Wednesday, April 12
PLAN A: SUSTO, Cat Clyde @ Soda Bar. SUSTO’s sound is a blend of fuzzy alternative rock with dreamy folk music, a bit like Fleet Foxes mashed up with Smashing Pumpkins. It’s better than it sounds on paper, if that seems a little off to you. PLAN B: Grace Mitchell, Birdy Bardot, Grizzly Business @ The Casbah. I’m admittedly not a fan of Grace Mitchell, but I did give Birdy Bardot my local “Album of the Year” in 2015 for a reason. If you haven’t seen her yet, go take in one of this town’s best pop talents.
Thursday, April 13
PLAN A: Preoccupations, Porcelain Raft @ The Casbah. Preoccupations, formerly Viet Cong, played a hell of a show the last time they were in San Diego. Their style of dark, arty post-punk is extra urgent and punchy in a live setting, so don’t miss out this time. PLAN B: Ape Machine, Gozu, Nebula Drag, Little Dove @ Soda Bar. Ape Machine is a stoner rock band, and honestly with the name Ape Machine, what else could they be? But their riffs are rockin’, and their songs are super fun. Count me in. BACKUP PLAN: Dayshell, Silver Snakes, Weight of the Sun, Wolfwaker @ Brick by Brick.
Friday, April 14
PLAN A: ‘La Escalera Fest’ w/ Hoist the Colors, Russian Girlfriends, Squarecrow @ Tower Bar. This weekend is the annual La Escalera Fest, a showcase of bands on both sides of the San Diego-Tijuana border— most of them punk bands—organized by La Escalera Records. A wristband gets readers into all showcases, and this is the first official show of the weekend. Get in the pit! PLAN B: Shaed, Manatee Commune @ Soda Bar. Shaed is a highly stylized band that uses synths and electronic beats to make atmospheric pop and R&B tunes. They’re still pretty new but they’re making some cool sounds. I think they’re going somewhere with this.
Saturday, April 15
PLAN A: Pond, The Incredible Shagatha and His Moog @ The Casbah. Australian psych-pop group Pond shares members with Tame Impala, which explains why they have a similar aesthetic. Yet Pond’s songs are a bit scruffier and sassier, which makes them a little more fun. PLAN B: ‘La Escalera Fest’ w/ Civil War Rust, Western Settings, The Shell Corporation @ Soda Bar. Keep the punk rock party going this weekend with day two of La Escalera Fest. Stock up on caffeine beforehand so you can make it through the power-chord marathon.
Sunday, April 16
PLAN A: Downtown Boys, San Pedro El Cortez @ Soda Bar. Downtown Boys are a politically charged punk group that just signed to Sub Pop and are working with Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto on their next album. That’s certainly got my attention. Their anti-patriarchal anthems are fantastic, and they even do a great cover of “Dancing In the Dark.” Sold! PLAN B: Little Dragon @ Observatory North Park. Little Dragon’s been around for quite a few years now, proving themselves as one of the most reliably cool electronic pop groups around. If it’s a dance party you seek, start here.
Monday, April 17
PLAN A: Local Natives, Tennis @ Observatory North Park. Local Natives have seemingly been headed toward becoming indie rock’s biggest band since the release of their 2010 debut Gorilla Manor. They’re maybe not quite that big, though their super-catchy, dreamy anthems always sound bigger than the room that they’re playing in. PLAN B: PC Worship, The Dreebs, Polish @ Soda Bar. PC Worship are a dark, noisy, arty punk band who once made a collaborative record with the members of Parquet Courts. However, they’re an impressive enough band on their own, with their fair share of weirdly accessible noise rock dirges.
Tuesday, April 18
PLAN A: The Oxen, Palomino, Three Chamber Heart @ The Merrow. The Oxen earned the honor of EXTRASPECIALGOOD in our recent Great Demo Review, on the strength of their fuzzed-out, highly melodic indie pop tunes. They’re one of the best new bands in San Diego, and tonight’s a great night to hear them for yourself.