Wednesday, June 12
PLAN A: Dancing Strangers, Import Export, Bulletproof Tiger @ Tin Can Ale House. Tijuana's Dancing Strangers have a song called "Dead Can Dance," but it doesn't bear much of a resemblance to the famed darkwave band. It's a lot more like the soundtrack to an actual zombie dance party, which this goth / post-punk act is likely to cause with their moody grooves. BACKUP PLAN: Desert Noises, Parson Red Heads, Said the Whale @ the Casbah.
Thursday, June 13
PLAN A: Cold Cave, Boyd Rice @ The Void. Lemon Grove-born Boyd Rice doesn't make it down to San Diego all that often, so when he brings his arsenal of aural-assault implements, the inevitable ensuing chaos is well worth checking out. The industrial / noise pioneer, Satanist priest and tiki-bar owner has been known to play the roto-guitar: an electric guitar fitted with an electric fan. Suggestion: bring earplugs. PLAN B: The Thermals, Octa#grape, Audacity, Dan Padilla @ The Casbah. There's nothing particularly fancy about The Thermals' spunky punk-pop tunes—they're short, snappy and loud. But when that combination rocks as hard as this Portland trio, that's all you need. BACKUP PLAN: Animal Steel, The Bastards of Temperance @ Soda Bar.
Friday, June 14
PLAN A: Blu & Exile @ Porter's Pub. Hip-hop has a tradition of unstoppable MC/DJ duos—Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, Guru and DJ Premier, KRS-One and Scott La Rock—and Los Angeles team Blu & Exile bring "back in the day" up to the present day, via rich, crackly production and Blu's laid-back, everyman lyrics. PLAN B: The English Beat, Unsteady @ Belly Up Tavern. The English Beat play San Diego with some regularity (frontman Dave Wakeling is a Southern California resident), but with hits like "Mirror in the Bathroom" and "Save it for Later," the ska / new-wave legends can still bring the two-tone jams. BACKUP PLAN: Bow Wow Wow, Gene Loves Jezebel @ Brick by Brick.
Saturday, June 15
PLAN A: The Burning of Rome, The Howls, Water Liars, Ed Ghost Tucker @ Soda Bar. Seeing The Burning of Rome at least once should be a pretty high priority for any local-music fan. Their songwriting is taut, infectious and just a little weird. But, live, they tend to be even more rowdy and intense than they might come off on their latest album, With Us, which is excellent. PLAN B: Indian Jewelry, Wet Illustrated, Deathday @ The Void. Known once upon a time as Swarm of Angels, as well as about a half-dozen other names, Houston's Indian Jewelry have been making a twisted, danceable, experimental pop sound that goes in a lot of different directions but always maintains a high level of frightening cool. Expect chest-thumping beats, gnarly electronics and hypnotic acid-trip hooks.
Sunday, June 16
PLAN A: Orko Eloheim, Skrapez, Gothic Cholo @ Kava Lounge. Orko Elohiem has worked with the likes of Gonjasufi and Saul Williams, but the enigmatic hip-hop figure has a compellingly weird-ass presence all his own. Lyrically fierce and always backed by an array of explosive asteroid beats, Orko is on some dystopian shit in all the right ways. Make sure to show up early to catch Skrapez, the experimental hip-hop act featuring Tenshun and Psychopop. PLAN B: Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, Dancing Strangers, Voice Actor @ Til Two Club. There's no rule that says psychedelic rock has to be dark or noisy, but it certainly helps. Such is the musical approach of Guadalajara, Mexico's Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, whose heady blend of distorted trip-outs can veer from Krautrock-inspired chug-alongs to sultry dream pop. Shades and leather jackets are optional. BACKUP PLAN: Ex-Cult, Octa#grape, Shiva Trash, Kids in Heat @ Soda Bar.
Monday, June 17
PLAN A: Steelwells, The New Kinetics, SXO, Brothers Weiss @ The Casbah. The Steelwells are taking up residence with a series of weekly free shows at The Casbah in June, but an even better reason to go is The New Kinetics, whose sweetly melodious and reverb-heavy garage rock is likely to steal the show.
Tuesday, June 18
PLAN A: Rhett Miller, Nancarrow @ the Casbah. As frontman of Texas quartet Old 97ís, Rhett Miller helped put a rowdy spin on country music, but as a solo artist, he embraces the heartfelt, heart-breaking Nashville sound of yore. He may technically still be playing alt-country, but it feels much more like the real thing.