Wednesday, Sept. 11
PLAN A: Neko Case, Pickwick @ House of Blues. Few singers can deliver a vocal performance with as much emotional power as Neko Case. Her new album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, doesn't only have one mouthful of a title; it also has some of the best songs you'll hear all year. PLAN B: Curren$y @ World Beat Center. Follow the scent of ganja on Wednesday night and you'll likely find yourself watching Curren$y, a New Orleans-based rapper with a penchant for the blunted things in life. BACKUP PLAN: Lights and Sirens, Muscle Beech, Skyways are Highways, DJ Mikey Ratt @ Tower Bar.
Thursday, Sept. 12
PLAN A: Normandie Wilson, Jasmine Commerce, Luke Williams @ The Griffin. Normandie Wilson plays pop music with lush arrangements that are reminiscent of Burt Bacharach and a fashionable '60s-style swing. It will pair nicely with The Griffin's cocktail-lounge vibe, which makes a fine venue for a jazzy, laid-back show. PLAN B: On an On, The Love Language, Hands @ Soda Bar. A buzzy new band with a dreamy sound, On an On was formed after its members' previous band, Scattered Trees, fizzled, but it's probably for the best. On an On's debut, Give In, is a gorgeous, synth-heavy set of indie-pop treats with hooks and just the right dose of darkness.
Friday, Sept. 13
PLAN A: Titus Andronicus, Lemuria, Lost Boy, Dead Ships @ The Irenic. Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles recently wrote a 9,000-word tome on the return of The Replacements, but it's easy to imagine someone doing the same on Stickles' band in 25 years. Hear the New Jersey punk rockers tear it up as part of this year's San Diego Music Thing. PLAN B: Mykki Blanco @ Porter's Pub. Part performance art, part hip-hop and part punk, Mykki Blanco is the Lolita alter-ego of Michael Quattlebaum Jr. She's feminine, she's gangsta and, above all, she's one of a kind. BACKUP PLAN: Little Hurricane, Cuckoo Chaos, The Palace Ballroom, Harriet, DJ Keith Sweaty @ Sunset Temple.
Saturday, Sept. 14
PLAN A: Body / Head, Gram Rabbit, Wild Wild Wets, Trails and Ways, Two Wolves @ The Casbah. Read our cover story about Kim Gordon here. She's the co-founder of Sonic Youth and half of Body / Head, who'll bring their strange, improvisational psychedelia to San Diego Music Thing. PLAN B: Orgone, In Motion Collective, Fallen Riviera, A House for Lions @ The Griffin. Most of San Diego is going to be overrun with indie-rock bands this weekend, so if a chance arrives to get comfy inside some thick, syrupy funk grooves, I suggest you take it. Hollywood's Orgone will provide that opportunity, finding the sweet spot between Stax and Parliament, with the right touch of Latin groove. BACKUP PLAN: Shake Before Us, Tropical Popsicle, Bleeding Rainbow, Soft White Sixties, Dirty Sirens @ Bar Pink.
Sunday, Sept. 15
PLAN A: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Gate @ Belly Up Tavern. Knowing what we do about global warming, the end of the world won't be much of a surprise, but pop culture tends to treat the apocalypse as a spontaneous event. Apocalyptic post-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor likewise didn't give much warning when they released last year's ALLELUJAH! DON'T BEND! ASCEND!, but it turned out to be one awesome, devastating surprise. PLAN B: Coeur de Pirate, Gayle Skidmore, Natasha Kozaily @ The Casbah. Coeur de Pirate is one woman, Montreal's Beatrice Martin, who blends French chanson tradition with modern indie sounds. Utterly charming.
Monday, Sept. 16
PLAN A: Hell, Zsa Zsa Gabor @ The Void. With a Google-proof name and a discography primarily distributed via cassette, Salem, Ore.'s one-man drone-doom-metal unit Hell certainly earns its "kvlt" metal cred. But those elements are fairly trivial. The heaviness is what matters, here—prepare to be annihilated.
Tuesday, Sept. 17
PLAN A: Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires @ Belly Up Tavern. Jason Isbell spent six years as part of Athens, Ga.'s Drive By Truckers, but since then he's carved a path for himself as an outstanding solo performer. His new album, Southeastern, is his best yet, stripped down to mostly acoustic arrangements to back his heartbreaking and brutally honest lyrics. PLAN B: Body Language, DWNTWN @ The Casbah. If you're looking to dance, however, then head over to The Casbah to check out Body Language, a funky electronic group with a heavy emphasis on '80s new-wave sounds. BACKUP PLAN: Ed Ghost Tucker, The Gift Machine @ The Griffin.