PLAN A: Gillian Welch @ Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. When Gillian Welch enters the room, all the other folkies can take a walk. Gifted with a gorgeous, controlled voice, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter plumbs the Americana tradition with mesmerizing intimacy. PLAN B: Pop. 1280, Beaters, Baptism of Thieves, DJ Deadair @ Soda Bar. Sounding like something out of an '80s-era David Cronenberg film, New York City cyber-punks Pop. 1280 get dark and skuzzy with grimy guitars, droning synths and pummeling sheet-metal rhythms. BACKUP PLAN: Cappadonna, Curt Digga @ Porter's Pub.
Thursday, May 31
PLAN A: TV Girl, Kynan, Pageants @ Soda Bar. Indie-pop duo TV Girl have bid farewell to sampling with a sample-tastic new EP, The Wild, the Innocent, the TV Shuffle. Something tells me that they'll still be plenty catchy even without the help of Todd Rundgren. Read the feature here. PLAN B: Tycho, Mister Lies @ Belly Up. Taking his name from a prominent lunar crater, Tycho mastermind Scott Hansen crafts wistful, sun-baked electronic tunes that would offer the perfect soundtrack for a cosmic expedition. BACKUP PLAN: Grieves and Budo, Sol @ Porter's Pub.
Friday, June 1
PLAN A: The Duke Spirit, Hacienda @ The Casbah. The Duke Spirit called its latest album Bruiser, which just goes to show how rad this English rock band is. But while they've got bruising riffs, their eclectic sound—indebted as much to The Jesus and Mary Chain as vintage Motown—is also mightily soulful. PLAN B: Ladyfest @ Eleven. There's plenty of great, lady-fronted acts to see at this three-day fest, among them electro-pop weirdo Erleen Nada on Saturday and indie-harpist Kelsea Little on Sunday. But, on Friday, make sure to check out Gloomsday, a totally badass local rock 'n' roll duo. (See elevensandiego.com for full schedule.) BACKUP PLAN: Broncho, The Shrine, Psicomagia, Bunny Gang @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, June 2
PLAN A: Xiu Xiu, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Father Murphy @ Soda Bar. I've long been a fan of Xiu Xiu's cathartic, innovative, deeply disturbing indie-pop, and I like their new album, Always. Tonight, though, I'm even more excited to see Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, a Montreal prog-rock outfit who've gotten some buzz for their monster riffs, eccentric touches and lofty ambitions. PLAN B: Emily Jane White, Grampadrew, Erika Davies @ Tin Can Ale House. Yet another artist who falls under the category "medieval folk" (see also: Amen Dunes, Weyes Blood), sweet-voiced singer-songwriter Emily Jane White plucks out ponderous tunes with a rustic vibe. BACKUP PLAN: Steve Poltz @ Anthology.
Sunday, June 3
PLAN A: Advance Base, Nicholas Krgovich, Mystery Cave @ Tin Can Ale House. Fans of sublimely simple indie-pop won't want to miss Advance Base, the new project of Owen Ashworth, the guy behind defunct lo-fi act Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. On Advance Base's new album, A Shut- In's Prayer, Owen's sounds aren't quite as spare as they used to be, but the songs are just as lovely. PLAN B: Mogwai @ Belly Up. My Apple dictionary defines the word "awesome" as "extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear." It might also add, "Mogwai, Scottish post-rock band." BACKUP PLAN: Pal&Drome, The Deer Tracks, Nouela @ The Casbah.
Monday, June 4
PLAN A: David Shively feat. Anthony Burr @ Space4Art. An avant-garde percussionist and co-director of New York's respected Either/Or ensemble, David Shively is as comfortable with the Hungarian cimbalom as he is with analog electronics and feedback loops. Needless to say, you can expect some fascinating and unusual sounds tonight. PLAN B: Hospitality, Clockart, Ghost Come Back @ Soda Bar. I was all set to write Hospitality off as yet another boring New York City buzzband, but when I gave their lighthearted, post-collegiate indie-pop a listen, it proved too disarmingly adorable to resist. Perfect for fans of Camera Obscura and Belle and Sebastian. BACKUP PLAN: Slut Machine, Coda Reactor, The Stalins of Sound, The Suicide Chords @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, June 5
PLAN A: A Place to Bury Strangers, This Will Destroy You, Dusted @ The Casbah. You might want to bring earplugs for this one. With their hellish riffs, wild effects and pounding drums, Brooklyn rockers A Place to Bury Strangers have a passionate love for making ears bleed. BACKUP PLAN: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Violens, Adam Salter, Gabe Vega @ Hard Rock Hotel (RSVP here).