Wednesday, March 11
PLAN A: A Place to Bury Strangers, Creepoid, Witness 9, DJ Mario Orduno @ The Casbah. The first time I saw A Place to Bury Strangers was in 2008 at SXSW, and the best advice that someone gave me before it happened was: "Bring earplugs." Indeed, it was a loud and awesome show, which has been the case every time I've seen them since. So protect yourself and enjoy the shoegazing, noise-rock assault. PLAN B: Hurray for the Riff Raff, Adia Victoria @ Belly Up Tavern. Or you could go the opposite route and take in some gentle and haunting contemporary folk from Alynda Lee Segarra, aka New Orleans' Hurray for the Riff Raff. Her 2014 album, Small Town Heroes, was a pleasant surprise for me, thanks to its stripped-down sound and Segarra's fantastic voice. BACKUP PLAN: Hills Like Elephants, Soft Lions @ Til-Two Club.
Thursday, March 12
PLAN A: Single Mothers, The Dirty Nil, Scuffs @ Soda Bar. Canadian group Single Mothers quietly began building up buzz last year on the strength of their album Negative Qualities, which blended furious punk rock with the storytelling of a band like The Hold Steady. They rock hard and smartly, so you won't want to miss this one if you like great punk rock. PLAN B: Tin Hat @ The Loft. Tin Hat, formerly known as Tin Hat Trio, is a chamber folk / jazz outfit that has collaborated with Tom Waits and Willie Nelson. But their instrumentals are what make the music so enchanting, blending dark chamber compositions with gypsy jazz and klezmer. It's like being whisked away into a noir fantasy that may have never existed but feels vivid all the same. BACKUP PLAN: Comeback Kid, No Bragging Rights, The Greenery, Life for a Life @ The Stronghold.
Friday, March 13
PLAN A: Twin Shadow, DJ Goose Mavrk @ Belly Up Tavern. George Lewis Jr., better known as Twin Shadow, has been making taut, emotionally charged synth-pop for the last half-decade, and he's about to release his third album this month. If it's anything like 2012's Confess, it'll bridge the divide between Prince and Depeche Mode, and even if it doesn't, he's likely to play a lot of those hits of years past at this show. PLAN B: The Twilight Sad, Port St. Willow @ The Merrow. Glasgow's The Twilight Sad have long outlived the hype cycle, having put out a series of excellent post-punk and shoegaze records in the last eight years. Their debut album, Fourteen Autumns Fifteen Winters, is a favorite of mine, and they seem to be aging remarkably well. Hear for yourself just how strong their catalog is. BACKUP PLAN: The Velvet Teen, Slow Bird, Nicely @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, March 14
PLAN A: Wand, Walter TV, Gooch Palms, Death Valley Girls @ Soda Bar. There are, apparently, a few bands called Wand, but this is the heavy psychedelic-rock band from L.A., with big pop hooks and a penchant for kicking ass. Yeah, that Wand—the one you should freak out to on a Saturday night. PLAN B: Naomi Punk, PC Worship, Subtropics @ Tower Bar. Naomi Punk's music isn't exactly punk, but it's not really anything else. It's abrasive, abstract and fascinating. It's definitely rock 'n' roll, though—or is it? I don't have the answer to that question, but I know I like it. BACKUP PLAN: Dengue Fever, California Bleeding @ The Casbah.
Sunday, March 15
PLAN A: Gap Dream, Sarah Bethe Nelson, Blood Sister, Vision, Levitation Room, Max Pain and the Groovies, Pearl Charles @ The Casbah. There's a festival happening in Austin soon—South by South something or other (I think McDonald's will be there)—and Burger Records is throwing a preview party in our town, featuring a number of great garage and indie bands. If you don't want to register for a wristband or wait in long lines for free nachos, then this is a fine alternative.
Monday, March 16
PLAN A: Yotam Ben Horin, Brian Wahlstrom, Noel Jordan, Dead Frets @ Soda Bar. Yotam Ben Horin is the lead singer of Israeli punk band Useless ID, but as a solo artist, his material seems to be leaning more toward the sensitive-indie-guy sound. I like what I've heard, though, and it's a long distance from Haifa to San Diego, so why not give his new stuff a chance?
Tuesday, March 17
PLAN A: Badabing, Nebula Drag, Hot Mustard, Kitty Plague @ Soda Bar. If you're not seeing enough local bands lately, rectify that with a show by bass-and-drums duo Badabing. They're a unique bunch, and they've got some good songs.