Wednesday, Aug. 22
PLAN A: Twin Shadow, Poolside @ The Casbah. Hopefully you read our feature on Twin Shadow's George Lewis Jr. in last week's issue. A friend recently described his new album, Confess, as the best pop record that never got made in 1987. In live shows, he and his band add extra muscle to his epic, über-sexy synth-pop. (Twin Shadow also plays at The Casbah on Thursday, Aug. 23.) PLAN B: Truth @ Kava Lounge. While Skrillex takes dubstep to new levels of obnoxiousness, New Zealand duo Truth sticks to the genre's roots with sly beats, spooky vibes and waves of swollen sub bass.
Thursday, Aug. 23
PLAN A: Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers @ Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. When he isn't telling jokes, funnyman Steve Martin tears it up on the banjo with North Carolina bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers. But even when they're pluckin' away, Martin still manages to fit in a little silliness. PLAN B: A Flock of Seagulls, 2 Bit Radio, The Lillies, Valentino Frankenstein @ 4th & B. Their haircuts aren't as ridiculous / awesome as they used to be, but videos of recent live shows reveal that English new-wavers A Flock of Seagulls still throw down, '80s-style, with hits like "I Ran (So Far Away)." BACKUP PLAN: Matt Embree, Vinnie Caruana, Pebaluna @ The Irenic.
Friday, Aug. 24
PLAN A: CityBeat 10-Year Anniversary Celebration w/ Hills Like Elephants, Wild Wild Wets, Rafter, Trio Gadjo @ Air & Space Museum. Come celebrate a decade of CityBeat with us. All these bands are rad, and Rafter's officially one of CityBeat's most beloved musicians. PLAN B: Jimmy Cliff @ Del Mar Racetrack. On his excellent new album, Rebirth, Jamaican reggae icon Jimmy Cliff harks back to the vintage sounds of his 1972 hit "The Harder They Come." And he covers The Clash's "Guns of Brixton," proving he still stands up for the underdog. PLAN C: Cuckoo Chaos, Tropical Popsicle, Little Deadman, DJ Keith Sweaty @ The Casbah. Tropical Popsicle recently dropped a glorious synth-rock jam, "Ghost Beacons," and Cuckoo Chaos are going to release a sweet, two-song 7-inch in September. Fortunately for you, the first 100 in the door will get a free download of its two tracks. BACKUP PLAN: Twista, Do or Die @ 4th & B.
Saturday, Aug. 25
PLAN A: "Unión Ruidosón" w/ Los Macuanos, Santos, Siete Catorce, El Hijo de la Diabla, Pecco @ West Fargo (Tijuana). In the year since I last wrote about the grooveheavy electro-folk genre known as ruidosón, the Tijuana acts behind it have gotten darker, steamier and so much better. Also, Mexicali beatmaker Siete Catorce has emerged with his own take. But it could be a while before the next local ruidosón showcase, so don't miss out. For directions, see the Facebook event page: tinyurl.com/8r3vsau. PLAN B: Three Mile Pilot, Kenseth and Brandon @ Belly Up Tavern. After emerging from hiatus in 2009, local indie-rock heavyweights Three Mile Pilot got back to writing tunes. They sound a little more polished on their new EP, Maps, but they strike a nice balance between stark moods and bright melodies. BACKUP PLAN: Alejandro Escovedo, Jesse Malin @ The Griffin.
Sunday, Aug. 26
PLAN A: El Vez for Prez, The Creepy Creeps, Schitzophonics @ The Casbah. Just in time for election season, everybody's favorite Chicano Elvis impersonator will trim his pencil mustache, slap on a frilly white suit and launch the El Vez ticket, delivering delightfully subversive tunes like "En el Barrio" and "Immigration Time." Now that's a candidate I can get behind! BACKUP PLAN: David Dondero, Henry Wolfe, Davey Tiltwheel @ Soda Bar.
Monday, Aug. 27
PLAN A: Ana Tijoux, Los Rakas, 2Mex @ The Casbah. Even if you don't understand her Spanish rhymes, you're bound to find French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux more than a little captivating. Over heady beats, she delivers sharp, politically conscious lines with a relaxed flow. BACKUP PLAN: The Funk Ark, In Motion Trio @ Soda Bar.
Tuesday, Aug. 28
PLAN A: The Very Best, Seye @ The Casbah. The Very Best is a pretty good description of this collaboration between London producer Johan Hugo and Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya. With their bumpin' beats and celebratory vocals, you can't deny the greatness of their Afropop/electro hybrid. BACKUP PLAN: Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet @ Anthology.