Wednesday, Dec. 11
PLAN A: "It's Gonna Blow!!! Fundraiser" with San Diego's Finest, Octa#grape, Ghetto Blaster, Mudhead @ The Casbah. The Casbah is hosting a show to raise money for It's Gonna Blow!!!, an upcoming local-music documentary, and it's a little out of the ordinary. Rob Crow put together an all-star band of scene musicians to play a full set of classic San Diego jams. Get nostalgic and rock out! PLAN B: The Royal Concept, American Authors, Misterwives @ House of Blues. Sweden's The Royal Concept has been likened to bands such as Phoenix and The Strokes for their super-catchy indie-pop tunes, which are buoyant, bright-eyed and lots of fun. BACKUP PLAN: Rainbow Jackson, Deadly Birds, The Heavy Guilt, Sadie and the Blue-Eyed Devils @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, Dec. 12
PLAN A: Slow Magic, Illuminauts, Mystery Cave @ The Casbah. Slow Magic actually use "glo-fi" as a tag on their Bandcamp page. If you haven't run screaming yet, then I can assure you that the group's electronic-pop nuggets are much better than a dead trend would imply. With Illuminauts and Mystery Cave opening, the show's sure to be a non-stop dance party. PLAN B: Amigo, Camacho, Eardrum Gluttony @ Brick by Brick. But maybe you prefer more of a head-banging, fist-pumping, stoner-rock party. That's exactly what you're going to get with Amigo, who have more riffs and swagger than will possibly fit into one hour-long set.
Friday, Dec. 13
PLAN A: Wild Wild Wets, Amerikan Bear, Shiva Trash, Marqay @ The Casbah. Awwwwww—freak out! That is, San Diego Freak Out, in its first-ever event, will take over The Casbah, headlined by the always trippy and definitely rockin' Wild Wild Wets. But come early to soak in a full evening's worth of garagey, psychedelic sounds and feel the vibes. PLAN B: Bowie-Phonics with Diana Death, The Replacement Replacements @ Bar Pink. There are a lot of cover bands in San Diego—probably too many. But I'll happily recommend this double feature of The Schitzophonics in their Bowie-inspired alter ego personas and The Replacement Replacements, a Cover Me Badd offshoot playing their second show in 10 years. BACKUP PLAN: Youth Code, Death of Lovers @ The Void.
Saturday, Dec. 14
PLAN A: Lee Ranaldo and The Dust, Bill Orcutt, Jacob Felix Heule @ The Casbah. Two members of Sonic Youth came by San Diego earlier this year during San Diego Music Thing (in separate bands), and now former Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo is paying a visit to treat us to some of his new band's expansive psych-rock tunes. It's not as experimental as Ranaldo's past work, but you can be sure there's a lot of great guitar work happening. PLAN B: Dangers, Calculator, My Iron Lung, Frameworks @ The Che Café. If you've got a spare 20 minutes to do some bruising, catch the headlining set from California hardcore group Dangers, who throw down loud, fast and recklessly. No ballads, no frilly stuff, just punk-fucking-rock. BACKUP PLAN: The Burning of Rome, Le Mutant, Gloomsday, Figs Vision @ Soda Bar.
Sunday, Dec. 15
PLAN A: Icona Pop, K. Flay, Sirah @ House of Blues. Click here for Peter Holslin's story on Swedish duo Icona Pop, whose 2012 breakthrough hit "I Love It" will turn that frown upside down. PLAN B: Bleached, Northern Tigers, Kera and the Lesbians @ Soda Bar. Los Angeles' Bleached is the project of two sisters—Jennifer and Jessie Clavin—and they give fellow Californians Best Coast a run for their money when it comes to bright, mega-catchy garage-pop. It's the Golden State distilled into three-minute pop gems.
Monday, Dec. 16
PLAN A: St. Cloud Sleepers, Northamericans, Sundiver @ The Griffin. St. Cloud Sleepers are playing a Monday-night residency through December at The Griffin, so this isn't your only chance to catch them. But this week's as good as any to soak in their vocal harmonies and sink into their sweet, sweet grooves.
Tuesday, Dec. 17
PLAN A: Inc., DJ Mario Orduno @ Soda Bar. Indie R&B duos like Inc. have a tendency to get slapped with labels like "PBR&B," a derogatory way of singling them out as not being a genuine soul outfit. But that's pretty much nonsense when you consider the smooth, bedside funk the group turns out. There are definitely elements of indie rock in what they do, but that doesn't mean someone's not getting lucky tonight.