Wednesday, Jan. 30
PLAN A: Akron/Family @ The Loft at UCSD. A version of Animal Collective for the Americana set, Akron/Family stray ever further from the bounds of classic folk and rock with each passing album, plumbing a range of styles as they conjure a lysergic rainbow of four-part harmonies and strange, enthralling sounds. Still, they give off a rootsy vibe on "No-Room," a slab of brooding psychedelia off their forthcoming album, Sub Verses. PLAN B: Audios, The BreakLites, Ch@ng3 & Reason, Bam & Real J Wallace, DJ 2 Recs @ Soda Bar. Rap-rock can be a cringe-worthy thing, but Washington outfit The BreakLites actually sound good when they pair an MC with a guitarist. Indeed, their easy-going licks help make their beats and rhymes sound that much cooler. BACKUP PLAN: Belvedero, Goodnight Texas, The Midnight Pine @ Lestat's.
Thursday, Jan. 31
PLAN A: Cro-Mags, Rail Them to Death, Take Offense, Uprising A.D., The Apathy Cycle @ Brick by Brick. As pioneers of hardcore punk, Cro-Mags spent the '80s slamming down brutal, metal-infused tunes about life on the streets of New York City's Lower East Side. The band's lineup has changed a lot in the years since, but this show is still likely to be a bruise-fest. PLAN B: Muriel Anderson @ Dizzy's. Muriel Anderson is a joy to watch: a master player of fingerstyle guitar (as well as "harp-guitar"), she plucks away with incredible delicacy, making sweet, melodious folk that's sure to get you smiling. BACKUP PLAN: Go Yama, Generik, ekseL, Andre Elias, Kill Quanti DJs @ Kava Lounge.
Friday, Feb. 1
PLAN A: Pinback, Judgement Day @ House of Blues. With their cathartic, craftsman-style indierock, Pinback always put on a hypnotic show. But don't miss Judgement Day, a badass "string-metal" band armed with violin and cello, who we feature here. PLAN B: Stephen Steinbrink, Jehovas Fitness, Upside Down, Mandarin Dynasty, Bogsey and The Argonauts @ The Ché Café. Taking inspiration from songwriters like Nick Drake and Arthur Russell, Stephen Steinbrink draws up charming, catchy indie-pop with a soft, cloudy core. Rarely do musicians sound so huggable. BACKUP PLAN: The Bronx, Ghetto Blaster, Teenage Burritos, Phantoms @ The Casbah. This show is sold out, but if there's a way you can get in, do it: L.A. punks The Bronx kick ass.
Saturday, Feb. 2
PLAN A: Smile, Reeve Oliver, The Creepy Creeps, Dumetown @ The Casbah. Back in the mid- '00s, pop-rockers Reeve Oliver got all sorts of buzz for infectious tunes that fit right in alongside those of Weezer and Jimmy Eats World. They haven't played live in five years, so this should be a treat. PLAN B: Weatherbox, Tan Sister Radio, Crooks, Throne @ The Ché Café. Taking an astute approach to rocking out, North County's Weatherbox pair fistpumping melodies with math-y guitar-and-drum workouts. Last week, they sent bloggers into a tizzy with news that they've got a new song coming out, "Big News," on a split 7-inch with New York rockers Sainthood Reps. BACKUP PLAN: Kris Allen (trio), Jillette Johnson @ Soda Bar.
Sunday, Feb. 3
PLAN A: Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Tori Rogg, Mostly Sunny @ Soda Bar. Part of the reason I like Benjamin Francis Leftwich is because he has such a silly name. But this English folkie also has soft, earnest tunes that fans of Belle and Sebastian would adore. BACKUP PLAN: Augustana, Lauren Shera @ The Griffin.
Monday, Feb. 4
PLAN A: ZZ Ward, Delta Rae, Martin Harley @ Belly Up Tavern. ZZ Ward's blues ballads shine with a radio-ready polish. With her powerful voice and signature fedora, she seems primed for the big time. PLAN B: Red Shield, Solid Giant @ The Shakedown Bar. Red Shield creep up on you: The Louisiana metal band's recently released EP, Disquiet Follows the Soul, opens with a wash of ominous guitar noise before descending into a pit of churning, glorious doom. BACKUP PLAN: T.V. Mike and The Scarecrowes, Drew Andrews and The Spectral Cities, Nathan Hubbard / Passengers @ Soda Bar.
Tuesday, Feb. 5
PLAN A: The Who @ Valley View Casino Center. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are both nearing their 70s, but tonight they'll be performing Quadrophenia, their classic 1973 rock opera about a young Mod. They reportedly don't hit the high notes like they used to, but they still rock out like a teenager would. BACKUP PLAN: Onuinu, The Glass Canoe, Keith Sweaty @ Soda Bar.