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Thursday 9
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band is a five-piece indie-rock outfit from the Seattle area. Can’t swing a dead cat, right? Wrong. They got that ridonkulous name, for one, a 15-year-old drummer, and they debuted with random web-ready PSAs that had nothing to do with them or their music. They built a buzz before releasing a note. Crazy times. MSHVB signed to the indie-hit Dead Oceans label for last year’s s/t debut and this year released sophomore set Where the Messengers Meet — both catchy collections of heavy post-rock rhythms and sugar-pop sensibilities — like Slint and Shins — that stand up to re-re-repeat listens. Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band marches into Casbah behind their Nor’West neighbors, Barsuk band the Globes.... Got some PR on the upcoming Tape Deck Mountain EP, Secret Serf, that suggests the trio’s taking the piss out of the current spate of beach-bent bands while playing on front man Travis Trevisan’s joblessness. Whatever. The echo-chamber atmospherics on Forkcasted advance “P.I.” suggests Trevisan, productionwise, hasn’t given up the Ghost. Livewise, these mid-fi fuzz junkies turn up the aggro, giving their art a depth that makes them, imho, one of the brightest bands on the San Diego soundscape. Check ’em out at Whistle Stop with local indie folkies Cousins.... Meanwhile, back at Tape Deck drummer Paul Redmund’s Tin Can Ale House, Northern Tigers (ex-Sess and Beaters), Scales, and Radio Wendy fill an art-punk bill.... L.A. electric folky Carl Jordan writes “soundtracks for backyard nature documentaries.” His Western States Motel will drop off The Cliff at Bar Pink. Radar Bros. fan, click this: myspace.com/thewesternstatesmotel. Maren Parusel up first.

Friday 10
You’ll find exuberance in a can when SanFran ska-pop band Still Flyin’ checks in at the Tin Can Ale House. The big band’s debut Never Gonna Touch the Ground has been described as “Quincy Jones producing the Lovin’ Spoonful...a worldlier Go! Team.” The collective calls it “hammjamm.” Our own exuberant octopus, tropical folkies Red Pony Clock, clock in first with that Monster from Mars Thor’s new joint Just Another Snake Cult.... Further down Fifth, soul-pop San Diego sons Delta Spirit will have a triumphant homecoming when they visit House of Blues behind this year’s Rounder Records release History from Below. That “Bushwick Blues” single sure is popular. L.A.-based psych-rock quintet Darker My Love and Long Beach band the Fling are also on this catchy Casbah-curated bill.... Uptown: Soda Bar sets up Silver Lake indie kids Summer Darling with notable locals Manuok and New Mexico...atmospheric-pop act Immovable Objects settle at the Til-Two Club with Kata and Monochromacy...while indie rockers Hotel St. George check in at the Whistle Stop with North County “skategaze” kid Scruffles.

Saturday 11
Tin Can Ale House has a wicked special Analog Wave rolling in Saturday night as a bunch of SoCali kidz, including SISU (Sandy from the Dum Dum Girls), Kevin Greenspon, Nicole Kidman, and Ancient Crux, take the stage with a variety of lo-fi loveliness. Nicole Kidman’s Jon Barba is this week’s unexpected grin winner for his unabashed enthusiasm and kid-in-a-tub playfulness. At least, I think he’s being playful. Check him out: myspace.com/sealfon. (Dude’s got a mighty Miley Cyrus hangup.) Dum Dum Girls Jules, Sandy, and Bambi will be spinning ’round this weekend’s sets to get to.... 94/9 will fill UCSD’s Rimac Arena for this year’s Holiday Hootenanny, headlined by radio-ready blues-rock duo the Black Keys. Also on the bill of fare are Against Me!, the Temper Trap, Sleigh Bells, Tokyo Police Club, and something called the “Beernasium”.... For the growed ups: SD jazz-guitar greats Mundell Lowe, Jaime Valle, and Bob Boss — with Bob Magnusson on bass and Duncan Moore at the traps — will be playing Dizzy’s downtown...bop-rock perennial Big Sandy and His Flyrite Boys check in at Casbah with Dave & Deke...Beat Farmer and barroom rocker Joey Harris and his Mentals turn up at Eleven with the Ghost Town Deputies...And at Zel’s in Del Mar, it’ll be urban bluesman Robin Henkel hitting the hoity toity with some hoi polloi.

Sunday 12
What Laura Says is a five-piece pop-rock band from Tempe that swings from Simon & Garfunkel harmonizing to piano-pounding body rockers. Their ’07 debut Thinks and Feels was an NPR-featured disc. WLS hits Bar Pink behind this year’s equally eclectic Bloom Cheek. Fellow Zonie funk-rock band Black Carl opens the show.... Bay Area band Totimoshi and loud-ass locals Archons bring their brand of punk metal to the Til-Two Club.... Tin Can Ale House stacks up indie acts Shapes of Future Frames, Hot Panda from Canada, Birdzilla, and Swim Party.... Else: 91X Wrex the Halls at Viejas Arena with alt-rock remainders Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance, Bad Religion, Jimmy Eat World, Switchfoot...kinda like getting socks for Christmas.

Monday 13
Phoenix folk-punks Andrew Jackson Jihad and Royal Monsters join like-minded locals Jehovas Fitness for an early show at Ché Café at UCSD. Shouldn’t they be studying for finals or something?... The kids from Phoenix will then haul it down to Middletown to set the stage at Casbah’s Anti-Monday meet-up, where a refocused Vision of a Dying World will headline.

Tuesday 14
Belly Up books ’80s alt-rock hits Concrete Blonde. CB alum Johnette Napolitano and James Mankey hooked up with Shout! Factory Records this year and released a remastered 20th-anniversary edition of “modern-rock” essential Bloodletting — best inroad for the uninitiated. O.C. post-punker Ravens Moreland (Wall of Voodoo) will set the Solana Beach stage. How many Concrete Blondes does it take to change a lightbulb? None, it’s in their rider.... Portland throwback folkies Horse Feathers drift into Casbah behind this year’s Kill Rock Stars collection Thistled Spring. Smacks of Sam Beam, if you like you some Iron & Wine... Udder mentionables include L.A. outsider artists David Liebe Hart and Flesh the Racist Crayon with like-minded locals the Yiffs at Soda Bar...and from Fullerton, CA, jittery proto punx Dahga Bloom are back at the Tin Can with Seattle acts Night Beats and Dimples.

Wednesday 15
You ever checked out that shop Vintage Religion at University and 32nd in North Park? Have a peek: vintagereligion.com. According to the calendar, performance artist Paisley Yankolovich will bring out the liberal soul in you Wednesday night. “Liberal Soul is an eclectic mix of Negro Spirituals, hymns, traditional Hebrew worship, and a handful of Paisley creations delivered in an intense, challenging context.” I don’t know about you, but I could use some liberatin’. It’s free, but I think you need to RSVP on the website.... Around the bend, Behind the Wagon and Pushin’ Rope will country-fry Bar Pink.... Boogie-woogie piano man Gene Taylor and his Blues Band, featuring Blaster Dave Alvin, jump on Casbah with the Bedbreakers.... And Generation X punker-turned-face of MTV Billy Idol will be doing that lip-curling, air-punchy thing at House of Blues humpnight. I had a friend in high school who thought “Eyes Without a Face” was “Howzabout a Date.” Yuh. He’d sing it deadpan like that. Embarassing but hysterical. He’s a U.S. marshal now.
Barnaby Monk

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