Wednesday, July 20
PLAN A: Tacocat, The Regrettes, Soft Lions @ Soda Bar. It's hard to find an indie pop band as fun as Tacocat. They once had their own branded ice cream, and they have a song about X-Files heroine Dana Scully. I think I've said all you need to know. PLAN B: Nails, Terrorizer LA, Freedom, Nomads @ Brick by Brick. If you prefer something more punishing and misanthropic, Los Angeles grindcore outfit Nails play some pretty gosh-darn brutal sounds. Most of their songs are about a minute long, but trust me, any longer and there'd be injuries. BACKUP PLAN: The Joy Formidable, The New Regime @ The Irenic.
Thursday, July 21
PLAN A: Autolux, Eureka the Butcher @ The Irenic. Autolux features Failure guitarist Greg Edwards, which is an immediate plus in my book. But personnel is one thing and songs are another, and Autolux's densely layered shoegaze and noise rock gems are top notch. PLAN B: Yidhra, Attalla, Great Electric Quest, Supersonic Dragon Wagon @ The Merrow. For something a little bit heavier, hit up this showcase of doom metal and heavy psych bands. Thursday night isn't too early to start getting weird. BACKUP PLAN: Culture Shock, World/Inferno Friendship Society, Downs Family, La Cantina Beat @ The Casbah.
Friday, July 22
PLAN A: Boris, Earth @ The Casbah. Ten years ago, Tokyo's Boris released an album called Pink that combined the best of punk, psych, metal, shoegaze and drone. It's a modern metal masterpiece and they're playing the whole thing. I've said before I don't care for artists playing full albums, but considering they rarely play these songs, I'm making an exception. BACKUP PLAN: Vista Kicks, Hawai, The Gloomies @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, July 23
PLAN A: TTNG, Strawberry Girls @ Che Cafe. TTNG's new album is called Disappointment Island, but there's nothing disappointing about it. They blend tuneful indie rock songwriting with complex rhythms and intricate guitar work that add up to something gorgeously appealing. BACKUP PLAN: Hiroshima Mockingbirds, Mittens, Pleasure Fix @ Bar Pink.
Sunday, July 24
PLAN A: Inter Arma, Withered, Strange Planet @ Soda Bar. Read Ben Salmon's feature this week on Richmond, Virginia, sludge metal titans Inter Arma, whose new album Paradise Gallows is one of the best to be released this year. It's psychedelic, melodic and utterly crushing. A must hear. PLAN B: The Jayhawks, Fernando Viciconte @ Belly Up Tavern. One of the best bands of the alt-country era, The Jayhawks have more than two decades of twangy tunefulness on their resume, and countless classics to sing along to. BACKUP PLAN: Beira, Xantam, Empty Gods @ Tower Bar.
Monday, July 25
PLAN A: Black Milk with Nat Turner, Parker Edison @ Soda Bar. Detroit emcee Black Milk has gone from Dilla-style crate-digger hip-hop to a sleeker synth-laden sound. With live band Nat Turner, however, he's bringing a richer funk experience to the stage, so those grooves will go just a little bit deeper. PLAN B: Big Business, Andy the Doorbum, Death Eyes @ The Casbah. Metal curious but not quite ready to go full Carcass? Big Business is a good place to start. The Seattle group play heavy, burly music that'll kick your ass, but not without some catchy hooks for good measure.
Tuesday, July 26
PLAN A: Happy Diving, Gem, Quali @ Soda Bar. Sometimes you just want to go out and hear some good old-fashioned guitar-driven rock music. Oakland's Happy Diving are just the kind of band to provide said service, their upcoming album Electric Soul Unity balancing melody with grit in an easy-to-love package. PLAN B: Bebel Gilberto @ Belly Up Tavern. Bebel Gilberto's debut Tanto Tempo caught my ear in 2000 and I've been a fan ever since. Head here for an evening of subtle yet stunning samba pop and bossa nova.