Wednesday, Jan. 21
PLAN A: Landlord @ Soda Bar. It's as if three unemployed friends from Bloomington, Ind., decided to write sloppy pop songs over a few cheap beers. In fact, I'll wager that's exactly what happened. It's not rocket science; it's just good. PLAN B: Ryan Pits and the Boy Toys, The Heartaches @ Hensley's Flying Elephant. Central Indiana takes over a couple San Diego bars for the evening (See Plan A). I wonder if Pits and the guys in Landlord have ever watched Breaking Away together.
Thursday, Jan. 22
PLAN A: Ozomatli @ Belly Up Tavern. Nobody's too cool to watch this phenomenal live band throw the kind of all-inclusive party you thought only happened in college movies. If you can't make it out, don't worry, because Ozomatli booked three straight nights. PLAN B: Kaki King @ Anthology. Among the most unique female guitarists in the world, King's jaw-dropping guitar-as-percussion technique has Guitar Center employees everywhere pinning her posters to their ceilings. PLAN C: Thorns of Life @ Bar Pink. Blake Schwarzenbach of Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil returns with Thorns of Life, who aren't too far removed from his first band's impeccably catchy punk or his second band's wistful emo. Split the difference and hope for the best.
Friday, Jan. 23
PLAN A: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings @ 4th & B. Maybe the funkiest band in America, this throwback R&B group could've come along at any point in the last 45 years and people would eat it up. PLAN B: Richie Havens @ Anthology. Note to neo-folk bands: Ease up on the Simon & Garfunkel. Grab a few Richie Havens albums and your audience will be thankful when they realize you have soul. PLAN C: Mark Farina @ Spin. The progenitor of downtempo, Farina has been dropping his Mushroom Jazz mixes for more than 10 years, so it's hardly surprising that he's one of the only artists that keep the style fresh. PLAN D: No Knife @ The Casbah. The reunited No Knife book two local shows in three months and they both sell out immediately. Sucks for you.
Saturday, Jan. 24
PLAN A: Jay Reatard @ Ken Club. If he's not the hardest-working man-child in the underground, he's damn near close. Ignore the latest wave of garage hype, because Jay Reatard writes better songs at a faster pace than your favorite band. PLAN B: The Penetrators, The Latino Uncles, Manual Scan, The Loons @ The Casbah. There's a chance this show draws the oldest aggregate crowd to ever attend The Casbah. Believe it or not, hipsters, there were several generations of cool people in San Diego before you were even a twinge in Daddy's crotch. PLAN C: Truckasauras, Obi Best @ Bar Pink. Truckasauras use vintage Nintendo gear as a jump-off to explore new permutations in electro. A guaranteed geek-fest, but attention-grabbing, like Adderall for your eardrums.
Sunday, Jan. 25
PLAN A: Creedle, Optiganally Yours, soul junk, The Nephews (2 p.m.) @ The Casbah. Take a trip in the DeLorean to when math-rock (Creedle), a duo obsessed with Optigan keyboards (Optiganally Yours), Beck's Christian sound-alikes (soul junk) and twee-pop (Nephews) all got down together. PLAN B: Stress Ape, The Dawns, Sunken Landscapes @ Soda Bar. Chicago's Stress Ape don't like you, and they don't like your friends. They just want to take a large sheet of extra coarse sandpaper and rub it on your face until it hits bone. BACKUP PLAN: Tapes 'n' Tapes, Wild Light, Theresa Andersson @ The Casbah.
Monday, Jan. 26
PLAN A: Bunky, Free Stars, Rafter Band @ Soda Bar. If the sound of his Sweaty Magic is any indication, Rafter Roberts has plenty of energy to spare. He'd better—dude is playing sets with all three of these bands. PLAN B: Molotov @ House of Blues. Veteran genre-blenders Molotov rap over dance-rock tunes, which may induce cringing. Not that they care—these Mexico City natives are all about throwing caution (and good taste) to the wind.
Tuesday, Jan. 27
PLAN A: Lil Wayne @ Cox Arena. Since when does spouting nonsensical monologues, collecting face tattoos and amassing drug charges qualify someone as “The Greatest”? Mike Tyson did it and people called him crazy; Wayne does it and goes triple platinum. Go figure. PLAN B: Magic Bullets, Spirit Photography @ Soda Bar. A reminder of how fertile and varied post-punk became throughout the years, these groups reflect opposite ends of the mood spectrum, from the wispy guitar pop of Orange Juice and Felt (Magic Bullets) to the paranoid din of Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire (Spirit Photography). BACKUP PLAN: Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Party @ Anthology.