Wednesday, Sept. 12
PLAN A: Shabazz Palaces, Ruslan, DJ Rek @ The Casbah. Headed by Ishmael Butler of Digable Planets, Seattle hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces take a mystical, avant-garde approach with heady rhymes, unpredictable beats and a live mix of drum pads, congas and maracas. PLAN B: Trust, DZ Deathrays, Light Vision @ Soda Bar. Trust's gloom-laden synth-pop is bound to go over well with hipster-goth types, but Australian duo DZ Deathrays might just steal the show. Using some fucked-up sounding guitar tones, they channel the same cracked rock energy as Justice and Death From Above 1979. BACKUP PLAN: Christian Scott @ Anthology.
Thursday, Sept. 13
PLAN A: By Sunlight, Kenseth and Brandon, The Tall Ships @ Soda Bar. Playing sincere, propulsive indie-rock, By Sunlight sound right at home amongst the rain and P.C. vibes of the Pacific Northwest. On the other hand, Sleeping People offshoot Kenseth and Brandon sound like they're taking a joyride through the cosmos with their subdued instrumental rock. PLAN B: Daniel Jackson w/ Joshua White, Jeff Littleton, Chuck McPherson @ 98 Bottles. Not to be confused with the archaeologist played by James Spader on Stargate, local jazz veteran Daniel Jackson has been tearing it up on tenor sax (and also some piano) for longer than some younger cats have been alive. BACKUP PLAN: Moving Units, Mini Death, Mermaid @ The Casbah.
Friday, Sept. 14
PLAN A: The Walkmen, Milo Greene @ House of Blues. The Walkmen aren't young bucks anymore—on their new album, Heaven, they sing about fuddy-duddy things like fatherhood and responsibility. That might not sit well with fans of ragers like "The Rat," but it makes for some lovely, affecting songcraft. PLAN B: Brother Ali, Blank Tape Beloved, Homeboy Sandman, DJ Sosa, The Reminders @ Porter's Pub. A Muslim who just so happens to be albino and legally blind, rapper Brother Ali tackles personal and political issues alike with a soulful flow. His new album, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color (out Sept. 18), takes inspiration from Occupy, the Arab Spring and his first pilgrimage to Mecca. BACKUP PLAN: Balboa Park Lily Pond fundraiser w/ Deco, Mesck, Eric Yo, P Man @ Kava Lounge.
Saturday, Sept. 15
PLAN A: Pinback, Jamuel Saxon, Mac Demarco, Hume, Dr. Seahorse @ Sunset Temple. Don't be surprised if local indie-rock icons Pinback play some cuts off their forthcoming album, Information Retrieved, at this San Diego Music Thing showcase. SDMT runs Sept. 14 and 15; also, see our feature on keynote speaker Wayne Kramer. PLAN B: Adam Ant @ 4th & B. After struggling for years with bipolar disorder, '80s-era hit-maker Adam Ant made a solo comeback in 2010. These days, he dresses up in wacky outfits and performs hits like "Stand and Deliver" and "Goody Two Shoes." BACKUP PLAN: Griever, Age of Collapse, A Better Hope Foundation, Fed to the Wolves, Haruka @ Ché Café.
Sunday, Sept. 16
PLAN A: FM 94/9 Independence Jam w/ Fiona Apple, Best Coast, Oberhofer, Gardens & Villa @ Junior Seau Oceanside Pier Amphitheatre. This show isn't nearly as epic as it could've been, since 94/9 recently cut Father John Misty, Pinback and Mrs. Magician from the lineup. But Fiona Apple makes it all worthwhile: Guided by fierce vocal melodies and homemade percussion, her stunning new album, The Idler Wheel , is raw, beautiful and almost frighteningly intimate. BACKUP PLAN: She Wants Revenge, The Start, The Child @ Belly Up Tavern.
Monday, Sept. 17
PLAN A: Ringo Deathstarr, The Tennis System, The Short Eyes @ Soda Bar. You're not getting anything new or challenging from Ringo Deathstarr—they've got the skuzzy drone guitars, cooing female vocals and melancholic Smiths melodies of plenty of other buzz-bands, and their ironic name isn't as good as Jamuel Saxon's. But they still offer a fun trip down the shoegaze memory hole.
Tuesday, Sept. 18
PLAN A: Moonface, Foxygen, Bunny Gang @ The Casbah. Spencer Krug is probably best known as a member of Montreal indie-rockers Wolf Parade, but his solo project Moonface shouldn't be underestimated. On his latest album, With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, he works with a Finnish band to balance whimsical, lovelorn lyrics with big synth-rock grooves. BACKUP PLAN: Kids & Explosions, Pal&Drome, Baby Buffalo @ Soda Bar.