Wednesday, July 24
PLAN A: Meraki, Grand Tarantula, Uber Monk, Big Bad Buffalo, Number One Lincoln @ Che Café. Math rock is an endangered species these days, which is a shame. Feelings and sloppy power chords are nice enough, but there's something cool about seeing four amazing musicians lock into a groove, which Meraki pull off nicely. PLAN B: Amerikan Bear, TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb, Jimmy Ruelas @ Tin Can Ale House. About 3.5 million bands have covered "Hey Joe," most versions of which will never touch Hendrix's. Amerikan Bear hold their own on the classic tune, as well as their originals; the band does garage rock like it was in the 1960s: Loud, chaotic, and, above all, soulful.
Thursday, July 25
PLAN A: Sonny and the Sunsets, Memories, Teenage Burritos @ The Casbah. Sonny and the Sunsets' Sonny Smith began as a blues pianist, honing his chops and paying his dues well before getting into the indie-rock game. And it shows. Smith is a hell of a songwriter, and knows his way around a hook. BACKUP PLAN: New House, Stage Kids, Happy Body Slow Brain, Quad IX, Sufficient Sounds @ The Griffin.
Friday, July 26
PLAN A: Swim Party, Modern Rifles, Kalashnikov My Wife @ Soda Bar. Swim Party have been playing diverse indie-rock sounds in San Diego for a good seven years now, ably transitioning from lengthy, dreamy compositions to taut, harder-rocking gems. A must for anyone who digs guitars. PLAN B: Hills Like Elephants, River City @ Seven Grand. Hills Like Elephants describe their sound as "Motown with drum machines." More accurately, they're a soulful rock band with a singer who can really belt. Whatever the description, Hills Like Elephants bring the jams. BACKUP PLAN: Surf Club, Sisu, Cruel Summer @ The Void.
Saturday, July 27
PLAN A: Shakey Graves, Amigo the Devil, New California Sun @ Soda Bar. Shakey Graves is Austinite Alejandro Rose-Garcia, a blues-country songwriter who knows how to kick-up a rustic, one-man hoedown. He'll be in good company with San Diego's resident murder balladeer, Amigo the Devil, whom Peter Holslin profiled in CityBeat back in May. PLAN B: Montalban Quintet, Takahashi, Never Come Down, Subsurfer @ The Casbah. Montalban Quintet is a local supergroup of sorts, featuring members of No Knife, Pinback, Sleeping People and Tanner. But the band sounds nothing like any of those groups, instead creating cinematic instrumentals akin to Calexico or Ennio Morricone's film scores. BACKUP PLAN: Josephine Foster, Victor Herrero @ Seven Grand.
Sunday, July 28
PLAN A: Speedy Ortiz, Supermodel Razorblades, Tworooms @ Soda Bar. Remember the name Speedy Ortiz, because this band is going places. With one foot in the '90s, the band churns out amazing tunes that sound like a more progressive Breeders, or Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville cranked to 11. Prepare to be blown away. PLAN B: Jeru the Damaja, Zoolay, Odessa Kane @ El Dorado. Jeru the Damaja made a name for himself in the '90s by dropping razor-sharp rhymes on hip-hop records like The Sun Rises in the East. His signature song is "You Can't Stop the Prophet," and the man will most likely drop some serious knowledge.
Monday, July 29
PLAN A: Chico Trujillo, Cumbia Machin, Amazon Audio @ The Casbah. And now for something completely different. Wash off the punk and garage-rock grit with a show by Chico Trujillo, an eclectic Chilean band that blends traditional Colombian cumbia with jazz, salsa, soca, ska and surf-rock that always sounds like a party.PLAN B: Jeans Wilder, Summer Twins, Sixties Guns @ The Void. Very likely what most people outside of our sunny burg imagine bands from San Diego sound like, Jeans Wilder embody a lo-fi, surf-inspired garage aesthetic reminiscent of a less punk Wavves or a more ramshackle Best Coast. The band's 2012 album Totally even begins with the sound of waves crashing on the beach. Sometimes it's better to embrace it than fight it.
Tuesday, July 30
PLAN A: Writer, Mrs. Magician, Illuminauts, DJ Mateo @ Soda Bar. Writer left San Diego for New York City last year, but thankfully the group is circling back over to their hometown to bring us more of their taut, fuzzy indie-rock. Rounding out the bill is Mrs. Magician, whose jangly surf-pop is always a pleasing sound. PLAN B: Whirr @ The Void. Whirr is about as apt as a name can get, in just one syllable summing up the swirling, hypnotic shoe-gaze sound of this Oakland band. Bring earplugs and be ready to get sucked into their euphoric vortex.