Wednesday, Sept. 18
PLAN A: Valient Thorr, Lord Dying, Ramming Speed @ The Casbah. Do you enjoy wild, blazing guitar riffs? How about heroic vocals? Maybe some untamed facial hair? Of course you do! In any case, the aptly-if-ridiculously named Valient Thorr will scratch that barbaric itch. BACKUP PLAN: Midlake @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, Sept. 19
PLAN A: Gold Panda, Slow Magic, Voices of Black @ The Casbah. One headliner on a long list of great electronic shows happening this week, Gold Panda takes a more playful, but atmospheric approach to downtempo music. The U.K.-born, Berlin-based producer crafts gently surreal tunes from dreamy textures, sampled voices and exotic loops. Itís less like a dance party than an audio vacation. PLAN B: Harms Way, Dead in the Dirt, Homewrecker, Fed to the Wolves @ The Che Café. Dead in the Dirt played The Che Café pretty recently, but they're back with fellow crust purveyors Harms Way to get loud, brutal and grimy once again. BACKUP PLAN: Zaub Nasty, Melissa Alcazar, Anton's Collective @ Tin Can Ale House.
Friday, Sept. 20
PLAN A: The Orb, Nostalghia @ Porter's Pub. In the 1990s, The Orb became legends with albums like U.F.Orb and their signature single "Little Fluffy Clouds," and, this year, the group hits its 25th anniversary. Help celebrate by diving into their ambient dub and house jams. PLAN B: Metalachi @ The Casbah. The name more or less speaks for itself: Metalachi is a mariachi band that plays metal covers. Hear what Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne sound like with a little south-of-the-border flavor. It's good, silly fun. BACKUP PLAN: Jesus AD, Tiger Sex, The Touchies, Gloomsday @ Kensington Club.
Saturday, Sept. 21
PLAN A: MXMMF w/ Author and Punisher, Swarmius, Bald Beast, Tenshun @ Valencia Park. "MXMMF" stands for the Malcolm X Experimental Music Fest, a day of noise in the sun, in partnership with the Malcolm X Library and headlined by one-man industrial-metal destroyer Author and Punisher. It's free, so stop by and get weird. PLAN B: Dirty Beaches, SISU, Chasms @ The Void. Go here for Peter Holslin's feature on experimental indie-rock act Dirty Beaches, which combines haunting ambient textures with a sinister, post-punk darkness. BACKUP PLAN: Deap Vally, Mystic Braves, JJUUJJUU @ Soda Bar.
Sunday, Sept. 22
PLAN A: The Psychedelic Furs, The Burning of Rome @ Belly Up Tavern. It's been a long time since The Psychedelic Furs have released any new music, but that hardly matters when your first four albums are as strong as theirs. Sure, they'll play "Pretty in Pink," but there are plenty of other reasons to check out the U.K. legends. PLAN B: Lee Fields and the Expressions, In Motion Collective, DJ Claire @ The Casbah. Lee Fields has had a long and productive career that's seen him go from touring with the likes of Kool & The Gang back in the 1970s to a more recent move as an emotionally powerful soul crooner. Earlier this year, he re-released his 1979 debut, Let's Talk It Over, which has a deeper vintage funk sound than his more recent material. But whether it's hard-driving funk or romantic ballads, Lee's got all the right bases covered. BACKUP PLAN: Depeche Mode, Crystal Castles @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre.
Monday, Sept. 23
PLAN A: Joan of Arc, Swift Intruders, Big Bad Buffalo @ Soda Bar. There was a time, about 10 to 12 years ago, when the Kinsella brothers dominated indie rock. The landscape has changed a bit since then, but Joan of Arc's complex time signatures, surrealist humor and general weirdness continue to provide an odd alternative to the power-chord norm.
Tuesday, Sept. 24
PLAN A: Pharmakon, Body of Light, Sunwheel, Elvissa @ The Void. Pharmakon is Margaret Chardiet, a New York-based industrial-noise artist who makes intense, visceral compositions out of raw, punishing sounds. Her new album, Abandon, is white-knuckle all the way, and closing highlight "Crawling on Bruised Knees" is likely to give you nightmares. In a good way! PLAN B: Mount Kimbie @ Porter's Pub. Sometimes I think "dubstep" means different things depending upon where you live. In the U.S., it means buzzy synths and bass drops. In the U.K., it means electronic innovators like Mount Kimbie, who combine syncopated beats with dreamy soundscapes. Whether either one is the real definition, Mount Kimbie's version is aces. BACKUP PLAN: Cali Cam, Kynan @ Soda Bar.