Wednesday, May 15
PLAN A: Callow, Jesus Gonzalez @ Lestat's. Following in the footsteps of veteran gloomsters like Nick Cave and The Black Heart Procession, San Francisco's Callow play richly arranged ballads that creep along at a funereal pace. Even though they're sad to the core, there's beauty to be found within. (Callow's also playing at Tin Can Ale House on Thursday, May 16.) PLAN B: The Touchies, Starcrossed, Marco Polo @ The Ruby Room. One of the quirkier bands I reviewed for this year's Great Demo Review, locals Marco Polo bust out bedroom-rock anthems with crunchy riffs, chintzy drum-machine beats and the occasional rap verse. It's a bit silly, but quite charming. BACKUP PLAN: Filligar, Dead Feather Moon @ The Griffin.
Thursday, May 16
PLAN A: Okapi Sun, Baby Alpaca, Church Hustlers @ The Casbah. Now that Jamuel Saxon and Hyena have called it quits, it's nice to have a new local electro-pop duo around. Featuring pop singer Maren Parusel, Okapi Sun get the party started with MicroKorg hooks, Auto-Tuned vocals and thumping live drums. PLAN B: Sons of Fathers, Deadly Birds, The Grass Heat @ Soda Bar. Banking on the success of Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers, Austin's Sons of Fathers have gotten buzz from Rolling Stone for their breezy honky-tonk with twanging guitar licks and Everly Brothers-style vocal harmonies. BACKUP PLAN: "Skoolyard Bully" MC and Beatbox Battles @ Boar Crossín (Carlsbad).
Friday, May 17
PLAN A: Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang, Illuminauts @ The Void. Zany beats, ecstatic vocal chants, busy dance floors—these are just some of the things you get when you see Sierra Leone-born singer Janka Nabay and his faithful Bubu Gang, a band of hip New York musicians who lay down super-funky grooves in the vein of traditional Sierra Leonean "bubu music." PLAN B: Brian Ellis Band, Joy, Sacri Monti @ Tin Can Ale House. When he isn't toiling in his home studio or making beats for a goofy club-music side project, local dude Brian Ellis plays the part of a manic psych-rock maestro, churning out funky, acid-fried jams with organ and Fender Rhodes. BACKUP PLAN: The Burning of Rome, Low Volts, The New Kinetics, Zero Zero @ The Casbah.
Saturday, May 18
PLAN A: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Purple Pilgrims, Tropical Popsicle @ The Casbah. A notorious wild card, Ariel Pink is just as adept at pulling off warped sonic shenanigans as sublime songwriting feats. Curiously enough, he just released Thrash & Burn, a collection of early recordings inspired by avant-garde, musique concrète composers like Iannis Xenakis and Pierre Schaeffer. PLAN B: Damien Jurado, John Meeks, Matt Curreri @ Soda Bar. Sad-sack Seattle songwriter Damien Jurado is currently on a tour that'll take him to house shows across the nation. He doesn't plan to hit any abodes in San Diego, but this should nevertheless be a hushed, intimate affair. BACKUP PLAN: North Park Festival of the Arts @ University Ave. & 30th St. (11 a.m.-6 p.m.).
Sunday, May 19
PLAN A: The Black Angels, Hanni El Khatib, Wall of Death @ Belly Up Tavern. It's always nice to bask in the drone-psych goodness of The Black Angels, but don't miss L.A. rocker Hanni El Khatib. On his new album, Head in the Dirt, El Khatib serves up a batch of rip-roaring guitar jams that're perfect for a bar fight or a one-night-stand, whichever comes first. PLAN B: The Appleseed Cast, Hospital Ships, Tiny Telephones @ The Casbah. "Post-rock" has been around so long that the genre seems to have lost its revolutionary luster, but Kansas post-rockers The Appleseed Cast will still lull you into a trance and then punch you in the face with their dreamy guitar textures and loud-quiet-loud dynamics. BACKUP PLAN: Hands, Social Club, Super Water Sympathy @ Soda Bar.
Monday, May 20
PLAN A: Pompeya, Church Hustlers, Orange Anima @ Soda Bar. Pompeya come from Moscow, but they'd fit right in on the beaches of Southern California—their catchy indie-disco bursts with sunny, chill vibes.
Tuesday, May 21
PLAN A: The Presidents of the United States of America, Eternal Summers @ Belly Up Tavern. Did you ever listen to any of the albums The Presidents of the United States of America put out after their self-titled debut? Yeah, me neither. Tonight, they'll play the awesome 1995 album front to back. BACKUP PLAN: JJAMZ, Hills Like Elephants, Inspired & The Sleep @ The Griffin.