GOGOL BORDELLO Need proof of the lasting and wide-reaching influence of punk? Look no further than Gogol Bordello, a New York-based ensemble mixing blitzkrieg, three-chord hardcore with traditional Balkan music. Strangely enough, it’s a totally natural combination. Or it is in the hands of leader Eugene Hutz. Listening to bootlegs of seminal rebels such as the Birthday Party and Einsturzande Neubauten while growing up in Ukraine, Hutz initially formed the group to perform at Russian weddings after relocating to New York, but it didn’t take long with the band to evolve into the sonic carnival it is today. Bridging the gap between CBGB and Eastern Europe, the group brings a raging, circus-like experience to the live stage, combining the visual presentation of a hyperactive stage-play with the manic, celebratory insanity of the greatest bands to rock dingy nightclubs across the globe. No wonder they’re touring with perennial weirdos Primus. Gogol Bordello opens for the newly resurgent alt-rock power trio at the Hollywood Palladium on Dec. 6.
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TUSSLE San Francisco’s Tussle was born in 2001 in the Bay Area underground brandishing a grab-bag of sounds: everything from dub and Krautrock to techno, electro, post-punk and musique concrete. Initially building their rep as a top-notch dance act by playing art spaces and basement parties around the city, the band released its debut full-length Kling Klang in 2004. From there, the group’s indescribable — but indelibly groove-oriented — music spread outward, earning them remixes from members of Matmos and Death Comet Crew and complimentary paragraphs from tastemaking zines such as Vice, who described their music as “writhing junkyard disco so limber your spine may spontaneously dissolve.” With the recently released Telescope Mind receiving similar praise, Tussle is continuing to move steadily up the indie ranks. Get ready for some spontaneous spine-melting as the band comes to the Echo in Los Angeles on November 26.
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Stones Throw Tenth Anniversary Most independent labels barely make it out of their first year, let alone survive to ten. This fact makes the tenth anniversary of visionary underground hip-hop imprint Stones Throw something particularly worth celebrating. Started in 1996 by vinyl-obsessed NorCal DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw is currently home to some of the most progressive, groundbreaking emcees and producers in the game today. Among the upper echelon of those geniuses is Madlib (pictured), the shape-shifting rapper/beatsmith who now bases himself in Los Angeles but was born and bred right here in Oxnard. His vast well of musical knowledge spills over into all his production work, layering well-chosen samples atop each other to create some of the funkiest grooves around. Joining him and label founder PB Wolf on the road for the Chrome Children Tour marking a decade of Stones Throw is J. Rocc of world renowned turntable crew the Beat Junkies and lyrical legend Percee P. All will be in attendance at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles on Nov. 17 to reflect on the ten years that was and to begin paving the path for the ten years to follow.
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Rocky Dawuni & the Revelation Project
Praised by one media outlet as “Ghana’s Bob Marley,” Rocky Dawuni emerged as a potent star on the African reggae scene in 1996. Melding dub, Afro Beat, hip-hop, traditional African rhythms and, of course, reggae, Dawuni’s debut, The Movement, heralded the arrival of a fresh talent with a high musical acumen and strong social conscience. Four albums into his career now and Dawuni is just beginning to earn the exposure in the United States that he deserves. Called “infectious” by influential KCRW music director Nic Harcourt and “addictive and powerful” by the BBC, the highly spiritual, heavily positive Dawuni brings an intense energy and striking groove to his stage performances that can move and excite even the most docile American reggae audiences. Be in that audience when Rocky Dawuni & the Revelation Project will into the Malibu Inn along the Pacific Coast Highway on Nov. 8.