L.A. previews December 28-January 3: Sadistic Intent, Volto, Keneally-Musallam, Ovsepian-Binney New Year's Eve, Melvins-Redd Kross New Year's Eve.

Sat. Dec. 29 -- Ghostly subterranean L.A. death abstractionists Sadistic Intent (a really original and fascinating cabal) celebrate their 25th anniversary by recording a video. Wear your metallic pajamas. Also with Tombstoners, Maledict, Dark Deity, several more. At Kingsley Studio, 5176 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood 90029; 5:30pm; $25; 18+.

Sat. Dec. 29 -- Workers yearning for Tool can do just as well with drummer Danny Carey's Volto, jamming wild with guitarist John Ziegler, keyboardist Scott Kinsey and bassist Lance Morrison. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $25; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.

Sun. Dec. 30 -- Guitarist Mike Keneally has eclipsed his Zappa days by shredding with the illustrated (don't call it cartoon) metal band Dethklok, but he remains most at home spieling his own idiosyncratic brand of fusion, usually alongside guitarist Rick Musallam, like right here in a duo performance. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $20; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.

Mon. Dec. 31 -- LATE ADD: Sparkling pianist Vardan Ovsepian leads a coloristic 11-piece ensemble featuring sophisticated modern saxist David Binney. Food and midnight champagne included! At the Blue Whale on the third level of Weller Court Plaza, south of East First Street between South Los Angeles Street and South San Pedro Street, Little Tokyo 90012; 9pm-midnight; $60; parking $5 underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com; buy tickets here.

Mon. Dec. 31 -- Now here's a New Year's Eve that rocks: monster sludge and conceptual trix from The Melvins, plus high-spirited hard pop from Redd Kross, and DJs and all that party stuff, at a bastion of '20s Los Angeles class and '80s decadence. "Cocktails served at 8pm on the Mezzanine. Black dress attire preferred." I swear it says that. At the Alexandria Hotel, 501 S. Spring St., downtown 90013; $60; tickets here.

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Read Don Heckman’s jazz picks here and MoshKing's metal listings here. Read John Payne's plutonic Bluefat.com (featuring an interview with the late great Ravi Shankar) here.

A year ago, recognizing that the main purpose of television is to help you sleep, Congress enacted a law prohibiting commercials from being louder than the programs in which they are embedded. That law, the CALM (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act, went into effect December 13. Nothing will change unless you speak up, so the next time you're slammed awake by a commercial for loan sharks or boner pills, COMPLAIN HERE. Select the second-to-last option (Broadcast) on the first page, and the last option (Loud Commercials) on the second page. On the third page, be specific about the cable system, the channel, the advertiser and the time. Bookmark this FCC complaint site, cuz you'll be needing it. (You can use it against phone solicitors and other stuff, too.) Thank you, reader. And thank you, California Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Silicon Valley), the bill's sponsor.


I keep falling asleep on the couch during midnight movies . . . last nite it was "On the Waterfront," my fave flick ever. I couldn't figure out why . . . after all, one of my seizure meds discourages sleep even. Then I read your column and realized it was that damn law. No longer am I jolted awake for ads for the Trojan Twister and their haunting undertone that men aren't really necessary at all. And you know, I always did my best writing in the wee hours, invariably after being awoken by that delicious babe describing hideous malpractices that can be sued for. She talks so fast, and never blinks. Disturbing. And I don't even know what a vaginal mesh is. I'd turn off the TV and turn on the computer and out would come prose. No more. Now I just sleep, wake up, straighten up the house (I always straighten up the house), read some and go to bed, the real bed, and sleep again. No prose at all.

There goes my writing career.