Guitarist/singer Jon Spencer cut his teeth in seminal punk ’n’ roll outfits Pussy Galore and Boss Hog, whose swampy blues-punk hoodoo informed his latest and longest tenure with the NYC-based Blues Explosion, featuring the eveready rhythm section of Judah Bauer on bass and Russell Simins at the traps. I say “eveready” because they gotta be; Spencer plugs in like a rock-roll pinball machine, launching with hard-rock riffage and bouncing around the Dolls’ garage into VU’s variation on psychedelia and beyond.
And onstage, it comes with Elvis shimmy-n-shake and the King’s own vocal quake. I’m a fan of all things JSBE, but the mid ’90s hattrick of Orange, Now I Got Worry, and Acme is what makes ’em great. I’ve yet to get my mitts on this year’s Meat and Bone, so I’ll save it for the merch person. The Explosion goes off at Casbah Thursday after the always excellent dynamic duo of Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss as Quasi.... Across town, Soda Bar stages the Pitchfork-approved (lauded, really) Toronto art-punk trio Metz with the languid, lo-fi likes of Mr. Gnome, Manuok, and Eighteen Individual Eyes (which is, on paper, a really weird billing and all I’m going to say about that). I have had that Metz record in the truck’s carousel for a few weeks now, and it is a fine, fun listen. Follows the Men’s Open Your Heart nicely. In fancy joints, they call that “a pairing”.... Else: House of Blues hosts Dez and Jerry’s horror-punk Misfits...while SD supergroup Ghetto Blaster (Fishwife, Rats Eyes) plugs in just up Fifth at Tin Can Alehouse after Wha? (with members of Long and Short, Tourettes, Beehive) and Innerds (with members of the Locust and Sleeping People). I guess they’re all SD supergroups.
Chicago’s pop-punk four-piece Smoking Popes light up at Soda Bar Friday night. The Popes are having a sort-of second coming since their ’08 reunion record, the angsty Stay Down. The band’s latest, This Is Only a Test, a concept record written like a teen’s diary, is a harder sell (and listen). They’re great onstage, tho. Luther and Dan Padilla (“the band, not the man”) open the show.... Staying Uptown: Ken Club stages boy-girl dream-pop group Twin Sister with SD faves Cuckoo Chaos and Clockart...Justin Pearson’s sci-fi surf punx Retox join Creepy Creeps and Regents at Tower Bar...while Whistle Stop’s weekly Club Pussy Galore features “shock pop” by New Kinetics and Badabing.... My favorite thing out of the OC, primitive-garage group the Cosmonauts, lands at the Griffin in Bay Park after Vacant Lots and Lovely Bad Things.... And up at the Ché Café, Terror, Take Offense, Rotting Out, and Born From Pain fill a hard hard hard hardcore bill at the campus collective.
Four sizzlin’ tix Saturday night, offered up here in alphabetical order because I don’t have that If-I-Were-a-Ewe formula (juuuust messin’): proggy punks And You Will Know Us by Our Wicked Long Name take the stage at Casbah behind this year’s Lost Songs, an original (despite the album title) 12-song set with a politikal purpose that’s probably way over my head. I know one of the tunes (“Up to Infinity”) was dedicated to rousted Russian feminists Pussy Riot, which is nice. Technicolors and Ghetto Blaster go first.... Coupla garage-rocking couples, Japandroids (bros, not brothers) and Bleached (sisters, for real) play Porter’s Pub at UCSD. (They should totally get together.) I just saw Japandroids, so I probably won’t go to that one.... Those concept-prone indie-rock Jersey boys Titus Andronicus check in at the all-ages Irenic, which is out for me because (1) I don’t like concepts and (B) I’m an age-discriminator against any human person under 18. Just ask my kids.... Leaving me with the Woggles, who turn up at Tower Bar. They are from Atlanta, and according to the Village Voice, they turn nightclubs into “dance party rave-ups that could melt Dick Clark’s face off.” Sold! Also, they are touring with the wicked fun L.A. garage-rock group Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a boy-girl band with Grade A pork chops.
Reader rock writer Dave Good had a chat with the Sea and Cake’s Sam Prekop for this week’s Of Note, so flip or click to that for more on the Chicagoland band’s tour. They’ll be at Casbah Sunday night with Fiery Furnace’s Matthew Friedberger. Hard to beat that double bill, post-rocker.... Honorable mentionables: alt-rock Seattleites Minus the Bear hit House of Blues with Cursive and Girl in a Coma...country-fried garage-rock trio Those Darlins appear at Soda Bar with Heavy Cream...hard-rock guitarist Michael Schenker (UFO, Scorpions) will stack ’em up at Brick by Brick after Runaway Roni Lee...and Ché Café’s staging Penis Hickey, Rat Jam, and Creative Conspiracy. Check out Chad’s piece this week on Penis Hickey.
Belly Up hosts the first-ever Rob Machado Foundation dealio for all things environmental, “featuring solo acoustic sets from Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik and Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman.” Those dudes are pretty.... “Like a glittery, tap-dancing unicorn, Tilly and the Wall have spent the better part of a decade giving meaning to the phrase ‘twee as fuck.’” Just tore that off the wire from Pitchfork HQ. Ah, what do they know. And “Mexican-inspired experimental folk” by Y La Bamba sounds interesting, as does “loosey-goosey, growdee-bajoedee” Saddle Creek trio Icky Blossoms, who will open this week’s Anti-Monday meetup at Casbah.... Soul Fires (née Fire Eaters) bring their soul-jazz jam to Bar Pink. For more on this trippy trio, click to Al Howard’s recent Blurt on the band: “Just getting warmed up.”
Night school: Peter Sprague brings his Beatles thing to the Loft with the UCSD Tritones...while the U’s Porter’s Pub sets up L.A. trip-hop duo Syd tha Kyd and Matt Martians, aka the Internet.... Portland doom-metal group Witch Mountain delivers this year’s Cauldron of the Wild to Casbah after Castle.... And the Bangles’ singer/guitarist Susanna Hoffs walks like an Egyptian into Anthology. (Sorry. Couldn’t not.)
Moving on! Wrapping up! Here we go! New Pornographer Carl “A.C.” Newman has a new record out called Shut Down the Streets, his most “autobiographical...dad-rock” collection to date, says the indie hit. I don’t get that bit, but Newman’s power-pop hooks and singalongable melodies are in full service here. He’ll be at Casbah with Harriet, which I can’t type without hearing Mike Myers saying, “Harry-ette. Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis.” I’m going to have that stuck in my head all day now.... Best of the rest: Bar Pink has barroom rockers Grand Tarantula...Tin Can Alehouse stages “dirt-pop” four-piece Short Eyes...and Austin alt-country act Micky & the Motorcars follow like-minded locals Crash & the Burns into the Griffin for your RDA of greazy beats.
— Barnaby Monk