up with his stage name while living in a ’94 Corolla. Johnson named his 2015 debut album in honor of his car. With “imperialist privilege and twinkle” in their eyes, Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers are out for Revenge. At 191 Toole. With Nat Lefkoff and Silk Animus... 

Until next week, XOXO...

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