L.A. darkwave dance band the Moving Units drop their load at Casbah tonight. Fronted by Blake Miller as Ian Curtis, the quartet stumble into Joy Division hits without commercial menace (looking at you, Interpol) but incidentally. And they wear it well. Trip to their Space for a taste of last year’s Hexes for Exes. Their latest take, “Crash n Burn Victims,” tends to sketch electronica over Hexes’ cool nu-beats and guitar squall. Whadda ya gonna do? Putting our best feet forward, the Dabbers and the Beaters will set the place up.... House of Blues hosts Oakdale folkie Brett Dennen. The 30-year-old artist’s third studio set, Hope for the Hopeless, enjoyed a run around the top of the Billboard charts and garnered Dennen TV money and a hot-shot spot at this summer’s Newport Folk Fest. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals set the downtown stage... Uptowners can prolly hoof it to a couple decent dates, including Northern Towns and the Prosthetic Arms at Ruby Room...L.A. pop-punk trio the Dollyrots at Bar Pink...and local alt-rockers Fuzz Huzzi and Blizzard at Radio Room.
Bar Pink bills fine Friday-night fare for “Bad Andy’s Birthday Bash,” featuring the Underground Railroad to Candyland. The San Pedro garage-rock quintet’s a spazzy, happy, fun time for all. And they’ve been to Japan. Their old one’s called Bird Roughs; their new one’s in the works. “Girls in the garage” Jungle Fever and new-to-the-roost Little Fowl will open the show. Check out Dorian’s “Blurt” this week on the Ben Jerman–led Little Fowl with the big sound.... SanFran adult-contempo band Train (“Drops of Jupiter”) rolls into House of Blues Friday night with Josh Radin onboard. The Grammy-winning trio Train last month dropped their fifth Columbia collection, Save Me San Francisco, which is enjoying a little Billboard time with hit single “Hey, Soul Sister”.... UC campus collective Ché Café brings in indie experimentalists Grooms (NYC), Tempo No Tempo (SF), Drug Wars, and Life Deposits.... Else: melodic metal models Devil Wears Prada strut at Soma with All That Remains...post-punk big band Blessure Grave and Street of Little Girls check in at South Park hot spot Whistle Stop, where the Pussy Galore DJs will spin ‘round sets...and Bay Park eatery Tio Leo’s tosses together a couple of rootsicana rowdies in Rio Peligroso and Billy Midnight. (Heartily recommend the chile relleno de la casa when the munchies kick in.)
How’s your stamina? What about your anima? Never mind. Radio station 94/9’s Holiday Hootenanny at RIMAC has all you want for Christmas, my little indie snifflers. Check yer list: Spoon, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, Manchester Orchestra, and White Rabbits. You’ll get a live-take preview of headliner Spoon’s new t’do Transference, due to drop in January. Need a gift receipt with that? Thought not.... The festivus for the rest of us: Jay Farrar and Son Volt will jolt Belly Up with their unique, all-levels-at-peak take on alt-country. The St. Louis–based five-piece is out to tout this year’s hotly anticipated, room temperaturely received American Central Dust. “Medicine Hat!”.... It’s going to be a long day in Middletown if you got one to burn. At Casbah, starting at 3p, you got “the Rumble,” featuring Tape Deck Mountain, Drowning Men, and visiting contenders All Wrong & the Plans Change. Andy from Writer will be spinning discs between sets to keep the music moving. And then there’re late sets by Tristeza (yeah, man. Have you heard Fate Unfolds yet?), Kill Me Tomorrow, and Drew Andrews.... Up around No. Park, you got John Meeks, Leslie and the Badgers, River City, and Paulo playing at the Soda Bar...Canton Mudders, Bertos, and Larry and His Flask coifing at Beauty Bar...and Radio Room conjures Dead Ghosts (made up of parts from Cattle Decapitation).
The other alternative station’s holiday show, “Wrex the Halls,” has A.F.I., Rise Against, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Anberlin, and Paper Tongues. That’ll play at the Viejas Arena at SDSU. Fine bands, all, but that schism on the dial’s getting wider and deeper, isn’t it?... Look, another radio-station thing! This one’s called “Jingle Ball” and is put on by Star 94.1 at Little Italy supper club Anthology. It features Ingrid Michaelson, Uncle Kracker, and Michelle Branch. Not v. familiar with these adult-contempo artists, but turn to Jay’s “Blurt” on Ms. Branch’s backstage riders, it’s pretty funny.... No on either of those? How about funky Scots the Average White Band, who hit the beach at Belly Up with our own acid-jazz jam band Pocket.
Casbah’s Anti-Monday meet-up goes to Church. This Portland trio trades in ambient post-rock. Vocalist-guitarist Brandon Laws informs the Portland Mercury: “We value the space in between the notes as much as the notes themselves.” ‘Kay. Gran Sasso and Duel of the Century set the stage. I’m pretty sure those two up-and-comers put their stock primarily in notes, but what do I know.... Del Mar’s favorite daughter Tristan Prettyman will play from her latest, Hello...x, at Belly Up. The surfer and former Roxy model’s got one in the works, so fans’ll likely get a taste of that as-yet-untitled disc. If you just can’t wait, she’s got some new takes up on her Space: myspace.com/tristanprettyman.
Back to Church at Ché Café Tuesday night, as the Portland act takes advantage of its time in the Southland to spread the word. Snuffaluffagus and Longsleeves warm the pews.... Seventies hitmakers Foreigner fall in at Belly Up. It’s been a long run for Mick Jones and co., but Foreigner ‘09 finds vocalist Lou Gramm in absentia. This year’s “Dirty White Boy” is Kelly Hansen, formerly of Slash’s Snakepit. (I just bought an original pressing of Double Vision at Kobey’s. Wanna come over?)
Hump-night highlights: Casbah’s cooking up “the Greatest Night of Your Life” for CD releases by cross-border crew Marquez!, dropping The Passing, and trip-hop duo Bully Blinders’ City of Dirt...and karate rockers Ninja Love will so kick axe at Beauty Bar with Eric Bando and Of Mice and Them.
— Barnaby Monk