Downtown Music

Share this:
June 27, 2005 // UPDATED 1:55 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

A Rosie by any other name

I'll be the first to admit that I was really disappointed when the L.A. punk rock scene started go to South - as in country-sounding - in the mid-1980s. At the time, I was so in love with all the screaming and gesticulating and cranked-up metronomic percussion and self-indulgent self-mutilation that accompanied what I considered to be "real" punk rock, that going to a club and seeing a couple of people standing on stage and trying to play actual music didn't do a whole heck of a lot for me. But hey, I was 14, and what does a 14-year-old know about music, anyway?

So I kind of blinked and missed the whole Screaming Sirens period of Rosie Flores' career. I had a couple of SST Records samplers that had the Screaming Sirens on them, and I remember being kind of excited when I saw a picture of the band and saw all those heavily made-up chicks with mohawks and guitars, but then feeling a little disappointed when I discovered the Screaming Sirens' contribution to the record was more feminist country than punk rock.

And honestly, I have to say that even now, I'm not a big Screaming Sirens fan, but I do love Rosie Flores. Ever since she pulled her toes out of the punk rock creek and embraced her true rockabilly countryness, she's become an astonishingly strong performer. In these bizarre times when people think it's still amazing that a chick can play her own guitar, Flores is out there showing that girls rock just as hard as boys, and have been doing so for a very, very, very long time.

• Th June 30, 9 p.m., Lee's Liquor Lounge, 101 Glenwood, $7. 338-9491, leesliquorlounge.com.

Call me Alucard

I think, inherently, people just don't like the idea of predestination. Like Bruce Hornsby, instead of gravitating towards some kind of horned instrument, grew up to become a pianist, or like Maxi Priest, who never ended up in service of the Church and became a reggae star instead. Likewise, Jamaican Beres Hammond does not play the Hammond organ - he sings. And hey, Robbie Shakespeare, who appeared on Hammond's last album? He's a bass player, not a playwright. I could go on and on. (And maybe I will at the Beres Hammond show on Monday night; Jamaican legend Marcia Griffiths opens.)

Perhaps this is why I myself am just not by rule a happy person - not a happy holly-day, if you will. It's that fight against predestination, where people just expect that if you've got a goofy name, you're going to be a goofy, happy person. Honestly, I think if my parents had named me Ivy or Malignant or Dracula, I would have grown up with a much better outlook on life, and made a real effort to be friendlier to people.

• M June 27, 8 p.m., First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N. $15. 332-1775, www.first-avenue.com.

Embrace yourself

British pop band Embrace writes happy songs and sad songs, songs about being in love and songs that are fun to dance to. Wildly popular in the U.K., they're about to become so here, too, with the June release of their first American-label recording, "Out of Nothing." Along with their bright and eclectic mix of happy-sad Britpop love songs that are fun to dance and eat sandwiches to, the album features a song penned for them by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin - "Gravity," the video of which has already appeared on MTV here bunches of times. The piano on the album really rocks, by the way - sad and just a little sentimental, but not too much so. They also mix a lot of crazy shamanic tribal chants in some of the tracks, too, which give some otherwise light-hearted songs a little bit of the crazy off-kilter feel that I love so dearly.

•Tu, June 27, 6:30 p.m. The Quest, 101 5th St. N. $10. 338-8388, www.thequestclub.com.