Geek rock has its place in the pop pantheon, right between Fraggle rock and holiday music — alphabetically and spiritually — and no band epitomizes the genre quite like Santa Barbara–based four-piece Nerf Herder. I mean, look at that Han Solo sucking name. “Who you calling scruffy looking?” Parry Gripp still captains the Nerf Herder ship (“the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy,” Parry?) and his pop-punk act will headline a nerdcore showcase at Ruby Room with like-minded Los Angelinos Tsar and “pink rock” locals Kirby’s Dream Band.... Not ticklish? The Dunwells of Leeds in England and our own River City split a bill at Casbah, and the folk-rock acts will take your entertainment seriously. Seriously. The Dunwells are touring in support of debut disc Blind Sighted Faith, which has rock writers tossing off Eagles refs. Hmm... Else: “prehistoric space-age wizard rockers” Old Man Wizard will follow Amigo and Focke-Wolves into Tin Can Alehouse...while Jah soldiers SOJA close out their two-night stint at House of Blues. Kingston crew Rootz Underground opens that show.
At the House of Blues on Friday night, “dark-punk” Chicagoans Alkaline Trio take the downtown stage behind a pair of recent Epitaph releases, the full-length My Shame Is True and a toss-offs EP (read: the bass player sings) called Broken Wing. Both replete with the Alkaline’s sig minor-key mood swings. The early emo act from Queens, New York, Bayside, and Mini-apple punks Off With Their Heads fill this veteran bill.... Southern-rock Atlanta band Blackberry Smoke’s at the Griffin in Bay Park. You like yours country-fried, pick up their ’09 BamaJama set Little Piece of Dixie. It got these good ol’ boys a ride on the ZZ Top tour train. Heavy blues homeboys Hit Dog Hollar hit the stage first.... Honorable mentionables: you got SD’s fuzz-pop faves Cuckoo Chaos and Tropical Popsicle out at Tower Bar...Soda Bar sets up London-based “mod goth Motown pop” four-piece Various Cruelties with Hindu Pirates and the Yawmen...and Belly Up’s serving up a locally grown bill of fare, featuring arena-ready alt-rockers Transfer, with befores by Dead Feather Moon and Grand Tarantula. This is Transfer’s first date on a U.S. stage since returning from a six-week Euro tour with BRMC.
Reader contributor and TV personality Dave Good will kick off his summer of fun with the Dave’s Garage concert series. His maiden show is at Brick by Brick and features stellar tributes Back 2 Black and Deeper Purple, as well as local metal-meets-Motown band the Suicide Chords, which will be dropping their new disc on the packed house.... Otherwises: avant-gardian Gary Wilson (You Think You Really Know Me) takes the stage at the Void after the Natives and the Vaginals...Long Beach trio Bella Novela brings their fist-in-the-air dance-floor anthems to Bar Pink in North Park...hard-rocking Archons, Joy, and Bhore Lord will be banging heads and bleeding eardrums at Tower Bar...while Latin dance band Los Amigos Invisibles appear downtown at House of Blues.
Canada band Metz takes the stage at Casbah Sunday night. The trio released one of my favorite records last year, a s/t set on Sub Pop. In fact, Metz is still doing time in the truck’s carousel, spinning perfectly between Parquet Courts and the Men. But it was seeing them tear it up onstage that shook off my patina of apathy that had been building about art-punk over the past several (Jesus Lizard–less) years. Canuck punks White Lung will set it up, making this what should be the show to see this week.... Best of the rest: noise-pop duo Blood Red Shoes steps into Soda Bar after Splashh and Long Live Logos (where’ve they been hiding?)...and Bay Area rap royalty Andre Nickatina (née Dre Dog) takes the mic at Porter’s Pub at UCSD. Roach Gigz and Mumbls also on the bill.
She shredder Marnie Stern’s new record, The Chronicles of Marnia, is getting good reviews for its conjoining of Stern’s explosive electric with her subtler self. I haven’t heard it, but I have seen the lady play and it’s impressive, like, Eddie Van Halen tapping out raga. It’s the preening pop vox that detracts, but not so much I wouldn’t recommend checking her out at Soda Bar on Monday. SISU and Bulletins up first.... A couple blocks west, Hardly Art goth-rock artists Grave Babies crawl into the Void. The trio is out to tout this year’s Crusher collection of “off-pop pop”.... This week, Tim Pyles and the Anti-Monday team tag local rock-rollers Animal Steel at Casbah, with Mad Traffic and Crowds.
Dave broke down the VietNam show at Soda Bar in this week’s Of Note, so flip or click to that for more on them. Gap Dream and Tomorrow’s Tulips up first.... Orrrrr, Gonzo guitarist Zakk Wylde (Ozzy, Black Label Society) will be at Belly Up doing whatever he does these days...Tin Can Alehouse has indie-rock acts Recordable Colors, Little War Twins (Boston), and Muscle Beach...and from Olympia, Washington, the “sometimes noisy, sometimes droning, often pretty and subtly poppy” Broken Water flows into the Void after garage-rock border band San Pedro El Cortez and Captain Blackie’s new noise-rock duo White Mule.
It’s my birthday again, I peck out heavily on my laptop, and I’m totally torn over where to spend it. One of my favorite headbangers, Helmet, is headlining a beaucoup-thrills bill with I Wish I and Ape Machine at the Griffin, which is a great place to nod my noodle and spill drinks on friends, right...? But damn if Casbah didn’t order up Os Mufreakingtantes. The psych-rock tropicaliens from São Paulo are touring in support of their brand-spanking new disc (dropped yesterday, and I’ll probably get it for my birthday if my gf’s on her game), Fool Metal Jack. Capsula, a ’60s-style psych-pop act from Buenos Aires, opens the show. I guess I gotta go to that one. Or Helmet. Screw it, I’m buying tickets to both.
— Barnaby Monk