A couple of country outlaws will ride through town this week, as that “Okie from Muskogee,” Merle Haggard, takes the stage at the Balboa Theatre downtown Thursday night, and Willie Nelson takes that very same stage next Wednesday.
Haggard, a multiple Grammy and Country Music Awards winner — the man has 38(!) number-one hits — last year released his second on the Vanguard label, Working in Tennessee, which that arbiter of taste concerning all things country, Spin magazine, said, “glides along on its Bakersfield groove with the greatest of ease, despite the album’s title.” Yeah, Haggard’s from Cali — who’d a thunk.... Need a folksy comedown from them proceedings, a short trip up Fifth you’ll find Thomas and the People at the Tin Can Ale House. The “Thomas,” one Thomas Johnson, hails from Baton Rouge and strums and hums from somewhere between Iron and Wine. His debut full-length, Beneath the Trees, is available on the interweb right now. Git on.... From Ames, Iowa, electropop ’n’ hip-hop comediennes Leslie & the LY’s will be down at Casbah behind last year’s fabsolutely abulous Destination Friendship.... Andthensomes: L.A. “gatling-gun fast” rapper Busdriver pulls into Soda Bar behind his new t’do, Beaus$Eros, with his hip-hop superduo pard Nocando...alt-rocking Los Angelino Sergio Bedolla’s Fantazzmo’s at Brick by Brick...and the Squidling Bros. carny-freak thing hits Shakedown with the Coffin Bangers Gorelesque and Zombie Surf Camp.
Bay Area retro-pop hit Girls will play the Birch North Park Theatre Friday night. With the release of last year's Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Christopher Owens proved he could pen and produce something that’d stick to the wall. Don’t get me wrong, the debut was rad, but fleeting. I’m still unpeeling the layers on this one, from the Buddy Holly–style revivalist ditties to the unleaded album-rawk ’lectric guitar squalls. What can I say, I like Girls. I caught their set at last year’s Fuck Yeah Fest, and band and backing singers brought pop clarity to that slam-dance dust storm. Cannot wait to see them at the Birch, haven’t been there in forever. Meaning ever. I hear it’s nice. Unknown Mortal Orchestra opens the show.... Best of the rest: “San Diego’s emerging voice in modern jazz,” Third Story, plays 98 Bottles. This debut-CD release features Danny Weller on bass, pianist Joshua White, Jeff Miles on guitar, drummer Jens Kuross, with special guest Gilbert Castellanos on trumpet...Soda Bar serves up some electropop by Jamuel Saxon before the boys depart for Austin and SXSW. Blacks and Clockart up first...British prog guitarist Guthrie Govan (Asia) and the Aristocrats play Brick by Brick with Science Fiction...tribbers Ultimate Stones and Classic Cream rise at Belly Up...while country chanteuse Sophie B. Hawkins hits Ramona’s Mainstage.
Russian-American goth-rocker Nika Roza Danilova, aka Zola Jesus, appears at Casbah Saturday night. She is out to tout last year’s Conatus collection. Operatic at turns, Pitchfork called the ambient pieces “new wave mounted on a geological scale.” They’re the experts. With Brooklyn no-wave duo Talk Normal setting the stage, this’d be the headiest show to see....
Moving south (in all kindsa ways) emo punk three-piece Alkaline Trio’s down at House of Blues behind last year’s acoustic reconfiguration of their “hits,” Damnesia. Riverboat Gamblers ante up first.... River City, the Western Set, Summer Brothers, and Joanie Mendenhall fill a country-fried rock bill at Tin Can Ale House. This one’s a CD-release thing for the Western Set.... Zonie garage-rock act the Love Me Nots will be out at Tower Bar with Brainspoon and Sister City.... Oi! Shakedown stages "South London’s working-class skinhead heroes" the Business with Chi-town melodic punks Downtown Struts and our own Rat City Riot.... NorCal nu-metal quartet Adema will stack ’em up at Brick by Brick behind brand-spanking new EP Topple the Giants.... According to Keef Richards, “Dumpstaphunk is the best funk band from New Orleans right now.” If you trust Keef — and why wouldn’t you? — Ivan Neville’s crew’ll be phunkin’ up Winstons in O.B.... And that roots-rocking traveling troubadour Jackie Greene will be at Belly Up Till the Light Comes.
“O’ Brother is an indie-rock band from Atlanta, GA, with a mesmerizing and powerful sound, taking influence from different bands such as Radiohead, Appleseed Cast, Mogwai, and Sigur Ros.”
Never heard of O’ Brother, but that don’t mean squat if this message they approved rings true. All those great bands wrapped into one play Soda Bar with Junius. Never heard of them either, but both these bands are racking up five- and six-digit web hits.... Heard of (and heard) Ty Segall, and can confidently recommend his SanFran garage-rock band to fans of the brand. Ty and co. will be down at Casbah in support of last year’s Drag City keeper Goodbye Bread. Like-minded locals the Kabbs split the bill.... Else: indie-folkie Gayle Skidmore will be up the big hill at Tin Can Ale House with Seattleite Tito Ramsey and our own Boyish Charms...and there’s a Gram Parsons tribute at Belly Up featuring a whole bunch of local talent. Click this for the list: bellyup.com/show/detail/55988.
From Kilsyth in Scotland, indie-rock act the Twilight Sad sets on Casbah’s Anti-Monday stage in support of this year’s Fat Cat offering, No One Can Ever Know. Americana singer and guitarist from Abilene, Texas, Micah P. Hinson, up first. Found this on Wiki: “Hinson describes himself as ‘a firm supporter of the American Dream,’ which he considers Barack Obama to be ‘the murderer’ of.” Discuss.
Got a trio of Tuesday t’dos: SoCal Celtic punks Flogging Molly are touring with the Speed of Darkness. The seven-piece pulls up at House of Blues.... From Brooklyn via Phoenix, indie-pop four-piece Miniature Tigers plays Casbah behind this year’s Mia Pharaoh (love it), with Geographer, Chain Gang of 1974, and Pretty and Nice filing in first.... And Ché Café stages Waxahatchee, “the solo project of Katie Crutchfield of P.S. Eliot and Bad Banana.” I’ve no idea, either, but the little lady’s got 51,590 plays on last.fm and that doesn’t suck. Sledding with Tigers and Midnight Parade fill the bill at the campus collective.