Wednesday, Dec. 2
PLAN A: Build @ The Loft. In theory, combing jazz, math-rock, chamber music and roots-country sounds like an aural disaster on a par with nu-metal and those fucking Kidz Bop albums. But this “indie-classical” Brooklyn collective (led by violinist and Carlsbad native Matt McBane) is, indeed, an amazing experiment. BACKUP PLAN: Hey! Ho! Let's Go!, Still Ill @ U-31
Thursday, Dec. 3
PLAN A: Little Dragon, Pollyn, DJ Blacq Shampoo @ The Casbah. What are the holier-than-thou tastemakers at KCRW salivating over these days, other than Little Dragon? (For more on them, see Page 25.) That would be Pollyn, an L.A. trip-hop trio that has a hot singer, make-out worthy songs (“Still Love”) and a wicked live cover of “Tom's Diner.” PLAN B: The Fresh & Onlys, Woven Bones @ Bar Pink. It's easy to see why Crocodiles singer Brandon Welchez recently released the Woven Bones EP on his Zoo Music label. The Austin quartet is similar in sound to Crocodiles but cops a much bigger attitude. Think less Jesus and Mary Chain, more Cramps and Stooges. BACKUP PLAN: Jenny Scheinman @ The Loft.
Friday, Dec. 4
PLAN A: Girls, The Morning Benders @ The Loft. [ALERT: This show is sold out.] Despite having what has to be the most un-Google-able band name and album title (Album) ever, San Francisco's Girls have made every critic's shortlist (mine included) for debut of the year. Sounding like a pre-pubescent Elvis Costello with Asperger's Syndrome, frontman Christopher Owens channels his tumultuous life (religious cults, homelessness) into genre-hopping pop songs that are as infectious as they are heartbreaking. PLAN B: Baroness, Earthless @ The Casbah. In the world of alt-metal or hipster-metal or whatever the hell you want to call it, Savannah, Ga., headbangers Baroness are shamefully ignored amongst peers like Mastodon and The Sword. Their new long-player, Blue Record, has already been declared “album of the year” by Decibel magazine for its mix of proggy riffs and psychedelic dirges. PLAN C: Che Cafe benefit show with Blessure Grave, Beaters, No Paws (No Lions), The Preteens. For whatever reason, every time I listen to local lo-fi doom duo Blessure Grave, I get this vision of Sofia Coppola and Chloe Sevigny sitting around in their underwear drunkenly eating cheeseburgers Hasselhoff-style. And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. And have you heard the new Beaters song? Gold! BACKUP PLAN: Dirty Legs, Hocus @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, Dec. 5
PLAN A: Modern Rifles, Swim Party, Lands on Fire @ Tin Can Ale House. This will be Modern Rifles' last show before calling it quits—a shame, because their debut, I Was Young, It Was Dark, was one of this year's best local releases. And I dismissed Lands on Fire's blend of punk, prog and pop at first, but judging by the three tracks they recently posted on MySpace, they're headed in exciting new directions. PLAN B: Cold Cave, Nite Jewel, Ale Mania @ The Casbah. Led by former local Wesley Eisold (Some Girls), Cold Cave makes Philly sound like the most depressing place on Earth. On first listen, you'd probably think their forlorn electro-pop-meets-Joy Division sound wouldn't make for an interesting live show, but I saw them twice in two nights when they played here a few months ago and their scenester-style stoicism was thoroughly entertaining. BACKUP PLAN: Fashion Whore @ Ruby Room.
Sunday, Dec. 6
PLAN A: Stellastarr, Transfer @ The Casbah. During the last six years—and three albums—New York's Stellastarr have shape-shifted from new-wave revivalists to Cure-style goth-rock to harmony-accented indie-pop on their most recent effort (Civilized). Yeah, they're ridiculously indecisive, but all of it has been pretty decent. BACKUP PLAN: Less Than Jake, Fishbone, Cage, The Swellers @ House of Blues.
Monday, Dec. 7
Harper Simon, The Chapin Sisters, Farmer Dave @ The Casbah. It's a family affair tonight. The Chapin Sisters are a rootsy L.A. trio composed of the spawn of folk singer Tom Chapin and—no shit—horror movie director Wes Craven. They do a rather demented version of Britney Spears' “Toxic.” Harper Simon is the son of Garfunkel's other half and has just released a surprisingly solid, self-titled debut. Had his dad ever tackled country music, it might have sounded like this. BACKUP PLAN: The Styletones @ Bar Pink or Lady Dottie & The Diamonds @ U-31. Take your pick—you can't go wrong with either of these soul-revival crews.
Tuesday, Dec. 8
PLAN A: Morrissey @ Copley Symphony Hall. Still mopey. Still miserable. (Have you heard the chorus of “I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris”? Someone buy this man a puppy.) Still asexual. Still puts on a hell of a show. And when you're done, head to the Ruby Room for Too Cool For Karaoke's unofficial afterparty with a—you guessed it—Moz theme. BACKUP PLAN: BRAAIINS!, Whoa Hunx, Cowabunga Babes, Christmas Island @ Radio Room.