Wednesday, Oct. 28
It was the summer of '04, and I had just gotten hold of The Rough Trade Guide to Field Music, V.1, a collection of British indie singles that my girlfriend at the time would soon grow to loathe. Why? Because of the ridiculous British accent I employed while incessantly repeating the chorus of Art Brut's brilliant single, “Formed a Band,” which would take an entire year to show up on Bang, Bang, Rock 'n' Roll. Nearly every day for at least a month, I'd imitate Eddie Argos' brazen sneer: “Formed a band / We formed a band / Look at us / We formed a band.” What an asshole. I loved every second of it. They've never matched the song (or its awesome b-side, “Bad Weekend”), but it's hard not to be wooed by Argos' shameless admissions of romantic and social incompetence as he treads the line between patronizing and profound. See the lyrics to the new single, “DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake,” in which he rants, “Some things will always be great / even though I'm 28 / I guess I'm just developing late.” Something many of us can get behind, I'd imagine. Afro-poppers Princeton and local mod-punk crew Northern Towns open at The Casbah ($15).
Thursday, Oct. 29
Pelican's debut LP, Australasia, had enough power to create earthquakes, its guitars too lethargic and stubborn to adhere to time signatures, slowly scraping against each other like tectonic plates. It was a landmark for a certain sect of metal listeners—guys who preferred their doom with eye-dilating moments of major-chord righteousness. But ever since, the band has failed to match that album's elemental force, each new release brighter and more indistinguishable than the next. Their latest, What We All Come to Need, hints back at darker territories, but it's still the live experience where these guys thrive. Brutal rockers Black Cobra and the similarly inclined Sweet Cobra open at The Casbah ($13).
Cool Brits with good taste are liable to form entertaining bands, and London's Black Time are pretty damn fun. Anybody remember what The Horrors looked like when their first album came out? Well, Black Time is what they should've sounded like: unprofessional, reckless and well-versed in campy rock 'n' roll. San Diegans eat this shit up—always have, always will. At Ken Club.
Friday, Oct. 30
Can't tolerate Joanna Newsom's precious ramblings? Annoyed that her second cousin, Gavin, is prepping to run for governor of California? Newsom's occasional Nevada City neighbor, Alela Diane, should strike a good middle ground for those desiring more traditional American roots in their acoustic music. Despite any attempt to lump Diane with “freak folk” or some such nonsense, it's not psychedelic; instead, it's rustic, comforting and slightly melancholy, the way most good folk is supposed to be. More ethereal and less traditional is opener Marissa Nadler, whose Little Hells maintains a mysterious, mournful tone more along the lines of Hope Sandoval or Jesse Sykes. If you're up for a mellow Friday night, The Loft @ UCSD is the spot to be ($10).
Saturday, Oct. 31
Halloween is far from my favorite holiday, but more power to those who approach their role-playing with a little more enthusiasm. Never a stranger to the festivities is John Reis, whose Night Marchers play their second annual Halloween appearance at The Casbah with The Creepy Creeps, the local surf-punk group who are pretty much always in costume, anyway. Rounding out the lineup are Seattle's Black Whales, who, with any luck, will actually attempt to dress up as black whales ($15).
The Donkeys may not be the types to summon spirits from beyond the grave, but they've been known to kick up the volume on their cosmic country a few notches when the mood strikes. Jerry Garcia would probably dig these guys. Maybe they'll be loud enough to get him to rise from the grave and come over to smoke joints and have a few acid flashbacks. Backwoods rockers John Foothills Band open at the Ken Club.
And, of course, I'd be remiss not to mention Beaters and Kill Me Tomorrow, who both play at Whistle Stop Bar, where cold, hard cash will be doled out for best costume. Never mind that if you win best costume, the prize probably won't even cover your expenses and/or drinks for the evening—a little competition never hurt anyone. Here's a suggestion: Go as “mangled fixed-gear rider after a bad traffic accident.” Sounds like a winner.
Sunday, Nov. 1
If Japanese mystics Boredoms decided to continue along their early trajectory as spastic rockers instead of developing into druggy drum devotees, they would likely sound something like Melt-Banana. The Tokyo-based group performs what one could refer to as laser-punk, which is potentially harmful under direct exposure for long periods of time. Even if they're not the same kind of heavy as L.A. metal three-piece Big Business, earplugs are strongly recommended due to the shrillness of Ichirou Agata's piercing guitars and Yasuko Onuki's vocal wail. Set phasers to stun at The Casbah ($12).