Need something to do this week that doesn’t involve the decking the halls or shopping? Consider checking out one of the following “can’t miss” concerts happening in the Valley this week.
For even more live music options, check out our extensively updated online concert calendar.
Skinny Lister – Monday, November 28 – The Rebel Lounge
At first glance, the name Skinny Lister may evoke the image of an underweight nerd who's been taunted by his classmates. In reality though, it's one of those clever band names that leaves a somewhat amorphous impression. In truth, the Lister family were actually innovators in the field of anesthetics, but according to singer/ukulele player Lorna Thomas, their Skinny Lister was a boy that guitarist Dan Hepinstall went to school with. "We have no idea if he is still skinny, but we will hopefully get a chance to reunite with him one day in the future," Thomas muses. "Hopefully he doesn't mind us nicking his nickname!" If by some chance he happened to hear Forge And Flagon, the debut album from his namesake combo, he'd probably be flattered. A stirring combination of edge, angst and insurgent attitude, all instilled with a genuine folk flourish, the album provides an ideal snapshot for the band, as do the follow-ups efforts. 2014's Down on Deptford Broadway and this year's The Devil, The Heart and the Fight. LEE ZIMMERMAN
The Naked and Famous – Monday, November 28 – Marquee Theatre
As anyone who has been in a romantic relationship with a coworker can tell you, the worst part is when the romance ends. You still have to do your job while rumors and uneasiness float around. Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith, members of the New Zealand band the Naked and Famous, recently ended their eight-year romantic partnership, but the awkwardness they feel, if any, does not translate onstage. In fact, audiences have noticed Powers and Xayalith having the time of their lives performing in support of their latest album, Simple Forms. Most post-breakup albums channel the intense feelings of hurt and anger into the music. The Naked and Famous exhibit some of those elements in their latest masterpiece, but it does not weigh down Simple Forms. There is a sense of maturity and hopefulness throughout the album. This can be attributed to the sense of family that exists among the Kiwi transplants, including band members Aaron Short, David Beadle, and Jesse Wood. Navigating the weird and exciting streets of Los Angeles together, you have to rise above the bullshit and lean on each other. JASON KEIL
The Mystery Lights – Monday, November 28 – Valley Bar
Brooklyn’s Daptone Records — your longtime source for contemporary soul and funk like Charles Bradley — has just launched a rock sublabel called Wick, probably because that’s what you need to start a fire. And of course the debut release is a burner: Brooklyn’s Mystery Lights, a garage outfit who match diligent Crypt digging with the haunted feel of the 13th Floor Elevators or even Cold Sun. A lot of so-called psychedelic bands now are all flash; these guys are fog and smoke, with slo-mo fuzz leads lurching out of the darkness like the torturous final reveal of some low-budget movie monster. Their self-titled album and accompanying 45 single are well worth your judicious examination — they’ve got not just the sound but the feel and the spirit of the real-deal bands from right now as well as back then. Some might call it raw, but really it’s just pure. CHRIS ZIEGLER
Nick Waterhouse – Tuesday, November 29 – Last Exit Live
Nick Waterhouse hasn't shed his continental suit since the release of his debut album, Time's All Gone. The Los Angeles native remains in 1950s character as long as he's touring, and he does it in classic soul style with a stage full of top-notch musicians. The horns are the central focus on Time's All Gone, with the Motown-inspired backing vocals a close second. Swaggering in all their flatulent glory on "(If) You Want Trouble," the "whoop-whoops" of the ladies are fanned by Waterhouse's catcalls and taunting guitar. The saucy "Is That Clear" has bold stops and starts emphasized by jabbing piano keys. LILY MOAYERI
Tele Novella – Tuesday, November 29 – Valley Bar
There are numerous programs pitting musicians covering mainstream tunes for a chance at fame. But what about the indie bands? What would the competition consist of? Who would judge such a contest? How would the audience vote: folded arms or golf claps? Austin-based Tele Novella may have some ideas. They won a contest for free recording time several years ago, and used the prize to create their first single, “Trouble In Paradise,” a dark, whimsical song that would be perfect for a Wes Anderson horror movie. Lead vocalist Natalie Ribbons gives the proceedings a late-’60s throwback quality with her authoritative, Nancy Sinatra-esque voice. Not a bad start for a group that was hastily put together after Ribbons’ previous band broke up prior to a high-profile SXSW performance in 2013. She recruited talented friends Jason Chronis from Voxtrot and Belaire’s Matt Simon to help her put together something new. Like a successful American Idol winner would, Tele Novella has finally released the full-length album House Of Souls, a dreamy, psychedelic collection of songs that make great use of Ribbons’ stunning vocals and ruminative accompaniments. Tele Novella has won the theoretical vote of indie music listeners everywhere. JASON KEIL
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Live 101.5 Jingle Bash feat. Diplo – Wednesday, November 30 – Comerica Theatre
When talking about cultural icons and trendsetters, Thomas Wesley Pentz should definitely be at the forefront of that list. As the DJ and producer Diplo, he tours the world as a solo act, as well as with his Major Lazer crew and as Jack Ü, his collaboration act with fellow DJ/producer Skrillex. Over the last five to ten years, Diplo has performed at almost every major music festival in the world, taking his twerk-inducing music and energy to the masses of partygoers who relish the chance to shake their butts and bask in the positivity of his track selections and original compositions. Diplo is a king of the Snapchat Generation, managing to stay relevant by keeping up to date with every new meme, viral song, and dance, and sometimes creating a few of his own. This week, Diplo will co-headline the Live 101.5 Jingle Bash at Comerica Theatre along with fellow producer Martin Garrix, the Dutch-born EDM artist who topped DJ Mag’s famed “Top 100” list this year and topped the charts with such smash hits as “Animals” and "In the Name of Love.” MARCO TORRES
Old Dominion – Thursday, December 1 – Livewire
The most recent winners of the Academy of Country Music's award for New Vocal Duo/Group of the Year and owners of the Top 5 single “Snapback,” Old Dominion offers a wittier yet still fun-loving alternative to the likes of Florida Georgia Line. By turning on the charm on tunes like “Said Nobody,” “Half Empty” and “Break Up With Him,” Old Dominion employ their Urban Dictionary vocabulary to come off like the smooth talkers who swoop in to dance with the ladies (and maybe even take them home) whose douchey boyfriends are too wrapped up in the game to notice them. That light touch also applies to the music, seasoning 2015 debut Meat and Candy with enough pop, R&B, and lite-rock to make it perfect for contemporary country radio. CHRIS GRAY