Wednesday, July 15
Atlanta natives Howlies are somehow depraved enough to merit the production talents of the one and only Kim Fowley, the same dirtbag who spat out a string of perverted, obscure garage hits before managing (or, reportedly, molesting) the underage Runaways to stardom in the late '70s. So, what to make of these young fellows? Are they only interested in the ladies, or do they actually bring the goods? Well, actually, the answer is both. If Black Lips were made over as characters from Grease or West Side Story, they'd sound like this. The results are funny, catchy pop tunes with a few raw edges, lots of oohs and aahs, and lyrics about hitting competing male suitors with aluminum baseball bats. A word to the wise: Don't let them near your girlfriend. Witt, Austenitic and Meseta open at Soda Bar.
Thursday, July 16
Given the overwhelmingly positive reception to their three-date run at The Casbah in January, it's possible that local legends Three Mile Pilot are more popular now than they were during their original incarnation. Oh, wait. Apparently, they never “broke up” but instead just went 10 years without playing any shows. Whatever the case, Tom, Zach and Pall are back on track, because they have a new home (Temporary Residence Records) and a new record due out in early 2010, and they're playing their first concert in six months at Belly Up Tavern with Optiganally Yours, one of many Rob Crow side-projects from yesteryear ($20).
Friday, July 17
Blonde-haired, bleary-eyed L.A. duo Pearl Harbour haven't been around for all that long, but their track “Lost at Sea” is already one of the best songs I've heard this summer—a liquid, wistful, slow jam that bears all the hallmarks of Ariel Pink at his most coherent. I have no idea what their live performance will be like, but since they're playing with the ever-reliable Beaters—who are among the most impressive bands in San Diego right now—and low-profile L.A. guitar grinders Best Coast, this one is hard to pass up. Especially 'cause it's free. At Whistle Stop Bar.
Sunday, July 19
Splitting the difference between the mid-tempo hard rock of Blue Oyster Cult circa Tyranny and Mutation and the bluesy crunch of Black Sabbath's self-titled debut, the only way you'd be able to tell Graveyard apart from those groups is by their modern production qualities. This is either a really good or really bad thing depending on your point of view, but there's no doubt that these Swedes have the utmost reverence for their forebears, paying tribute with enough swagger to make you second guess whether they just stepped out of a time machine from the early '70s. Tee Pee Records labelmates and unashamed retro-rockers Night Horse also perform at Bar Pink.
Monday, July 20
I'm not a big believer in the “guilty” part of “guilty pleasures,” because it puts too much credence in the preferences of my peers. Have I really become so self-conscious that I'm afraid to admit to actually enjoying something? Nah, fuck that. For example, my appreciation of '80s synth-pop duo Tears for Fears isn't supposed to be ironic, and I don't feel all that guilty about loving “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Mad World” and “Change.” But I find it kind of funny and I find it kind of sad that many out in music-snob land would laugh at the thought of attending one of their concerts. If I could afford it, I would be at this show in a second, haters be damned. The ever-melodramatic Rufus Wainwright opens at Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay ($80).Although it's occasionally tempting to lump the recent growth spurt of good West Coast bands into some greater movement, Portland's Meth Teeth, L.A.'s Fag Cop and San Diego's own Christmas Island would be quick to point out that each band sounds very little like the other two. Aside from sharing two-guitar / drums / vocals setups, budget recording techniques and generally skeptical demeanors, each group has carved out its own unique niche in the nether regions. Meth Teeth's twangy dirges, Christmas Island's wide-eyed, charming clatter and Fag Cop's blown-out, rudimentary hardcore are perfect examples of why broad categorization of underground music is a complete waste of everybody's time. At Soda Bar.Baroness singer / guitarist John Dyer Baizley is one talented dude. In addition to fronting the crusty Georgia-based punk-metal band, his hallucinogenic artwork has graced some of the finest heavy releases of the past several years (Torche's In Return, Kylesa's Static Tensions and his own band's Red Album, among others). But while cult Philly band Clutch are surely mighty enough to headline, that shouldn't give them the license to bring their reggae side-project Lionize along for the ride. Expect a holy war between Rastafarians and Satanists at 'Canes ($19).