Wednesday, Sept. 30
In case you're one of the few shoegaze fans out there who just can't hold on any longer for a Lush reunion, Asobi Seksu have come to soothe what ails you. Singer Yuki Chikudate does her best Liz Fraser impression over soft clouds of guitar, and despite the band making almost no nods to musical progression after 1994, it works, partly because Chikudate's vocals are actually intelligible enough to cohere into narratives, even if they seem to be mostly about damaged relationships. Likewise, sensitive Swedish home-recording pro Emil Svanangen (aka Loney Dear) and folk guitarist Anna Ternheim are also pretty upset about past lovers, so this one should appease the lonely emo kid in all of us at The Casbah ($12).
Thursday, Oct. 1
If your music gets the thumbs up from Tom Waits, it's pretty safe to say you're doing something right. That's what happened to Jolie Holland in 2003, when Waits put her album Catalpa up for a Shortlist Music Prize nomination. But plaudits clearly aren't what Holland strives for, and during the course of three more albums, she's proven herself to be one of the country's finest purveyors of Americana, playing a hybrid of blues, gospel, folk and country that's led her to collaborations with artists as diverse as M. Ward, Marc Ribot and even Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio. It's gotten to the point where a massive crossover success can't be far off, especially given that her latest, The Living and the Dead, contains her most radio-ready material to date. Singer / songwriter Michael Hurley opens at Acoustic Music San Diego, 4650 Mansfield St. in Normal Heights ($15).
At the forefront of L.A.'s sample-based music elite stands Dublab associate Daedelus, he of unusually massive sideburns, Victorian-era costumes and use of a light-up sample-triggering device known as the Monome. More often than not, this man keeps esteemed company, and the case is no different with experimental two-piece Jogger, with whom Daedelus also collaborates in a project called The Long Lost. Employing guitar, laptop and violin as their main instruments and sampling death-metal vocals, glitching breakbeats and funk slap-bass for “This Great Pressure” off their forthcoming full-length of the same name, the duo are clearly not content to churn out the same old sounds, which bodes well for the experimental reputations of all parties involved. Deep Rooted's DJ Artistic gets the crowd pumped at The Casbah ($10).
Friday, Oct. 2
Following the dissolution of his former band Pretty Girls Make Graves, Cave Singers guitarist Derek Fudesco made a left turn down Route 66, reinventing himself as a folk musician in the process. Drafting members from defunct Pacific Northwestern groups Hint Hint and Cobra High, Cave Singers were quickly snapped up by indie giant Matador, quietly releasing two albums in three years. It was an uncharacteristic signing for the label (and likely occurred because of PGMG's prior association), especially considering they make music of very simple, direct pleasures, with singer Pete Quirk occasionally recalling Ryan Adams and even Lindsey Buckingham (!). But, for the record, there's absolutely nothing wrong with Fleetwood Mac. Anthony Perkins' son Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Black Mountain associates Lightning Dust and local songwriter Drew Andrews complete the lineup at The Casbah ($12).
If you haven't heard by now, Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls is Kristen Gundred, formerly drummer / vocalist for San Diego blues-punk trio Grand Ole Party. Signed to Sub Pop before playing a single live show, Gundred's project could be viewed as the apotheosis of blog hype, but to be fair, she'd already released a single on HoZac and an EP on Captured Tracks before the courting process began. And the songs stand up for themselves, melding a girl-group vibe and '60s garage with tinny distortion à la The Jesus and Mary Chain. Alongside aesthetically similar SoCal natives Crocodiles, Best Coast and Pearl Harbor, I sense a strong “scene” vibe here, but there are far worse things to be upset about in the world than a bunch of like-minded musicians playing pop music to appreciative fans. Really. At Che Café ($7).
Sunday, Oct. 4
Imagine Nick Cave grew up in the American Midwest instead of rural Australia, and you have a solid grasp on the dark corner of the planet from which Slim Cessna's Auto Club hail. Filling their dustbowl rave-ups with tales of delightful perversion, religious imagery and an unhealthy fixation with the soft white underbelly of hillbilly culture, this is the band that all faux-Western hipsters wish they could be. Widely considered to be the best live band in Denver, they actually look possessed by demons, especially singer / guitarist Jay Munly, whose stark, malnourished frame and pale skin make him the closest thing you'll see to a walking skeleton. This is prime drinking music, so saddle up and throw back a few shots, and you should be set. Country-punk dudes Behind the Wagon set the stage at Bar Pink ($5).