(For websites listed below, MS=www.myspace.com. These are bands we especially dig, not full listings. For those, please see "Concerts and Clubs" on Page 47.
PLAN A: Groundation @ the Belly Up. One of the country's best young roots-reggae bands. Founded by a bunch of jazz-heads from Sonoma State University, Harrison Stafford's phenomenal raspy wail (backed by keys, conga and ample horns) suggests 1965 Kingston, not 2007 California. MS/groundation. PLAN B: Spindrift, The Sky Drops @ San Diego Sports Club. Shoegaze! Spindrift is a deep meditation on Doors-ian atmosphere and spag-western guitar epics, led by Kirpatrick Thomas and former members of Brian Jonestown Massacre. Delaware's The Sky Drops is a male-female, drum-and-guitar duo that makes good on its My Bloody Valentine jones. MS/thewest, MS/theskydrops. PLAN C: Electric Six @ The Casbah. Detroit's campy highbrow rockers will satiate any Eagles of Death Metal glam-fan. MS/electricsixmusic. BACKUP PLAN: Austin Collins, Graham Weber @ Lestat's (MS/austin collins, MS/grahamweber).
PLAN A: "Sounds Like San Diego II" @ Dizzy's. This fundraiser for San Diego roots-music godfather Lou Curtiss is a must-attend for local-music fans. Performers include some of San Diego's top tier, highlighted by Mojo Nixon, Anna Troy, Matt Curreri, Four Eyes and The Shambles. www.dizzys sandiego.com. PLAN B: Trans Am, Zombi, Black Taj @ The Casbah. Three of the best from the fringe. Maryland's Trans Am imagines a Krautrock band scoring The Legend of Zelda; Black Taj melds psychedelic rock with some pleasantly wimpy vocals; and Zombi is space-age new age that's fantastic on record but might be drowsy live. MS/transamband, MS/blacktajrock, MS/zombi. PLAN C: DJ Kaos @ Modus Lounge. Berlin's disco and acid-house DJ has collaborated with The Rapture and Kings of Convenience's Erlend Oye. MS/kaosoak. BACKUP PLAN: Sambada @ Winston's (MS/sambada).
PLAN A: The Widows, The Last of the Badmen @ The Ken Club. The Widows are some caterwauling, rhythmic punk from San Diego-the sort of half-spoken madness that does the genre right. The Last of the Badmen is old-school punk featuring members of Radio Birdman and Exploding Fuck Dolls. MS/batwingskillyou, MS/thelastofthebadmen. PLAN B: Acid Reign, Apes in English @ Cowshed Bar & Grill. Hip-hop duo Acid Reign, with casual flow and complex wordplay, are one of the better acts from L.A.'s underground. San Diego's Apes in English are worth a look for fans of Jedi Mind Tricks. MS/acidreign, MS/apesinenglish. PLAN C: The Bugs, Beehive & The Barracudas @ The Tower Bar. Portland's The Bugs play catchy-as-hell garage with a singer who sounds developmentally challenged. Beehive is one of San Diego's best-vinyl-era punk-soul. BACKUP PLAN: The Silent Comedy @ Beauty Bar (MS/thesilentcomedy).
PLAN A: The Blood Brothers, Mika Miko @ Epicentre. Very few bands match The Blood Brothers' ability to create an intense, pummeling live show, abrasive screams and annihilating boogie rhythms included. Mika Miko is some shrill, fantastic girl-punk à la Bikini Kill. MS/thebloodbrothersband, MS/mikamiko. PLAN B: L.A. Symphony, Kruse @ Metaphor Café. Sure, L.A. Symphony isn't quite as good without Pigeon John, but it's still some solid, positive hip-hop. The mellow-mouthed Kruse might steal the show. MS/lasymphony, MS/whatsupkruse. PLAN C: Loud + Clear Anniversary Party @ The Casbah. San Diego label celebrates a half-decade with top-notch local signees Goodbye Blue Monday, Comfortable For You, Manuok and neonthief. www.loudandclearrecords.com. BACKUP PLAN: Kill Me Tomorrow @ Beauty Bar (MS/killmetomorrow).
PLAN A: Scott H. Biram, Bob Wayne & The Outlaw Carnies, Joe Buck @ The Casbah. Trucker-hat punks unite! Scott H. Biram is awesome-gravel-throated blues-country like a mix of Steve Earle and Bob Log III. Bob Wayne and Joe Buck are strong supporting degenerates with impressive, depraved takes on country. MS/scotthbiram, MS/bobwayne, MS/joebuckyourselfmotherfucker. PLAN B: The Pharmacy, Monsters from Mars @ Che Café. The Pharmacy is one of Seattle's faves-dancey, off-key quirk-pop with keyboards. San Diego's Monsters from Mars are one of San Diego's best surf-rock bands (with vocals). MS/pharmacy, MS/monsters frommars. PLAN C: Light of Doom @ The Jumping Turtle. Yes! There is nothing quite like seeing 12-year-olds (give or take) pummel through Motley Crüe-esque rockers. BACKUP PLAN: Zero-Brane (CD-release) @ Whistle Stop Bar (MS/zerobrane).
PLAN A: Grant-Lee Phillips, Patrick Park @ the Belly Up. He might be best known for Grant Lee Buffalo, but the songwriter and high-sweet vocalist has done the solo material we all hoped Joe Jackson would make. Patrick Park was a commercial flop for Hollywood Records, but his tender country-pop just gets better. PLAN B: This Holiday Life, Buckfast Superbee, Long Live Logos, Madison County @ The Casbah. Three of San Diego's better rock bands join with Madison County, indie-pop softies from Arizona. MS/thisholidaylife, MS/buckfast superbee, MS/longlivelogos, MS/madisoncountyaz. PLAN C: French Quarter @ Scolari's Office. Some deadly pretty indie-folk from Phoenix-childlike vocals and tastefully lazy acoustic music.
PLAN A: Ice Cube @ 'Canes. Make no mistake-the corny actor known for Hollywood "filler" films won't show up. What you'll get is Ice Motherfucking Cube, one of the best vocalists in hip-hop. And after a couple of disappointing albums, last year's Laugh Now, Cry Later proves he's still got enough vitriol in the tank. MS/icecube. PLAN B: The North Atlantic, Kingdom of Magic @ The Zombie Lounge. Rock-punk in S.D. doesn't get much better than The North Atlantic. "Drunk Under Electronics" is one of the city's finest songs, as if Drive Like Jehu met shoegaze. Colorado's Kingdom of Magic plays the sort of slow, heavy rock that could be the soundtrack to dying of cancer. MS/thenorthatlantic, MS/kingdomofmagic.