Wednesday, Feb. 12
PLAN A: Secret Chiefs 3, Mirthkon @ The Casbah. Secret Chiefs 3 were founded by members of Mr. Bungle, so right off the bat, that should give you some indication of the oddball acrobatic musicality of the group. They don't pledge allegiance to just one genre, showcasing a range that comprises prog rock, metal, jazz, Ennio Morricone-like mood pieces and traditional Middle Eastern sounds, as well as pretty much everything in between. I can't guarantee it'll all make sense, but it will definitely be entertaining. PLAN B: MossBreaker, Minnow, Pedestrian, Conheartist, Deerling @ The Che Café. Alternately, I'd recommend checking out MossBreaker, whose melodic post-hardcore sound strongly recalls the soaring anthems of Failure, or Cave In circa Jupiter. Catchy stuff, but packing a hell of a punch.
Thursday, Feb. 13
PLAN A: Touche Amore, mewithoutYou, Seahaven, Drug Church @ Epicentre. Wikipedia credits San Diego with inventing screamo, and when we have the luxury of boasting bands like Heroin and Antioch Arrow, it's hard to argue with that. But Los Angeles' Touche Amore are keeping the skramz fire burning with their own uniquely melodic and intense form of post-hardcore. Now get your ass in the pit, pronto. PLAN B: yMusic @ The Loft at UCSD. New York chamber music ensemble yMusic is made up of six musicians whose works are minimal but lively, fun yet always graceful and gorgeous. They've collaborated with a long list of well-known artists, including The National, St. Vincent and Dirty Projectors, and while this show won't have much of a rock component, it should be thrilling all the same. BACKUP PLAN: Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, The Loons, The Kabbs, Hong Kong Fuzz @ The Casbah.
Friday, Feb. 14
PLAN A: Hospitality, Air Waves, Red Pony Clock @ Soda Bar. I get bored with indie pop pretty quickly if it doesn't offer something a little meatier than by-the-book twee sounds. Hospitality are just that rare group of indie rockers who serve up more than run-of-the-mill jangle; their new album, Trouble, delivers subtly dark atmosphere with warm, fuzzy melodies. PLAN B: Lion Cut, The Dabbers, Penis Hickey, DJ Ill Spectre @ The Casbah. If you have the option of seeing a band called Penis Hickey on Valentine's Day—assuming you don't already have a romantic evening planned, or you'd rather be bitter and alone—then you should probably go ahead and see a band called Penis Hickey on Valentine's Day.
Saturday, Feb. 15
PLAN A: Crosses, Dawn Golden @ The Griffin. The Deftones frontman Chino Moreno's been a lot more active with side projects lately, having released an album last year with post-rock group Palms and recently becoming more active with his electronic-pop group, Crosses. Thankfully, it's not actually witch house. Dodged a bullet there.
Sunday, Feb. 16
PLAN A: Amon Amarth, Skeletonwitch @ House of Blues. Read Peter Holslin's feature on Skeletonwitch to get the skinny on the Ohio thrash-metal band, who are playing a show with melodic death-metal Vikings Amon Amarth. Don your denim vest and bullet belt for this one. PLAN B: Quilt, Jeans Wilder @ Soda Bar. It never ceases to amaze me how there are still bands out there that manage to do interesting and innovative music with guitars. You'd think eventually they'd run out of ideas, but not Quilt, a trio that combines psychedelic melodies and effects with heavenly vocals and a general sense of dream-like bliss. Even if you hate guitars, there's a good chance you'd dig Quilt. BACKUP PLAN: Las Cafeteras, Chicano Batman, Viente Callejero, Cumbia Machin @ The Casbah.
Monday, Feb. 17
PLAN A: The Frights, Jacob Turnbloom @ Soda Bar. Monday nights are often a crapshoot when it comes to live music, but this one's a gimme right here. Local surf rockers The Frights and former Mrs. Magician frontman Jacob Turnbloom are playing together, and it's totally free. That means more money for beer. Everybody wins.
Tuesday, Feb. 18
PLAN A: Public Service Broadcasting, Kiev @ The Casbah. At first, I mistook Public Service Broadcasting for Emergency Broadcast Network, the fairly obscure Big Beat electronic group from the '90s. It turns out Public Service Broadcasting is musically a bit different, though they have a similar M.O. The British duo samples archival broadcasts from the BBC and incorporates them into indie-pop songs. It's an interesting approach and well worth checking out live.