Wednesday, Dec. 31
PLAN A: Mrs. Magician, Heavy Hawaii, Teenage Burritos @ Soda Bar. On New Year's Eve, there's always the option of attending a big, elaborate blowout (or staying home—you do have that option), but why not choose something more raucous and cost-effective? Mrs. Magician puts on one of the best live shows of any rock band in town, so raise a glass at midnight and toast with these guitar slingers. PLAN B: Cumbia Machin, The Sleepwalkers, DJ Viejo Lowbo, Goma @ Kensington Club. Another way to watch the ball drop, in a more rhythmic style, is Cumbia Machin (read my profile in last week's issue). Joaquin Hernandez, the sole producer behind the outfit, blends traditional cumbia sounds with electronics-driven flourishes, and it'll make your New Year's Eve a hell of a dance party. BACKUP PLAN: JOY, Wild Honey, Plant Tribe @ Til-Two Club.
Thursday, Jan. 1
PLAN A: Sleep, Aspirin, Water @ Your House. There's no reason to go out the night of New Year's Day; not much is happening, anyway, outside of televised replays of the Tournament of Roses parade. So use this time wisely and recover from the prior night of debauchery. You'll need that energy over the weekend.
Friday, Jan. 2
PLAN A: Geezer, Licensed to Ilya, Stevie and the Hi-Staxx, Lion Cut, Pants Karaoke @ The Casbah. I, for one, am impressed that the geriatric goofballs of Geezer have been going for a whole decade. I think that deserves special consideration; help them celebrate another year of getting older. The show includes members of Ilya performing Beastie Boys songs. Who wouldn't want to see that? PLAN B: Chain and the Gang, Beehive and the Barracudas @ The Hideout. Ian Svenonious is one of the last great rock 'n' roll frontmen, and his rollicking garage-rock outfit Chain and the Gang are landing in town to offer what promises to be one of the first great shows of 2015. I'll be honest—I'd be even more excited if The Nation of Ulysses came back, but this is a close second.
Saturday, Jan. 3
PLAN A: Cattle Decapitation, Theories, Memory, Temblad, Crime Desire @ The Casbah. I don't necessarily buy into the extreme animal-rights ideology behind Cattle Decapitation, but I do buy into their brutal death-metal assault. They've been making a merciless ruckus longer than most headbangers in town, and whatever their politics, they destroy. Much respect for that. PLAN B: Buddy Banter, Future Crooks, Mini Death, Dictator @ Soda Bar. Future Crooks are a self-described "future pop" band, which basically translates to a hybrid of pop-punk and spunky emo hooks. Think Weezer, but faster. Whatever you want to call it, Future Crooks' music is fun to sing along and pogo around to. BACKUP PLAN: Fictitious Dishes, Royal Shits, Revolut-chix @ Tower Bar.
Sunday, Jan. 4
PLAN A: Bondurant, Wicked Tongues, Future Age @ Soda Bar. Are you adequately prepared to rock? If you're not, you should do something about that, because Bondurant and Wicked Tongues both boast their share of air-guitar worthy anthems that do away with irony or pretense.
Monday, Jan. 5
PLAN A: Pity Sex, Whirr, Self Defense Family @ House of Blues Voodoo Room. Ann Arbor's Pity Sex have the kind of name that might immediately turn heads, but their music is far more interesting. They're a guitar band that really knows how guitars are supposed to sound, wailing like Dinosaur Jr. on one track and whooshing like My Bloody Valentine's the next. It's classic indie rock done right, and it most certainly gets my endorsement. PLAN B: Swim Team, Bit Maps, Hawai @ Soda Bar. Local outfit Swim Team are taking up residence at Soda Bar in January with a free headlining show every Monday. Simply being a free show is enough reason to pop in and have a listen, but it just so happens that Swim Team have a cool, dreamy sound reminiscent of Beach House, so the visit will be well worth your time.
Tuesday, Jan. 6
PLAN A: The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble @ The Hideout. If one of your New Year's resolutions is to get funkier in 2015 (a noble goal if there ever was one), then you're in luck: The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble is in the middle of a weekly residence at The Hideout. Set your coordinates to El Cajon Boulevard and get your first psychedelic soul and Afrobeat fix of the year. BACKUP PLAN: Giant Gorilla Dog Thing, Benn of Grimm, Man of Many Crowns @ Soda Bar.