Wednesday, Nov. 20
PLAN A: John Vanderslice, Bent Shapes @ Soda Bar. John Vanderslice has been releasing catchy, beautifully written indie-pop records for more than a decade, in addition to having recorded pretty much all the indie-rock bands you love. Let him serenade you in person at this mid-week show. PLAN B: Andrew Jackson Jihad, The Gunshy, Buddy Banter @ The Casbah. Phoenix folk-punks Andrew Jackson Jihad fall somewhere between The Mountain Goats and Violent Femmes. And just because their sound is largely acoustic doesn't mean it doesn't rock like crazy.
Thursday, Nov. 21
PLAN A: Barbarian, Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel, Turning Lights @ The Void. Dreamy, reverb-drenched post-punk group Barbarian recently went on a vision quest out in the desert to record a new album, and there's a good chance you'll be able to hear some of their new songs live. And the not-so-new ones are great, too, so win-win! PLAN B: Low Volts, Two Wolves @ Seven Grand. Order an Old Fashioned and let a pair of vintage-sounding outfits take over for the evening at Seven Grand. Between Low Volts' electric blues and Two Wolves' stripped-down rockabilly, you'll forget about all of the embarrassing new genre creations of the past decade. BACKUP PLAN: Octa#Grape, The Paper Thins @ Bar Pink.
Friday, Nov. 22
PLAN A: Obits, Rob Crow's Gloomy Place, White Murder, Phantom Ratio @ The Casbah. Obits frontman Rick Froberg used to be a major player in San Diego's music scene, having played with Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, and he's still bruising with this New York-based garage-punk band. They play it loud, fast and snotty—the way punk is supposed to be. PLAN B: The English Beat, Oceanside Sound System @ Belly Up Tavern. Ska / new-wave legends The English Beat swung by San Diego earlier this year, but if you missed out, they're coming back with a busload of classics like "I Confess" and "Mirror in the Bathroom." BACKUP PLAN: Red Pony Clock, Week of Wonders @ The Void.
Saturday, Nov. 23
PLAN A: The Locust, Widows, Bastard Noise @ Porter's Pub. Seeing The Locust is an experience you're unlikely to forget. Dressed in strange costumes and assaulting listeners with 30-second shards of violent noisecore, The Locust are infamous for their intense live shows. And it's been a good long time since they've played one in San Diego, so don't miss out. PLAN B: Screaming Females, Upset, Sledding with Tigers @ Soda Bar. Screaming Females play catchy, hard-rocking indie jams reminiscent of Sleater-Kinney and Dinosaur Jr., and much like Carrie Brownstein or J Mascis, Females frontwoman Marissa Paternoster can shred. BACKUP PLAN: U.S. Girls, Ether Island, Chatlet @ The Void.
Sunday, Nov. 24
PLAN A: Drake, Miguel, Future @ Viejas Arena. I'll be honest: I'm not much of a Drake fan. But he won me over this year with his new jam "Hold On, We're Going Home," which ranks as one of the year's best R&B tracks. Get there early for Miguel, a performer who's responsible for one of last year's best R&B records, Kaleidoscope Dream. PLAN B: Church of Misery, Wizard Rifle, Wild Honey, Deep Sea Thunder Beast @ Soda Bar. Japanese sludge-metal act Church of Misery is a concept-based group that writes slow, ominous dirges about serial killers. Gnarly stuff. BACKUP PLAN: Night Beats, Wild Wild Wets, Amerikan Bear @ The Casbah.
Monday, Nov. 25
PLAN A: A. Tom Collins, The Flowerthief, A Mayfield Affair @ Soda Bar. A. Tom Collins' frontman Aaron Collins supposedly descends from the inventor of the Tom Collins cocktail, or so the lore goes. That may or may not be true, but their music—a mix of rock, folk and burlesque hot jazz—is intoxicating enough on its own.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
PLAN A: Deltron 3030, Kid Koala @ House of Blues. This year, surrealist sci-fi hip-hop group Deltron 3030, fronted by legendary MC Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, finally released a second album, Event II, 13 years after their acclaimed debut. And now they're bringing their space-rap anthems to the stage. It could very well be another 13 years before it happens again, so clear your schedule. PLAN B: Sinead OíConnor, DJ Carlos Culture @ Belly Up Tavern. Click here for Scott McDonald's cover story on Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor, who is back to entertain American audiences after a lengthy absence. BACKUP PLAN: Hibou, Big Bad Buffalo, Bulldog Eyes, Nimzo Indians, Ned Flounders @ The Che Cafe.