I believe it was Henry Miller who wrote in his controversial best-seller Tropic of Canada that “No man is an island.” No man except Nicholas Thorburn, aka Nicky Diamonds, frontman for tropical-pop group Islands. Well, the tropics of Canada (Montreal), where Thorburn cut his teeth in odd-pop trio the Unicorns, with on-again/off-again musical partner Jamie Thompson. The pair together produced the Unicorns’ Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? and Islands’ debut Return to the Sea, both v. recommendable sets for fans of the brand — abstract and charmingly sung experimental, lo-fi pop. This year Thorburn, without Thompson, produced a platter of endearing sad-sackery called A Sleep & a Forgetting, a collection of breakup songs writ in solitude, in Los Angeles. According to Pitchfork, this one finds the “artistic vagrant...at his most lyrically direct and naked.” I assure you it will be a fully clothed Nicholas Thorburn at all-ages venue Queen Bee’s in North Park tonight. With Kentucky’s creepy balladeer Idiot Glee opening the show, this’d be gig to see.... I should mention that that one’s a Bar Pink production; a first for them, setting something up off-site. After the Islands show, those of you 21 and up can mosey on over to Bar Pink proper for SanFran psychedelic soul and funk band Monophonics, which is due to drop its sophomore set, In Your Brain, which promises wall-to-wall shag.... Best of the rest Thursday night finds sonic soul-sucker Marcelo Radulovich’s tongue in yer ear at Whistle Stop’s Makeout Weird...Aussie indie-pop duo An Horse at Casbah...and tenor saxophonist Ian Tordelo blowing minds at the Loft at UCSD.
L.A. punk perennials Jughead’s Revenge bounce back to Midway punk club the Shakedown. The fun-as-hell four-piece found each other in the late ’80s and released the one-two punch of Unstuck in Time and It’s Lonely at the Bottom, both available at their very generous website (i.e., free downloads): juggsrevenge.com. The group disbanded in 2001 after being sued by Archie Comics. Yeah, Jughead himself! They’ve been back at it since ’09 and tearing it up with hardcore chums Bad Religion. They haven’t released a record since 1999 but supposedly have got some new seven-inchers on the way. Check with the merch guy. Whitekaps, Doggy Style, and D.P.I. will set the pit in motion....
I see Interrobang’s up at the Ché Café on Friday. I always liked this bit of scrib from Chad Deal in regards to the band: “The quartet sounds like Tortoise loosely covering Jobim tunes for a traveling freak and medicine show somewhere in Eastern Europe. Probably their jam sessions were fueled by cold shots of armadillo blood while chanting incantations from Rasputin’s personal notebook.” If you’re into that, and who isn’t, you also get Shiva Trash, Pusher, and sound scientist Bill Wesley. He invented the Array mbira. That’s part of the lamellaphone family.... Onward! Around downtown, it’ll be D.C. stoner-rock trio Dead Meadow at Casbah, with like-minded locals Astra, the Loons, and Joy...electro/techno/norteño Bostich+Fussible of Nortec Collective at 4th&B...and Brit-rocker John Waite at Anthology. He was in ’70s radio staples the Babys. Their Anthology is one of my all-time favorite 8-tracks. Don’t look at me like that.
Happy St. Patty’s Day. Don’t forget to wear green to work or that dick in the cubicle by the bathroom is going to punch you in the arm. I’m leaning toward Celtic punkers the Down’s Family, which will be at Eleven, where the pours are mighty Irish, but the gf is all about dinner out at the Riviera Room and then catching the set by San Diego soulful R&B band the Amandas. I know, Enjoy the Riviera, brah... Else: L.A. alt-pop act Mini Mansions will be at Tin Can Ale House. That’s Zach Shuman’s (Queens of the Stone Age) other other band. With hot-shit locals Burning of Rome and Short Eyes, that’s a triple decker...barroom rockers the Nards hook up with them spicy Beatles the Baja Bugs at Bay Park bar the Griffin...and JC trib Cash’d Out’s at Casbah. Johnny was Scottish, but according to the Wik, “[Cash] was significantly influenced by traditional Irish music.” The Man in Tartan.
Tool man Maynard James Keenan’s “premiere improvisational hardcore band” Puscifer plays California Center for the Arts in Escondido.
It’s party rock and it’s all over the place. Keenan suggests you “arrive happy and hungry.” The shape-shifting big band is touring in support of Conditions of My Parole.... Else: spoken-word hip-hopper Sage Francis will parse his pearls at Belly Up...psychedelic San Diegans Old Man Wizard and My Satellite play a matinee at Eleven...and then a couple blocks east at Soda Bar, it’ll be electropunk Berliner Bonaparte — “Conquering hearts and butts, night after night!”
British indie-rock act Kaiser Chiefs march into Belly Up behind this year’s notable Start the Revolution Without Me. Pop Matters’ Crispin Kott scored it an 8 outta 10, comparing it to the Kinks and Blur. Transfer opens that show....
Soda Bar sets up Grave Babies with Young Prisms. Seattle’s Grave Babies will release Gothdammit in early April via Hardly Art, which promises “achingly pretty melodies in fathoms-deep oceans of solvent distortion.” Kewl. Young Prisms are a SanFran garage-pop band with a recommendable set in last year’s Friends for Now.... Thrill Jockey guitar guru Dustin Wong delivers his brand new Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads to Tin Can Ale House. The layers and loops Wong creates will hypnotize anyone. You should totally bring a date. Woodsman and Mystery Cave with Ryan Haynes fill the bill.
From Memphis in Tennessee, Southern-rocking country punks Lucero will be at Belly Up behind this week’s release Women & Work. Drowning Men wash up first....
On-campus at UCSD, you’ve got Wu-Tang rapper Raekwon at Porter’s Pub...noise-pop duo Bitches from the UK at Ché Café...and Chapel Hill folk orchestra Lost in the Trees at the Loft. Tuesday sees the release of their “devastating” new ANTI- disc A Church That Fits Our Needs.... Downtown rock spot House of Blues hosts that Grammy-winning Righteous Babe, the folk-rocking poetess Ani DiFranco.