Wednesday, Aug. 7
PLAN A: Sed Non Satiata, Carrion Spring, Lee Corey Oswald, Moxie Beat @ The Che Café. Screamo is an often-maligned and -misunderstood genre, but the fact of the matter is it has produced some breathtaking music. For instance: France's Sed Non Satiata, who balance graceful instrumental passages with intense punk rock. Epic. PLAN B: Greenhouse (Blueprint & Illogic), Conspiracy Theorists, Sighphur One, Innate & EP, DJ Tramlife @ Soda Bar. Blueprint and Illogic have decades of underground hip-hop cred between them, and together they make a pretty stellar abstract-rap duo. For a while they were known as Greenhouse Effect, but whatever name changes they've undergone, their skills are as solid as ever. BACKUP PLAN: Soft White Sixties, Flaggs, Adam Bones @ The Void.
Thursday, Aug. 8
PLAN A: Foals, Drowners @ House of Blues. Foals have undergone an interesting evolution since first debuting as a jittery math-rock band. With more space in their songs, and a little growing up, they've become some of the better songwriters in alternative rock. PLAN B: Ritualz, Prayers, Sunwheel @ The Void. Mexico City's Ritualz's first album is called Ghetto Ass Witch and has a picture of Lindsay Lohan on the cover. I think I'll leave it at that. BACKUP PLAN: The Donkeys, Kiev, Privet @ The Griffin.
Friday, Aug. 9
PLAN A: Wreck and Reference, California Bleeding, Ripped Bodies @ Kava Lounge. Synth-heavy doom duo Wreck and Reference are playing two shows in San Diego in August, the first of which is part of Sam Lopez's ongoing "Stay Strange" events. And with their dark, heavy and ominous tones, Wreck and Ref are a perfect fit. PLAN B: Lost Lands, Territory, Of Feather & Bone, They as in Them, Cascabel, Old Wounds @ The Che Café. I have a Pavlovian response to crust punk—I hear a "d-beat" and start throwing elbows uncontrollably. But I also know good hardcore when I hear it, and Lost Land is definitely good hardcore. BACKUP PLAN: Pinback @ Del Mar Racetrack.
Saturday, Aug. 10
PLAN A: Sebadoh, Octa#grape, Ditches @ The Casbah. Everyone has their warm and fuzzy memory of "my first indie band"—for most, it's Pavement or Modest Mouse. For me it was Sebadoh, whose lo-fi masterpiece Bakesale is essential listening for any sucker for tape hiss or emotional sensitivity. PLAN B: Gloomsday, The Paragraphs, Chess Wars @ Soda Bar. A two-person band with a guitarist who spends part of his time in metal band Deep Sea Thunder Beast, Gloomsday play danceable indie rock with a touch of unexpected heaviness. Expect awesomeness. BACKUP PLAN: Parker and the Numberman, Amon, YNGN, Garvinski, Onenighters @ The Griffin.
Sunday, Aug. 11
PLAN A: White Fence, Jessica Pratt, Jonathan Rado @ The Casbah. White Fence have collaborated with Bay Area garage-rocker Ty Segall and write some splendid jangly pop tunes of their own, but I'm even more interested in Jessica Pratt, who plays some tear-jerkingly gorgeous indie-folk ballads. PLAN B: Dead in the Dirt, Rapturous Grief, ACxDC, Griever, Crime Desire, MethxBreath @ The Che Café. Dead in the Dirt describe themselves as "vegan straightedge atheist grindcore," which has a few too many qualifiers in it for my taste. Good thing their menacing hardcore assault totally destroys. BACKUP PLAN: Jonwayne, MNDSGN, Scatterbrain, Kill Quanti DJs @ Soda Bar.
Monday, Aug. 12
PLAN A: Smith Westerns, Wampire @ The Casbah. Smith Westerns' latest album, Soft Will, is a little more subdued than their first two, but the quality of their shimmering pop songs hasn't abated in the slightest. With songs like the dreamy "3am Spiritual" and new wave-y "Idol," the Chicago power-pop group is progressing in a very cool way.
Tuesday, Aug. 13
PLAN A: Barbarian, Mister Goodnite, Lost Ships @ The Void. Last month, I reviewed City of Women, the new EP by Barbarian, and I loved it. The group's dreamy, hazy post-punk sound is a wonderful thing to get lost in, and, as such, I fully endorse attending the group's EP-release party at The Void. PLAN B: King Tuff, Teenage Burritos, DJ Mikey Face @ Soda Bar. I've always thought garage-rock bands would sound a lot better if they went on a T. Rex listening binge. Kyle Thomas, better known as King Tuff, has all the glam-rock cred one should look for in an indie rocker, with riffs and choruses that do Bolan proud.