PLAN A: Ladytron @ The Belly Up. Ladytron have been pumping new voltage into old Human League- and Kraftwerk-style electro-rock for a few years now and haven't released a dud. On stage they're paramilitary and robotic like Interpol-only, very few army women are as stunning visually as lead vocalists Mira Aroyo and Helen Marnie. www.ladytron.com. PLAN B: Method Man @ 4th & B. Ten years ago, the first star to break loose of the Wu Tang rap galaxy would've been our first and only pick. But he's shown his talent has limits on recent albums-especially 2004's mess, Tical 0: The Prequel. Still, when on, he's a gruff-voiced visionary who deserves more than a footnote in rap's history. www.method-man.com. PLAN C: Damien Jurado @ The Casbah. Yet another former hardcore kid turned deep-voiced folk softie, and the best thing from Seattle that hasn't really been discovered yet (after seven albums, no less). www.damienjurado.com. PLAN D: Summerbirds in the Cellar @ Che Café. A somber yet thumping electronic indie band that's being hailed as the biggest thing to happen to Orlando, Fla., since Medicare. www.summerbirds.com.
PLAN A: Be Your Own Pet @ The Epicentre. Please see our feature story on this page. www.beyourown
pet.net. PLAN B: Kite Flying Society @ San Diego Sports Club. Anyone who loves The Shins should do two things: find the b-side "When I Goosestep" and hear San Diego's sweet harmony-pop band, Kite Flying Society. Their 2006 debut is easily one of the best from the local scene. www.myspace.com/kfsmusic. PLAN C: Swollen Members @ 4th & B. The Canadian hip-hop trio have won a Juno (the Maple Leaf Grammy) for their weird-ass, murderous lyrics and sublime beats. Now they return to S.D., where MCs Mad Child and Prevail originally formed their Rock Steady Crew, which has become one of the most elite hip-hop collectives in the nation. www.swollen
members.com. PLAN D: Joseph Arthur @ House of Blues Side Stage. It's hard to believe an inventive singer-songwriter who was discovered by Peter Gabriel and has been covered by Michael Stipe and Chris Martin remains virtually unknown. Open sphincter, remove head. www.josepharthur.com. PLAN E: Two Gallants w/ Langhorne Slim @ The Casbah. Two Gallants play the sort of caterwauling, Western-flavored indie rock that might be expected if Dinosaur Jr played at a demolition derby in a town where journalists talk about tumbleweed epidemics. Langhorne Slim is a banjo-wielding Brooklynite whose whiny folk songs are an acquired taste that more and more people are acquiring. www.twogallants.com, www.langhorneslim.com.
PLAN A: The Vision of a Dying World w/ Old Man Hands at C.H.O.B. Sufjan Stevens has inspired the arty kids to explore folk music again, and these are two of San Diego's premiere sympathizers. The Vision of a Dying World does it ensemble-style, with old-timey, cabaret harmonizing and acoustic instruments aplenty. Old Man Hands sounds a bit like My Morning Jacket's Jim James after a pitcher of Nyquil-listen to his song "Let Me Be" and cry a little. www.myspace.com/thevisionofadyingworld, www.myspace.com/oldman
hands. PLAN B: Miki Vale @ Hot Monkey Love Café. One of San Diego's top female MCs-slash-soul artists with a laidback, jazzy flow that's like Jill Scott doing poetry to old-school beats. www.myspace.com/
miki vale. PLAN C: Grand Ole Party @ The Beauty Bar. A tinny, minimal blues-punk trio with a female drummer whose demure presence belies the full-on, neck-swiveling sermons she belts out. www.myspace.com/grandole
party. PLAN D: Rebirth Brass Band @ 'Canes. Along with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, this is one of the most indigenous N'Awlins bands, playing rags, marching tunes and funk with enough horns to imitate a Biblical reckoning. www.rebirthbrassband.com.
PLAN A: The Secret Machines @ Soma. This Dallas trio was among the buzz artists in 2004, although they weren't built for radio, with mini-rock orchestras that weave and heave through territory previously explored by Zeppelin and Floyd. With no radio hits and a dud third album, they've been swept a bit under the carpet, which is a shame since they're probably among the better musicians to come out in a while. www.thesecretmachines.com. PLAN B: Marky Ramone w/ Josh Garza. They're just spinning records. But, still, it's Marky Fucking Ramone, plus the drummer from The Secret Machines, who's high-tailing it here with his crate of records after their show. www.
PLAN A: Bob Dylan w/ Kings of Leon @ Cox Arena. It's pretty hard to believe that the man who towers over folk music like a 10-ton golden cow took 24 years to score a No. 1 album, but Bob finally did it with his newest, Modern Times. Opening is Kings of Leon, the mush-mouthed offspring of a preacher whose Southern rock kneels and twitches at the twin altars of sin and salvation. www.bobdylan.com, www.kingsofleon.com. PLAN B: John Ellis @ Dizzy's. After time with the Charlie Hunter Quartet, saxophonist John Ellis has branched out on his own for some offbeat soul-jazz that rivals his former bandmate. www.johnaxson
ellis.com. PLAN C: Kinky @ 'Canes. "Mas y mas! Mas y mas!" There's nothing quite like seeing this Monterrey, Mexico, band shout that line as they wander between traditional Mexican music and something Fatboy Slim would approve of. www.kinkymusic.com. PLAN D: The Detroit Cobras @ The Casbah. Maybe it's because they started as a cover band, but somehow the whole Detroit garage rock explosion failed to yield proper respect for a band that's arguably the city's second-best export. www.myspace.com/the detroitcobras
PLAN A: Bonnie Prince Billy @ the Belly Up. Prince, a.k.a. Will Oldham, is a master of ghostly folk music that's remarkable both for his grasp of foreboding narratives and its slight emotional tremble that makes him seem desperately real. Very few underground artists who are actively recording get a tribute album in their honor (2006's I Am a Cold Rock. I Am Dull Grass.), let alone one with homages by Calexico, Mark Kozelek and Iron & Wine. www.bonnieprincebilly.com.
PLAN A: The Cramps w/ Demolition Doll Rods @ House of Blues. Sure, Poison Ivy Rorschach and Lux Interior are getting old, but this is still the band whose open-nerve rockabilly and punk upstaged The Police during a European tour. It's also the band that gave birth to psychobilly, the band that puts joy in debauchery and the band whose main members-slash-lovebirds met when Lux picked up Ivy hitchhiking. An essential show for your cultural acumen. Openers Demolition Doll Rods are an equally naughty rock-punk band that's known to do distorted gospel songs in only their Underoos. www.thecramps.com, www.demolitiondollrods.com. PLAN B: You Am I w/ Lou Barlow @ The Casbah. One of Australia's most respected rock bands, You Am I have worked with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, who, like countless others, has hailed frontman Tim Rogers as one of the most gifted pop songwriters since Jonathan Richman. Lou Barlow, he of "chewing-gum-and-bailing-wire albums" fame (Sebadoh, Folk Implosion), is surprisingly good on his own. www.youami.net, www.loobiecore.com. PLAN C: MC Flow @ Hot Monkey Love Café. A white, female MC from San Diego who's got a wicked sense of humor and a New York accent that makes her sound like she's interpreting the famous "Coffee Talk" sketch from Saturday Night Live for the rap world. www.myspace.