Wednesday, Jan. 23
PLAN A: Wovenhand, The Heart Beat Trail, Octa#grape @ Soda Bar. Plenty of bands slap on old-timey vests and pluck folksy mandolins nowadays, but few possess the dark power of Wovenhand. In the spirit of Current 93 and Swans, the Colorado four-piece conjures feverish, enthralling roots music with an ominous undercurrent. PLAN B: Ugly Boogie, Matt Curreri, John Meeks @ The Casbah. On the other end of the Americana spectrum, there's locals Ugly Boogie, who bang out a rip-roarin', punk-tinged hybrid of bluegrass and klezmer with three-part harmonies and clarinet melodies.
Thursday, Jan. 24
PLAN A: Ancient Alien Jamboree Festival w/ Vaginals, Signals, XBXRX, Gloomsday @ The Ché Café. XBXRX dress up in goofy outfits and dish out schitzo noise jams. Signals skitter between calm and crazy with quirky electronics, herky-jerky riffs and nasal screams. If you're in the mood to spazz the fuck out, you've found the right place. PLAN B: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (DJ set) @ Voyeur. He may have the most whimsical name ever, but English electronic producer Orlando Higginbottom, aka Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, has a way of giving his quirky bass music and fresh DJ mixes a sweet, emotional pull. BACKUP PLAN: Old Tiger, River City, The Midnight Pine @ Soda Bar.
Friday, Jan. 25
PLAN A: Quicksand, Title Fight, Cymbals Eat Guitars @ House of Blues. Recently reunited after disbanding 15 years ago, NYC's Quicksand have influenced countless bands with an austere, melodic sound that music nerds now call "post-hardcore." Now, they're delivering brutal riffs and raw-throated yells once more. PLAN B: Odessa Kane, Black Mikey, Aki Kharmicel, Awkward Congregation, Beatsmith Resist, DJ Third Rail @ Headquarters Cafe (5841 El Cajon Blvd.). Some top local rappers will get together tonight to raise funds for the Alcanza Vision Orphanage in Tijuana. Make sure to see Aki Kharmicel, whose vivid rhymes and freaky, soul-sampling beats have a hypnotic quality. PLAN C: Daniel Jackson w/ Marshall Hawkins, Joshua White, Brett Sanders, George Bohanon @ Dizzy's. As part of the celebratory Daniel Jackson Week, the local sax legend himself will jam with some top players, including veteran Motown trombonist George Bohanon. BACKUP PLAN: Ancient Alien Jamboree Festival w/ FIDLAR, Meat Market, Pangea @ The Ché Café.
Saturday, Jan. 26
PLAN A: Bobby Bray, Scott Nielsen @ Space 4 Art. Bobby Bray is perhaps best known as the guitarst for sci-fi grind greats The Locust, but this productive local artist also makes abstract sonic concoctions on his own. I'm not sure what to expect at this showcase of his and Scott Nielsen's solo works, but whatever happens, it's sure to be highly abstract and wonderfully bizarre. PLAN B: Infest, Crime Desire, Fed to the Wolves, Impulse, Suspect @ The Ché Café. Ultra-aggressive, ultra-fast and ultra-succinct, newly reunited "powerviolence" pioneers Infest have been offering a release valve for pent-up punk anger since the mid-'80s. They're a lot older now, but they've still got plenty of energy to fuck shit up. BACKUP PLAN: Dead Meadow, Dahga Bloom, California666, Harsh Toke, Eddie and the Ear Wigs @ The Casbah.
Sunday, Jan. 27
PLAN A: Cody ChesnuTT, DJ Claire @ The Casbah. Following in the footsteps of soul greats like Stevie Wonder and Al Green, songwriter Cody ChesnuTT puts a grandiose spin on personal issues. Even when his songs have big arrangements and multiple points of view—as is the case with "Everybody's Brother," a beautiful cut off his 2012 album Landing on a Hundred—his voice is sweet and intimate. BACKUP PLAN: Ben Folds Five, Nataly Dawn @ House of Blues.
Monday, Jan. 28
PLAN A: Changuito @ The Loft at UCSD. I could listen to José Luis Quintana play Afro-Cuban percussion all day long. Better known as Changuito, he helped devise the Cuban "songo" genre in the early '70s, and these days he continues to lay down hypnotic rhythms. BACKUP PLAN: Tiny Telephones, Family Wagon, Great White Buffalo, Calico Kids @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, Jan. 29
PLAN A: Niki & The Dove, Vacationer, DJ Velvet Touch @ The Casbah. Like fellow Swedes The Knife and Robyn, duo Niki & The Dove make heart-melting pop tunes with just the right amount of experimentation. Do yourself a favor and download their irresistible club banger "The Drummer." BACKUP PLAN: Nightmare Air, Boy King, VAMPIRE, DJ Mike Delgado @ The Griffin.