Wednesday, March 9
PLAN A: Kisses, Hosannas, White Apple Tree @ Soda Bar. Kisses, one of many bands passing through town this week on the way to South by Southwest, offer up sugarysweet electro-pop with funky guitars, driving beats and sexy vocals. Perfect for a hipster singles party. PLAN B: V Drago, Centerlight Pop, Sundrop Electric, Misc. Ailments, DJ Gonzo @ The Casbah. Taking cues from Do Make Say Think and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, V Drago's hypnotic acoustic guitars and aching vocals swell like a storm cloud. You don't know whether they'll erupt or fizzle, but it's a thrill either way.
Thursday, March 10
PLAN A: Yann Tiersen, Breathe Owl Breathe @ Belly Up. Tuyour head to the left just a tad to check out our feature on Yann Tiersen, the composer behind Amélie who's touring in support of last year's Dust Lane. PLAN B: Louis XIV, Lesands, The Hot Moon, DJ Ikah Love @ Fluxx. Before they disbanded in 2009, quirky pop-rock hitmakers Louis XIV were signed to Atlantic Records and won praise from the likes of Rolling Stone and NME (“music to flunk rehab to”). This is a one-off reunion show, but frontmen Brian Karscig and Jason Hill have been playing together lately and there's a chance they've got plans to keep going. PLAN C: Ugly Duckling, Afro Classics, The Wercs, Mighty Moses, 33rd Infantry, sojourn, DJ Charlie Rock @ Boar Cross'n. In the vein of Jurassic 5 and Dilated Peoples, California hip-hop mainstays Ugly Duckling and Afro Classics serve up intelligent rhymes with fun-loving vibes. PLAN D: Writer, The Fling, Chairs Missing, Little White Teeth @ The Casbah. Brother duo Writer celebrate the release of the solid new “Miss Mermaid” 7-inch.
Friday, March 11
PLAN A: DeVotchKa, Mariachi El Bronx @ Belly Up. An unabashedly worldly outfit, DeVotchKa's grandiose songs fuse Greek, Mariachi and eastern European styles. But their critically acclaimed new record, 100 Lovers, is as cohesive as it is beautiful, conjuring images of windblown landscapes and tumultuous love affairs. PLAN B: Unwritten Law, Slower, Super Groupie @ House of Blues. Altrock might've died with Creed, but Poway natives Unwritten Law are still going strong. Tonight they'll celebrate the release of Swan, their first album since 2005, a burnished slab of rock that'll take you back to the '90s. BACKUP PLAN: Asobi Seksu, Braids, Tapedeck Mountain @ The Casbah.
Saturday, March 12
PLAN A: Mike Watt and the Missingmen, The Bellrays, Firetho@ The Casbah. As you'll learn from our feature on Page 29, Mike Watt is a weird dude—and his new album, Hyphenated-Man, is arguably his weirdest effort yet. PLAN B: Pamela Z @ The Loft at UCSD. The latest installment of the “Fresh Sound” series kicks off with San Francisco's Pamela Z, a multimedia artist who manipulates her operatic voice with computer software. Avant-garde heads might compare her to Ikue Mori or the Adachi Tomomi Royal Chorus, but most everybody else will think of The Fifth Element's Diva Plavalaguna. PLAN C: Papercuts, The Devotionals, Kynan @ Tin Can Ale House. Papercuts play catchy indie-pop with retro vibes, but the highlight is The Devotionals, the solo project of Two Gallants' Tyson Vogel, whose gorgeous acoustic folk would go well with a lazy day spent picking posies out on the prairie.
Sunday, March 13
PLAN A: The Dangerous Boys Club, Soft Kill, Tearist, DJ Night School, Leg Lifters @ Tin Can Ale House. The spookiest dance party going on this week. The Dangerous Boys Club take cues from Gary Numan and Christian Death, Soft Kill's sinister death-rock could freak out a vampire and All Leather side project Leg Lifters throw down brutal electrohouse remixes. The only thing missing is some dense fog. PLAN B: Castanets, Holy Sons, Dolorean @ Soda Bar. Freak-folk luminaries Castanets craft languid folk tunes, and Dolorean brings to mind Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Elliot Smith. But my personal favorite of this Portland caravan is Holy Sons, the solo project of Emil Amos (Grails, Om), whose lush ballads have a dark underbelly.
Monday, March 14
PLAN A: Red Fang, Davana, Lecherous Gaze, Otro @ Soda Bar. Red Fang throw down stoner rock with big, fuzzy riffs. They aren't doing anything Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age haven't done before, but they still kick ass. BACKUP PLAN: The Cave Singers, Lia Ices, Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death @ The Casbah.
Tuesday, March 15
PLAN A: The Black Heart Procession, Maren Parusel, The Hot Moon, Gun Runner @ Soda Bar. The big draw here is The Black Heart Procession, those local lords of the dirge, but don't skip out on the other acts: Maren Parusel plays polished pop, Gun Runner know a good hook when they hear it and I've been looking forward to the new record by indiesoul outfit The Hot Moon. BACKUP PLAN: Datarock, Jamuel Saxon, Illuminauts DJs @ The Casbah.