Wednesday, July 6
PLAN A: Dinosaur Feathers, Tropical Popsicle, Bruin @ Soda Bar. Dinosaur Feathers' intricate, carefree indie-pop will no doubt put a smile on your face, but it's Tropical Popsicle you really want to see. A new band featuring Tim Hines of Lights On, they play gloomy, hypnotic post-punk with a mystical vibe. They had a smoke machine going the last time I saw them; all they need now are druid robes. PLAN B: Great Power, Priory, Chasing Kings, Lady Day @ Tin Can Ale House. I caught the last couple of songs by Great Power at Tin Can recently and, boy, was I bummed I missed the rest of their set. Their hearty folk-rock really does live up to the local band's name—they gradually build with intensity until you're totally sucked in. PLAN C: Author & Punisher, Extreme Animals, A Magic Whistle, QQ, Bruisecaster @ Che Café. I'm not listing this just because my band Bruisecaster is playing. Author & Punisher is about to release a new album, and I'm looking forward to some fresh hell-noise from this ungodly doom metal act.
Thursday, July 7
PLAN A: Sonny & The Sunsets, Wounded Lion, Plateaus, DJ Mario Orduno @ Soda Bar. Sonny & The Sunsets' ramshackle garage-rock sounds like the soundtrack to a '50s teen flick, only all the characters are drug-addled burnouts and they couldn't give a fuck whether you'll take them to the dance. In a world saturated with sickeningly nostalgic buzzbands (lookin' at you, Tennis), you can't get any more refreshing than that. PLAN B: The New Mastersounds, Jeff Hershey and The Heartbeats @ Belly Up. The New Mastersounds might just be some blokes from Leeds, but they know their James Brown. For more than a decade, they've been putting down seriously funky instrumentals with all the fixin's—blistering beats, chicken-scratch guitar and a whole lot of shredding on vintage organs. BACK- UP PLAN: Anya Marina @ The Casbah.
Friday, July 8
PLAN A: “Summer Fun on the 101: A Festival of Surfy Music 2.0” @ various venues. You'll be exposed to plenty of surf music at this free North County fest, which goes down on July 8 and 9. But make sure to check out The Mattson 2, a local duo who recently released a great album, Feeling Hands, in which they cross sweltering jazz grooves with breezy surf guitar. (See summerfun101.com for the full schedule.) PLAN B: David Bazan + Band, Rocky Votolato @ The Casbah. Even David Bazan's most ardent fans have to admit that the now-agnostic singer-songwriter has a tendency to write the same-sounding songs over and over again. But on his new album, Strange Negotiations, he proves he's still one of the greatest lyricists indie-rock has to offer. “You're a God damn fool / And I love you.” Right backatcha, Dave. BACKUP PLAN: LA Riots, Bareback DJs @ Voyeur.
Saturday, July 9
PLAN A: The Hot Moon, The Donkeys, Foreign Film @ Soda Bar. When Grand Ole Party broke up in 2009, it didn't take long for guitarist John Paul Labno to form The Hot Moon with his keytar-slinging girlfriend, Sasha Pfau, and The Black Heart Procession's unflappable rhythm section. Tonight, they'll celebrate the release of their self-titled debut, a solid slab of sultry indie-soul. And then, alas, Labno and Pfau will skip town for good. PLAN B: Mrs. Magician, Luke Rathborne, Colony @ Bar Pink. Mrs. Magician might not be quite as dirty or dangerous as I like in a garage-rock band, but I still dig their catchy hooks, cheeky lyrics and noisy guitars. BACKUP PLAN: The White Buffalo, Ari Shrine @ The Casbah.
Sunday, July 10
PLAN A: Generationals, Gardens and Villa, Jamuel Saxon @ The Casbah. Generationals' feel-good indie-rock is ideal for summer, but Gardens and Villa have been getting way more buzz—for good reason. The smoky synths, kooky electro beats and yearning falsetto vocals of tracks like “Black Hills” and “Orange Blossom” sound both catchy and artful, but mostly just ridiculously catchy. BACKUP PLAN: The Bassturd, Coolzey, mic e$ @ Bar Pink.
Monday, July 11
PLAN A: Melvins Lite, Toshi Kasai @ The Casbah. They might call themselves Melvins Lite, but it's safe to assume that grunge overlords King Buzzo and Dale Crover will be no less uncompromising on stage, especially since they'll be joined by avant-metal bass wizard Trevor Dunn. BACKUP PLAN: Maus Haus, Tape Deck Mountain, Swahili Blonde @ Soda Bar.
Tuesday, July 12
PLAN A1: Tinariwen @ Belly Up. As you'll read in my feature on Page 24, you don't need to speak Tamashek to be into Tinariwen, a band of Saharan nomads who play trance-inducing desert blues on electric guitars. PLAN A2: John Maus, Puro Instinct, Geneva Jacuzzi @ The Casbah. Wow, so many choices for a Tuesday. You can read all about synth-pop songwriter John Maus on this page, but don't skip out on Puro Instinct, an L.A. band who play delectably dreamy indie-pop. BACKUP PLAN: Drew Grow and The Pastors' Wives, Todd Day Wait and the Golden Hills Blues Band, Brothers and Sisters @ Soda Bar.