Thursday, July 9
Dave Longstreth's Dirty Projectors project is perplexing, but for different reasons than you might think. Though high-minded fans would be loathe to admit it, the band's latest album, Bitte Orca, has more in common with soft, radio-friendly pop than anything “indie,” and no amount of bizarre compositional choices or sudden John Bonham drum fills can cover that up. News flash, young fans: You are slowly turning into your parents. And while that's not necessarily a bad thing, the fact that this group seems to pride itself on being willfully difficult is kinda obnoxious. I don't care if you juxtapose Black Flag lyrics with songs that sound like Paul Simon outtakes (see: 2007's Rise Above); it still sounds like mid-'80s Scritti Politti with some African influences thrown in. Again, not entirely a bad thing—just not something to be so precious about. Prolific local pop-freak Rafter is set to open at The Casbah ($12).
Saturday, July 11
It's been ages since they've released any new songs, but that hasn't stopped local creep-pop trio Kill Me Tomorrow from making the rounds on the strength of more recent material. In fact, if the five years between the release of their last LP, The Garbageman and the Prostitute, and their long-delayed “lost” album, Trap Like a Steel Mind, proves anything, it's that these art-damaged weirdoes are a resilient bunch. Appropriately, San Francisco trio Bronze and Seattle's Flexions are just as curious, the former sounding like the Silver Apples on a steady diet of dub, the latter being the latest project of early Blood Brothers (and current Past Lives) guitarist Devin Welch. At The Casbah ($8).The small but potent Single Screen Records has played home to some of the more vigorous sounds coming out of San Diego in the past several years, releasing material by popular R&B punks The Sess, the Bowie-esque Red Feathers and the morbid folk of Vision of a Dying World. With a busy slate of new 7-inches scheduled for the near future, Single Screen shows what it has to offer at this showcase featuring the dystopian thump of Beaters, the broken instrumental hip-hop grooves of Illuminauts and the eccentric, soulful Charles Musket at Soda Bar.
“More Bounce to the Ounce” is possibly the greatest funk song of all time, and even if lead singer Roger Troutman is dead, partying with Zapp is still a must. Thousands of low-riders can't be wrong, nor can Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, EPMD, MC Breed or the hundreds of other hip-hop groups that have sampled the hell out of Zapp's back catalog. And speaking of “old-school”—Rob Base (sans DJ E-Z-Rock, apparently) will be on hand to lead the crowd in sing-alongs of “It Takes Two” and “Joy and Pain” at 4th & B ($35).
Sunday, July 12
There's been some interesting noise recently seeping out of San Diego's underground recesses, and it can be easy to miss if you're not keeping your ears open. Here's the deal: Spirit Photography consists of two members of fellow local charmers Christmas Island (and a bassist), but their feedback looping techniques chart a more ominous path than the other band's innocent garage-pop. Meanwhile, Jeans Wilder is a one-man operation from an ex-Fantastic Magic member and current Heavy Hawaii associate who turns incredibly bad vibes into beautifully stoned slow jams, and Mark Lewis unceremoniously turns the room into a whirring, churning machine with improvised sounds more intriguing than the majority of guitar-bass-drums lineups in town. Considering that out-of-towners Bulbs (ex-Axolotl) and Pretty Totally hail from San Francisco's avant-noise hotbed, this one signals promise for you progressive types out there. At Radio Room.
Monday, July 13
On first listen, the woodsy, log cabin vibe of Sub Pop-signed, Portland-based Blitzen Trapper struck me as another boring trudge through neo-hippie land, the place where Devendra Banhart sings lullabies for bandanna-wearing longhairs during nap time. However, while Blitzen Trapper ain't exactly lighting my world on fire, a song like “Sleepytime in the Western World” almost sounds like Crazy Horse and Bob Dylan playing an ELO cover, which is a lot cooler than it sounds. And while I can't really recommend Loch Lomond's rather average indie-folk, it's a guarantee that the sound quality at Belly Up Tavern will make both bands seem five times better than they ever could've imagined ($15).
Tuesday, July 14
The phrase “rock 'n' roll lifer” is used quite often, but rarely does it seem so deserving as when describing the career of Alejandro Escovedo. The 59-year-old rocker recently opened a string of dates for Bruce Springsteen on his U.S. tour, and with a string of incredibly consistent solo albums and credentials connecting punk's early days (The Nuns) to the genesis of alt-country (Rank and File), Escovedo's taut performances and San Diego family ties ensure his show at Anthology will be a burner ($23).