Wednesday, July 18
PLAN A: The Young, Northern Tigers, Shiva Trash @ The Casbah. You might want to get some medicinal marijuana for this one. The last time I saw Austin rockers The Young—whose new album, Dub Egg, is out via Matador—they churned out multiple bongloads' worth of pensive, fuzzy, sunscorched riffs. PLAN B: Zimbeat, Bill Wesley & His Array Instruments, Samhears, Nothingful @ Eleven. Trained on the marimba and the mbira—which we Americans know as the "thumb-piano"—local ensemble Zimbeat plays the traditional music you'd hear in a Zimbabwe village, which is actually quite hypnotic and groovy. BACK- UP PLAN: Coki, EshOne, Austin Speed, CRMNL, Puppy Kicker @ Kava Lounge.
Thursday, July 19
PLAN A: Souls of Mischief, Pep Love, Casual @ House of Blues. Back in the '90s, Oakland hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics helped define the artsy "underground" sound with jazzy beats and reflective rhymes. These days, the collective is still going strong—each act on this bill is a member, and they recently worked together on a solid mixtape for this tour. PLAN B: Lord Howler, Ghetto Blaster, Marsupials, Kodiak @ The Casbah. Time to break out the Bud Light and rev up the Firebird. After recently getting back onstage after an extended break, the boys in local band Lord Howler are ready to drop a new album with plenty of bangin' classic-rock riffs. BACKUP PLAN: Leo Kottke @ Anthology.
Friday, July 20
PLAN A: Nihilist, Witchaven, Speedwolf, Midnight Eagle, Holy Tyrant @ The Shakedown Bar. As you might guess from all these stereotypically metal-band names, the acts on this bill specialize in the kind of old-school, high-speed heavy metal that you would've heard from Metallica back before they cut their hair and started sucking. PLAN B: NomiS @ Porter's Pub. I can't say I'm a fan of Christian rap, but NomiS gives the genre a good name. Not only does he rap over some seriously funky beats, but he's just as likely to knock excessively preachy MCs as he is those infatuated with money and cars. BACKUP PLAN: Quilt, Young Magic @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, July 21
PLAN A1: WRITER, Beaters, Little Deadman, DJ Keith Sweaty @ Soda Bar. Indie rock duo WRITER might just go all-out tonight—as I write in my feature, this is their first local live show since moving to New York in January. Don't miss Beaters: The last time I saw them, they nearly blew out my eardrums with their powerful sludgepunk. PLAN A2: San Diego Pride Festival @ Balboa Park. The big highlight at this year's LGBT pride festival is British pop songstress Natasha Bedingfield, who's playing on Sunday. But make sure to check out the hip-hop stage today, where top-notch local rappers Miki Vale and Kandi Cole will perform as the duo 50/50. BACKUP PLAN: Cannibal Corpse, Between the Buried and Me, The Faceless, Periphery, Veil of Maya, Job for a Cowboy, Goatwhore, Exhumed, Cerebral Bore @ SOMA.
Sunday, July 22
PLAN A: Diane Moser & Mark Dresser @ 98 Bottles. They're both respected jazz players in their own right, but New Jersey pianist Diane Moser and local contrabassist Mark Dresser make an extra-special pair on their new album, Duetto, offering up a graceful, impressionist interplay. PLAN B: Ray Davies with The 88 @ House of Blues. It's been a while since rock 'n' roll pioneer Ray Davies played live with his former bandmates in The Kinks, but the relatively young bucks in L.A. band The 88 certainly have enough chops to back him up. BACKUP PLAN: H.R., Schitzophonics, The Homeless Sexuals @ Til-Two Club.
Monday, July 23
PLAN A: Talib Kweli @ Porter's Pub. Talib Kweli is about to release a new album, Prisoner of Conscious, and he flexes his socially conscious rapping skills on the album's lead single, "Distractions," spitting intense rhymes about the Arab Spring and the Kardashians over an ominous beat. BACKUP PLAN: Trouble in the Wind, Social Club, H.A. Perkins, Beta Lion @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, July 24
PLAN A: The Intelligence, Mad Kiwi, Gorgeous George & The Drags, Octa#grape @ Soda Bar. Fronted by former A Frames drummer Lars Finberg, California garage-punks The Intelligence use a mischievous sense of humor to give their shambolic riffs an added punch—just consider, for example, their Valley Girl send-up "Like Like Like Like Like Like Like."