Fri. April 5 -- Golden Palominos-style country revivalism didn't die, it just got deeper and weirder, and singer Syd Straw puts on a more humorously intimate, deceptively ramshackle show than ever, her voice coming from a true place of heart and grit. At McCabe’s, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica 90405; 8pm; $20; (310) 828-4497; www.mccabes.com.
Fri. April 5 -- Rob Waller sings the most grounded hallucinations/recollections in modern country. Paul Lacques stabs the tightest left-handed guitar in the West. Behold I See Hawks in L.A. in this old-fashioned urban roadhouse. Rick Shea opens and sits in with the Hawks later. At Cinema Bar, 3967 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City 90036; 9pm; no cover; (310) 390-1328; thecinemabar.com.
Fri.-Sat. April 5-6 -- Brian Auger's Oblivion Express is more of a subway to three martinis than a hellbent steam engine, but the long-serving Brit keysman gonna git you there with guitarist Yarone Levey, bassist Les King, drummer Karma Auger and singer Ali Auger. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $20; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
Sat. April 6 -- Slumgum tenor saxist Jon Armstrong always seems to play just what you want to hear, full of unpretentious intelligence and rollin' good times, so he's bound to have a fun trip going with his Jazz Orchestra. 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; $15; parking $5 underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Sat. April 6 -- Hold on to your codpiece, because the Maidens of Metal Fest promises the best in femme heshing. Megadeth tribute band Shewolf closes; other entries include Harlequin, Lethal Fire, Eternal Awakening and five more. At Vex Art & Culltural Center, 5240 Alhambra Ave., East L.A. 90032; 6pm; $10; (800) 660-9015.
Sat. April 6 -- I always liked the heavy melodic songwriting of Soilwork more than I liked Bjorn Strid's sensitive singing, but hey, it's his band! The metallic Swedes just dropped their ninth album, the rather epic "The Living Infinite." Support arrives via former Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis, L.A. Latin croakers Bonded by Blood, Blackguard, Hatchet. At the Whisky, 8901 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; www.whiskyagogo.com; 5:30pm; $25 (sold out unless you have kontakts); (310) 652-4202.
Sun. April 7 -- When G.E. Stinson plugs his guitar into his FX rack, and Alex Cline pulls a special selection of gongs, chimes and drums out of his garage, you better believe you're going somewhere far, strange and wonderful. Stinson also participated in Cline's incredibly moving "For People in Sorrow," a reimagining of the Roscoe Mitchell landmark performed at the 2011 Angel City Jazz Festival. (An mp3 of the new Cryptogramophone release of "Sorrow" is available right now on Amazon for 2 bucks, believe it or not, though you're probably gonna want to buy the CD on site tonight.) AND: One of the world's most involving abstract acoustic guitarists, Jim McAuley, joins with electric guitarist Scott Fraser as Gongfarmer Duo, quietly unfolding inner universes. L.A.'s veteran musical explorers rank with any city's. At Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock 90041; 7pm; $10; (626) 795-4989.
Tues. April 9 -- This version of the "ragajazz chamber music" Arohi Ensemble is a world-beater: aggressive sitarist (not satirist) Paul Livingstone, accomplished universal windman Pedro Eustache (whom I remember from John Carter's Wind College about 23 years ago), tabla stroker Hom Nath Upadhyaya, master cellist Peter Jacobson and drummer Dave Lewis. Damn. 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; $10; parking $5 underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Tues.-Sun. April 9-14 -- The names Chick Corea & Stanley Clarke make you flash on furious Return to Forever fusion circa 1975. They've grown up now, which is not a bad thing, and they're featuring vintage soul flutist Hubert Laws, who's been getting around town lately. At Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028; 8:30 & 10:30pm (7:30 & 9:30 Sun.); $30-$50; (323) 466-2210; www.catalinajazzclub.com.
Thurs. April 11 -- Who ya gonna call when you want to celebrate the legacy of trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard? Trombonist Phil Ranelin, who used to play with him, of course. Always got a primo ensemble. At Barbara Morrison's Performing Arts Center, 4305 Degnan Blvd., Suite 101, Leimert Park 90008; 7:30 & 9:30pm; $20 ($10 tix at www.goldstar.com); (323) 296-2272; www.barbaramorrison.com.
Thurs. April 11 -- This year's monthly Microfest continues with "Breath of the Compassionate," microtonal works by Ben Johnston and Wolfgang von Schweinitz sung by soprano Rebecca Tomlinson, plus Alves Visual Music Ensemble resonating away along with abstract computer animation. A religious experience, all a few doors up from where I used to live in the '80s. (I took my newspapers to this Russian Orthodox Church for recycling.) At the Russian Hall, 2041 Argyle Ave., Hollywood 90068; 8pm; $10, tickets here; (818) 397-6954.
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