“San Diego Music Thing” really captures the imagination, doesn’t it? Ooph. The “Thing” is much too much for my brief blurt, so click on this for the gist: sandiegomusicthing.com. As luck would have it, I, personally, do not have to deal with its unwieldy citywide haps, as I will be at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown for the annual Camper Van campout Friday through Sunday, whence I will return for what is sure to be the gig to see this year. DON’T jump to Sunday, Cheater McCheaterson! I got to first tell you what the what is Thursday through Saturday.... Tin Can Ale House has a good one going on, with tropical-pop big band Red Pony Clock headlining sets by Vista psych-folk trio Gift Machine and the jaw-droppingly rocking Octa#Grape. Gift Machine songsmith/multi-instrumentalist Dave Matthies is a recording engineer of some repute, having engineered one of my all-time favorite records, The Glow, Pt. 2, by the Microphones. So, yeah, I’ll be the guy at the Tin Can with the CD and the Sharpie.... From Phoenix, punka-/gotha-/rockabilly band Calabrese haunts Brick by Brick with their dark-arts schtick, which they claim comes from Frankensteining the Ramones onto Misfits and the Damned. Calabrese is out to tout last year’s Dayglo Necros, the trio’s best horror-punk set yet. With SanDago psychobilly band Hard Fall Hearts and zombie-rockers They Feed at Night opening the show, this one sounds scary fun.... Else: From Austin, Texas, rockabilly ravers the Bellfuries will play till 2 at Til-Two...and Bay Area rapper Andre Nickatina has the mic at House of Blues. Dre Dog’s out in advance of his new self-titled CD, which is due to drop the end of September
I’m a fiend for seeing scary movies on Friday the 13th, and this year’s follow-up to Insidious — Insidious: Chapter 2 — will so fill the bill. No rest for the wicked, so after that a late-night church show at the Irenic, featuring Titus Andronicus (“specializing in punk solutions since 2005”). The Jersey quintet comes across as some seriously heady pub rock, given frontman Patrick Stickles’s mad J. Sebastian Bach piano, rad Sebastian Barry verbosity, and sad Sebastian Cabot beard. (I know, this stuff just flies out of my butt.) The band’s touring in support of last year’s Local Business, which the AV Club summarizes nicely: “Three guitars, a sense of humor in the face of despair, and an unwavering commitment to the underrated art of the rock ’n’ roll sing-along.” Even has a song called “Food Fight.” Hit up the interwebs for a taste of their latest single, “Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter.” There’s a video for the aurally challenged.... Best of the rest: behind their latest Barsuk offering, Beta Love, New York’s Ra Ra Riot breaks out at the Birch North Park Theatre after Fat Possum’s indie-folkie fivesome Caveman...“the scariest band in the world,” Deadbolt, will take down the Shakedown after Tramplers and Confederales...indie-stomp southerners (by way of Sparta, Tennessee) the Features roll at Bay Park bar the Griffin after like-minded locals the Heavy Guilt...and up-country, at Ramona Mainstage, one of my favorite nu-blues slingers, Tommy Castro and his Painkillers, will rock ’em till the cows come home. Probably literally.
Since the demise of Sonic Youth, which will never die so shut up, Kim Gordon and her new pard, the experimental guitarist Bill Nace, have gotten Body/Head off the ground and sky high. The noise-guitar duo this week released debut Coming Apart to two camps, the knitted-brows camp and the nods-of-approval camp. Admittedly, I am a knitted brow, but this stuff chills ya live. And, also, they’ll be headlining these Casbah sets by the always-entertainin’ Gram Rabbit and Wild Wild Wets.... Not into it? Jimmy LaValle’s ambient electronica-meets-acoustics act Album Leaf’s at Sunset Temple with Tiny Telephones and Island Boy. That’s pretty, easy listening...or, OR, L.A.-based skatecore shredders G.F.P., featuring the one and only Tony fucking Alva, will grind at Shakedown after our own Coda Reactor and Castoff....Afro-disco Los Angelinos Orgone have a new joint called New You that is fulla fun funk to get krunk. Our own In Motion Collective will get the dance party going at the Griffin with some jazzy brass...and Uproar hits Sleep Train is really weird to type, featuring Alice, Jane’s, and Coheed & Cambria, for all your alternative ’80s needs.
Canadian post-rock collective God Speed You Black Emperor takes the stage at Belly Up Sunday night behind last year’s Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, their first studio set in a decade. The instrumentalists compose elemental, psychological songs that deliciously deliver that tension/release thing that proggy avant acts (Mogwai, Sigur Rós, Explosions in the Sky) specialize in. What’s the diff. here? I’d submit timing and that ghostly whisper in the ear. GSYBE has got Floyd’s Meddle-era tension timed, geared with Radiohead grind and some Broken Social pluck and squall for you rock-song purists (like me), but here’s the thing, these players conjure some primal hoodoo. Spooky, spirit-goading sonics. I’ve seen them twice and left both times turned, a bit more, outward. One man’s mindfuck is another monk’s med. Fans of the brand, see you stagefront in Solana Beach.
Stay Strange/Metal Mondays weekly fills the Void with cathartic noise. This week the sonic assailants are local electro-sludgemeister Sam Lopez’s Zsa Zsa Gabor and “crushing doom from Salem, Oregon,” Hell. They grow that shit on trees up there...barroom rockers Bruin and Roxy Jones are right down the street at Soda Bar if you need a break from the heaviosity...and up at Ché Café, Mary Land hardcore band whenskiesaregray follows Black Panther and Meryl Streaker into the UCSD campus club.
Country-rock storyteller Jason Isbell’s Southeastern is one of the more celebrated releases this year, for its compelling narratives. Indeed, the ex–Drive-By Trucker has had a storied career, but Isbell’s broken through, made that rite-of-alcoholics-passage his own, and written a record worthy of rapt repeat listens. A first for the music lifer. Isbell plays Belly Up Tuesday night with his wife and fiddle player Amanda Shires.... ’Round town, Soda Bar sets up Sub Pop’s rock-roll classicists (i.e., e.g., f.y.i., the Band, the Doors, Sabbath) Rose Windows with loud-ass locals Supermodel Razorblades...while up-and-coming indie kids Ed Ghost Tucker and Grizzly Business split a bill at the Griffin.
As usual come humpnight, I’m out of space, so real quik with the hit picks: from Greenville, NC, heavy-metal beardos Valient Thorr hit Casbah with Ramming Speed, a Boston-based band that plays D-beat punk with guitar solos — nice...Denton, TX, psych-folk sextet Midlake’s at Soda Bar in advance of this year’s Antiphon...from NYC, third-wave ska throwbacks the Toasters cook at Brick by Brick...whilst ’right round the bend, “jafunkadansion” band Snarky Puppy jumps up on the Griffin stage. Break it down.
— Barnaby Monk