Wednesday, Dec. 21
PLAN A: Caspa, Photek @ Voyeur. Back when Skrillex was still a singer in a screamo band, London producer Caspa brought dubstep to its heaviest heights with “Rubber Chicken,” a ghostly track released in 2006 that's guided by a woozy, wobbling, ridiculously over-sized subsonic bass line. Plenty of artists have tried to top that track in the years since—making some seriously shitty music in the process—but there's still nothing quite like it. PLAN B: Stevie & The Hi- Stax @ Bar Pink. When he's singing with local funk favorites The Styletones, singer Steve Harris gets sweaty and wild. But with his band Stevie & The Hi-Stax, he tends to slow things down a bit, singing in a throaty croon to focus more on his soulful side. BACKUP PLAN: Flat Wheeler, New York Taxi, Drew Smith, Carson White @ Tin Can Ale House.
Thursday, Dec. 22
PLAN A: TV Girl, Tropical Popsicle, Clockart, Kynan @ Soda Bar. Sample-happy indie-pop group TV Girl recently dropped a characteristically catchy new single in September, “Girls Like Me,” that finds them striking a balance between heartwarming '60s pop and hard-edged hip-hop. Tropical Popsicle, meanwhile, have been getting lots of buzz (on these pages, in particular) for their gloomy synths, hypnotic riffs and alluring, smoke-machine-aided live show. PLAN B: The Widows, Stephen Rey & The Slicks, Low Volts, Marsupials @ The Casbah. Local rockers The Widows don't play any fancy solos or dress up in funny costumes, they just throw down loud, fast, no-frills rock 'n' roll. Stephen Rey & The Slicks sound a bit more old-fashioned, what with their crooning vocals and twanging guitar licks, but they're just as rockin'. BACKUP PLAN: Jahkobeats, Lion Sound System, Apex Realm, Gene Flow, Vegan Flytrap @ Kava Lounge.
Friday, Dec. 23
PLAN A: Writer, Miniature Tree, Ditches @ Soda Bar. I'm always excited to see Writer, a great local duo that's crafted a weird, enthralling type of urban folk. This is one of their last live shows before they shove off for New York City in January, and they'll probably end up getting a record deal, so catch them while you can. PLAN B: Clepto, Abject, The Scoundrels, DJ Tu Camote @ Shakedown Bar. Clepto's members originally hail from Cyprus and Canada, but the band formed in Saudi Arabia.
And if you listen closely to their ass-kicking punk-metal, you can make out occasional snippets of Arabic melody along with their head-banging riffs and grinding rhythms. BACKUP PLAN: Cash'd Out, The Palominos, DJ Gonzo @ Belly Up.
Saturday, Dec. 24
PLAN A: Mord Fustang @ Voyeur. Had enough eggnog and cookies for the night? Work it off at this dance party, featuring Estonia's version of Jamuel Saxon: DJ / producer Mord Fustang. He might not have the same hipster appeal, but his electro-house bangers have all the randy energy of a cybernetic pleasure bot. PLAN B: Exile on Kettner Blvd. @ The Casbah. Keeping with an annual Christmas tradition, a bunch of local musicians will jam while Santa climbs down chimneys. See Page 14 for details.
Sunday, Dec. 25
PLAN A: DJ Groundfloor, David Afterlife, Blancnoire @ El Dorado. At one of the only shows happening on Christmas night, these electronic dance music DJs will spread holiday cheer with a veritable Santa's bag of club-ready remixes and oonce-oonce beats.
BACKUP PLAN: Tribe of Kings @ U-31.
Monday, Dec. 26
PLAN A: The Fire Eaters @ Bar Pink. Featuring members of the soul-music brain trust that is The Styletones (see Wednesday), The Fire Eaters specialize in instrumental soul-jazz jams that would've fit well in a scene from Shaft. With their smoky organ, wah-wah guitar and in-the-pocket drums, they're dark, funky and damn sexy. BACKUP PLAN: Gran Sasso, Black Dragon River, The Plastic Revolution @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, Dec. 27
PLAN A: Nero (DJ set), Headshake & Osal8, Organized Grime @ House of Blues.
Named after the bloodthirsty Roman emperor, London dubstep duo Nero specialize in all things fist-pumping and epic. Indeed, Nero himself might've even chosen the mix planned for tonight as the soundtrack to a rousing gladiator vs. lion match at the Colosseum. PLAN B: Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven @ Belly Up. As per holiday tradition, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven songwriter David Lowery will stop by for a two-set extravaganza featuring classics like “Euro-Trash Girl” and “Take the Skinheads Bowling.” BACKUP PLAN: Thieves of the American Dream, Movus, Four Kings @ Soda Bar.