Wednesday, Oct. 22
PLAN A: Tinariwen, Insects vs. Robots @ Belly Up Tavern. Tinariwen is a band that formed from a group of exiled Touareg musicians from Mali, but they've since made a name for themselves for their unique and eclectic mixture of Touareg music, American blues and rock. It's incredible stuff, and it was probably a long plane ride to get here, so make sure to check them out. PLAN B: Sinkane, Helado Negro @ The Casbah. Ahmed Gallab, aka Sinkane, has played as a touring member of Yeasayer and Of Montreal, but his solo work is even more interesting, blending indie pop, dub and disco into a diverse and intriguing dance party. BACKUP PLAN: Allo Darlin', Ghost Comeback @ Soda Bar.
Thursday, Oct. 23
PLAN A: White Mystery, The Lumps, Kids in Heat @ Til-Two Club. It's generally accepted that you don't need more than two people to kick up a pretty furious garage-rock dust storm, and Chicago's White Mystery do just fine for two people. In fact, if they added any more musicians, the whole thing just might spiral completely out of control. PLAN B: Wildcat! Wildcat!, White Hinterland @ The Casbah. I'm generally a little skeptical of any band that uses two exclamation points in their name (exception: !!!), but I'll let Wildcat! Wildcat! slide on this one, since I find their dreamy synth-pop both catchy and charming. BACKUP PLAN: Daedelus, Penthouse Penthouse, Tiger Milk Imports, Uhuru Peak at Soda Bar.
Friday, Oct. 24
PLAN A: Carcass, Exhumed, Dia De Los Muertos, Sangre @ Brick by Brick. It's not often that you get a chance to see some genuine U.K. death-metal legends wreak some destruction in our humble town. Their newest album, Surgical Steel, proves they're still able to pull off an impressive mix of melody and brutality, and I highly encourage you witness the mayhem. PLAN B: Christian Bland and the Revelators, Burnt Ones, Emerald Rats @ The Hideout. Austin-based musician Christian Bland is the frontman for heavy psychedelic rockers The Black Angels, but with The Revelators, he's got a slightly more laid-back sound. Instead of freaking out with distortion and volume, he goes for more of a sunny, earthy kind of psychedelic. Don't worry, there are still vibes aplenty. BACKUP PLAN: Koffin Kats, The Strikers, Hard Fall Hearts, Radio Threat @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, Oct. 25
PLAN A-1: Daryl Hall and John Oates @ Open Air Theatre. Here we have a night with two Plan A picks. But there's a good reason for that, the first being smooth and soulful pop duo Hall and Oates, who—based on my set-list research—are absolutely going to play the hits. And they have so many! PLAN A-2: Big Ups, LVL UP, The Cardielles @ The Hideout. This other Plan A is a band with less name recognition, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't know them. The New York group channels the intensity of The Descendents and pairs it with Fugazi's post-hardcore grooves, and it's pretty much awesome. PLAN B: Jenny Lewis, The Living Sisters @ House of Blues. Jenny Lewis spent a good five years without releasing any new music, but her new album, The Voyager, is one of my favorites this year. She channels classic Fleetwood Mac while maintaining a modern touch that's just irresistible.
Sunday, Oct. 26
PLAN A: The Spits, Timmy's Organism, The Stalins of Sound @ Soda Bar. Kalamazoo's The Spits have been around since the mid-'90s, but their giddy and raw style of punk rock harks back to the sounds of the late '70s and early '80s. If you like your punk rock messy, tuneful and loaded with snotty humor, they're the band for you. BACKUP PLAN: Asgeir, Low Roar @ The Irenic.
Monday, Oct. 27
PLAN A: Guantanamo Baywatch, Pookie and the Poodlez, Buddy Banter @ The Hideout. I'm recommending Guantanamo Baywatch primarily because of their unbeatably punny name. It just so happens that their fuzzy surf-rock style also hits the spot.
Tuesday, Oct. 28
PLAN A: La Femme, Sego, Les Cardielles @ Soda Bar. Here's a fun one: Paris' La Femme crafts a weirdo new-wave sound that falls somewhere between the lo-fi machinepunk of Big Black and the haunting minimalism of coldwave. It's fun, it's eerie and it's all in French. Tres bien! PLAN B: Tycho, Com Truise @ North Park Theatre. I'd be remiss not to mention Tycho, a musician and graphic designer whose work in any medium is uniformly stylish and melancholy. Bliss out before the Halloween creeps begin.