Wednesday, Nov. 16
PLAN A: Y La Bamba, Death Songs, Meg & Bryan @ Soda Bar. A lapsed Catholic who's often compared to Devendra Banhart, Y La Bamba singer Luzelena Mendoza has an unforgettable voice. Feather-light and quavering, it works perfectly with the Portland-based band's lush, immersive folk music. PLAN B: Our Brother the Native, Mutantspaceboy, Kenseth & Brandon, The Beef Wellingtons @ Tin Can Ale House. The musical equivalent of Frankenstein's monster, Michigan's Our Brother the Native stitch together a wide array of elements—classical string arrangements, folksy acoustic guitar, electronic drums—to create experimental pop that's incredibly weird but surprisingly catchy. BACKUP PLAN: Batwings, Elephant Rifle, Gloomsday, The Nothingful Band @ The Tower Bar.
Thursday, Nov. 17
PLAN A: They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton @ Belly Up. They Might Be Giants have spent nearly three decades perfecting the art of geek-rock, broaching all sorts of educational subjects with a good dose of irreverence. On their latest album, Join Us, they take up such quirky topics as headless Greek saints and human-like lizards. PLAN B: Miguel Zenón Quartet @ The Loft at UCSD. A widely celebrated jazz saxophonist who received a MacArthur “Genius” grant in 2008, Miguel Zenón is known for innovation as well as his interest in older styles. On his new album, Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook, he remakes the vintage pop standards of his home country in fresh new ways. BACKUP PLAN: Kyuss Lives!, The Sword, Black Cobra @ House of Blues.
Friday, Nov. 18
PLAN A: Blowoff @ The Casbah. In the '80s, Bob Mould became a college-rock icon as the guitarist of Husker Du. But lately, the openly gay songwriter has been teaming up with producer Rich Morel to put on big, sweaty dance parties that attract husky, bearded gay men known as “bears” (and skinny-jeans wearing hipsters, as well). Mould will also be at The Casbah on Thursday, Nov. 17. PLAN B: Comma, Misk & Osal8, Indaskyes, Mastah Syphe, Facemelter @ Kava Lounge. Don't expect any of that hideous, Skrillex-style chainsaw bass from Comma, a bass-music producer from San Francisco. His music is gorgeous, spaced-out and subtly wacky. BACKUP PLAN: John Meeks, Matt Curreri, Count Fleet, The western Set @ Tin Can Ale House.
Saturday, Nov. 19
PLAN A: Dead Feather Moon, Holy Rolling Empire, Old Tiger @ Kensington Club. Check out our feature about Dead Feather Moon, a North County rock band that's been blowing up lately. PLAN B: Immortal Technique @ Porter's Pub. It's no wonder New York rapper Immortal Technique has been enthusiastic about Occupy Wall Street. For years, he's wrangled with issues like class struggle, institutionalized racism and global politics in his music, serving up rhymes with a battle-hardened voice. PLAN C: Future Islands, Ed Schrader's Music Beat, Sexting @ The Casbah. Future Islands singer Sam Herring has a mission: “I want you to cry,” he told NPR recently. Indeed, while the Baltimore electro-pop trio is cathartic and catchy on its new album, On the Water, its usual dance-floor thump is drawn back to slower tempos—all the better to break your heart.
Sunday, Nov. 20
PLAN A: The Calcutta Kid @ Bar Pink. The Donkeys' Jessie Gulati usually plays western instruments like guitar, but for some songs he busts out the sitar. In this special performance, he'll play a solo sitar set. See our story about how he studied the instrument in India. BACKU PLAN: Chali 2na & The House of Vibe, MTHDS, Ease Up @ Soda Bar.
Monday, Nov. 21
PLAN A: Death Grips, Blackie @ The Casbah. Just when you thought Odd Future was the scariest thing in hip-hop, Death Grips came along. The California rap project, which includes Hella drummer Zach Hill, riled critics earlier this year with Exmilitary, an uncompromisingly brutal album with confrontational rhymes, bone-jarring beats and a creepy opening sample of Charles Manson. BACKUP PLAN: Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings @ House of Blues.
Tuesday, Nov. 22
PLAN A: Drainolith, Nate Young, dornob, Endless Bummer @ Kava Lounge. Drainolith, aka Alexander Moskos, and Nate Young both play in famously harsh noise bands: AIDS Wolf and Wolf Eyes, respectively. In addition to their fucked-up noise jams, locals dornob will play stirring, improvisational Persian music. BACKUP PLAN: Pterodactyl, Kera and the Lesbians, Ditches @ Tin Can Ale House.