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Thursday 22
Boston’s “Brechtian punk cabaret,” the Dresden Dolls, will camp up House of Blues tonight behind No, Virginia, which dropped Tuesday. The new collection is aptly titled outtakes from the 2006 Yes, Virginia sessions, the duo’s breakthrough disc of goth-y piano pop and recommended primer. With Seattle sister act Smoosh and local lo-fis Maystar.... We Are Kamikazes Aiming Straight for Your Heart. Pugilistic Jason Stollmeister, he of the famous Jack White fight, and his boy-girl band the Von Bondies will hit Casbah tonight. The Von bondage includes preciously named New Zealanders Die! Die! Die! Transfer and io Echo on the bill.... Belly Up stages country crooner Hal Ketchum, who’s got a new disc, a greatest hits thing. Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash set the Solana Beach stage.

Friday 23
Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy convene the Cult at Viejas’ Concerts in the Park Friday night. The UK hard-rock act, best known for their acid-tinged ‘80s hit disc Love (“She Sells Sanctuary”), signed to Roadrunner last year to release head banger Born into This. Check out lead single “Dirty Little Rockstar”.... Get yer French Kicks at Casbah. The brothers Stumpf and their NYC quartet released second Vagrant full-length Swimming on Tuesday. More pop than punk this time out. Certainly more pop than hometown heroes and contemporaries the Strokes and Walkmen, speaking of whom, L.A.’s answer to Hamilton Leithauser, Weather Underground, opens the sets.... SanDago ska punks Buck-O-Nine and rap-core crew Sprung Monkey prop party rock out at ‘Canes beach club.... In the urbs: gypsy-rockers Mad Juana ride the Pink Elephant.... Eugene, OR, power trio Floater and locals Vocoder lay it down at Brick by Brick.... Beat boy Microphone Mike and his dance troupe appear at Beauty Bar.... While Bankhead Press delivers smooth soul to Whistle Stop.

Saturday 24
L7 she-punk pioneer Donita Sparks dropped her first solo disc, Transmiticate, in February. “Comes with dance rock and dark pop.” L.A.’s blonde bomb and her band the Stellar Moments play Casbah Saturday night with Roses on Her Grave and Revenge Club. If you get a chance to talk to Ms. Sparks, ask her about the Coalition of Artists and Stake Holders (CASH) and how she and Kristin Hersh plan to change the biz.... If you miss the door at Casbah, UCSD collective Ché Café stages a trick triple bill featuring Chicago’s wistful plinker Owen Ashworth, aka Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, local psych-folkies the Donkeys, and Angelino duo Foot Foot.... Belly Up serves homegrown alterna-rock sets by Dynamite Walls, Stripes and Lines, and This Holiday Life.

Sunday 25
It’s a holiday Monday eve at Casbah, which means One Nation will drop a Jivewire joint on the dance floor. Beforehand, 94/9 hosts freebie sets by Bedford Grove, Maystar, and Jamuel Saxon. Free food, too, yo!... “The Duchess of Coolsville,” two-time Grammy winner Rickie Lee Jones, will do that “Chuck E” song at Anthology Sunday night. And then some, as she’s got a record on the charts, The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard. Who knew she had “a thing” with Tom Waits?... Denton, TX, punks Mother’s Anger rage the Zombie stage.... While UK poppers Foals bring Antidotes to Brick by Brick. Locals Crocodile open.

Monday 26
Billie Joe’s no-longer-top-secret side project Foxboro Hot Tubs steam up Belly Up Memorial Day night. The Jingle Town debut is called Stop Drop & Roll!!!, a chunk of Nuggets-era garage rock and lots of swear words. Get to their Space for a taste. Twenty-dollar tix available day of show only. See you on Cedros.... “Going mainstream,” Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s spring pretty mope pop on Casbah’s Anti-Monday meet-up. The Indianapolis eight-piece will unleash Animal! this year, their sophomore follower to '06 pick The Dust of Retreat.... Samba soul brothers Agua Dulce will play a free one at 'Canes’ round 3p.... And Brit hits the Police and Elvis Costello & the Imposters will crowd the Cricket. Don’t stand so close to me!

Tuesday 27
Hank III & Assjack deliver loud-ass country skrunk to House of Blues. Hank’s latest, Dam Right, Country Proud, is due to drop in late '08. In the mean, check the metal-edged country of Straight to Hell. “Parental advisory”.... Indie experimentalist Ariel Pink joins our own odd-poppers Paddle Boat and Fantastic Magic at Casbah. Prepare to be hypnotized.... Everett, WA, boy-girl piano-pop group the Parenthetical Girls (((GRRRLS))) join Japan’s strummy soloist PWRFL Power at the Ché.

Wednesday 28
The National tour visits House of Blues Wednesday night. Before their Beggars Banquet sophomore set The Boxer landed on critics’ '07 year-end lists, most at #1, the Brooklyn quintet couldn’t get arrested. Stick “Mistaken for Strangers” in yer ears. On Thursday night in L.A., the National will embark on a world domination tour with Modest Mouse and a revitalized R.E.M. Folkie Ferraby Lionheart in support. Gonna be thee gig this week.... Else: The Blood Brothers meet Pretty Girls Make Graves in Jaguar Love. The trio brings scream-pop to Beauty Bar’s back yard.... Jagjaguwar art-rockers Ladyhawk land at Casbah. Saddle Creek’s sad songsmiths Niva Denova open that one.... Candye Kane and Sue Palmer reunite the Swingin’ Kings. The Kings’ll rule Belly Up with boogie and blues.... Latin lounge lady Sacha Boutros sings a supper set at Anthology, and Starline Theory indie rocks it the rest of the night.... All-ages Soma stages solid punk-pop sets by Cinematic Sunrise, Jet Lag Gemini, My American Heart, and Daphne Loves Derby.
Barnaby Monk

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