Wednesday, Nov. 4
Give J Mascis a stellar sound system and there's no limit to the havoc he can wreak on the eardrums. Back for their second San Diego show in six months, Dinosaur Jr. make the step up in capacity from The Casbah to Encinitas' Belly Up Tavern, where the acoustics put most other clubs of its size to shame. This should give Mascis and Co. the capability to bring the audience to tears—not because of the affecting melodies they pack into so many of their songs, but because of the sheer brain-crushing volume this show should provide. Dino bassist Lou Barlow and the Missingmen and Aussie bruisers Violent Soho fill out the lineup ($26).
Even if the rough-and-tumble “bar band” tag is permanently stuck to Lucero's collective forehead, it should also be noted that this is one of the few groups operating in the genre who sound as lived-in as they should. Following years of non-stop touring and economic hardship, it seems like the band has finally secured the recognition it deserves—a fresh major-label deal for their new album, 1372 Overton Park, legions of devoted grown-up punks singing along at shows and growth beyond comparisons with Uncle Tupelo, instead being likened to someone a bit more revered by the masses. That would be The Boss, by the way. All-star Tennessee rock 'n' soul group Memphis Revue (featuring Jack Oblivian, Cedric Burnside and others) set the stage at The Casbah ($18).
Thursday, Nov. 5
Let's get this out of the way: Sea Wolf sounds a lot like the Arcade Fire—so much so that it would be hard to separate the two if their songs were to play back-to-back on modern-rock radio. That said, if you're a fan of anthemic, ornate indie-rock, this would be a good bet. If the thought of being surrounded by pseudo-hippie chicks wearing those skinny headbands and hand-knit shawls sounds awful, steer clear. Cutesy singer-songwriter Sara Lov opens at Belly Up Tavern ($10).
Friday, Nov. 6
It's atypical that I'd recommend seeing a four-piece Celtic group on a Friday night, but that's what Battlefield Band are, and given their history, a damned good one at that. Enduring several lineup changes throughout the course of their 40 years as a band, the folk musicians have become somewhat of an institution in their homeland, alternating between upbeat instrumentals, mournful ballads of political discontent and traditional songs steeped in Scottish history. Even if you're not well-versed in this type of music, this should serve as a proper introduction. At Acoustic Music San Diego, 4560 Mansfield St. in Normal Heights ($25).
Saturday, Nov. 7
On the surface, they could be mistaken for a garden-variety indie band, but look closer and Portland's Panther are confounding in their mix of genres, welding sugary melodies to an adventurism informed by post-punk and dance music. With each album, they've moved from one strength to another, and on their new disc, Entropy, the band has apparently taken up soft-rock and '60s psychedelia as new obsessions. Take the snaky guitars on “Live is Sold,” for example—they almost sound like they could've been lifted from an early Jefferson Airplane album and given a spit-shine with modern production. Way more enjoyable than it looks on paper, partly because of the enthusiastic delivery of main songwriter Charlie Salas-Humara, who's noted for his captivating live performances. Loose and limber L.A. roots-punks Slang Chickens open at Bar Pink.
Sunday, Nov. 8
Although he looks like a Hugo Boss model and makes chic, svelte electro-pop that would probably play well as background music at Express Men, Ann Arbor's Matthew Dear is much trickier to pin down than it may seem at first impression. One of the key figures associated with Michigan-based label Ghostly International, Dear's recordings under the Audion, False and Jabberjaw monikers display the rougher, darker side of his aesthetic, substituting the sublime vocal-based tracks he releases under his real name with taut grooves more along the lines of Detroit and Berlin techno. As it stands, he's caught the ear of techno tastemakers but has yet to achieve a larger breakthrough, even if his 2003 debut, Leave Luck to Heaven, should've catapulted him at least to the level of a Hot Chip or Junior Boys. Locals Juna, Minimal DJs, Entik open at Beauty Bar.
Speaking of Berlin techno (a phrase I never thought I'd type), Alex Ridha, aka Boys Noize, has adopted a few reductive tendencies from his German forebears on the Basic Channel and Chain Reaction labels, applying them to sensationalist tactics of Justice and Daft Punk for an uncommonly focused take on hipster house. The crowd will be too busy convulsing in an alcohol-and-drug-induced fog to focus on the intricacies of Ridha's production techniques, but the man has phenomenal skills, having remixed for everyone from Depeche Mode to Snoop Dogg. Not particularly well-suited for home listening, but Ridha's versatility keeps things interesting. Deth Hertz and Erick Diaz provide warm-up exercises at Voyeur ($20).