PLAN A: The Gay Blades, Grand Tarantula, Feet Feet Feet Parachute @ The Casbah. A two-man outfit that rocks harder than most five-pieces, The Gay Blades have made a name for themselves as a trashy rock band with a storied live show. But they'd better make sure they're not upstaged by local pop-rockers Grand Tarantula, who have the hooks of an accomplished songwriter and the composure of a pissed-off Rottweiler. PLAN B: The Bad Plus @ Anthology. The Bad Plus are probably best known for their jazzy covers of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Iron Man,” but the trio's new record, Never Stop, is composed entirely of originals showcasing their melodic, off-kilter, muscle-bound style. BACKUP PLAN: Sab the Artist, Day-Go Produce, Parker & The Numberman, Tramlife, DJ L, Collagey @ The Ruby Room.
Thursday, Dec. 9
PLAN A: Tape Deck Mountain, Cousins @ Whistle Stop Bar. “P.I.,” a new Tape Deck Mountain track that's been making the rounds online lately, is one of the band's darkest songs yet. And with its longing vocals, moaning guitars and explosive climax, “P.I.” is also one of their best. PLAN B: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, The Globes, Fever Sleeves @ The Casbah. Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band's math-y indie-rock sounds decent. But they don't have the flesh-and-blood vivacity of The Globes, a Washington state outfit with a taste for ominous buildups, unpredictable guitars and haunting hooks. BACKUP PLAN: Old Tiger @ West Coast tavern.
Friday, Dec. 10
PLAN A: Delta Spirit, Darker My Love, The Fling @ House of Blues. You can't go wrong with Delta Spirit's soulinfused indie-rock (think The Strokes meet The Band), but they're not the only ones making this bill worthwhile: Darker My Love, whom we write about on this page, combine psych-rock with punk rock in ways I never thought possible. As for The Fling, their rock anthem “Wanderingfoot” has serious sing-along potential. PLAN B: Hotel St. George, Scruffles, DJs Robin Roth, Terryn S. @ Whistle Stop. Hotel St. George have a knack for writing catchy, Bowie-fied pop tunes at a steady clip. Tonight, they'll celebrate the release of their latest EP, Indian School. BACKUP PLAN: Immovable Objects, Kata, Monochromacy @ Til-Two Club.
Saturday, Dec. 11
PLAN A: SISU, Kevin Greenspon, Nicole Kidman, Ancient Crux, DJs Jules, Sandy and Bambi (Dum Dum Girls) @ Tin Can Ale House. SISU member Sandy Vu also plays drums in bubblegum-punk outfit Dum Dum Girls, but don't come to this show expecting girl group harmonies and punk chords. With their surprising contradictions (foreboding synths and pulsating drums in one song, delicate guitar and pretty vocals in another), the L.A. duo brings to mind British cult bands Coil and Current 93. PLAN B: As the Sun Sets: Fire!, Caresa, Parker Edison, Scribe Sayar, Six Nineteen @ Brick by Brick. One of the most intriguing hip-hop acts I've heard in a while, As the Sun Sets: Fire! have abandoned any semblance of convention to create their own brand of art-house rap. Over subdued string samples, wandering guitars and off-kilter beats, MCs deliver introspective rhymes about spirituality and existentialism. BACKUP PLAN: Zed's Dead, Bubble Gum Sci Fi @ El Dorado.
Sunday, Dec. 12
PLAN A: Brooke Fraser, Caitlin Crosby @ The Casbah. Singer-songwriter Brooke Fraser commands a formidable following in her home country of New Zealand and among the Christian set, but she's sure to widen her fan base with the upbeat songcraft and vivid lyricism of her new album, Flags. BACKUP PLAN: Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance, Bad Religion, Jimmy Eat World, Switchfoot, Anberlin, A Day to Remember @ Viejas Arena.
Monday, Dec. 13
PLAN A: The Vision of a Dying World, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Royal Monsters, ADDJ @ The Casbah. Jackson Milgaten, the man behind the always-interesting folk project Vision of a Dying World, has been pretty busy lately with his other band, Cuckoo Chaos. Fortunately for us, Milgaten is a great multi-tasker. BACKUP PLAN: The Styletones @ Bar Pink.
Tuesday, Dec. 14
PLAN A: David Liebe Hart, Flesh the Racist Crayon, The Yiffs, DJ Thomas K Bohan @ Soda Bar. The big draw is David Liebe Hart, a frequent guest star on Adult Swim sketch comedy series Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (Check out our feature on him on this page.) But don't skip out on Flesh the Racist Crayon, an adorable, new(ish) comedy band that includes actress Charlyne Yi of Paper Heart fame. PLAN B: Horse Feathers, Y La Bamba, Chairs Missing, Cry for Us Black Swans @ The Casbah. This is the kind of folk that silences a room: There are intricate string arrangements (Horse Feathers), multi-part harmonies (Y La Bamba), slippery guitars (Chairs Missing) and indelible melodies (Cry for Us Black Swans). BACKUP PLAN: Dahga Bloom, Night Beats, Dimples @ Tin Can Ale House.
Want your show considered? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.