PLAN A: DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist @ House of Blues. If you haven't yet, click here to read Scott McDonald's story on DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist. The turntablist duo built their tour around Afrika Bambaataa's massive record collection, and this is sure to be a one-of-a-kind event. PLAN B: The New Mastersounds, Sure Fire Soul Ensemble @ The Hideout. The New Mastersounds are funky. Really funky. Hammond-organ, chicken-grease, sweat-dripping funky. No aficionado of groove would want to miss this show. Don't ever let anyone tell you that a group of Brits can't bring some deep, soulful jams.
Thursday, Oct. 2
PLAN A: Joyce Manor, Winter Break, The Exquisites @ The Irenic. Joyce Manor's new album, Never Hungover Again, is 19 minutes long, and it's a fine example of the state of punk in 2014. When you get down to it, it's more or less a power-pop record with a bit of emo influence and shorter songs, and, yeah, it's really fucking good. BACKUP PLAN: Blitzen Trapper, Cassorla @ The Casbah.
Friday, Oct. 3
PLAN A: Cymbals Eat Guitars, Slothrust, Inspired and the Sleep @ Soda Bar. Indie rock isn't as exciting as it used to be, back in the '90s (which explains the nostalgia overload right now). But there are always exceptions, and Cymbals Eat Guitars is one, having released a stunning, emotional new album, LOSE. It's easily the band's best yet, featuring the kind of melodies for which all songwriters should strive. PLAN B: Blondie @ Harrah's Resort. Blondie is one of those bands that I just expect everyone to like. Even "Rapture," which has one of the dorkiest raps of all time, is still about as catchy and charming as new-wave songs get. In less than a decade, they tackled about a half-dozen styles and sounds and looked great doing it. Still do, actually. BACKUP PLAN: Deep Sea Thunder Beast, Griever, Old Man Wizard @ Til-Two Club.
Saturday, Oct. 4
PLAN A: Pinback, Tera Melos @ House of Blues. Saturday seems to be one of the sleepier nights of this week, with regard to live music anyway. But you could do a lot worse than seeing long-running group Pinback, who'll be joined by animated and extra-fun math-rock combo Tera Melos. BACKUP PLAN: The Whigs, The Nervous Wreckords, Greylag @ The Casbah.
Sunday, Oct. 5
PLAN A: Sondre Lerche, TEEN @ House of Blues. I never really thought of Norwegian singer / songwriter Sondre Lerche as being emotionally poignant in a brutally honest way. But he just released a new album, Please, written about his recent divorce, and here we are. His knack for a good, breezy hook is still there, but there's an exposed pain that wasn't quite as apparent before. He took a risk, and it totally worked. PLAN B: Slow Club, Roses @ Bar Pink. The combination of sounds that Slow Club have going for them is an impressive one: psychedelic rock, Interpol-style post-punk, Spector-esque '60s girl group atmosphere and even a little bit of orchestration just to elevate their dramatic pop. It's good stuff for sure, and I doubt they'll be playing venues as small as Bar Pink for long, so get on it. BACKUP PLAN: Phaeleh, Illuminauts, Mystery Cave @ The Casbah.
Monday, Oct. 6
PLAN A: San Diego Music Awards with The Donkeys, The Midnight Pine, Joshua White, more @ Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. It's awards season, ladies and gentlemen, and San Diego's top musicians are vying for honors once again—click here for some of my picks. But the performer lineup this year is pretty strong, as well, so one way or another, you'll get a good show out of it. PLAN B: Ought, Viv Vates, Joyce @ Soda Bar. Last week, Ben Salmon wrote about Canadian indie-rock quartet Ought. The group balances melodic songwriting with a taut, post-punk core—they get a lot of comparisons to Talking Heads, Slint and The Feelies, but it's not just a reference point. They're really that good. BACKUP PLAN: The King Khan and BBQ Show, Javier Escovedo and the City Lights, Northern Tigers @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, Oct. 7
PLAN A: Justin Townes Earle, American Aquarium @ Belly Up Tavern. Justin Townes Earle—son of Steve Earle and named in part after Townes Van Zandt—does both his daddy and his namesake proud with his earthy, folk-rock songs imbued with passion and compelling storytelling. He can be either fiery or tender, but either way, you'll be captivated.