Wednesday, Feb. 8
PLAN A: Alcest, The Body, Creepers @ Brick by Brick. French band Alcest walks the middle ground between breathtaking shoegaze and searing black metal. Most of the time their music is pretty and densely layered, but sometimes it’s also ferocious and intense. Get there early to have your bones liquefied by The Body. PLAN B: Austra, The Range, Warsaw @ The Casbah. I first saw Canadian synth-pop group Austra at SXSW about six years ago before I had any idea who they were, and I became an instant fan. They’ve since released a handful of outstanding albums of dark, danceable pop that you should check out immediately. BACKUP PLAN: Nots, Tar Pit @ The Hideout.
Thursday, Feb. 9
PLAN A: Drab Majesty, Body of Light @ The Hideout. Why have just one night of dark, danceable delights when you can go for two? Drab Majesty and Body of Light are each responsible for some of the best new darkwave being released of late, nodding to ‘80s goth-pop while offering their own modern spin. Eyeliner is definitely mandatory for this one. PLAN B: You Blew It!, All Get Out, Free Throw @ Che Cafe. I make frequent jokes about the emo revival, but the fact of the matter is that I have feelings, too. And my feelings tell me that You Blew It! is a great indie rock band, no matter what genre they fall into.
Friday, Feb. 10
PLAN A: Red Wizard, Cambrian Explosion, Nebula Drag, Amigo @ The Merrow. A Friday night show that brings together some of the best heavy bands in the region is just the kind of start to the weekend that I can get behind. Turn it up! PLAN B: The Legendary Shack Shakers, The Brains, Delta Bombers @ The Casbah. For something a little twangier, The Legendary Shack Shakers offer a louder, crazier spin on alt-country and rockabilly than most. They’re known for wild live performances, so be prepared for lots of drunken energy. BACKUP PLAN: The Molochs, Loons @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, Feb. 11
PLAN A: The Creepy Creeps, Schizophonics, The Widows, Alvino and the Dwells @ The Casbah. Saturday nights are best spent with bands that you know can bring it live. The Creepy Creeps have proven that to be true time and again, with excellent surf-rock riffs and an always creatively masked presence. PLAN B: Wax Tailor, L’Orange @ Music Box. For a more laid-back but no less intriguing night of live music, check out French beatmaker Wax Tailor, who specializes in cinematic, sample-driven downtempo and trip-hop that’s utterly hypnotic. BACKUP PLAN: The Chain Gang of 1974 @ The Hideout.
Sunday, Feb. 12
PLAN A: The Fink Bombs, Alvino and the Dwells, Fuzz Junkies @ Soda Bar. It’s always a bummer to see the weekend come to an end, but you can fend it off just a little longer with a show by The Fink Bombs, a local group that does surfy garage-punk right. Like the Creepy Creeps, they too wear masks, so it’ll be a whole weekend of anonymity.
Monday, Feb. 13
PLAN A: Tyvek, Fred Thomas, Kan Kan @ Soda Bar. Detroit band Tyvek was missing in action for a minute but returned late last year with surprise album Origin of What. They’re a noisy bunch of punk rockers that might remind you a bit of Parquet Courts with more fuzz, and they’ll definitely make your Monday.
Tuesday, Feb. 14
PLAN A: Milemarker, Big Jesus, Hours @ The Casbah. Milemarker reunited recently after a decade apart, and just last year released a new album, Overseas. Still, this gets my recommendation strictly on the basis of their post-hardcore highlights like “Shrink to Fit,” which blends synthy weirdness with raw punk power. Make it early for Hours, and while you’re at it read Seth Combs’ feature this week on frontwoman Carrie Gillespie Feller.