Finding Solace in Music: Jams to Help Let Loose This Week

There’s no getting around it. Going to shows and hanging out in clubs has felt wrong recently. It’s not quite guilt, but between violence abroad, politics at home (traditional and structural) and the standard soul-crushing deluge of schoolwork, it’s safe to say I don’t feel great about continuing business as usual.

That said, I think it’s important to recognize the healing power that music has. It sounds New Age-y, but there’s nothing wrong with finding solace in people who just want to listen to the same sounds as you do. In fact, it’s a strategy for living. If late capitalism’s got you down, there are few solutions better than music.

Honestly, our schools have been awash in great events recently. So as a reminder of some things to be thankful for, I thought it’d be nice to review the past week and give some previews for what’s happening on campus and in the city.

Last Wednesday, Zach Schwartz PO ’16, along with a group of 12 musicians (full disclosure: I was one of them) performed Terry Riley’s minimalist classic “In C” to a comfortably (but still surprisingly) full SCC Social Room. While I can’t compliment our performance without some bias, it was awesome to see that space organized for such a chill event. With all the performers in the center of the room surrounded by couches and pillows, it was a pleasant break from the usually-drunken vibe of the space, and it kept the audience engaged by an otherwise ambient and atmospheric piece.

On Friday, Los Angeles club destroyer Sha Sha Kimbo and Cuban hip-hop queen DJ Leydis brought the house down at Friday Manners, this time co-sponsored by the 5C Cuba Solidarity Network. Having already heard some rumors about the next Friday Manners booking, I’m not even joking when I say we’ve got one of the more compelling club nights in L.A. right here at home.

The same night, KSPC, Noise Floor and the very on-point Extreme Music Society threw a garage bash with L.A. outfit Crow Baby and Philadelphia trio Lithuania up at Drinkward. While I wasn’t there (because my poor dancing body couldn’t be at two places at once), I only heard good things. And besides, Lithuania’s album from last month, “Hardcore Friends,” is a ridiculously hooky mash of messy guitars and clipping drums.

There’s not much going on here this weekend, save the ever-wonderful Pomona College Orchestra’s performance tonight, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. in Little Bridges. Usually I wouldn’t push an event so traditional, but this time around, they’re playing the suite from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, which is easily the most metal thing they’ve done during my time here. Like, come on. Plus, my suitemate tells me their other pieces are cool too, so there’s that.

After you get out of the orchestra performance, you can head downtown for a Kinda party with the incredible Norwegian producer and DJ Telephones at some secret warehouse (you’ll find the address if you try hard enough). Frankly, the Kinda crew has been responsible for my favorite parties of the past year—the L.A. club mainstream doesn’t seem to have found them yet, so they’re still a safe haven for weirdos and heads.

Tomorrow, you’ve got some difficult choices. First, veteran London label Ninja Tune is throwing a 25th birthday party with Bonobo, Jon Hopkins, Leon Vynehall and Sepalcure, a ridiculous lineup of crossover house acts that’s a treat for every stripe of dance fan.

If you’re more into low-key synthpop and sultry vibes, I’d recommend checking out Kate Boy’s show at the Bootleg Theater, a rather underrated venue if you ask me. Having just released their debut album after years of teasing the blogosphere, the Stockholm group should be ready to get some jaws dropping.

Next weekend, if you’re staying on campus for the break, never fear, as L.A.’s always got you covered. Friday, Nov. 27, I expect all campus-based fam to be at the El Rey to see the one true Based God, aka Lil B. Given his legendary reputation for live shows (they’re what catapulted him from meme to genuine phenomenon), it’s not one to be missed.

Saturday, I can’t recommend Oneohtrix Point Never at the Regent enough. While I’m not the biggest fan of the venue, OPN’s live show, accompanied by mind-bending visuals from Nate Boyce, is the kind of thing that’ll pummel you into submission anyway. Even if you’re not the sort to enjoy experimental electronic music, his appeal goes way beyond that—he just makes compelling sounds. Check out his new record, “Garden of Delete,” if you don’t believe me.

Also that night is Threshold, which, if you’ve been following my column for a while, you might recognize as my favorite club night in L.A. Featuring Berlin artist M.E.S.H. and PAN label head Bill Kouligas, I have no doubt that this will be one of the weirdest nights you will find in L.A. this year. Both artists specialize in their own brands of sample-based mayhem, creating strangely compelling rhythms out of visceral, cinematic sound design—basically, if your idea of a club involves people being confused and challenged, you will find much to love here.

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