Wednesday, Feb. 19
PLAN A: Ringo Deathstarr, Purple, Buddy Banter, The Killer Hz @ Soda Bar. Ringo Deathstarr's name is less funny every time you hear it, but the same can't be said about how enjoyable the Texas shoegazers' music is. Their 2011 album Colour Trip is like My Bloody Valentine's Loveless given a punk makeover—dense, loud and badass all around. PLAN B: Yuna, Marques Toliver @ The Casbah. Malaysian singer / songwriter Yuna Zarai writes splendidly sweet pop songs, often with uniquely mesmerizing arrangements. Her music runs the gamut from gentle to danceable and soulful, which should make for a consistently fun show. BACKUP PLAN: Shiva Trash, Idyll Wild, The Illuminauts @ U-31.
Thursday, Feb. 20
PLAN A: Van She, Bulletproof Tiger, Glass Spells @ Soda Bar. Van She can pretty much always be counted on to provide a nonstop dance party, particularly in this unusual show format that combines a DJ set with live vocals. Get there a little early for Bulletproof Tiger, a duo who serve up their own brand of electro-funk, in tiger masks no less. PLAN B: Amigo, Chiefs, Old Man Wizard @ The Merrow. But maybe you want some heavy stoner rock instead of a dance party, and if that's the case, you're in luck. Some of this town's hardest-rocking bands are taking over The Merrow to hand out riffs galore.
Friday, Feb. 21
PLAN A: Gary Wilson and the Blind Dates, Lube @ Helmuth Projects. San Diego legend and oddball songwriter Gary Wilson is releasing a brand-new 7-inch single and holding what's sure to be a hell of a record-release show at Helmuth Projects, an art gallery in Bankers Hill. Expect the unexpected: mannequins, duct tape, rubber gloves, and lots of weird, wonderful pop music. PLAN B: Blockhead @ The Loft at UCSD. New York producer Blockhead has built up a reputation for rock-solid beats, having produced tracks for MCs like Aesop Rock and Murs. But his instrumentals tend to speak for themselves, chock full of mesmerizing soundscapes and popping with lots of decadent ear candy. BACKUP PLAN: Zeena Parkins @ Bread & Salt.
Saturday, Feb. 22
PLAN A: Rotting Out, No Bragging Rights, Heart to Heart, The Beautiful Ones @ The Che Café. Rotting Out are named for a song by The Descendents, but their brand of hardcore is considerably heavier and more brutal. Not that you won't have just as much fun seeing them live; it just might hurt a little more the next day. PLAN B: Noah Gundersen, Armon Jay @ Soda Bar. There must be something in the water—or perhaps just a relentless trickle of it from the sky—in the Pacific Northwest that produces so many exceptional singer / songwriters. Noah Gundersen, a 25-year-old from Seattle, is one of them. He just released his debut album, Ledges, which I recommend you give a spin before heading out to see him live.
Sunday, Feb. 23
PLAN A: Marissa Nadler, Pink Mountaintops, Isolde Touch @ Soda Bar. Marissa Nadler's July is one of my early favorite albums of the year. Nadler has consistently released album after album of delicate and beautiful indie folk, and this one is yet another in an ongoing hot streak. When you see her at Soda Bar, however, bring a sweater—her ghostly voice will give you chills. PLAN B: Lawrence Rothman, Mas Ysa, Tiger and the Teller @ The Casbah. Lawrence Rothman's been likened to Leonard Cohen singing over R&B grooves, which should be enticing enough, but he's also performing with Canada's Mas Ysa, who splits the difference between soulful pop and experimental electronics.
Monday, Feb. 24
PLAN A: R. Stevie Moore, The Memories, Karl Blau @ Soda Bar. An eccentric Nashville artist who's been self-releasing heaping helpings of music since the late 1960s, R. Stevie Moore is a true original. It's difficult to pin down his style, since he's recorded so much over the years, but his unconventional mix of sound experiments and pop songwriting is guaranteed to yield an interesting evening.
Tuesday, Feb. 25
PLAN A: Electrician, Redrick Sultan @ The Che Café. Neil Campau, aka Electrician, is sort of like a California counterpart to Olympia, Wash., singer / songwriter Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie, The Microphones). Both musicians specialize in dark, layered lo-fi folk compositions underscored by a haunting chill. Electrician's music doesn't sound as much like a walk through a scary forest, but it's compelling stuff nonetheless.