Beauty With Teeth: Superhumanoids

The ever-sharp Nitsuh Abebe recently made the argument in his Why We Fight column that beauty in music, often maligned as the hallmark of generic appeal, needn’t be linked to dullness every time. In a world where Kurt Vile and Cass McCombs exist, it’s a point that’s hard to deny. Not that I’d want to. I’ll happily chase your No Ages, Wavvess and Fidlars through the garages, basements and vegan outposts of Los Angeles till the day I die, but I’ll never stop swooning to the pretty stuff, and there’s a lot of it going around locally these days.

Expect future posts on folks like Luke Rathborne and House of Wolves, over whom Jeff Buckley’s ghost looms large and glorious, but for now, I just wanna give love to Superhumanoids, who are currently recording their LP debut to be released next year. That’s their recent EP, Parasite Paradise (Hit City U.S.A.), streaming below, but do yrself a favor and hit the jump to watch their videos, which are also rare and pretty and sometimes a little strange. Toothy beauty.

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L.A. Beat Scene’s TAKE Announces Alpha Pup LP, Gives Out Free ‘Incredibright’ MP3

TAKE on the titular mount?

Today, Alpha Pup Records — the Downtown L.A. label behind the Low End Theory club and numerous worthwhile beat scene releases — announced the long-awaited next full-length record from TAKE. Only Mountain will be released on April 20, and judging from the free MP3 the label’s sharing, it’ll be a roiling pot of old school IDM, ’90s R&B percussive elements, Dubstep bass-derived doom, and ethereal melodies. Download “Incredibright” below.

Free music: TAKE – “Incredibright” [MP3]

Live In LA: Radiohead Perform Haiti Benefit

And then there was this. On Thursday, the news traveled like wildfire across the dry digi-field that is the interwebs: greatest band in the world (why not?) Radiohead was to throw an impromptu Oxfam benefit raising money for Haiti’s recovery at a 1300-person theater in L.A. As one reporter pointed out, the band typically sells out multiple nights at the Hollywood Bowl, capacity 18,000. Covering for Spin, I bumped into Britt Daniel (Spoon) and Eric Wareheim (Tim & Eric) in line outside of the Fonda, but neither that nor a face-to-face with J. Timberlake (also in attendance) could have been more thrilling than hearing nearly half of OK Computer performed live. Read about it.

Thommy and Jonny, shot by Tim Norris

*The photo comes courtesy of LA Weekly shutterbug Timothy Norris. Music editor Randall Roberts wrote a great review of the show as well, which you should read, here.

Apocalyptic Urban Visions: E-40, Gil-Scott Heron

No words for this.

I had no words for this, but a second video tip-off from the Pedestrian, a.k.a. the good evangelist J.B. Best (check out the first two tracks on the Lala player, screen right), revealed a second gem in addition to the incredible new E-40 video. Eerily similar in its visual theme is the just-released clip from spoken word heavyweight Gil-Scott Heron. Two of the hip-hop’s biggest DNA-providers crossing paths in the night.

Recommended Rocking: The Airborne Toxic Event + Calder Quartet, Cold Cave + Nite Jewel

A short list of recommended L.A.-area shows for the coming week (plus videos for instant gratification). Click “details” for descriptions.

  • Region: Downtown
    Music: Airborne Toxic Event w/ Calder Quartet (plus surprises)
    Disney Hall on Friday, December 4
    (details at LA Weekly)
  • Region: Echo Park
    Music: Cold Cave, Nite Jewel
    The Echo on Sunday, December 6
    (details at LA Weekly)

Live in L.A.: Ben Gibbard, Jay Farrar Perform Kerouac Songs (on Spin)

Happy Monday. Last week I previewed the odd-but-good combo of Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service) and Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo), who are doing a handful of dates together in support of their Jack Kerouac-inspired new album, One Fast Move Or I’m Gone. Well, this week, I reviewed their full-band performance at El Rey. For Spin. And you can read it here. Also, Andrew Herrold took some great photos.

Q&A: The Incaluable Black of Fever Ray (+ vids)

Fever Ray, the solo project of The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson, really does seem otherworldly. Or perhaps “underworldly” might be more appropriate, considering the pagan themes and strange ritual that accompanies Andersson’s live show, which has grown to include a full band, “expensive high-tech lasers,” and loads of terrifying makeup. If you’re not familiar with the album, Fever Ray, refresh yourself here, then read this interview with Miss Andersson on the occasion of her debut U.S. tour.

Also, watch these videos (three more after the jump).

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