PLAN A: Dracula Lewis, Mystery Cave & Phen Swan, Jaws, Jani/Jussi, White Bronco @ Tin Can Ale House. Toeing the line between spooky and sweet, Italy’s Dracula Lewis dishes out lo-fi electro excursions with doctored field recordings, heady beats and hypnotic effects. Don’t miss dynamic duo Mystery Cave and Phen Swan, two of my favorite local beatsmiths. PLAN B: Howlin’ Rain, Allah-Las, Shaking Pyramid, DJ John Beals @ The Casbah. Sounding like a band your dad rocked out to in his dorm room back in 1976, San Francisco’s Howlin’ Rain are as gnarly as they are totally corny. L.A. retro-rockers Allah-Las, meanwhile, might remind you of an overpriced vintage clothing store.
Thursday, Feb. 16
PLAN A: Retox, Doomsday Student, Tit Wrench, Secret Fun Club @ The Casbah. As you’ll read in my feature, noiserockers Doomsday Student have emerged from the corpse of Providence, R.I., legends Arab on Radar to annoy / hypnotize listeners once more. Stick around for Retox, who offer the ultimate catharsis in their unrelentingly brutal hardcore punk. PLAN B: Shigeto, Avi Ben Judah + Mateo, LoFi FreQ, Sleeve, Strangr @ Kava Lounge. A relative newcomer on the solid Ghostly international label, Shigeto borrows from a variety of sources—vintage Motown, unfettered jazz, forward-thinking instrumental hip-hop, scatterbrained IDM—to make a gorgeously colorful sound all his own. BACKUP PLAN: Exene Cervenka, Phil Alvin, Petunia and The Vipers @ Shakedown Bar.
Friday, Feb. 17
PLAN A: The Heavy Guilt, The Howls, Low Volts @ The Loft at UCSD. Whether they’re performing to a sold-out crowd on New Year’s Eve or playing a modest venue in Carlsbad, local folk-rockers The Heavy Guilt are just about everywhere. Indeed, you might’ve already found yourself nodding your head to their lush, literary sounds without knowing it. PLAN B: Gardens & Villa, New Mexico @ The Casbah. It’s no surprise that Gardens & Villa hail from Santa Barbara. Bursting with bright melodies, lighthearted lyrics and easygoing beats, their infectious electro-pop offers the perfect soundtrack to a day lounging in the happy SoCal sun. BACKUP PLAN: River City, Briertone, Bill Cardinal & The Canyon Band, Old Tiger @ Soda Bar.
Saturday, Feb. 18
PLAN A: Jesse LaMonaca & The Dime Novels, Blackout Party, The Black Sands, The Fire Eaters @ The Casbah. With his poppy Americana songs, soaring vocals and rugged good looks, singer-songwriter Jesse LaMonaca is bound to melt the heart of any folk-lovin’ single lady. Check out our review of his new album, The Lament of Tumbleweed Hawk. PLAN B: Bleeds, Wizwars, Space Town Savior, Dasid, Elekid, Xombie, Hyperwave @ Tin Can Ale House. I can practically hear your groans at the mention of the word “chiptune,” but the truth is that Bleeds’ Gameboy-driven techno kicks way more ass than you might expect. I dare say, his spooky 8-bit anthems allude to heavy metal. BACKUP PLAN: The Joshua White Quintet @ 98 Bottles.
Sunday, Feb. 19
PLAN A: Mundell Lowe, Gary Scott & Bob Magnusson @ 98 Bottles. Known for his effortlessly inventive style, Mississippi jazz guitarist Mundell Lowe has played with all the greats—Charles Mingus, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, you name it. Now only weeks away from turning 90, he can work over all the standards with ease. PLAN B: Dumbfounded, Kero One, DJ Philly @ The Loft at UCSD. Korean-American battle-rap heavyweight Dumbfounded has slain plenty of MCs in his day, but he’s also been known to step out of the fighting ring and deliver party-hardy rhymes. BACKUP PLAN: Steve Poltz, The Rugburns, Bob Schneider, Sara Petite @ Belly Up.
Monday, Feb. 20
PLAN A: Get Back Loretta, Wendy Bailey & True Stories, Vanja James, Listening to Rocks @ The Casbah. This isn’t any old show; it’s a wedding anniversary party for scenesters Roger and Sara Morrison, who tied the knot at The Casbah five years ago. Even if you don’t know them, it’s still worth checking out pop-rockers Get Back Loretta.
Tuesday, Feb. 21
PLAN A: Surfer Blood @ Porter’s Pub. With plans to release a new album on warner Bros., Florida indie-rockers Surfer Blood technically aren’t “indie rock” anymore. But even as they polish up their surf-y lo-fi sound, they’re still plenty infectious. BACKUP PLAN: Ape Machine, Family Wagon, Honey @ Soda Bar.