Wednesday, Dec. 4
PLAN A: Gavin Turek, Bulletproof Tiger, Tiger Milk Imports @ The Casbah. L.A.'s Gavin Turek is a triple threat: singer, dancer, actor. Music is the basket she's putting most of her eggs into, though, and it's a good thing. Her recent EP, The Break-Up Tape, does electronic pop in the vein of Robyn: smart, melodic and danceable. Be ready to shake your ass at this one.
Thursday, Dec. 5
PLAN A: My Jerusalem, Champ, Allophone @ Soda Bar. My Jerusalem's personnel have a collective résumé that includes time in bands like Polyphonic Spree, Bishop Allen and The Twilight Singers, but in this band, what they do is considerably darker. With more than a slight Nick Cave influence, they bring a splendidly gothic chill to their indie-rock tunes.
Friday, Dec. 6
PLAN A: Soft Lions, Spaceships, Idyll Wild @ Soda Bar. The members of Soft Lions have honed their chops in bands like Boy King, Wild Wild Wets and The New Kinetics, and the music they're making now finds them coming together like a miniature, indie-pop Voltron, balancing low-key noir ballads with fiery rockers. This is their debut performance—swing by so you can say you saw them before anyone else. PLAN B: Black Joe Lewis, Radkey @ House of Blues. Austin's Black Joe Lewis play rock 'n' roll the way it's meant to be played: raw, loud and soulful. Songs like "Skulldiggin" come across like Black Sabbath mixed with James Brown, whereas a live staple like "Gunpowder" is Stax funk cranked up to 11. If you're not having fun at this show, something is seriously wrong.
Saturday, Dec. 7
PLAN A: Waxahatchee, Swearin', Upset @ The Che Café. Click here for our feature on Philadelphia's Swearin', whose Allison Crutchfield is the sister of Waxahatchee singer and songwriter Katie Crutchfield. If you go to only one family reunion this December, I recommend this one. PLAN B: Jay Z @ Valley View Casino Center. OK, sure, Magna Carta Holy Grail isn't very good. And Jay Z's been under scrutiny lately for being a little too cozy with 1-percenters to keep his cred. But the hip-hop legend's got a back catalog solid enough—not to mention the stage presence—to make this show worthwhile, even if it hasn't been his best year. Besides, it's not like I'm going to tell you to not go see Jay Z. BACKUP PLAN: The Intelligence, Cold Beat, The Frights @ The Void.
Sunday, Dec. 8
PLAN A: X, The Blasters @ Belly Up Tavern. After the great Black Flag vs. FLAG rival-tour fiasco of 2013, the best way to preserve your SoCal punk memories is to see X, one of the finest bands to ever come out of L.A. Head to the Belly Up and remind yourself of how "Los Angeles" blew your mind. PLAN B: Hayden, The Palace Ballroom, Nothingful @ Soda Bar. For two decades, Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden has quietly amassed a great discography of low-key, affecting songs that range from gentle indie folk to lush, chamber-pop arrangements. And he's not stopping anytime soon. Let his gentle baritone soothe you in person. BACKUP PLAN: Escondido, Sam Outlaw, Darren Raser @ The Casbah.
Monday, Dec. 9
PLAN A: Sundrop Electric, Love and the Skull, Young Wants @ The Casbah. A name like Sundrop Electric tells you almost everything you need to know about this local quintet. Their focus is on loud, albeit dreamy, soundscapes that are influenced by psychedelic rock and shoegaze. And though it's trippy and massive, there are plenty of great melodies to go around. PLAN B: Dinosaur Bones, The Lazulis, Grizzly Business @ Soda Bar. Sometimes a good indie-rock band doesn't need much to be good—such is the case for Dinosaur Bones, whose gorgeous melodies render the need for excessive instrumentation unnecessary.
Tuesday, Dec. 10
PLAN A: Exhumed, Iron Reagan @ The Casbah. Looking to shed a few pounds before slicing up that Christmas goose? Sweat it out in the pit when goregrind bruisers Exhumed unleash their arsenal of 30-second explosions. PLAN B: Shy Girls, Body Parts, Inspired and the Sleep @ Soda Bar. Portland's Shy Girls is not a band of girls; nor is it even one girl. It's the alter ego of singer-songwriter Dan Vidmar, who creates low-key, late-night electro R&B in the vein of The Weeknd or How to Dress Well. Wear something nice, because it's about to get sexy in here. BACKUP PLAN: The Schitzophonics, Saint Diego, West Beast @ The Griffin.