Like the very best punk rock, OFF! songs are short, sharp, violent shots that don’t connect with your flesh as much as they insert themselves into your head and proceed to bang their way out with jackhammer jabs. You nod your noodle and scream along — You wonder why I’m always screaming/ You wonder why I talk so loud! It’s cathartic. The pedigree of the players speaks volumes even before Dmitri Coats’s (Burning Brides) skin-ripping guitar begins to feed and bassist Steven McDonald (Redd Kross) and drummer Mario Rubalcaba (Hot Snakes, Rocket) push the pedals to the floor. I’ve been listening to frontman Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks) scream/sing for most of my life; his thrashed-throat Cali kid timbre describes angst and carries weight, his deceptively simple verbiage has depth and truth. Like the very best punk rock. OFF! will pack the house Thursday night at the all-ages Epicentre in Mira Mesa with Motor City stalwarts Negative Approach and Fullerton hardcore four-piece Bad Antics.... There’s some other stuff, too; e.g., Fee Waybill’s Tubes will be at Ramona Mainstage...new rare-groove group Sure Fire Soul Ensemble sets up shop at Bar Pink...UK mix-master duo Psychemagik will fill the floor at El Dorado downtown...and there will be a benefit for Southwestern College student paper The Sun at Tin Can Ale House, with music by the Natives, PL DVNA (featuring members of Electric Healing Sound and Dancing Strangers), and Voice Actor.
Soda Bar sets up an early show for Austinites What Made Milwaukee Famous. Always a bridesmaid, the indie-rock quartet “left” the Barsuk label to self-release this year’s You Can’t Fall Off the Floor, a power-pop set that nods, winks, and blows a kiss to fellow Texans Spoon. They’re a solid early-show band...up to you if you want to stay and pay for British guitar-pop trio Sea Pony, which headlines the late sets behind Rose Melberg and Neon Cough.... I’ll be getting my recommended daily allowance of soul-funk jazz jams, thank you very much, at Bar Pink with retro rollers Pocket.... Else: SD metal heads Psychothermia will celebrate a CD release for Fall to the Rising Sun at Ruby Room in Hillcrest, after Warner Drive and Eken Is Dead...alt-rockers Hargo, Subsurfer, Gone Baby Gone, and Duping the Public fill a locals-only bill at Casbah...“veteran bass peddler” and half of the genre-melding mash-up duo Ludachrist, Bro Safari, will be down at House of Blues...and Bay Area bad boys Tommy Castro & the Painkillers bring award-winning blues-rock to Belly Up in Solana Beach. TC’s got a new full-length in the hopper, due out this year, but the merch guy’s got the tour-only 45 teaser, “Greedy” b/w “That’s All I Got.” Maybe one of my blues-loving Crawler followers will grab me one of them...
Saturday sees psych-pop desert lop Gram Rabbit (Gram Parsons + Jesika von Rabbit) hopping onto the Casbah stage. The Josh Tree duo are touring in support of last year’s Welcome to the Country, a collection that garnered some commercial attention in, well, commercials — Fruit of the Loom commercials, to be specifical. “It’s pretty surreal,” Ms. Rabbit mused to the Hi-Desert Star about her single “Desperate Heart.” “I was, like, Wow, my voice is going to help sell underwear.” Indeed. Those ads ran during last year’s summer games, btw. Solid opening slots, too, with indie-rock acts Hills Like Elephants and Privet and local lo-fi folkies Midnight Pine.... Best of the rest finds retro-pop five-piece Get Back Loretta at the Griffin in Bay Park after Jackson Price and Deadly Birds...a reunited Swim Party will drip dry on the Soda Bar stage after Sleep Lady and Kalashnikov My Wife...and from Kingston, Jamaica, reggae royalty the Wailers visit Belly Up on their West Coast swing.
Cribbed from the Soda Bar site: “If you’re in the mood for some dirty, fuzzed-out psych-blues, look no further than SanFran band Buffalo Tooth...recommended for fans of Blue Cheer and Slip It In era Black Flag.” Hm. With local faves the Natives and Harsh Toke, I’ll get in the mood.... Not your cup of mushroom tea? Tower Bar booked Pagan Funeral. The Baltimore-based old-school doom-metal band will headline sets by Lenore and Gloomsday...Nawlins son Freddie Ross, aka Big Freedia, will introduce “bounce music” to Casbah after Keith Sweaty...and outlaw aper the Highwayman rolls into Belly Up. Dude’s got four grizzled old country singers inside him. Check out this week’s “Of Note” for his schizophonic story.
Is it “Fat Monday”? I dunno. Anyway, there’s going to be a brassy pre-Gras at Belly Up with New Orleans originals the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and like-minded locals the Euphoria Brass Band. Bead up, get horny.... Otherwises: celebrate 20 years of New York citified metalcore with Merauder, who take the stage at Ché Café after Murder Death Kill...and Tin Can Ale House’s “Tin Can Country Club” welcomes folk-pop singer-songer and Raincoat Records purveyor Gayle Skidmore, who last week released her latest EP, Zombie Heart.
I Love You, This Is a Robbery. Spoonboy (David Combs of D.C. pop-punk trio Max Levine Ensemble) has been called “a poor man’s Belle & Sebastian.” Not sure I really appreciate the rich man’s B&S, but I do like the lo-fi whimsy off of Spoonboy’s latest, The Papas. Lists a lot more toward American folk-diarists such as Conor Oberst and John Darnielle than the fey Brit preening of Stuart Murdoch, imho: spoonboy.bandcamp.com. Spoonboy digs in at Ché Café after Black Panther and Golos Truda.... While uptown, there’ll be some heavy petting at Soda Bar, where Austin, TX punk’d power trio Blind Pets wander onstage after the Paper Thins and Love & the Skull.
Badass bassist Kevin “Brandino” Brandon & Friends visit Seven Grand in North Park. The L.A.-based playa/producer has won seven Grammys in his storied career, which has featured work with artists such as Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, Outkast, and, oh yeah, cat daddy toured with Aretha freaking Franklin for more than 20 years.... Too high for your brow? Silver Lake country skrunks the Lonely Wild set up at Soda Bar...Swedish metal vets In Flames light up House of Blues after Seattle’s Christ-rocking Demon Hunter...Brooklyn-based electro-pop act St. Lucia’s at the Griffin with Wildcat! Wildcat!...and SD: Dialed In does a pre-Valentine’s (Oh, you forgot?!) thing at Casbah, featuring local folkies the Peripherals and Kelsey Rae Little and L.A.-based down ’n’ dirty rockers Burning Jet Black. Rez up, loverboy, and add “roses” to that shopping list.
— Barnaby Monk