Wednesday, Oct. 16
PLAN A: Braids, Hundred Waters, Kodak to Graph @ The Casbah. Montreal's Braids started as a vibrant psychedelic-pop band in the vein of Animal Collective, but on their new album, Flourish // Perish, they've traded that approach for a more elegant, electronic vibe. It's an impressive, beautiful set of synth-based pop music perfect for San Diego's autumn chill. PLAN B: Idyll Wild, Old Age, The We Shared Milk @ The Griffin. It's easy to get lost in the hypnotic vibe of local dream-pop group Idyll Wild. They're a little shoegazey and a bit psychedelic, with just a touch of math-rock precision. BACKUP PLAN: Crystal Antlers, Ditches, Nicely @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, Oct. 17
PLAN A: Fucked Up, Tony Molina, Go Go Lords @ The Casbah. Earlier this month, Terror and Fucked Up launched a tour together, but, curiously, when Terror played San Diego, they did so without Fucked Up. As it turns out, Fucked Up are playing in San Diego, just at a different venue, and I couldn't be more stoked. Their intense but good-natured bruising is guaranteed to be a highlight of the week, month and possibly year. BACKUP PLAN: Evidence, LMNO, Black Resume, Cali Cam @ The Griffin.
Friday, Oct. 18
PLAN A: Diamond Head, Raven, Taz Taylor, Volture, Ultimate Sin @ Brick by Brick. Once, at the gym, I saw an episode of MSNBC's Lockup, about an arsonist who got the phrase "Am I Evil?" tattooed on his hand, inspired by the Metallica song of the same name. Only, it's not a Metallica song—it's a Diamond Head song (Metallica just covered it). So, here's your opportunity to see a legendary British heavy-metal band that inspired some of the biggest names in metal. Oh, and they totally rip. PLAN B: The Icarus Line, Buddy Banter, Prayers, Turning Lights @ The Void. The Icarus Line are synonymous with rock 'n' roll debauchery, but that's not why you should go see them. You should see them because their trippy, Stooges-inspired sound is totally badass. BACKUP PLAN: Small Disaster @ Seven Grand.
Saturday, Oct. 19
PLAN A: Sleigh Bells, Doldrums @ Block No. 16. I'm generally skeptical about shows in flashy Downtown clubs, but then again, Sleigh Bells are too much fun not to recommend. Huge walls of guitar, catchy-as-hell hooks, leather jackets and more fun than you can shake an overpriced gin-and-tonic at. PLAN B: Junip, Barbarossa @ The Loft at UCSD. Swedish singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez earned his stripes via his hypnotic, stripped-down indie folk, but with his band Junip, there's a dreamier, denser set of layers that make for a bigger, if still laid-back, sound. BACKUP PLAN: Quintron and Ms. Pussycat, ZZZ, Beehive and the Barracudas @ The Casbah.
Sunday, Oct. 20
PLAN A: Konk Pack @ Bread and Salt. Improvisational trio Konk Pack have an impressive background in the avant-garde, most notably multi-instrumentalist Tim Hodgkinson, who performed with rock-in-opposition iconoclasts Henry Cow back in the 1970s. Their sound is weird, amorphous and intense and promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience. BACKUP PLAN: Requiem for the Rockets, Inspired and The Sleep, Tan Sister Radio, Throne @ Soda Bar.
Monday, Oct. 21
PLAN A: Tim Kasher, Laura Stevenson, Jake Bellows @ The Casbah. Tim Kasher is best known as the frontman of Omaha indie-rockers Cursive, but ever since his 2010 album, Game of Monogamy, the singer / songwriter has been carving a unique path of his own. His latest album, Adult Film, has more electronic elements than before, but his penchant for melodic storytelling is just as compelling. PLAN B: Curse of the North, Deep Sea Thunderbeast, Little Doves @ The Void. Curse of the North come to San Diego, literally, from the north—Seattle. But their thick, brawny High on Fire-style metal isn't so much a curse as a brutal blessing.
Tuesday, Oct. 22
PLAN A: Passion Pit, The Joy Formidable @ Open Air Theatre. Passion Pit's "Take a Walk" is one of those tunes that gets stuck in my head for days on end. It's just so damn catchy! And yet, Passion Pit have a lot more where that came from, which means they're pretty likely to start some huge sing-alongs. PLAN B: Maria Minerva, Cherushii, Isolde Touch @ The Void. Estonian artist Maria Minerva crafts dark, atmospheric synth-scapes with ample hooks and imagination. If it's a peculiar, arty dance party you're looking for, this is the one to catch.