Los Angeles quintet the Aggrolites play music that’s as tough as they look. It’s what they call “dirty reggae”: raw, street-level rocksteady slapped with a heavy dose of gritty urban soul and funk. Imagine James Brown fronting Toots & the Maytals. Or Toots Hibbert hollering over Booker T & the MGs. Suffice to say, these five dudes, each with experience in different trad-ska and reggae bands, know how to throw down. The group came together to perform on a tribute record for legendary Jamaican vocalist Derrick Morgan. They enjoyed each other’s company so much they decided to write some originals and began performing their classic-yet-utterly-L.A. version of island music at clubs around the city, where they quickly amassed a rude-boy following and attracted the attention of Hellcat Records, a subsidiary of Epitaph. With their self-titled label debut, these aggro misfits are continuing to testify for the old school while putting their own stamp on some durable, time-tested riddims. It’s bound to be a rugged set at the Drink on June 29.
Local musician Jeff Kaiser has long carried the torch for the avant-garde in Ventura County. He created the New Music Festival, an annual tribute to the freaky, far-out and plain weird players toiling on the fringes of the music universe, as well as the labels pfMENTUM and Angry Vegan. Even beyond those testament to the eccentric, however, is Kaiser’s own oeuvre as a trumpeter, which sits on the border between the classical and the iconoclastic. His award shelf is stocked, but it’s best to let the musical explorations speak for themselves. Hear them squawk at Kaiser’s CD release party at Zoey’s on June 30.
Cross an old school L.A. punk drummer with a pair of surf rock heads and what do you get? The Phantom Riders, Ventura’s own purveyors of saltwater-soaked guitar-bass-drums instrumental cool. Playing their own tunes as well as classic covers stretching back to those halcyon days of American pop music — the mid-20th century — this trio personifies what it means to live along the Pacific, and why there is no place else any rational person would rather be. The Riders have been quiet for a minute, but they’re bouncing back, performing at Good on June 30.