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Thursday 22
Yoni Wolf’s 2005 indie-critic hit Elephant Eyelash is probably the oddest piece in my desert-island crate. Though follow-up Alopecia earns a space in the crate behind it, the Oakland artist turned down the odd and turned up the pop-hook artifice, making for a less engaging but more entertaining sophomore set. The tone poet’s trip-hop trio Why? will play the Loft at UCSD in support of this year’s Alopecia-leftovers Eskimo Snow, which won’t make it to the desert island but will certainly spend a season in my carousel for its rich lyricism. This’d be the gig to get to tonight.... Honorable mentionables: the always-entertaining Grammy-winner Poncho Sanchez will beat the band at Belly Up. The Latin-jazz conguero is out to tout his latest, Psychedelic Blues.... Multi-instrumentalist Arrington de Dionyso is the self-proclaimed “James Bond of free improvisation.” The founder of the Olympia Strange Music Society visits Bar Pink tonight.... And Soda Bar spills a bill of polite pop, with Los Angelino Jeremy Jay, just back from a Euro tour for his K Records debut Slow Dance. Like-minded locals Christmas Island and Oxnard’s Sea Lions will set the stage.

Friday 23
The tragic back-story of singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston and bleak nature of his lost-love tales — 30 years’ worth and all purportedly about the same girl — tend to overshadow his knack for Beatles-inspired melodies and sneaky hooks. For a full course on this artist’s artist, check out cult-fave DVD The Devil and Daniel Johnston. For what’s new with the left-field left-brainer, give a listen to his first full-band collection Is and Always Was and catch him at Canes with Hymns and Vision of a Dying World.... The other big gig Friday night is at Epicentre, where Seattle pop pinups Scene Aesthetic will share the acoustic bubblegum of A Type and a Shadow. The indie-pop duo’s Space hits are in the gazillions, garnering press from the Wall Street Journal! I know, I never heard of them either.... Else: West Coast dance band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy swing into Belly Up...U.K. voodoo rockers the Heavy and our own Styletones will funk up Casbah...Tony Hawk’s favorite hardcore throwbacks Strike Anywhere will light the Ché Café...and uptowners get their fair share of sleeper sets Friday night, with SanFran glam band Triple Cobra playing a freebie at Bar Pink...an Art Fag showcase over at Whistle Stop, featuring Pearl Harbour and the Dunes...and the Ken Club stages the pride of Yamaha, Nebraska, Digital Leather, with Zonies Earthmen and Strangers for your daily dose of post-punk psychedelia.

Saturday 24
Bay Area bad boy Tommy Castro will sling his Strat at Belly Up Saturday night. Castro’s out in support of departure disc Hard Believer, the bluesman’s first for Alligator Records and a leap of faith into soul singing, resulting in a career-defining collection and one hot number for this year’s awards boards. See you there, blues fans.... Back downtown, Beauty Bar books an indie-pop triple treat, with Silverlake six-piece Castledoor, Wild Weekender gone solo singer-songer Maren Parusel, and local indie hits Republic of Letters.... Nor’westerners Blind Pilot and Mimicking Birds land at Casbah with Nor’easterners the Low Anthem for some fine, freaky-folk fare.

Sunday 25
Couple of super Sunday-nighters downtown as Casbah has “Philly’s constant hitmaker” Kurt Vile and his Violators following new deal Childish Prodigy into the Kettner club. Vile’s suffered some flavor-of-the-month backlash in Blogworld, but the psych-pop songs stand up, so f*** Blogworld, the hippie’s touring the real world. Check his Space take and new vid for fan fave “Freak Train.” With Costa Mesa folkies the Growlers and local noise-pop duo the Dabbers, this one’s hard to dismiss...unless you’re a hard-core Bad Brains fan, in which case you’ll want to get yourself to the House of Blues, cat daddy. D.C.’s punk-rock perennials are the crossovers that fueled Fugazi’s fire way back when to jazz up the downbeats and reggae-fy the rock. Throw on i against i (1986) and you’ll know why. And f.y.i., H.R. and Dr. Know still run the show.... Alsos: Berlin-based beats babe Peaches hits the beaches at Canes...and Alabama band Thomas Function brings the folk-rock fun of their latest, In the Belly of the Beast, to Bar Pink. French goth-pop dude Yussuf Jerusalem sets the stage.

Monday 26
The Moscow-born, Manhattan-schooled singer-songwriter Regina Spektor visits House of Blues Monday night. Spektor is aligned with nu-music New York, playing anti-folk, anti-pop piano scores and singing in an accomplished and full range. The artist is out in support of her fifth proper Far.... Philadelphia roots-rockers Hoots and Hellmouth join alt-country crooner William Elliott Whitmore at Casbah’s Anti-Monday meet-up. Whitmore sings to rattle bones. Check out his recommendable grower Animals in the Dark, which this year peaked at number 50 on Billboard.

Tuesday 27
Saddle Creek singer-songwriter Elizabeth Powell and her Montreal trio Land of Talk join L.A.-based indie quartet the Eulogies and our own Black Mamba to fill a pleasant-pop bill at Casbah Tuesday night.... Get your psychobilly fix at Brick by Brick with Koffin Kats, Hard Fall Hearts, Kasket Krawlers, and the Embalmers.... For a taste of something new, Soda Bar stages psych-folkie Sasha, aka Nothingful, with L.A. alt-pop act Family Tree Analog and local newbies Cascavell.

Wednesday 28
Eddie Argos and Art Brut join L.A.’s baroque-pop four-piece Princeton and local punks Northern Towns at Casbah. Since the success of their 2005 debut disc Bang Bang Rock & Roll, which the British quartet never quite matched in pace, taste, or wit, Art Brut has become a pop-punk industry, rolling out recordings regularly, touring constantly, and is ever-present on the web. “Formed a band,” indeed, Eddie.... Your other hump-night highlights include Canadian rock-roll vets the Tragically Hip, who play Belly Up behind their 11th collection We Are the Same...and Miami M.C. Flo Rida, who’s down at House of Blues. He’s out to tout his second electro-hop joint R.O.O.T.S.
Barnaby Monk

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