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Drake, Brian Wilson and Blink-182: Your essential summer music guide

Summer Music preview
Clockwise from top left: Corinne Bailey Rae, Alabama Shakes, Drake, Zedd, Anderson .Paak, John Carpenter
(Los Angeles Times)

Missed the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival? Bummed you didn’t score tickets to Adele’s upcoming six-night stay at Staples Center or Radiohead’s two-night jaunt at the Shrine Auditorium? Well, there’s plenty of music still to be had this summer, both on record and in person.

What follows are some of the top picks from The Times’ music staff.


Corinne Bailey Rae | June 9 -10

Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne Bailey Rae (Amy Sussman / Invision / AP)

Best known for her breezy 2006 hit “Put Your Records On,” this British folk-soul singer thickened her sound for her funky new album, “The Heart Speaks in Whispers,” which she made partly in Los Angeles with help from the adventurous R&B trio King, among other local talent. Perhaps some of those pals will turn up to jam with Rae during her two-night stand here, the final dates of a U.S. headlining tour before she heads home to open a string of British stadium shows for Lionel Richie. (MW)

Lyric Theatre

thelyricla.com/

$25


Garbage | June 10

Shirley Manson of Garbage performs at KROQ Weenie Roast 2016.
Shirley Manson of Garbage performs at KROQ Weenie Roast 2016. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images for CBS Radio)

“Strange Little Birds”

(Stunvolume)

The pioneering synth-rock group reunited four years ago for “Not Your Kind of People,” and now it’s back with a second comeback disc that seems informed by the gigs Garbage played in support of the earlier album. Though it’s still streaked with inventive studio-whiz textures — the bells and whistles that have helped make drummer Butch Vig an in-demand producer — “Strange Little Birds” emphasizes big, fuzzy guitars and singer Shirley Manson’s ultra-dramatic vocals. (MW)


Allen Toussaint | June 10

Allen Toussaint performing at UCLA's Royce Hall in 2010.
Allen Toussaint performing at UCLA's Royce Hall in 2010. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

“American Tunes” 

(Nonesuch)

The swan song recording by the veteran New Orleans songwriter, producer, arranger, pianist and singer, who died last fall at age 77 while on tour in Spain, is a rich pianistic tour de force of American music. Toussaint and producer Joe Henry, with assists from singer Rhiannon Giddens and Renaissance man Van Dyke Parks, put his signature on songs by Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Professor Longhair and Paul Simon’s elegant title track. It’s a gorgeous, grace-filled journey through the history of American popular music by one of its most artful proponents. (RL)


Nite Jewel | June 10

Ramona Gonzales, aka Nite Jewel
Ramona Gonzales, aka Nite Jewel (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

"Liquid Cool"

(Gloriette Records) 

For her first album in four years, Los Angeles artist and producer Ramona Gonzalez pared down her sound to its bedroom-disco essence. Drawing on the vibe of contemporary R&B, vintage synth pop and underground beat music, her new album, "Liquid Cool," brims with anthemic hooks but offers them with a relaxed ambivalence. With textures that suggest "Dirty Mind"-era Prince, the concise three- and four-minute tracks vibe like never-were AM radio hits. It was written and performed by Gonzalez in her home's walk-in closet; as a result, "Liquid Cool" is missing the commercial sheen that propels could-be hits onto the mainstream charts. In its stead, though, is something more vital: a singular artistic vision. (RR)


L.A. Pride Music Festival | June 10-12

 Carly Rae Jepsen performing at the Fleetwood Mac Fest on Feb. 10.
Carly Rae Jepsen performing at the Fleetwood Mac Fest on Feb. 10. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

The annual weekend-long LGBTQ celebration has greatly expanded its music offerings this year with ticketed multi-act concerts. Among the high-profile headliners are Carly Rae Jepsen and Charli XCX, two nimble pop singers who know how to match their voices to sleek electronic arrangements. But other worthy acts pepper Pride’s undercard, including New Orleans bounce ambassador Big Freedia, R&B veteran Faith Evans, rising soul singer Gallant and young dance-rap phenom Shamir. (MW)

West Hollywood Park

www.lapride.org/

$25-$125


EDC Las Vegas | June 17-19

Zedd
Zedd (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

This is the 20th Electric Daisy Carnival, and America’s largest music festival shows no signs of slowing down. While a lot of the EDM-centric lineup has passed through the fest before -- top acts again include the likes of Kaskade, Tiesto and Zedd –   the main attraction is the heaving maw of neon-clad teens and  twentysomethings and the unmatched production design. After three days of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. partying, you’re going to need a vacation all over again. (AB)

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

lasvegas.electricdaisycarnival.com/

$355


John Carpenter | June 18

John Carpenter
John Carpenter (Katie Falkenberg / For The Times)

Best known for his work directing horror movie classics including "Halloween," "Christine," "The Fog" and "Escape From New York," John Carpenter is also an innovative electronic composer who has scored many of his own movies. A few years ago, Carpenter unleashed "Lost Themes," his first release of new music not tied to a film;  last month, he issued its sequel, "Lost Themes II." In honor of its release, Carpenter is embarking on his first music tour, where he and a band will play works from throughout his remarkable career. (RR)

The Orpheum

laorpheum.com/

$36.50-$76.50


BET Experience | June 23-26

Lil Wayne at the Hollywood Bowl on Sep. 22, 2014.
Lil Wayne at the Hollywood Bowl on Sep. 22, 2014. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Since 2013, BET has anchored its awards spectacle with a multi-day festival at downtown's L.A. Live. Expect free concerts from buzzy emerging artists alongside ticketed headliners at Staples Center, as well as late-night club shows, celebrity panels, wellness seminars and a film festival. Usher, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz and the Roots are this year's marquee acts. But it’s the wide range of emerging artists that makes the bill worth checking out, including genre-stretching R&B singers Kehlani, Byrson Tiller and Ty Dolla Sign, as well as rap producer du jour Metro Boomin. Rappers Fetty Wap, ASAP Ferg and Tory Lanez round out the four-day fest. (GDK)

L.A. Live

www.bet.com/bet-experience.html

Single-day Staples Center show tickets start at $49.50, with three-day packages starting at $148.50. Ticket prices for those appearing at other L.A. Live venues will vary by artist.


Rae Sremmurd | June 24

Swae Lee, left, and Slim Jimmy of Rae Sremmurd perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 22.
Swae Lee, left, and Slim Jimmy of Rae Sremmurd perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 22. (Michael Tullberg / Getty Images for Coachella)

"SremmLife 2"

(Ear Drummers/Interscope) 

Tupelo, Miss.-born brothers Khalif "Swae Lee" Brown and Aaquil "Slim Jimmi" Brown broke out of the South in 2015 with a string of hardened hip-hop tracks rife with catchy melodies and scream-along hooks. The best of them, "Come Get Her," "Throw Some Mo" and "No Flex Zone," turned the two into teen idols. Like the first album, "SremmLife 2" has been overseen by executive producer and platinum hitmaker Mike Will Made It, and the three tracks issued so far suggest a summer once again soundtracked by Rae Sremmurd. (RR)


Anderson .Paak | June 27

Anderson .Paak
Anderson .Paak (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

.Paak was a highlight at this year’s Coachella -- bouncing across the stage and taking to a drum set while leading his band through the blurred lines of hip-hop, R&B and weirdo electronics. It’s obvious now that Dr. Dre saw a special talent when he brought .Paak onto his “Compton” LP, and .Paak is more than ready for his star-making turn. This Ace Hotel set should feel as much like a coronation as an introduction. (AB)

The Theatre at the Ace Hotel

www.acehotel.com/losangeles/theatre.

$25-$100


Blink-182 | July 1

Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 performs at the 2016 KROQ Weenie Roast on May 14.
Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 performs at the 2016 KROQ Weenie Roast on May 14. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.)

“California”

(BMG)

Longtime fans of the SoCal pop-punk trio are likely to balk at the official use of the Blink-182 name, given that “California” is the band’s first album without founding singer-guitarist Tom DeLonge (who’s focusing on his own projects, including an impenetrable sci-fi novel). Still, lead single “Bored to Death,” featuring new guy Matt Skiba, undeniably hits all the vintage notes: propulsive tempo, shouty melody, words about how it’s a long way back from 17. It’ll fit right in with the oldies that Blink — or “Blink” — plays on its extensive summer tour. (MW)


Maxwell | July 1

 

Maxwell performing on 'The Early Show' in New York on Feb. 16, 2015.
Maxwell performing on 'The Early Show' in New York on Feb. 16, 2015. (Seth Wenig / AP Photo)

“BlackSUMMERS’night”

RCA

In 2009, Maxwell issued "BLACKsummers'night," his first album in eight years and the first in a planned trilogy. The album was one of the year's most lauded releases. He went on two back-to-back successful tours. And then he disappeared -- again. It took seven years, but the next installment, “BlackSUMMERS’night,” will finally be released this summer. The album is peak Maxwell, with classically minded R&B grooves that are elegant and deeply seductive. Hypnotic single "Lake by the Ocean" serves as a reminder that sometimes the wait is, indeed, worth it. (GDK)


Bat for Lashes | July 1

Bat for Lashes performs at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in on April 16.
Bat for Lashes performs at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in on April 16. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

“The Bride”

(Parlophone/Warner Bros. Records)

Summer, the perfect time for romances to blossom amid cheery, bubblegum pop. Unless you’re Natasha Khan, whose Bat for Lashes project returns after four years this summer. In her case, bring on the steamy, Gothic heartbreak, as “The Bride” documents the woes of a woman whose husband-to-be dies on the way to the wedding. Uplifting stuff it is not, but if a spring show in Los Angeles was any indication, it’s engrossing, as Khan delivers the novel-worthy sadness with booming, choppy beats and chilling, watery synthesizers. (TM)


White Lung | July 8

White Lung performs at Los Globos in Los Angeles on July 23, 2014.
White Lung performs at Los Globos in Los Angeles on July 23, 2014. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Punk is dead, punk lives, whatever. White Lung abides by the musical ethics of hardcore on its great new LP, “Paradise,” where galloping drums and ferocious guitar work underpin the consistently gripping narratives of singer Mish Barber-Way, one of contemporary rock's great frontwomen. But the band made room for some gentler tones and more vulnerable melodies (thanks in part to Health and Cold War Kids producer and co-writer Lars Stalfors, who excels at this task), and they might be at the start of a star-making rise. (AB)

Teragram Ballroom

www.teragramballroom.com/

$14


Brian Wilson Band / “Pet Sounds” 50th anniversary | July 10 

Brian Wilson performing at the Greek Theater on June 20, 2015.
Brian Wilson performing at the Greek Theater on June 20, 2015. (Michael Robinson Chvez / Los Angeles Times)

In this anniversary year of the Beach Boys’ album that consistently appears at or near the top of fan and critics’ polls of the greatest albums of the rock era, the group’s creative leader will serve up a complete performance of this boundary-stretching work, which remains as much a wonder to behold in 2016 as it was in 1966. The album is being given a deluxe reissue on four CDs and one Blu-ray disc, due June 10, with even more archival extras to complement those included on the stunning 30th anniversary CD box set that Capitol Records put out in 1996. (RL)

Hollywood Bowl

www.hollywoodbowl.com/

$14 to $151


In the Red Records anniversary  | July 16-18

Ty Segall performs at the FYF Fest on Aug. 23, 2014.
Ty Segall performs at the FYF Fest on Aug. 23, 2014. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

For the last quarter century, label chief Larry Hardy has delivered a mass of rock ’n' roll nearly unparalleled in both volume and distortion. Over that period, In the Red Records, named either for a negative bank balance or a to-the-max amplification philosophy, has issued hundreds of singles (the 7-inch vinyl kind), albums, CDs and tapes. The label will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a three-day festival by some of its best acts, including the Oblivians, the Gories, Boss Hog (with Jon Spencer and Cristina Martinez) and Cheater Slicks. Equally impressive, though, will be the younger acts the label continues to support. Those will include a performance of Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin's 2009 collaboration "Reverse Shark Attack," the first live show by Segall's new band GØGGS and sets from hot young garage and psychedelic punk acts Wand, Meatbodies and many others.  (RR)

The Echo and Echoplex

www.theecho.com/

$21.50-$123.50


Flight of the Conchords | July 26-27

Flight of the Conchords in performance at the Hollywood Bowl on May 30, 2010.
Flight of the Conchords in performance at the Hollywood Bowl on May 30, 2010. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Amid all the reunions and the returns of beloved acts this summer, don’t overlook the musical comedy duo of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, whose HBO series “Flight of the Conchords” remains arguably the best skewering of pop music since “Spinal Tap.” Their folk-based parodies may stretch from Bowie-inspired weirdness to lighthearted, hip-hop goofiness, but all push self-deprecation to its charming max. Live, McKenzie and Clement riff with each other as often as they do their instruments.(TM)

The Greek Theatre

www.lagreektheatre.com

$39.50-$59.50


Fantasia | July 29

Fantasia Barrino performs during the 2014 Pre-Grammy Gala at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 25, 2014.
Fantasia Barrino performs during the 2014 Pre-Grammy Gala at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 25, 2014. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

“The Definition Of …”

(RCA)

A dozen years after winning "American Idol,” Fantasia Barrino is at the top of her game. Her last album, 2013’s “Side Effects of You,” was a sumptuous mix of contemporary R&B, rock and vintage soul that served as a triumphant comeback after years of personal and professional setbacks. The drama is long behind her now, and her upcoming record sees her expanding her range. While lead single “No Time for It” aims for R&B summer anthem status, country ballad “Ugly” and smoky throwback “Sleeping With the One I Love” see her painting far outside her usual palette. (GDK)


Alabama Shakes | Aug. 9-10

The Alabama Shakes rehearse for the 2016 Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 12, 2016. (
The Alabama Shakes rehearse for the 2016 Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 12, 2016. ( (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

There are a number of hot shows in Los Angeles in early August, and you had to be quick if you wanted to snare tickets to Radiohead at the Shrine or Adele at Staples Center. Getting into Alabama Shakes at the Greek won’t be easy either, but at least some seats on the secondary market can be had for less than $100. The good news: No matter where you’re sitting, the raspy, passionate vocals of Brittany Howard will feel electric, and the Shakes’ brand of Southern soul is getting only more trippy. Reference points may include James Brown one moment, Marvin Gaye the next, but increasingly, the Shakes are feeling timeless. (TM)

The Greek Theatre

www.lagreektheatre.com/

Sold out  


Leon Russell | Aug. 12

Leon Russell performs at the Palladium in Hollywood on Nov. 3, 2010.
Leon Russell performs at the Palladium in Hollywood on Nov. 3, 2010. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

“The Homewood Sessions” 

(All Access)

Russell was just emerging as a star in his own right in 1970 when he and his ragtag band of instrumentalists and singers wandered into the Vine Street Theatre in Hollywood to tape a one-hour special for L.A. public station KCET Channel 28 and other public TV outlets. The result was the blossoming of the former L.A. studio musician into the “Master of Space and Time” personae he took on as one of rock’s most colorful characters of the early ’70s. The 21-track album includes many of the songs that earned him belated induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013: “Delta Lady,” “Superstar,” “A Song for You” and his versions of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman” and Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry.” (RL)


Vaud & the Villains | Aug. 19 

Band leader Vaud Overstreet (aka Andy Comeau), center, poses with his band Vaud & the Villains outside of Cafe Club Fais Do–Do on Sept. 15, 2012 in Los Angeles.
Band leader Vaud Overstreet (aka Andy Comeau), center, poses with his band Vaud & the Villains outside of Cafe Club Fais Do–Do on Sept. 15, 2012 in Los Angeles. (Patrick T. Fallon / For the Los Angeles Times)

This L.A.-based musical-theatrical collective has taken Bruce Springsteen’s 2006 “Seeger Sessions” celebration of big band-folk-gospel-jazz as a starting point and expanded it into a fully staged juggernaut that’s as joyful as pop music gets. Having begun almost a decade ago playing vintage numbers from the past century of American music, the Villains recently released an album of original material, fittingly titled “Original Salvation.” Their live shows are an irresistible blend of inspired musicianship, bawdy humor, stylish theatricality and unfettered human spirit. (RL)

Ford Amphitheatre

fordtheatres.org

$35


FYF Fest | Aug. 27-28

Kendrick Lamar performs at the 2016 Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 15, 2016.
Kendrick Lamar performs at the 2016 Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 15, 2016. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

What was once a scrappy, sometimes uncomfortable festival has gradually matured into one of Southern California’s most formidable summer offerings. Today, FYF Fest may have its sights more on the mainstream than the underground, but it hasn’t shed its adventurous roots. Intense, topical local hero Kendrick Lamar anchors the first night, while dance-rock forebears LCD SoundSystem close the second. There’s plenty else to like throughout both days, from the melodic, electronic ambiance of AIR to the jarring, computerized protest music of Anohni to the highly kinetic and colorfully assertive pop of Grimes.  (TM)

Exposition Park

fyffest.com/

$125-$339


Drake & Future -- Summer Sixteen Tour | Sept. 7, 9 and 10 (Staples Center) | Sept. 27, 28 and 29 (The Forum)

Drake performs at the Forum on Nov. 8, 2015.
Drake performs at the Forum on Nov. 8, 2015. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Drake and Future were already in the midst of a creative surge last year (four releases between the pair, including two that hit No. 1) when they joined forces for “What a Time to Be Alive,” a surprise collaborative mixtape that  topped the charts. Now, the frequent collaborators are hitting the road for a co-headlining summer tour that continues their victory laps as two of rap’s MVPs. Both are masters at the art of mood creation, with Future’s mind-numbing club raps and Drake’s emotional singalongs. It's already one of the year's hottest tickets too, with Staples Center dates selling out fast enough for the pair to add additional shows at the Forum. (GDK)

Staples Center and the Forum

www.staplescenter.comwww.fabulousforum.com/

$49.50-$179.50

Times staff writers August Brown (AB), Gerrick D. Kennedy (GDK), Randy Lewis (RL), Todd Martens (TM), Randall Roberts (RR) and Mikael Wood (MW) contributed to this report.


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