Wednesday, April 24
PLAN A: AraabMuzik @ Voyeur. Watch one of AraabMuzik's mind-blowing live videos and you might just ditch your guitar for a sampler. A virtuoso of the Akai MPC, the beat-maker taps out fierce, intoxicating beats that dazzle ravers and hip-hop heads alike and probably inspire a whole generation of electronic-music fans in the process. PLAN B: Chappo, Okapi Sun, Social Club @ Soda Bar. Brooklyn's Chappo have plenty of catchy songs, but they really secure their psych-rock bona fides with a warped cover of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love" that features an explosive chorus and slithering electro-rock breakdown. BACKUP PLAN: Therapist, Eseí & Zain, Pal & Drome @ The Griffin.
Thursday, April 25
PLAN A: Whitehorse, The Gift Machine, Soda Pants @ Soda Bar. Playing earnest, forward-thinking country and folk, husband-and-wife duo Whitehorse aren't opposed to getting a little sentimental (seriously, their last album is titled The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss). But it's not cheesy sentimental; it's more of a sexy, making-love-in-the-barn sentimental. PLAN B: Nerf Herder, Tsar, Kirby's Dream Band @ The Ruby Room. For the people behind the monthly "Nerdcore Night," this might be their nerdiest night of all. Santa Barbara pop-punks Nerf Herder scored a hit in 1997 with their tribute song "Van Halen," and they still pretty much sound like Blue Album-era Weezer with acne. BACKUP PLAN: Opio, Highdro, Odessa Kane, Pat Maine, Rick Scales & Blast Brando, Solicit, DJ Hevrock @ Kava Lounge.
Friday, April 26
PLAN A: The Howls, New Mexico, The Burning of Rome, Bruin @ The Casbah. As you might guess from the cover story I wrote this week about New Mexico, I really dig this band. Head over here to read the story, and make sure to pick up a copy of their excellent new album, Malpaís, at tonight's album-release show. PLAN B: Cuckoo Chaos, Tropical Popsicle @ The Tower Bar. New Mexico, Cuckoo Chaos and Tropical Popsicle are basically the Big Three of local indie-rock—their music is as enthralling and well-crafted as it comes. So, if you aren't in the mood for The Casbah, make your way across town to see Cuckoo and Trop Pop. BACKUP PLAN: Alkaline Trio, Bayside, Off with their Heads @ House of Blues.
Saturday, April 27
PLAN A: John C. Reilly & Friends @ Adams Avenue Unplugged, Church Sanctuary Stage (5:30 p.m.). Did you know that the dude who played a 40-year-old man-child alongside Will Ferrell in Step Brothers also plays gorgeous, old-fashioned folk music? He does! Reilly reportedly put on a stellar show with former local Tom Brosseau at this fest last year, and now heís coming back for another round. PLAN B: Medeski Martin & Wood @ Belly Up Tavern. This celebrated combo—who'll play an acoustic set tonight—is described on Wikipedia as an "avant-jazz-funk organ trio." In layman's terms, that means it's a groovy, sophisticated jam band that sounds good even when you aren't stoned (though that helps). BACKUP PLAN: Telekinesis, Mount Moriah, The Paparazi @ The Casbah.
Sunday, April 28
PLAN A: METZ, White Lung @ The Casbah. I get a thrill from just thinking about METZ playing live—their noisy tunes are packed with force—but I'm just as excited to see fellow Canadians White Lung. Thanks to singer Mish Way's dynamic wail, they stay plenty catchy when they go nuts with jagged riffs and hyperkinetic punk beats. PLAN B: Andre Nickatina, Roach Gigz, Mumbls @ Porterís Pub. San Francisco rapper Andre Nickatina has a deep voice, a relaxed flow and plenty of dope, creative beats. All in all, he's the type of dude who just sounds good. BACKUP PLAN: Los Alacranes @ Adams Avenue Unplugged, Adams Park Stage (6 p.m.).
Monday, April 29
PLAN A: Marnie Stern, SISU, Bulletins @ Soda Bar. Marnie Stern flexes her crazy guitar skills on her new album, The Chronicles of Marnia (amazing title, by the way), but she also opens up emotionally in ways that few math-rockers do, resulting in some powerful songwriting. BACKUP PLAN: Grave Babies @ The Void.
Tuesday, April 30
PLAN A: Vietnam, Gap Dream, Tomorrow's Tulips @ Soda Bar. Featuring a frontman whose raspy voice resembles that of Bob Dylan, Brooklyn rockers Vietnam play loose, politically aware blues-rock that would've blown minds back in the late-'60s. BACKUP PLAN: Recordable Colors, Little War Twins, Muscle Beech @ Tin Can Ale House.