Wednesday, April 18
PLAN A: tUnE-yArDs, St. Vincent, Keep Shelly in Athens @ House of Blues. In a must-see double-header, two of the most provocative ladies in music will face off with their distinct brands of artsy indiepop. While Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs throws down wildly intricate, Afrobeattinged dance jams, St. Vincent's Annie Clark lays out breathtaking balladry that's paradoxically ferocious and fragile. PLAN B: Frankie Rose, DIVE, Asha, DJ Mario Orduno @ Soda Bar. You might recognize Frankie Rose as a former member of Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls. But on her excellent new album, Interstellar, the versatile songwriter forgoes slapdash garage-rock to explore the celestial realms of '80s-style synth-pop. BACKUP PLAN: The Big Pink, Cold Showers, Polaris at Noon @ The Casbah.
Thursday, April 19
PLAN A: Zammuto, Odd Shapes, Memorial @ Soda Bar. With the recent breakup of sound-collage mavens The Books, guitarist Nick Zammuto has struck out on his own with Zammuto, a deeply complex and wildly catchy new solo album that merges the band's digital obsessions with more physical elements of jazz and progrock. PLAN B: James, Elizaveta @ House of Blues. You'll have to forgive James for having one of the most SEO-unfriendly band names ever. Formed in 1982 in Manchester, England, the band plays earnest, arena-friendly alt-rock that has all the power of U2 and Coldplay but also a subtle streak of refreshing quirkiness. BACKUP PLAN: Bill Frisell and Bill Morrison @ Price Center East Ballroom (UCSD).
Friday, April 20
PLAN A: Sister Nancy, DJ Robi, King Schascha & Irusalem, Lady Karma, Indica Roots, Adhami @ Til-Two Club. Time to clean out the bong, turn on the black light and cue up the reggae—for pot-heads, 4/20 is practically a national holiday. With hits like "One Two" and "Bam Bam," oldschool Jamaican dancehall queen Sister Nancy is sure to offer ideal accompaniment to your hazy-headed buzz. PLAN B: Living Legends, 6Blocc, Johnny Osbourne @ House of Blues. It's not uncommon to see members of the famed L.A. rap collective Living Legends at local venues, but it takes a special party like this—put on by stoner-threads manufacturer Seedless—to get the whole, eight-man crew to come out. BACKUP PLAN: Guitar Wolf, Transistors, Slut Machine @ The Casbah.
Saturday, April 21
PLAN A: Hunx and His Punx, Natural Child, Plateaus @ The Casbah. With their happy-go-lucky garage-pop tunes and sleazy, kitsch-tastic outfits, Hunx and His Punx offer a gay twist on the music of the '50s and '60s. But as you'll read in my feature, the band's flamboyant frontman is more complex a person than you might think. PLAN B: Black Elk, Death Crisis, Totimoshi, Kodiak @ Soda Bar. Advocates of all things loud and fucked-up, Portland's Black Elk mix elements of noise-rock, heavy metal and no-wave into a volcanic stew. BACKUP PLAN: Too Short @ House of Blues.
Sunday, April 22
PLAN A: Les Sans Culottes, The Amandas, Interrobang @ Eleven (5 p.m.). Don't go into this show expecting a lesson in authentic musique française: Brooklyn's Les Sans Culottes might sing in French, have a French name and play '60s-style pop à la French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, but they're most definitely not from France. With tunes as cheeky, raunchy and undeniably fun as theirs, who cares?
Monday, April 23
PLAN A: The Lumps, Poor Sons, Psicomagia, Dani Shivers @ Tin Can Ale House. I can't help but dig The Lumps, who take cues from The Stooges with their fast, messy, old-school rock 'n' roll. And make sure to check out Tijuana's Dani Shivers, whose stripped-down Casio-pop is equal parts tender and ominous. BACKUP PLAN: Incomplete Neighbor, Mold, Gone Baby Gone, The Touchies @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, April 24
PLAN A: Watain, Mutilacion, Ritual Torture, Desolator @ The Ruby Room. If you're a vegetarian and/or get squeamish around dead things, you definitely won't like Watain, an infamous Swedish black-metal band that pairs unholy riffs with an onstage display of rotting animal carcasses. But plenty of others will think they're awesome. PLAN B: Best Coast, The KABBs @ Hard Rock Hotel. Indie-rockers Best Coast just love California, and they explain why on "The Only Place," the catchy, carefree lead single and title track of a new record due out May 15. (RSVP here to attend this free show.)