Wednesday, April 28
PLAN A: The Mashtis, GrampaDrew, Ryan Blue, Gabe Lehner and more @ U-31. Seeing local singer-songwriter Gayle Skidmore play a few months ago, I was blown away by her emotive voice, not to mention her mad banjo-playing skills. So, when I heard she was having some problems financing her new album, I asked a bunch of local musicians to play a show to help raise some funds. Almost all said yes (eight total), and all will play to help support a local gal they admire. PLAN B: The Antlers, Phantogram @ The Casbah. The Antlers' debut album, Hospice, made a ton of best-of lists last year for its morbidly emotional lyrics (as if the album title didn't give it away) and mix of ambient minor chords and poppy indie-rock. I expect the same kind of accolades for electro-indie-rock duo Phantogram come year's end. BACKUP PLAN: The Death Eaters, The Moog, Roxy Jones @ Bar Pink.
Thursday, April 29
PLAN A: Space Nature, Twin Brother, The Paddle Boat, Primitive Noyes @ Tin Can Ale House. The headliners sound like The Allman Brothers jamming with the Amboy Dukes, which is all well and good, but I'm more excited to see locals Primitive Noyes and, especially, Vegas sextet Twin Brother. The latter combines four-part harmonies and jangly pop melodies with fantastic results. PLAN B: The Avett Brothers, Truth & Salvage Co. @ House of Blues. Close to a Plan A, because I've never seen the alt-country Brothers put on anything less than a mind-blowing and emotionally vulnerable performance. Unfortunately, it's the opening band, fellow Carolinians Truth & Salvage Co., that drags it down to Plan B. Cheesy hippie crap that you won't feel bad about skipping. BACKUP PLAN: Transfer, The Drowning Men, Erika Davies @ Belly Up.
Friday, April 30
PLAN A: Joel P. West & The Tree Ring, Black Mamba @ Sherwood Auditorium at MCASD, La Jolla. West's '08 album, Dust Jacket, was a lovingly assembled batch of plaintive folk songs that ended up being one of my favorite local releases that year. I hope he'll be using this museum gig to unveil some new songs, and if his performance is half as good as the one he had at the Luce Loft a couple of years ago, you can expect a truly intimate experience. PLAN B: Cat Party, Repeater, The New Assembly, Veil Veil Vanish @ Ruby Room. I've sung the praises of Orange County's Cat Party in this column before, but their supporting cast tonight also prove their post-punk mettle. Repeater channel New Order and Interpol, while Veil Veil Vanish do the same but with a bit of a harder edge. Both are derivative and earnest as all hell, but they're deriving from the best and they hit those emotional notes just right. BACKUP PLAN: Grand Tarantula, Shapes of Future Frames, Life Deposits @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, May 1
PLAN A: Chad Price, Micah Schnabel, Michael Dean Damron @ Radio Room. Hopefully you've already read the piece on Damron on this page, but it's worth pointing out that Schnabel's main gig is with Columbus barn-burners Two Cow Garage while Price moonlights with roots favorites Drag the River. Expect grown men crying and the few women present to feel really bad about that guy they just dumped. PLAN B: Jamuel Saxon, Brother Face, River City @ Tin Can Ale House. Aside from having a sweet local lineup, Tin Can is also unveiling a newly renovated side area of the bar on this night. BACKUP PLAN: Title Tracks, Maren Parusel, TeamAwesome! @ Soda Bar.
Sunday, May 2
PLAN A: The Ponys, Disappears, Christmas Island @ The Casbah. With mope-pop-hooks galore and a sound resembling Robert Smith fronting Sonic Youth, the Chicago-based headliners have gained a loyal fan base of indie geeks who either come to listen to songs like “Let's Kill Ourselves” and “I Wanna Fuck You” or gawk at bassist Melissa Elias. Either way, it's worth it. BACKUP PLAN: Civil Twilight @ The Loft at UCSD.
Monday, May 3
PLAN A: Growing, Heavy Hawaii, Illuminauts @ The Casbah. For nearly 10 years, New York-via-Olympia, Wash., trio Growing have been living up to their moniker, crafting experimental and often bizarre drone-rock that shifts between lush ambiance and coarse noise. On record, as with their newest release Pumps!, it's certainly not for everyone. But their live show, where they use samplers and myriad pedals to create a sustained wall of sound, is truly something worth experiencing. BACKUP PLAN: Rack Paper Tiger, Schitzophonics, Manic Diffusion @ Soda Bar.
Tuesday, May 4
PLAN A: Eluvium, Benoit Pioulard @ The Casbah. Modern-day masters of the genre, both of these one-man ambient acts compose somnolent, make-out ready orchestrations. Opener Pioulard leans more toward the experimental folk side à la John Vanderslice, but this'll still likely be the prettiest thing you hear all week. BACKUP PLAN: Solid Gold, Starcrossed, The Verso @ Soda Bar.