Wednesday, May 12
PLAN A: The Besnard Lakes, Happy Hollows, Roxy Jones @ The Casbah. The show of the week comes early. The Montreal-based headliners gently weave together grandiose psychedelia and co-ed shoegaze with sublime results. While dissimilar in tack and sound, L.A. experimentalists Happy Hollows are still a nice complement, playing harebrained indie-pop in the vein of Elastica and Deerhoof. BACKUP PLAN: Behind the Wagon, The Ferocious Few @ Bar Pink.
Thursday, May 13
PLAN A: Inspired Flight, Sleepy Eyes of Death, Kenseth Thibideau @ Soda Bar. If you like any of those synthy, pompous dark-wave bands that have become popular over the years (see: The Faint, Mute Math, She Wants Revenge, etc.) but think the vocal approach verges on pomp and pretense, then Sleepy Eyes of Death is for you. Moody, instrumental electro-rock minus the overly earnest singer who always tries too hard. PLAN B: Ghetto Blaster, Dog Shredder @ Bar Pink. Local act Ghetto Blaster hasn't posted any music yet, but judging by the dudes involved (members of Hostile Combover, Rats Eyes and Irradio), I expect this debut performance to be pretty epic. BACKUP PLAN: Toots & The Maytals @ Sound Wave (formerly 'Canes).
Friday, May 14
PLAN A: The Album Leaf, Sea Wolf @ Birch North Park Theatre. In case you missed last week's feature on The Album Leaf mastermind Jimmy LaValle, you should expect this homecoming gig to include local strings players to help make the more intricate and lush parts of Leaf's recently released Chorus of Storytellers LP come to life. PLAN B: Halcyonaire, River City, Lonesome Heroes @ Tin Can Ale House. Often sounding like Daniel Johnston fronting an alt-country outfit, Halcyonaire recently relocated here from Oakland. Not sure what brought 'em, but they're a unique addition to the scene, and I'm glad to have them. Show up early for the beautiful roots stylings of Austin duo Lonesome Heroes. BACKUP PLAN: Cash'd Out, Brawley @ The Casbah.
Saturday, May 15
PLAN A: Antiserum, Jantsen, Austin Speed / CRMNL, Esh One, Osal8 @ Kava Lounge. There's gonna be some sore necks after this one. During the last couple of years, the San Francisco-based headliner has been quietly releasing some of the best dubstep I've ever heard, traversing the line between danceable electro and elaborate IDM. Sit and stare or pop, lock and drop it. Either way, you'll feel it. PLAN B: The Paddle Boat, Worker Bee, Kenseth Thibideau, Mrs. Magician @ Tin Can Ale House. A great local lineup sandwiches San Jose's Worker Bee, who play moody, folk-based dirges that sound like they've got one foot in the grave. I'm also interested to see openers Mrs. Magician, which is the new project from First Wave Hello's Jacob Turnbloom. PLAN C: Bob Log III, Jail Weddings, The Glossines @ The Casbah. Hate to say this, but if you've seen one Bob Log show, you've seen 'em all. But it might be worth it to check out the wall-of-sound from L.A. nine-piece (!) Jail Weddings. Take some Phil Spector production, an Elvis (Costello)-loving frontman and the peppiest parts of The Pogues, shake it up and serve. Enjoy. BACKUP PLAN: The Finches, Key Losers, teamAWESOME! @ Che Café.
Sunday, May 16
PLAN A: Red Fang, Ghetto Blaster @ The Casbah. If you long for the days when Queens of the Stone Age still kicked ass and Motörhead still had something new to offer, then Red Fang have your number. Essentially a supergroup of Portland headbangers, they play sludgy stoner-metal that openly declares on the first song, “Time to kiss your ass goodbye.” Smooch. PLAN B: Unnatural Helpers @ Bar Pink. These Pacific Northwesterners take the best parts of early punk and garage and make them fun again. Their newest release on Sub Pop imprint Hardly Art is a 15-song, 25-minute blast of fuck-all attitude that should be stocked next to cans of Red Bull. BACKUP PLAN: Tommy Graf, Gun Runner @ Tin Can Ale House.
Monday, May 17
Dusu, Zimbeat @ Soda Bar. Dusu is another Portland band. Well, sort of. Actually, the majority of the band is from PDX, but they're fronted by Mali man Ibrahim Kelly, who sounds a lot like his uncle, the late, great Ali Farka Toure. Kelly takes the traditional sound of his homeland and incorporates elements of jazz, blues and even funk for a sound that, while nontraditional, is certainly fresh. BACKUP PLAN: Dresser, Nakatani, Turetzky @ The Loft at UCSD.
Tuesday, May 18
PLAN A: Broken Bells, The Morning Benders @ Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay. Not a bad way to open the Humphrey's concert season. Hopefully, you're already psyched to see The Morning Benders, but in case you're wondering who the hell Broken Bells is, it's the new project from Shins frontman James Mercer and Brian Burton (aka DJ Danger Mouse). I was all ready to hate on their debut album, but I have to say, the infectious electro-folk sounds and saccharine-free lyrics got the best of me. It ain't life changing, but it's something. BACKUP PLAN: Horse Feathers, Dawn Landes, Joel P West @ The Casbah.