The catchy, if kitschy, goth-pop band the Horrors will bring the smoke machines from Coachella to Belly Up this week. Often called “record-collector rock” by those in the know, the Horrors continue to confound those self-same critics with irresistible pop form and filler-free full-lengths. Last year’s XL Recordings release Skying won NME’s best album award and prompted the BBC to declare the five boys from Southend on Sea “national treasures.” Psych-rocking Austinites the Black Angels swoop down on the Solana Beach stage first to fill what promises to be one fuzzy wuzzy bill. Measure your head before ordering....
Best of the rest: “F U C-3PO,” Zammuto (Nick, of New York’s cut-and-paste pop band the Books) plays Soda Bar behind his crackling s/t debut. Odd Shapes up first...Grammy-winning Tex-Mex roots rockers Los Lobos lope into Anthology...House of Blues hosts Madchester alt-pop big band James (“Laid” is still a college-radio staple)...Lexington Field, Decker (AZ), Heavy Glow, and Vdrago fill an eclectic bill at the Tin Can Ale House...while Whistle Stop’s Makeout Weird this week welcomes the young saxophonist and one-time Violent Femme Blaise Garza, with Mike Gao and Penis Hickey, an audio-visual installation by some mad grads from UCSD, DJ MNSTRPSY spinning ’round sets, and an art show featuring the work of Locust drummer Gabe Serbian.
From Nagasaki, Japan, the garage-punk power trio Guitar Wolf attacks Casbah with their nonstop onslaught of noise-rock, or what they call “jet rock ’n’ roll,” a concoction of deep-cut Ramones and rockabilly. There’s also a touch of toon to what the Wolf brothers do — outsized amps, flame-thrower mics. The Transistors and Slut Machine jack in first....
The undisputed king of juke-joint swing, Wayne “the Train” Hancock, rolls into Midway punk club the Shakedown behind our own country skrunks Behind the Wagon. Found this on Train’s official website: “Wayne is the only Bloodshot artist to have had their CD taken aboard a space shuttle flight.” American astronauts are badass.... Dancehall DJ and singer Sister Nancy graces the stage at Til-Two. The international reggae artist has been the dominant female voice for the past two decades. From the Washington Post: “Her tune ‘Bam Bam,’ over the classic ‘stalag riddim,’ is known the world over — even by party people who can’t name a dancehall artist other than Sean Paul.” I know, Who’s Sean Paul?... And in that neck of the woods: Brooklyn barroom rockers Country Mice follow like-minded locals the Heart Beat Trail into Soda Bar...Long Beach space-punks Pins of Light join SD throwbacks Sculpins at Eleven...while Bar Pink brings back rock ’n’ soul dance band the Styletones.
The inaugural Adams Avenue Unplugged (really just the Roots Fest renamed) goes off Saturday and Sunday. It’s a long list (170 acts at 30 different venues), so I’ll let you do the legwork: adamsavenueunplugged.com. And while yer browsing, check out Mary Leary’s piece this week in Blurt, as brother Lou Curtiss is back onboard to fix this fest up....
Flamboyant frontman Seth Bogart is backed by a trio of of darlin’ “punkettes” to make up SanFran “young-oldies” band Hunx and His Punx. According to Bogart, “Young oldies is a mixture of ’50s teenage rock ’n’ roll, ’60s girl groups, and bubblegum pop.” Take a taste of this confection off of Hunx’s Hardly Art debut Too Young to Be in Love, and then catch the comely foursome at Casbah Saturday night with Nashville garage-pop trio Natural Child and our own polite punks the Plateaus.... Belly Up books Aussie potluck-rock act the Cat Empire, a sextet that explores ska, jazz, funk, reggae, and Latin forms of pop and hip-hop song structures. Stripes and Lines set it up.... Else: Soda Bar bags Black Elk with Death Crisis, Totimoshi, and Kodiak (metal)...Joey Briggs of the Briggs will be at Eleven with Jeff Rowe, Flat Wheeler, Dead Frets, and Johnny Giles (punk)...and Interrobang clangs at the Tin Can after Landis, David Fetter, and Privet (other).
As Adams Avenue wraps it up, I recommend you head on over to El Cajon Boulevard and Eleven’s early-bird Sunday sets, featuring Brooklyn frog-rock band — sorry, French-rock band — Les Sans Culottes. The septet performs French-pop oldies and classic American rock en français. They are touring in support of this year’s Vibratone release Pataphysical Graffiti. The Amandas and Interrobang up first.... For you heavy-metal hangers-on, Oaktown stalwarts Y&T plays 4th&B behind their latest CD, Facemelter.... And that smarmy Scot Craig Ferguson will mug and mince onstage at Humphrey’s by the Bay. I don’t get the appeal, but I don’t speak Scottish.
Got a few choice choices for you Monday-nighters this week, with a soul-jazz jam featuring the Fire Eaters at Bar Pink.... Keyboardist Kevin Kavanaugh’s doing his Morrissey Monday out at the Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa. “Meat Is Murder!”
Surf-jazz siblings the Mattson 2 will be at Casbah behind their newish disc, Feeling Hands. Experimental jazz cats the Montalban Quintet and In Motion Trio will open the show.... Ché Café stages hardcore punk politicos Trial. According to the straight-edge Seattlites’ Bookface page, “Just purchased a giant mechanical fire-breathing dragon for the upcoming West Coast tour in honor of Ronnie James Dio! Our stage show is going to put Iron Maiden to shame.” Ambitious. All Teeth, Run with the Hunted, Powerwolves, and Concussion fill the bill.
Wavves hits La Jolla to play Porter’s Pub at UCSD Wednesday night.
San Diego son Nathan Williams has made quite a name for himself in indie-rock world, eliciting collaborations with Best Coast and Fucked Up on his latest surf-punk set Life Sux. On the EP, the first release from his own Ghost Ramp record label, Williams tones down the brat factor in favor of girl-getting goo.... Upthataway, Jersey blues-rock slinger/singer Walter Trout will be at Belly Up behind this year’s Blues for the Modern Daze.... Around downtown, you got San Antone she-punk trio Girl in a Coma at Casbah with Piñata Protest...and Shiva Trash blows into Tin Can Ale House after the Last Years, the Bertos, and them psych-rockers from south of the border San Pedro El Cortez to fill one piss-drunk bill on Bankers Hill.
— Barnaby Monk