Wednesday, May 14
PLAN A: Say Hi, Big Scary, PRGRM @ The Casbah. Eric Elbogen has been recording under the Say Hi name for more than a decade, and in that time, he's released a good number of charming, low-key indie-pop albums that are catchy and warm and fuzzy. It's not twee, exactly, but it sure is fun. PLAN B: Loom, Sycamore, Arctic @ Soda Bar. Loom rhymes with "doom," which is fitting, given that the local group specializes in bluesy, riff-heavy hard rock and metal. Seeing some hometown rockers show off their fretwork is probably a better way to spend your Wednesday night than whatever you had planned.
Thursday, May 15
PLAN A: Kishi Bashi, Plume Giant @ The Irenic. Of Montreal / Regina Spektor collaborator Kishi Bashi creates beautifully lush pop primarily through violin and electronic loops. It's impressive to hear how big a sound can come from just one forward-thinking dude. PLAN B: Early Man, Bhorelorde, Christ Killer @ Til-Two Club. Early Man are a duo, but their thrash-metal throw-downs are plenty loud and intense—enough to make you think they're a band twice their size. Make it to the show a little early to catch Bhorelorde, who sufficiently impressed me with their submission to CityBeat's 2014 Great Demo Review.
Friday, May 16
PLAN A: Castle, Chiefs, Deep Sea Thunder Beast, Plunder @ Tower Bar. San Francisco's Castle are a pretty heavy band, but it's their melodies that stand out larger than their sheer power. Bassist Elizabeth Blackwell's vocals give the band a smoky mystique that sets them apart from so many of the cookie-monster barks in metal. BACKUP PLAN: Gary Wilson and the Blind Dates, Poontang Clam, Max Daily performing "The Apprentice" @ Til-Two Club.
Saturday, May 17
PLAN A: The Creepy Creeps, The New Kinetics, Hills Like Elephants, many others @ North Park Festival of Arts. It's spring, and being hot and sweaty will be the norm for a while, so you might as well embrace it: Festival season is here. The North Park Festival of Arts is a good one to hit up, with a lineup featuring bands like The Creepy Creeps and Hills Like Elephants. BACKUP PLAN: Wha?, Die Missbildungen de Menschen, Don Forla @ Tin Can Ale House.
Sunday, May 18
PLAN A: Zero Boys, Neighborhood Brats, Dan Padilla, Dead on the Wire @ Soda Bar. As hardcore punk bands of the '80s go, Zero Boys run the gamut. Their classic album Vicious Circle alternates between Bad Brains-style intensity and sing-along anthems. Shout if you know the words, but definitely don't miss out. PLAN B: Red Fang, Big Business, American Sharks @ Porter's Pub. Portland stoner-rockers Red Fang rock hard enough to make this show worth your while, but noisy Washington duo Big Business make it doubly awesome. Crack open some beers and rock the fuck out. BACKUP PLAN: Stalins of Sound, Shiva Trash, Shake Before Us, Bat Lords @ Tower Bar.
Monday, May 19
PLAN A: Lower, San Pedro El Cortez, Empire Pleasure, Comet Calendar @ Soda Bar. See Page 32 for my feature on Copenhagen post-punk band Lower, who are set to release their debut LP, Seek Warmer Climes, next month on Matador. Recommended if you like Joy Division with more optimism, or Sonic Youthís catchier tracks circa Sister. PLAN B: Damien Jurado, Jerome Holloway @ The Casbah. Seattle singer / songwriter Damien Jurado has been consistently putting out powerful indie-folk records since the í90s, and they just keep getting better. His latest, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun, is a lushly arranged gem with some of his best songs to date.
Tuesday, May 20
PLAN A: Tyvek, Octagrape, Teenage Burritos, Vyper Skwad @ The Hideout. Detroit garage-rockers Tyvek are endearingly raw, with the jittery weirdness of post-punk bands like The Fall. Theyíre not your typical disciples of distortion; just under the surface of all that fuzz, Tyvek harbor a level of fun and character that most garage bands can only dream of. PLAN B: Howliní Rain, Buffalo Killers, Bad and the Ugly @ The Casbah. Howliní Rain are a wild and wooly bunch who play a style of soulful, heavy psych that nods liberally to Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. Theyíre the kind of band Homer Simpson would put on a mixtape between Grand Funk Railroad deep cuts. BACKUP PLAN: Your Heart Breaks, Karl Blau, Adams and Eves, Bogsey and the Argonauts, Imaginary Plants @ The Che Café.