Sonic Sprawlers, V-Poppers, Retro-Dreadnaughts

From the manatee-populated swamp rivers of St. Petersburg, Florida, emerges psychedelic post-rock instrumental combo Set and Setting. The band recently released its first full-length, Equanimity, which churns out one densely layered guitar riff after another. Some of the songs, especially live, sprawl beyond the 15-minute mark, but the dynamics are always enough to keep your attention. Caution: Set and Setting definitely boasts a metallic edge, yet it?s still ambient and celestial enough to appeal to indie-rock fans of Sigur R?s and Mogwai. In any case, be sure to bring earplugs, because these guys won?t compromise when it comes to stage volume at the Dive (9 p.m. July 13). Local ?atmospheric-doom? trio Spiritual Shepherd opens.

If you?re more of a punker, I have something else to recommend that same evening. Agent 86 is an old-school hard-core band that formed in California in 1982, but has since relocated to Las Vegas. This trio deals in true underground punk, with an aesthetic constructed from the era when gnarly cassette-tape EPs meant everything to a suburb-trapped kid. Songs such as ?Vietnam Generation? and ?New Wave Sucks? will certainly scratch any political hard-core itch you may be suffering. And while I can?t make the case that they?re as melodic or commercial as, say, Bad Religion, I can easily confirm I?d rather have my head detonated by Agent 86. The band plays Double Down Saloon at 10 p.m. July 13 along with a slew of rad acts—3D6, Skorchamenza, the Lazy Stalkers and the Slow Poisoner.

Answer honestly: When was the last time you took in a concert of Vietnamese pop music? That?s what I thought. Well, if you?re interested in multicultural music and broadening your earhole-palette, there?s the Beauty and Love event at House of Blues at 8 p.m. July 14. Myself, I?m not very familiar with most of these V-pop artists, and can only pronounce, at best, half of their names. But what I?ve learned from my Vietnamese friends, who actually shared some of their CDs with me, is that the music isn?t all that different from Japanese, Korean or Chinese commercial ballads. A male singer, Nguy?n Khang, is my favorite among the 14 artists slated to perform.

Summer has been brutal in Las Vegas so far. So why not cool down with some reggae courtesy of Tribal Seeds? This is a San Diego-based dreadlocks-draped sextet whose music hearkens back to the rock-steady grooves of classic artists such as Bob Marley and Steel Pulse. Singer Steven Jacobo possesses a terrific ?jah-mon? voice that inspires me to want to pull off the tricky feat of dancing while downing an ice-cold Red Stripe—and maybe even smoking a funny cigarette in between. The Seeds? best song, ?Dark Angel,? is my favorite poolside jam right now, so I?m stoked to bask in this band?s good-time island vibes. Check ?em out at 7 p.m. July 17 at LVCS. Also on the bill: HaleAmanO, For Twenty Daze and Coco Nut.

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Gymhouse Rock

Gymhouse Rock

By Jarret Keene

Stepping into a nondescript office park on Arville Road, I enter a bizarre soundstage. A ball-capped, pajama-ed, athletic-looking children’s-TV character sleeps in his bed. Flies buzz his smelly toes. Sunshine filters through the window. He rises, rubs his eyes and launches into his best—that is, funniest—Saturday Night Fever impression. The original musical track, “Disco Daddy,” is bass-heavy, kick drum-thumpin’, club-ready, four-on-the-floor rock.



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