Wednesday, Dec. 9
PLAN A: The Nervous Wreckords, Apes of Wrath, Maystar, Mata León @ The Casbah. Brian Karscig's first post-Louis XIV project isn't a huge departure from his previous band's output (hopefully you caught our story in last week's issue). Think big guitar chords, catchy choruses and Karscig's high-pitched catcalls. And fans of U2 and Kings of Leon might want to park it in the Atari Lounge to see San Francisco's Mata León. PLAN B: Skinny Puppy, Vverevvolf Grehv @ House of Blues. When I was 14, my friend's much older boyfriend knew I loved Nine Inch Nails, so he played me a copy of Skinny Puppy's Too Dark Park. It scared the shit out of me. It still does. BACKUP PLAN: Trio Gadjo @ Whistle Stop Bar.
Thursday, Dec. 10
PLAN A: The Paddle Boat, Miss Erika Davis @ Sushi Performance and Visual Art. See our feature about The Paddle Boat on this page. PLAN B: Census, Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk @ Whistle Stop Bar. If there's one show this week before which I'd highly recommend burning one, this is it. Census is a local one-man project whose instrumental guitar droning and samples are as good as a contact high. And show up early for Baby Birds—while listening to the Lawrence, Kan., band, I heard influences like Sigur Rós, Animal Collective and early My Morning Jacket. PLAN C: Felix Cartal, Vega, Salter & Diaz @ Voyeur. L.A. label Dim Mak collect up-and-coming electro acts like squirrels collect nuts. Vancouver's Cartal has already done noteworthy remixes for Britney and MSTRKRFT, and you can expect his forthcoming album to be one of 2010's biggest releases in the genre. BACKUP PLAN: Moving Units, The Dabbers, Beaters @ The Casbah.
Friday, Dec. 11
PLAN A: Drug Wars, Grooms, Tempo No Tempo, Life Deposit @ Che Café. Tactfully balancing the line between garage and hardcore, Drug Wars remain one of the best local live bands. And Brooklyn's Grooms manage to transcend obvious influences (Pavement, Broken Social Scene) to create smart indie rock that's both tribute and novel. PLAN B: Fitz & The Tantrums, Orgone @ The Casbah. I was ga-ga for Fitz's throwback soul when I downloaded their EP, Songs for a Break Up, Volume 1, back in June. It was worth the price then, and, lucky you, the band is letting fans download it for free on its website. Check out the infectious “Winds of Change” to see what I was all wet about (and, no, it's not a cover of the Scorpions song). PLAN C: Agent Ribbons @ Soda Bar. Cabaret pop with a punk attitude from three Sacramento hotties. BACKUP PLAN: Street of Little Girls, Blessure Grave @ Whistle Stop.
Saturday, Dec. 12
PLAN A: Two Tears @ Bar Pink. This kick-ass solo project from former local Kerry Davis (Red Aunts, Beehive & The Barracudas) is fiery pop-punk in two-minute bursts. PLAN B: John Meeks, Leslie and the Badgers, River City, Paulo @ Soda Bar. Local troubadour Meeks will likely be playing new material from his long-awaited solo debut while L.A.'s Badgers sound like Dolly Parton sitting in with Parsons-era Byrds. PLAN C: Lion Cut, Smile Now Cry Later, Treasure Mammal @ Tin Can Ale House. Gonna be a party at the Tin Can with '80s synth-pop from a couple wearing Cats-inspired costumes (Lion Cut) and a one-woman dance project that'll appeal to both Lisa Lisa and Ting Tings fans (Smile Now). BACKUP PLAN: Tristeza, Kill Me Tomorrow, Drew Andrews @ Casbah.
Sunday, Dec. 13
PLAN A: Grant-Lee Phillips @ Lestat's. Unless you're lucky enough to stumble into L.A.'s Largo on one of the random nights Phillips plays, then chances are you won't see him in such an intimate venue. The veteran singer-songwriter's new album, Little Moon, is all but a return to form and will likely sound sublime in the candle-lit Lestat's. BACKUP PLAN: Fedde Le Grand, Anthony Ross @ Voyeur.
Monday, Dec, 14
PLAN A: Church, Duel of the Century, Gran Sasso @ The Casbah. Talking with a friend up in Portland recently, he said that Church are pretty much worshipped there, and it's easy to see why. Like any indie-rock band that's worth its mettle, the quartet's debut, Song Force Crystal, takes time to seep in, but once it does, other bands just don't measure up anymore. BACKUP PLAN: New York Rifles @ Soda Bar.
Tuesday, Dec. 15
PLAN A: Church, Snuffaluffagus, Longsleeves @ Che Café. Just in case you missed Church on Monday, see above. BACKUP PLAN: Golden Red, The Mashtis @ Radio Room. The Mashtis is the new project from local singer-songwriter Itai Faierman, who took a four-year hiatus from music. Judging by the two songs on their MySpace page, he hasn't lost much of his ability to craft heartfelt indie-pop. And stick around for the lovely, sing-along country stylings of Golden Red.