Wednesday, Jan. 22
PLAN A: Mr. Tube and the Flying Objects, Bartender's Bible, Ilya @ The Casbah. Given how popular a lot of The Casbah's 25th-anniversary shows have been, almost all of them end up selling out. But there's still some room for you to catch this lineup featuring dark-dream-pop group Ilya and Southwestern-sci-fi-pop outfit Mr. Tube and the Flying Objects. PLAN B: CJ Boyd, Nothingful, Secret Fun Club, Big Bad @ The Che Café. A bass player with nomadic tendencies, CJ Boyd has built up a catalog of fascinating, avant-garde music that ranges from experimental chamber music to tweaked pop sounds, and even a sprawling medley of grunge covers that sounds entirely alien in his hands. If you like your anarchy a bit highbrow, then dust off your cracked monocle and get yourself some culture. BACKUP PLAN: Kelly McFarling, River City @ Seven Grand.
Thursday, Jan. 23
PLAN A: The White Buffalo, Trouble in the Wind @ Belly Up Tavern. Singer / songwriter Jake Smith, aka The White Buffalo, gained a fair amount of attention after his music was featured on FX drama Sons of Anarchy. And it's hard not to be won over by his gritty, soulful, outlaw-country style. His music is good ol'-fashioned Americana, with all the blood and sweat that seems to be missing from so many banjo-plucking newcomers. PLAN B: Kisses, Jeffrey Jerusalem, Western Scene @ Soda Bar. Kisses applied their moody, hazy indie-pop sound to a concept inspired by Bret Easton Ellis' Less than Zero on their latest album, Kids in L.A., which adds a little bit of dark commentary to their otherwise fun music. And it suits this married duo well. The hooks, however, are as big and wonderful as ever.
Friday, Jan. 24
PLAN A: Gloomsday, Chess Wars, Pheasants, Shovel @ Tower Bar. Gloomsday's Paradise Tossed was one of my favorite San Diego records of 2013, so they get an easy, early recommendation from me in 2014. They're sharing the stage with Chess Wars, another rockin' two-person band, so take notes on how to kick ass without a bass player. PLAN B: Silver Snakes, Griever, Children of God @ The Che Café. More and even heavier riffs are going down at the Che with this trio of California metal bands throwing down with their beefiest guitar chops. BACKUP PLAN: Pure Bathing Culture, La Luz, Flaggs @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, Jan. 25
PLAN A: Bl'ast!, Final Conflict, Systematic Abuse, Evacuate @ Brick by Brick. Santa Cruz hardcore band Bl'ast! first made a name for themselves in the '80s with some blistering punk before changing their name and then breaking up. But a lost session, newly mixed by Dave Grohl, coincided with their reunion, and they're coming here to wreck some shit. PLAN B: Smile, Uncle Joe's Big Ol' Driver, Well Strung to Hang, Saint Shameless @ The Casbah. Another long-disbanded group headlining a Casbah show this month, Smile made a name for themselves in the '90s with some super-distorted, smart-ass and (above all) fun indie-rock tunes, such as "Instant Brain Damage," which became a minor hit on 91X way back when. Drop by and sing along. BACKUP PLAN: Wooden Shjips, Carlton Melton, Tar Halos @ Soda Bar.
Sunday, Jan. 26
PLAN A: Mutual Benefit, Jeans Wilder, Diatribes @ Soda Bar. Click here for my feature on Mutual Benefit, a chamber-pop group composed of a revolving cast of musicians with lots of gorgeous, delicate tunes. They'll bring that inspired sound to Soda Bar, where they'll perform some selections from new album Love's Crushing Diamond. BACKUP PLAN: Diatribe, xHostagex, Your Enemy, Age of Collapse @ The Che Café.
Monday, Jan. 27
PLAN A: Hit Dog Hollar, Nancarrow, Shane Hall and The Diabolicals @ The Casbah. Every time I see Hit Dog Hollar's name, my brain tricks me into thinking it says "Hot Dog Collar." That might be a better name, dudes—think about it. In any case, these guys have some good, sweaty, bluesy rock tunes, which isn't a bad way to spend a Monday night.
Tuesday, Jan. 28
PLAN A: The Beautiful View, The Midnight Pine, Manuok @ The Casbah. This show promises three bands with three different sounds, all of them some variation of catchy alt-rock. Make sure to be there in time to see the dreamily folky Midnight Pine. BACKUP PLAN: The Drabs, Crooked Rulers, Mauru @ Tin Can Ale House.