Wednesday, Jan. 29
PLAN A: Reggie and the Full Effect, Dads, Pentimento, The Frights @ Soda Bar. Emo's back, people. It arguably never went anywhere, but it definitely sucked for a while. So it's good to see early-'00s favorites (with a fabricated backstory) Reggie and the Full Effect returning to give us some more heart-on-sleeve, synth-driven pop. PLAN B: The Hollerin, Idyll Wild, Saul Q @ Bar Pink. It's hard for me to get excited about bluesy garage rock these days, because it's been done thousands of times, generally without much to distinguish one guitar-slinging band from another. The Hollerin take it a step further simply by playing better songs and putting more muscle into their tunes, which makes their style of rock 'n' roll just a little more exciting.
Thursday, Jan. 30
PLAN A: The Burning of Rome, The Long and Short of It, Marsupials @ The Casbah. Hard-rocking locals The Long and Short of It are playing their first show in more than a year, along with two of this town's most explosive live acts, which more or less means a guaranteed night of tinnitus and debauchery. PLAN B: Mayer Hawthorne, Quadron, Gavin Turek @ House of Blues. Mayer Hawthorne has released three full-length albums stacked with smooth soul jams, and should you happen to doubt whether "smooth" and "soul" are two words that belong together, then make sure to listen to his latest, Where Does This Door Go?, a fun, '80s-tinted set of R&B tracks. BACKUP PLAN: Wild Cub, Hands @ The Loft at UCSD.
Friday, Jan. 31
PLAN A: Frankie Rose, Dream Boys, Soft Lions, DJ Mario Orduno @ Soda Bar. When Frankie Rose moved away from garage rock and committed herself fully to ethereal, dreamy pop, she took her music to the next level. Her 2012 album Interstellar is essential for fans of 4AD Records circa 1984 to '94, and its follow-up, Herein Wild, isn't too shabby, either. PLAN B: Ab-Soul @ Porter's Pub. A rapper from the Black Hippy crew that also features Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul hasn't quite garnered the volume of press acclaim that those other two MCs have, but don't be surprised when it eventually happens. Ab-Soul's got skills. BACKUP PLAN: Sunday Times, Stalins of Sound, Sailing Stones @ Tower Bar.
Saturday, Feb. 1
PLAN A: Cate LeBon, Kevin Morby, Octa#grape, Flower Animals @ Soda Bar. Click here for our feature on Cate LeBon, a Welsh musician whose grief over the death of a loved one became fuel for her raw new album, Mug Museum. PLAN B: Ash, Deaf Havana @ The Casbah. Irish group Ash have been turning out super-catchy alt-rock anthems like "Goldfinger" and "Jack Names the Planets" since the mid-'90s, when they were just teenagers. Sing along, rock out and tap into some nostalgia vibes. BACKUP PLAN: Futurebirds, Chess Wars, Ed Ghost Tucker @ The Griffin.
Sunday, Feb. 2
PLAN A: Yuck, GRMLN, Tropical Popsicle @ The Casbah. U.K. indie rockers Yuck recently underwent some lineup changes, but what hasn't changed is their ability to craft taut, immediate songs in the vein of Pavement or Dinosaur Jr. There's been a lot of worship at the altar of '90s indie rock lately, but Yuck does it right. PLAN B: Japanther, Cheap Time, Self Defense Family, Creative Adult @ Soda Bar. Noise-rock duo Japanther have a reputation for intense live performances and concept-based albums, but they're just one reason to make it to this show, which also features power-pop outfit Cheap Time and hardcore garage punks Creative Adult, and all of it's worth your time.
Monday, Feb. 3
PLAN A: Into It. Over It., The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Big Bad Buffalo @ The Che Café. Our week in emo continues with a show featuring a lineup that surely breaks a record for the most band-name words. It also boasts a headliner—Into It. Over It.—that captures the youthful angst and mesmerizing melodic sensibility of Death Cab for Cutie before they lost the plot.
Tuesday, Feb. 4
PLAN A: Mother Falcon, The Midnight Pine @ Soda Bar. Seventeen-piece chamber-rock group Mother Falcon launches a Tuesday residency at Soda Bar with this show, which should provide some entertainment just from the challenge of being able to fit that many people onstage. The human Tetris game is just one reason to come, but their elaborate arrangements are an even better one.