The Folk Implosion, Mia Doi Todd and Alaska! perform April 2 at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios.
These Los Angelenos and their collective obsession with rejiggering folky guitar music--they're worse than a gang of Seattlites with the collected works of Foghat! I mean, aren't there better things to do in permanent 75-degree weather than sit inside and glumly strum old acoustic guitars? Apparently not, as we'll get a visit from three of those determined tinkerers Wednesday night at Rubber Gloves: the latest version of Lou Barlow's Folk Implosion, its sister band Alaska! and the weirdly compelling singer-guitarist Mia Doi Todd. Surprisingly, the title of Barlow's new one, The New Folk Implosion, isn't entirely a joke--it doesn't feature the work of Barlow's ex-partner John Davis, it does feature the work of guitarist Imaad Wasif and drummer Russell Pollard (who played in a late version of Sebadoh, Barlow's flagship outfit) and it's the first Implosion disc since Interscope dumped the band for not duplicating the freak chart success of 1995's "Natural One." More surprisingly, it's pretty good, a low-key, mostly electronics-free collection of the kind of passive-aggressive confessional Barlow's all but mastered. Alaska! is Pollard and Wasif's freshly formed duo; their new Emotions features plenty of those, and if you've ever wished Barlow would reveal a submerged Eagles fixation, you'll probably experience a few of your own. In contrast, I've got doubts that Todd knows who the Eagles are. Her Columbia debut, The Golden State, is singer-songwriter folk-pop stripped of all excess: a plucked guitar chord here and there, a rattled piece of percussion once in a while, Todd's otherworldly voice floating through the space between. She's a witchy woman, and her spell's difficult to resist.