Wednesday, June 6
PLAN A: Maps & Atlases, The Big Sleep, Hands @ The Casbah. Chicago's Maps & Atlases started out in the mid-'00s as a rough-edged math-rock band, but they've gradually polished their sound to make it both intricately artful and delightfully catchy. And they're that much better for it. PLAN B: Baptism of Thieves, Shaking Pyramid, Roach Spit @ Tin Can Ale House. Local "occult-rock" upstarts Baptism of Thieves put on quite the show at Soda Bar last week—picture elaborate costumes, creepy masks, shirtless dancers and a chalice filled with flames. But it's their hypnotic drone-rock that made it all worthwhile. BACKUP PLAN: Crystal Fighters, Is Tropical @ Porter's Pub.
Thursday, June 7
PLAN A: Patrick Watson, Cat Martino @ The Loft at UCSD. Patrick Watson might look rather raffish with his scruffy beard, but the Canadian singer-songwriter is a master of pop-craft. His arrangements have a classical feel, and he sings in an exquisitely delicate falsetto, giving his gorgeous songs a dreamlike quality. PLAN B: Still Flyin', Conceptus, American Males, Idyllwild @ Tin Can Ale House. Plenty of bands have ripped off '80s pop lately, but few have such a shameless love for the era as Still Flyin'. On their new album, On a Bedroom Wall, the San Francisco outfit forgo trendy art-school pretensions and lo-fi posturing for pitch-perfect, feel-good, new-wave hooks. BACKUP PLAN: Poor Moon, Gold Leaves @ The Casbah.
Friday, June 8
PLAN A: Telemagica @ Jacumba, Calif. This three-day festival—which takes place in a town on the southeastern edge of San Diego County—features a massive music lineup and a 20-foot-tall pyramid. Head here to read more and see telemagica.com for a full schedule. PLAN B: John C. Reilly, Tom Brosseau, Gregory Page @ Normal Heights United Methodist Church (4650 Mansfield St.). Don't come to this show expecting a reenactment of scenes from Step Brothers. Though John C. Reilly is quite the actor, he's also known to play Everly Brothers-style roots music, and he plans to dish out some close vocal harmonies with singer-songwriter Tom Brosseau tonight. PLAN C: Free Moral Agents, Room E, Hawk Jones, St. Cloud Sleepers, Wild Pack of Canaries @ The Griffin. Electronic artist Room E puts on a dazzling show when he performs solo, so I'm eager to see how he sounds backed up by members of prog-rockers A Scribe Amidst the Lions. BACKUP PLAN: Weatherbox, Census, Sneak Peek, Octa#grape @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, June 9
PLAN A: Action Bronson, Odessa Kane, Brother Nature, Old English @ Porter's Pub. Action Bronson might sound an awful lot like Ghostface Killah, but the portly Queens rapper is fast proving to be a top-notch MC in his own right—in no small part thanks to his delectable rhymes about gourmet food. PLAN B: The Barons of Tang, Di Nigunim, Bryana Proxy, Innerds, Roxy Jones @ Soda Bar. Owing as much to Minor Threat as Gogol Bordello, local "anarcho-klezmer" outfit Di Nigunim combine radical leftist politics with pumping accordion, festive clarinet and mosh-pit-ready rhythms. BACKUP PLAN: Bastard Noise, Author & Punisher, ANA/, Zsa Zsa Gabor @ Kava Lounge (gallery).
Sunday, June 10
PLAN A: Juan Cirerol, Dani Shivers, Mohammed Qiang @ The Casbah. As you'll read in our feature here, Mexicali-bred singer Juan Cirerol bangs out gritty norte