Wednesday, Dec. 3
PLAN A: Author & Punisher, Archons, Red Wizard @ The Casbah. Author & Punisher just spent a few weeks in New Orleans, recording a new set of music with Pantera's Phil Anselmo, and by Tristan Shone's account, it's going to be harder, faster and more intense than before. I'm already sold, but if you want to hear some of the new material firsthand, this is likely to be a good opportunity. PLAN B: Tall Tales and the Silver Lining, Spero, Gary Hankins and the Summer Knowledge @ Soda Bar. Tall Tales and the Silver Lining's "So Stranded" sounds a little like Bread's "Baby I'm a Want You"—hey, where are you going? Come back! No, really, it's breezy and folky and laid-back, but it's also kind of beautiful in a way pop music isn't much these days. Feel the vibes. BACKUP PLAN: The Whiskey Circle, Pearl Charles, Creature and the Woods @ The Hideout.
Thursday, Dec. 4
PLAN A: The Wild Wild, FMLYBND @ Soda Bar. I won't mince words here: The Wild Wild are basically a chillwave group, and it's generally against my religion to recommend a chillwave show. But I'll break my own rule just this once. The Santa Cruz outfit has some catchy, dreamy, synth-heavy songs that draw from '80s pop, and they're pretty charming when you get down to it.
Friday, Dec. 5
PLAN A: Black Sands, Birdy Bardot, The Midnight Pine, The Heavy Guilt, Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact @ The Merrow. As a special show to celebrate the release of his new book, An Autobiography of No One , percussionist and songwriter Al Howard has lined up just about every band he's in! Sounds exhausting for him, but a whole lotta fun for everyone else. PLAN B: The Burning of Rome, The Gods of Science, Shady Francos @ Soda Bar. It's not like we're short on opportunities to see The Burning of Rome in San Diego, but in the several times I've caught them live, they've never half-assed it once. They're easily near the top of the list of the city's best live bands, and now is a fine time to see it for yourself. BACKUP PLAN: Memory, Sentinel, Dark Measure, Gravespell, Seraphic Disgust @ Til-Two Club.
Saturday, Dec. 6
PLAN A: Pallbearer, Solstafir, Mortals @ Soda Bar. Make sure to go back to last week's issue and read Peter Holslin's feature on Arkansas doom-metal band Pallbearer. They have an epic yet melodic sound that sets them apart from many of the genre's Sabbath clones. PLAN B: Moving Units, All Leather, Qui, Secret Fun Club @ Brick by Brick. This show looks like it's going to be a good time—and an eclectic one. Between the dance punk of Moving Units, the noise rock of Qui (featuring David Yow of Jesus Lizard) and the weirdo synth sound of All Leather (featuring Justin Pearson of The Locust / Retox), it'll be a perfect night for the freaks to come out. BACKUP PLAN: Horse Feathers, The Midnight Pine, Sara-Jackson Holman @ The Casbah.
Sunday, Dec. 7
PLAN A: The Grouch and Eligh, Cunninlynguists, DJ Abilities, DJ Fresh @ Porter's Pub. The Grouch and Eligh are a laid-back West Coast hip-hop duo with some chill beats and socially conscious rhymes. But I'm a little more drawn to this show because of Cunninlynguists, a Kentucky group who—despite the stupid pun in their name—blend Dirty South hip-hop with lush, psychedelic production.
Monday, Dec. 8
PLAN A: Molotov @ Porter's Pub. Mexico City's Molotov have made a name for themselves as the pranksters of Latin alternative music, mixing the humor and influence of groups like Beastie Boys with funk, calypso and a heavy dose of politics. They're approaching 20 years as a band, so it's worth checking out what's made the group an enduring presence in Latin pop music. PLAN B: Underpass, Prayers, Subtle Control @ The Hideout. Olympia post-punk group Underpass have an ominous, surreal sound that recalls a time when the U.K.'s most prominent export was skinny dudes with a chip on their shoulder and an array of effects pedals. Their new Assimilation EP is impressively vintage enough to sound like it was released in 1981 but interesting enough not to sound like a tribute act. BACKUP PLAN: The Routine, Taurus Authority, Mimi Zulu @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, Dec. 9
PLAN A: Bebel Gilberto @ Belly Up Tavern. Bebel Gilberto, daughter of bossa nova songwriter Joao Gilberto, isn't just part of a Brazilian legacy; she's a stunning artist in her own right. I've been enchanted with her lounge-sound ballads since she released 2000's Tanto Tempo, and her new album, Tudo, is another fine set of laid-back gems.