CocoRosie The story goes that CocoRosie, two sisters who absolutely hated each other until adulthood, sprang from a sibling peace accord forged in an apartment in Montmartre. There, the ladies riffed on their brand of howling, whispering, childlike chants, showing shades of Sierra Casady’s classical operatic training and aided by the great acoustics that only a Parisian bathroom can provide. Three albums in, they have perfected their craft, a brand of musical expression that runs the gamut from theatrical to hip-hop. The CocoRosie girls are the sort to create a deep mythology for their album art and refer to the accompanying CD as a beautiful and dreamy — if slightly twisted — starlet. The Adventures of Ghosthorse & Stillborn, their most recent record, uses as a touchstone the African folk song-infused “Rainbowarriors,” frenetically building to the morose piano ballad “Houses,” all punctuated by beat-boxing and what might best be described as the sound angels make when you strangle them. CocoRosie performs at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles on April 29.
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Klaxons Klaxons are three skinny London lads in tight jeans who play what journalists across the pond have gleefully tagged “new rave.” It is a label meant to conjure images of glowsticks and strobe lights — staples of the group’s live shows — and early ’90s Madchester scenesters like Happy Mondays and Stone Roses. But on Myths of the New Future, more often than not, the band sounds like a lot more. Things start off with the one-two thump of “Two Receivers” and “Atlantis to Interzone” and the album’s standout track, “Golden Skans,” featuring singer Jamie Reynolds’ best vocal melody. Guitars are de-emphasized in favor of layered noise, and the record becomes a frenzied concoction of air-raid sirens, glorious hooks and huge, danceable drums. And if that isn’t enough to justify the hype, they have glowsticks and strobe lights! Their stateside appearance, at the EX-PLX in Echo Park, is an opportunity to catch the group at a small venue the size of which they may never see again.
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The Aggrolites Los Angeles quintet the Aggrolites play music that’s as tough as they look. It’s what they call “dirty reggae,” raw, street-level rocksteady slapped with a heavy dose of gritty urban soul and funk. Imagine James Brown fronting Toots & the Maytals. Or Toots Hibbert hollering over Booker T & the MGs. Suffice to say, these five dudes, each with experience in different trad-ska and reggae bands, know how to throw down. The group came together to perform on a tribute record for legendary Jamaican vocalist Derrick Morgan. They enjoyed each other’s company so much they decided to write some originals and began performing their classic-yet-utterly-L.A. version of island music at clubs around the city, where they quickly amassed a rude-boy following and attracted the attention of Hellcat Records, a subsidiary of Epitaph. With their self-titled label debut, these aggro misfits are continuing to testify for the old school while putting their own stamp on some durable, time-tested riddims. It’s bound to be a rugged set at the EXPLX in Echo Park on April 13.
The EXPLX, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 413-8200
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The Thermals Members of Portland, Oregon’s the Thermals used to be in a twee-folk duo. Now they play rough’n’tumble punk, but with an energy that often screams “fun” rather than “fuck the world.” But by the time the band reached last year’s The Body, the Blood, the Machine, they discovered their inner political anger. The album, released on indie giant Sub Pop, features anti-conservative, anti-religion and anti-war rants yelped by frantic singer Hutch Harris. Formerly a mess musically, the group has tightened up it’s sound, backing the lefty yelling with more muscle than they were able to muster on their previous efforts, More Parts Per Million and Fuckin A, when they were still squeezing out of their peppy, poppy, lo-fi roots. Not that the hooks have gone anywhere: the Thermals still know how to burrow into your brain, and that’s where they belong. They play the Echo in — where else? — Echo Park on April 6.