Wednesday, Dec. 18
PLAN A: Polica, Avid Dancer @ Belly Up Tavern. Minnesota's Polica are part of the Doomtree collective, but rather than specialize in hip-hop like P.O.S., or smooth yacht rock like Gayngs, they do dark, electronic pop, making them one of the most intriguing of the bunch. PLAN B: Tiny Telephones, Lost Ships, Amerikan Bear, Diatribes, DJs Mike Delgado and Colourvision @ Soda Bar. It's feeling a lot more like winter in San Diego, which is the perfect time to soak in the atmospheric vibes of Tiny Telephones' electronic pop. Don't forget to wear a scarf!
Thursday, Dec. 19
PLAN A: Pere Ubu, Octagrape @ The Casbah. Ohio's Pere Ubu are post-punk icons, responsible for some of the most groundbreaking (and weirdest) albums of the late '70s and early '80s. Prepare yourself for a unique, abrasive kind of freak-out. PLAN B: Perfect Pussy, The Natives, Empire Pleasure @ Soda Bar. Their name catches you a bit off-guard (and seems engineered for Google confusion), but Perfect Pussy are already making waves off of hype surrounding their self-released cassettes. Get in on the ground floor with these up-and-coming punk rockers.
Friday, Dec. 20
PLAN A: Andrew W.K., So Far Gone @ Epicentre. One guaranteed way to turn your low-key holiday party into an absolute rager is to crank up Andrew W.K.'s "Party Hard." Read my feature this week on the motivational party rocker to learn more about his holiday hijinks. PLAN B: Holograms, TV Ghost, Tropical Popsicle, DJ Art Vandelay @ Soda Bar. Now that Tropical Popsicle's new album, Dawn of Delight, has been pressed on vinyl, the band's holding a record-release show at Soda Bar. Make sure to stick around for post-punks Holograms and TV Ghost, who'll keep the dark, abrasive vibes going strong. BACKUP PLAN: Trashaxis, Platypus Egg, Ugly Boogie @ Tin Can Ale House.
Saturday, Dec. 21
PLAN A: White Mule, Dark Watcher @ Tin Can Ale House. White Mule features quite a few indie-rock veterans from bands like No Knife, Sirhan Sirhan and Molly McGuire, and they've got the kind of kickass post-hardcore sound you'd expect from a résumé like that. BACKUP PLAN: Deadly Birds, Leanna May and The Matadors, Gone Baby Gone, Neighbors to the North, Sexrat @ The Griffin.
Sunday, Dec. 22
PLAN A: The El Vez and Rosie Flores Mex-mas Show!, Two Wolves @ The Casbah. I don't know about you, but a holiday party that involves El Vez, rockabilly tunes, Latino tradition and lots of campy fun is a holiday party that I'd love to attend. Check out this week's "Notes from the Smoking Patio" for a more complete roundup of holiday-related shows. PLAN B: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony @ House of Blues. OK, I'll admit it—I didn't even know that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony were still around. The group had some serious jams back in the '90s, which they're almost certain to bump tonight. BACKUP PLAN: Dick Dale, The Tilt @ Belly Up Tavern.
Monday, Dec. 23
PLAN A: Deck B, Requiem for the Rockets, Mascara Monsters @ Soda Bar. The fine folks at Soda Bar are offering a free show featuring headliners Deck B, a Tijuanense group with a dreamy, electronic approach. Drop in and chill out—the price is definitely right. BACKUP PLAN: Sonidero Travesura, Sonida De La Frontera, Cumbia Machin, Perros Cobardes, DJ Unite, DJ V-Rock, Audio Amazon @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, Dec. 24
PLAN A: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose @ Your House. It's Christmas Eve—no time to be going out and getting wasted at a dive bar (unless it's a family tradition or something, in which case, carry on). Most venues are closed anyway, so spend some time with your family, rest up and get ready for more shows after all the Yuletide cheer runs dry. PLAN B: Exile on Kettner Blvd. @ The Casbah. On second thought, Christmas is a time of celebration, so why not get the party started a little early. Every year, The Casbah hosts Exile on Kettner Blvd., a show in which a revolving cast of local musicians plays Rolling Stones covers. And if holiday shopping has drained your bank account, you're in luck: The show is free.