Wednesday, May 27
If there's a better tune to come out of San Diego this year than Beaters' “Fishage,” I certainly haven't heard it. Put blown-out keys over just about anything and you'll have me creaming for more, but throw in piles of sinister guitars and awesome gang vocals and I'm suddenly your biggest fan. Overcoming the notoriously difficult sound at the Whistle Stop about a month ago, the three ex-Sess members (and one Powerchord) tore the proverbial roof off the place. Most importantly, drummer Andrew Montoya laid an agile foundation, anchoring a band that seemed to be teetering on the brink of nihilism. That they're performing with intriguing gloom merchants Spirit Photography, New Jersey home-recording free-spirit Julian Lynch and improvisational sound artist Mark Lewis only gives more incentive to attend. At Soda Bar in City Heights.
Friday, May 29
Remember fun? It's that thing you had when you were younger, before the dreaded vice-grip of responsibility snatched you away from those adolescent daydreams, when you could go out on a weekday night and drink a 12-pack without worrying about how long you'd have to spend in the office bathroom the next morning. Well, some people decided never to give up on fun. In fact, Seattle's The Spits are the living embodiment of it, the kind of band that doesn't care if its drooling Casio-keyboard punk sounds like it was recorded at the bottom of a giant trashcan. And The Points and Personal & The Pizzas are big proponents of this “fun” thing, too. The former was called “the city's best band” by the Washington Post (yeah, really), and the latter is both as dumb and clever as Dee Dee Ramone in his prime. All three are playing two shows in one night, first at UCSD's Che Café at 7 p.m. ($7), and again at the Ken Club at 10 p.m.
Saturday, May 30
Despite what many hip-hop fans originally thought, People Under the Stairs are from L.A., not San Francisco. Sure, they were signed to San Francisco-based acid-jazz label Om Records, and their most well-known track is called “San Francisco Knights,” but PUTS lays claim to its Southern California pedigree at every opportunity. And if I were judging the City of Angels strictly based on the sound of the group's last three albums—O.S.T., Stepfather and FUN-D.M.C—I'd move there in a second. As much a throwback to hip-hop's Golden Age as an example of where true-school ethics can take the genre in the future, the duo makes it sound as if they're holding the best backyard barbecue on the planet 24 hours a day, and there's plenty of beer and carne asada to go around. You can join the party at The Loft @ UCSD ($15).
Sunday, May 31
As curious a proposition ever spawned from the American underground, Arizona-born eccentrics Sun City Girls spent the majority of their 25-year journey exploring the fringes of popular music. And that's using “popular” in the loosest sense—touching on everything from noise and free-form poetry to African and Indonesian rhythms, they were honest-to-god experimental icons. Although guitarist Sir Richard Bishop released his first solo album more than 10 years ago, the 2007 death of SCG drummer Charles Gocher ended the band's run, giving Bishop the opportunity to further develop his own works. At North Park's Bar Pink, Bishop and his Freak of Araby Ensemble perform cuts from his latest, The Freak of Araby, a strange and beautiful tribute to Lebanese guitarist Omar Khorshid. Support comes from Oakland noise terrorists Oaxacan.
Tuesday, June 2
From the influence of New Zealand's Flying Nun Records' on numerous DIY acolytes to the massive success of Flight of the Conchords, it kinda seems like Kiwis are blowing up in the U.S. these days. And I'll be damned if Christchurch's Bachelorette isn't another compelling export, a genuinely trippy, computerized symphony of voices and melodies created by one Annabel Alpers. If her new album, My Electric Family, doesn't end the year as a cult favorite among music nerds, it'll be a huge surprise. Bachelorette plays with Pikelet, Endless Bummer and Adam Powell at UCSD's Che Café ($7).
Meanwhile, at The Casbah, L.A. metal heroes Big Business hit town for the second time since adding guitarist / all-around badass Toshi Kasai to the fold. So maybe their latest album, Mind the Drift, doesn't quite hit the high-water mark of 2007's Here Come the Waterworks, but that doesn't mean much when it comes to brain-crushing live power. Flanked by power-duo Tweak Bird and ex-Melvins bassist Joe Preston's Thrones project, it's a can't-miss for local longhairs ($12, or $14 the day of).