Wednesday, Jan. 7
PLAN A: Lieutenant, Lady Low @ The Casbah. Nate Mendel is best known as the bass player for Foo Fighters, but he's also a founding member of Sunny Day Real Estate and has had his hand in a number of outstanding indie-rock albums. He's launched a new project called Lieutenant, and though I don't know much about it, I'm going to go ahead and say it's worth checking out.
Thursday, Jan. 8
PLAN A: Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, DJ Abilities @ The Irenic. Aesop Rock has enough dynamite singles in his back catalog to make one hell of a best-of collection. But it just so happens he's working with producer Blueprint on something new. I expect big things, but in the meantime, I'd be down to hear some hip-hop jams like "Daylight" and "None Shall Pass." PLAN B: Cumbia Machin, La Diabla, DJ Viejo Lowbo @ Soda Bar. A couple of weeks ago, I profiled local electro-cumbia artist Cumbia Machin, better known to friends and family as Joaquin Hernandez. If you missed his New Year's Eve show, make sure to get in on the danceable grooves at this one. BACKUP PLAN: Too Short @ Porter's Pub.
Friday, Jan. 9
PLAN A: Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Jake Loban, Joe Fletcher @ The Casbah. Whitey Morgan plays outlaw country with a dose of rock music that bears shades of Waylon Jennings in his prime or, more recently, Hank Williams III. It's not like much you'll hear in the mainstream, so if you like your country music good and rowdy, you won't be disappointed.
Saturday, Jan. 10
PLAN A: Olivelawn, Deadbolt, White Murder, Uncle Joe's Big Ol' Driver @ The Casbah. Olivelawn have been rocking on and off in San Diego for a few decades, with a sound that falls somewhere between grunge and post-hardcore, and this show has high potential for melting faces. They'll be joined by a long list of local vets, so make a night of it and bone up on some San Diego classics. PLAN B: David J, The Midnight Pine, Camron Zibaie @ The Hideout. David J has played in legendary bands like Bauhaus and Love and Rockets, as well as having released a series of solo records. He's got a deep catalog, and he's still making interesting music after all these years. Get there early for The Midnight Pine, who produced my favorite local record of 2014. BACKUP PLAN: Jucifer, Author & Punisher, Lazy Cobra @ Brick by Brick.
Sunday, Jan. 11
PLAN A: The Flesh Eaters, Skating Polly @ The Casbah. To old-school punks, The Flesh Eaters should be a household name. They formed in the late '70s, and have featured members of X, Plugz, The Blasters and Los Lobos in their lineup at various times. They also kick ass, so if you want to get your year off the ground with some O.G. power-chord punch, this is the way to do it. PLAN B: The Jayhawks, Trapper Schoepp @ Belly Up Tavern. If punk isn't part of your Sunday routine, then opt for some classic alt-country instead. The Jayhawks' Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass are both excellent slices of '90s fuzz-and-twang, so you can't go wrong here.
Monday, Jan. 12
PLAN A: California X, Happy Diving, Causers @ The Hideout. California X were one of my favorite discoveries of 2013. They have a sound that's somewhere between Dinosaur Jr. and Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, so suffice it to say, they rock pretty damn hard. They've got a new album on the way this week, so get an early listen in before it's out. PLAN B: Swim Team, Evan Voytas, Joyce @ Soda Bar. If you missed Swim Team's first week of residency at Soda Bar, there are more chances just around the corner—like this one. Their dreamy, melodic sound is just what a Monday night calls for. And, once again, it's totally free. BACKUP PLAN: Digital Lizards of Doom, Bakkuda, Bang Pow, DJ Man Cat @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, Jan. 13
PLAN A: Midge Ure, Creature and the Woods @ The Casbah. Not many bands can successfully pull off changing a frontman, but when John Foxx left Ultravox, the band arguably hit its stride after replacing him with Midge Ure. Ure helmed the classic album Vienna and then forged a successful solo path of his own. Don't miss the opportunity to hear a synth-pop legend in an intimate setting. PLAN B: Hibou, Dark Waves, Bruin, Grassynoll @ Soda Bar. Hibou is an artist whose sound crosses over into any number of recent trends: beach indie, chillwave and surf- / garage-rock revival. Yet, that he doesn't fit so neatly into any of them is what makes his sunny jangle so appealing. That and the catchy tunes, of course.