Wednesday, March 25
PLAN A: La Luz, Meatbodies, Michael Rault, Wax Witches, Will Sprott @ Soda Bar. Seattle's La Luz are, for all intents and purposes, a surf-rock band, and an exceptional one at that. They're headlining a post-SXSW showcase of scruffy, guitar-slinging rock bands that'll make El Cajon Boulevard feel like Austin's Sixth Avenue, minus the Best Wurst carts. It'll be like the debauchery never ended. BACKUP PLAN: Broken Water, Yonatan Gat, Deface Man, Quali @ The Hideout.
Thursday, March 26
PLAN A: Self Defense Family, Makthaverskan, Solids @ The Hideout. Self Defense Family play dark, atmospheric post-hardcore in the vein of Lungfish—it's raw, but arty. Yet the best reason to hit up this show is Sweden's Makthaverskan, who play gorgeously melodic post-punk that recalls the likes of The Cure, The Sugarcubes and C-86 bands of the late '80s. They're super good, so don't get there late. BACKUP PLAN: Weedeater, King Parrot, Archons @ The Casbah.
Friday, March 27
PLAN A: Broncho, Jacco Gardner, Ultimate Painting @ The Casbah. And here's another show where one of the opening acts is even more thrilling than the headliners. No disrespect to Broncho, but Dutch singer/songwriter Jacco Gardner makes some utterly stunning psychedelic pop that's somewhere between U.K. cult band Broadcast and Love's Forever Changes . This is some trippy, incredible stuff. PLAN B: Young Thug, Travis Scott @ Observatory North Park. Young Thug and Travis Scott are two of the most interesting, yet hard-to-define artists in hip-hop right now, which is to say, they're probably acquired tastes. But their unique vocal styles and production techniques ensure a fine mix of bangers and stoned surrealism. BACKUP PLAN: Ditches, The Cardielles @ The Balboa.
Saturday, March 28
PLAN A: Jeremy Enigk, Jen Wood, Mark Nichols and the Everexpanding Experience Machine @ The Irenic. I'm a Sunny Day Real Estate fan from way back, so there's no way I'm not recommending you go see Jeremy Enigk, who fronted the band from 1994 through 2000. His solo stuff doesn't rock quite as hard, but it's still good. PLAN B: Blockhead, Arms and Sleepers, 9 Theory @ Soda Bar. Blockhead makes some excellent hip-hop sample-scapes, whether it's beats for Aesop Rock or his own solo work. The New York City producer's got all the jams you're looking for. BACKUP PLAN: The Loons, Misunderstood, Schitzophonics, DJs Tony the Tyger and Matteo Londres @ The Casbah.
Sunday, March 29
PLAN A: Hinds, Muscle Beech, Geyser House @ Soda Bar. Hinds, formerly known as Deers, are a group from Spain that blend dream-pop textures with jangly, twee-pop melodies. On paper, that sounds like something I might take a pass on, but they do it well, and their dream-twee turns out to be a lot more fun than most. BACKUP PLAN: Iamsu!, Rome Fortune Dave Steezy, Show Banga @ Observatory North Park.
Monday, March 30
PLAN A: Pile, Yazan, Mariel, Quali @ Soda Bar. Read my feature this week on Boston group Pile, whose new album You're Better Than This is one of the best noise-rock albums I've heard in a long time. They know their way around a gnarly riff, but there's plenty of melody where that came from. PLAN B: Death Eyes, Little Dove, KATA, Foreign Bodies @ The Casbah. Read my review of the scorching new album by local hardcore badasses Death Eyes in this week's Notes from the Smoking Patio. They specialize in short, intense explosions of punk, and there's a good chance you'll be a little sore in the morning. But it'll be worth it. BACKUP PLAN: Part Time, Wizard Woes @ The Hideout.
Tuesday, March 31
PLAN A: Shlohmo, Purple, Nick Melons @ The Casbah. Los Angeles producer Shlohmo crafts beatscapes that are rhythmic and bump in all the right ways, yet still have an element of disoriented chill that makes them unique. If you'd rather hear some laid-back jams on a Tuesday than EDM that bludgeons you with bass, then this is the place to be. PLAN B: Have Mercy, Weatherbox, You Me And Everyone We Know, Head North @ The Irenic. If you like your punk-rock spiked with more than a little emotion—and an extra splash of sensitivity—then get your horn-rimmed glasses over to The Irenic to catch Have Mercy. For that matter, show up a bit early for longtime local favorites Weatherbox. And when I say early, I mean early—the curfew at The Irenic is 10 p.m. BACKUP PLAN: Soko, Babes @ The Loft at UCSD.