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Thursday 14
Doves alight tonight at House of Blues. The Manchester trio trade in anthemic pop like Coldplay and Oasis, but without the Grammys, Mercurys, or tabloid-drama pomposity. Still and all, these three gritty songsmiths — brothers Jez and Andy Williams and childhood mate Jimi Goodwin — have owned the U.K. album charts over their ten-year career, dropping two number-one debuts and four top tens. The fourth is this year’s well-received Heavenly Records crit-hit Kingdom of Rust, a fuzz-soaked percolator that’ll float them right where they want to be — just above the mainstream.... The night of the great unsung continues over at Casbah, where Earthology act Cloud Cult drifts in behind its latest, Feel Good Ghosts. The Minneapolis big band is known for its Flaming Lips–like experimental shifts and deconstructing pop modalities. The band’s Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus (2005) and The Meaning of 8 (2007) stand as two of the decade’s hidden gems. With Seattle’s Say Hi (née Say Hi to Your Mom) and “happy hardcore” quintet Ice Palace (also from the great state of Minnesota), this indie hat-trick is hands down the Middletown mainstay’s gig to get to this week.... Bar Pink gets Extra Golden. The Thrill Jockey collective cures American funk with Afro beats and psychedelia. A lot to swallow? Check the Space takes from this year’s Thank You Very Quickly for a primer.... Brick by Brick stages San Diego’s granola-fed reggae dub dudes the Devastators and Israel Maldonado Band. Who let them out of O.B.?

Friday 15
Belly Up books an art-rock one-two punch that’ll lay you out, music fan, when Glasgow’s post-rock instrumentalists Mogwai join Angelino psych-rock act Dead Meadow. Meadow’s strummy myths off of last year’s Old Growth should be the perfect shoegaze-y distraction to set up the wallop Mogwai packs in its prog-y instrumental metal. Think Slint without vocals or get your hands on Rock Action or Happy Songs for Happy People.... No? Suit yourself — ya got Brooklyn’s bombastic thrashers Tombs with L.A. drones Isis at Casbah...San Diego heavies Sprung Monkey and Mower at Canes...trad jazz darlin’ Diane Schuur at Anthology...and, like, 50 bands playing the Soma Big Show (somasandiego.com). I think they’re kicking off their anniversary week or something. No? What the hell do I know...

Saturday 16
Cute and cuddly. Da Bears beat it to Beauty Bar Saturday night. Spent the better part of the week with Classics Never Die/Cowardly Cobra to ink a review. “It’s swell.” (That’s the short version; more in next week’s Hometown.) Give ‘em a spin if yer into upbeat lo-fi pop like sunshine-y Pavement. The indie kids’ll split the bill with the Fascination, who are also neat-o, though more Manchester than Santa Rosa.... Barroom rocking throwbacks Big Sandy, Deke Dickerson, and the Ecco-Fonics get their whammy off on Casbah’s main stage while Graceland goes in the Atari Lounge.... San Pedro garage-pop peeps Underground Railroad to Candyland, out to tout the shout-along rave-ups off Recess Records debut Bird Roughs, stop in San Diego this weekend. They’ll roll on Soda Bar Saturday night and appear at North Park’s Festival of the Arts on Sunday.... L.A. MCs Grouch & Eligh hit the beach at Canes behind their first collaboration, Say G&E, which dropped in April.

Sunday 17
As mentioned, it’s time for this year’s North Park Festival of the Arts, which is a good way t’spend the day if you’re into cruising crafts and fair fare. Recommend you linger ‘round the Bar Pink stage for Sunday’s superior sets. You get Kill Me Tomorrow, Creepy Creeps, Underground Railroad to Candyland, and Drowning Men.... When the sun sets on that, Swede (rhymes with twee) pop star Loney Dear will drop by the Loft at UCSD.

Monday 18
Because I’m Awesome! You’ll believe bassist Kelly Ogden when she belts the title cut. Her L.A. pop-punk trio the Dollyrots appear at Bar Pink Monday night behind a similar, she-punk–fronted SanFran band, Action Design.... Seattleite punk-rawk novelty acts Steel Tigers of Death and Android Hero roll into Ruby Room with local hosts China Clippers. It looks like the Clippers have taken over Monday nights at the Hillcrest hideaway.

Tuesday 19
Aussie indie-pop duo An Horse and hometown hits Calico Horse gallop into Casbah Tuesday. Pilot Speed also on the bill.... Soda Bar stages locals Old In Out and Braaiins! with the aforementioned Nor’westers Steel Tigers of Death and Android Hero, who are apparently making hay while they’re here. Nice.

Wednesday 20
“If we don’t come back, just call us on the Ouija board!” invokes David Johansen on the New York Dolls' latest ‘Cause I Sez So, but you can put that board away, rockers, because the Dolls will hit Belly Up with East Coast grit Wednesday night. The glam-punk icons have been off and on for over 30 years, dropping four discs in that time, but with the Dolls it’s always been about quality, not quantity, and I Sez So spares nothing, proving that 2006 comeback One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This wasn’t a fluke. With all the swagger of the Stones and thunder of the Who...hot damn, 60 may just be the new 30. Ontario trio the Cliks will set the Solana Beach stage.... I can’t earnestly condone any other Wednesday sets, but the latest TV-stars-turned-rock-stars, Flight of the Conchords, land at RIMAC, and they’ve apparently got some critical cred to go with their commercial appeal. Looks good on the New Zealanders.... Ruby Room hosts podcast station X1FM’s Local Gold, with golden locals Team Abraham.... And House of Blues has electroclash performance act Fischerspooner. They’re the New York duo that had that one dance-floor hit that time.
Barnaby Monk

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