Wednesday, Nov. 13
PLAN A: Big Freedia, Okapi Sun, DJ Claire @ The Casbah. If Miley Cyrus' newfound interest in twerking doesn't do it for you, let the queen of New Orleans bounce show you how it's done. Big Freedia's ass-shaking antics both entranced and bewildered watchers when he opened for The Postal Service earlier this year, but you don't get the full effect until you see it up close. PLAN B: Defeater, Alcoa, Silver Snakes @ The Che Café. Melodic hardcore group Defeater tends to be pretty high-concept, releasing albums with detailed backstories and recurring themes. More importantly, they write catchy tunes that rock hard. Need I say more? BACKUP PLAN: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Army Navy, Leopold and His Fiction @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, Nov. 14
PLAN A: Melt-Banana, Retox, Rats Eyes @ The Casbah. Japan's Melt-Banana have made a two-decade career of intense, spastic noisecore, but with new album Fetch, the group's attention to melody is stronger than ever—not that they've gotten any less manic since the good ol' days. And with local hardcore destroyers Retox on the bill, this show is certain to be awesome. PLAN B: Minor Alps, Dan Wilson @ Soda Bar. The name Minor Alps might not ring any bells, but the duo behind the name—Juliana Hatfield and Nada Surf's Matthew Caws—definitely should. The power-pop veterans have a new, electronics-tinged project that shows off their great vocal harmonies. And if that's not enough, Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson opens the show. BACKUP PLAN: Tera Melos, Zorch, Sister Crayon, Creepers @ The Che CafÈ.
Friday, Nov. 15
PLAN A: Nik Turner's Hawkwind, Astra, Joy, Operation Mindblow Lightshow @ The Casbah. While we'll probably never see a proper Hawkwind reunion, founding member Nik Turner has assembled a super-team of musicians to create an entirely new space-rock extravaganza. If you missed the space ritual or—like me—weren't even close to born when it happened, then here's your chance to make up for it. PLAN B: KIDS, Shiva Trash, Underpass, Lube @ The Che Café. KIDS' Bandcamp page labels them as "punk" and "garage," but that doesn't really do them justice. Their hard-charging, anthemic tunes are certainly raw, but with a rich sound and big sing-along choruses.
Saturday, Nov. 16
PLAN A: Caspian, 65DaysofStatic, The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die @ Soda Bar. Soda Bar is a relatively small club, but when Caspian open up their barrage of epic post-rock, it'll feel like the center of something colossal. A sound this big can make your living room feel like a coliseum. PLAN B: Autolux, Illuminauts @ The Casbah. Autolux aren't terribly prolific, but their two full-length albums contain a plentiful selection of '90s-leaning alt-rock / shoegaze tunes with some slight electronic traces. If you could compress two decades of MTV's 120 Minutes into a band, this would be it.
Sunday, Nov. 17
PLAN A: The Besnard Lakes, Elephant Stone, Darrows @ The Casbah. Montreal's The Besnard Lakes aren't quite prog, not exactly shoegaze and just on the fringe of psych-rock. However, all of those elements play a part in their dense, powerful. melodic sound. BACKUP PLAN: Yacht Rock Revue, Geezer, DJ Claire @ House of Blues.
Monday, Nov. 18
PLAN A: IJI, James Rabbit, Plastic City Pariah @ The Che Café. IJI is essentially Zach Burba, a Seattle performer who writes dreamy jangle-pop tunes with a slight jazz influence. It's laid-back, fun and a safe distance from most popular records you'll hear this year.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
PLAN A: Chvrches, Basecamp @ House of Blues.Click here for more on Chvrches, whose new album, The Bones of What You Believe, is one of the year's best synth-pop records. If you don't have at least half of its songs stuck in your head yet, you will after this show. PLAN B: Riververb, Ogd_s(11) Translation Has Failed, Tenshun @ Tin Can Ale House. For a more abstract, yet still beat-heavy experience, check this album-release show for Nathan Hubbard's Ogd_s(11) Translation Has Failed. Jazz, hip-hop, noise, ambient and other sounds will come together in a strange, wonderful collision. BACKUP PLAN: Roxy Jones, Bruin, Emerald Rats, Grassy Noll @ The Casbah.