“I don’t have a record player,” I shouted at Yoni Wolf over the Spaceland cocktail table that served as his merch booth. It was 2008, and I was in Silverlake because Why?’s Elephant Eyelash had been a staple of my pop-music diet for about two years. I had to see the trio live. And like a lot of outsider artists, esp. hip-hop acts at the time, they weren’t coming to San Diego. “You better get one,” Wolf (one of the founders of the Anticon record label) told me, “because vinyl’s coming back.” He was sitting beside a stack of vinyl for his just-released Alopecia album. His best, imo. “I don’t want to hold the album all night. Can I get one after the show?” “They’ll be gone by then.” He was right, they were gone. He gave me an Anticon sticker as consolation. Vinyl prophet Yoni Wolf and his band Why? will hit town behind his latest record, Moh Lhean, a heady collection that arranges more like experimental jazz than indie rock and contains some of Wolf’s best post-pop wordplay. They take the all-ages stage at the Irenic in North Park on Thursday night.... The Grammy-winning band Tinariwen started in Algeria and Mali in 1979, “playing traditional Berber music shot through with other influences, including American rock and roll,” according to Reader contributor Andrew Hamlin, who speaks with two members of the group about the political unrest in their part of the world and the hurdles of touring to the West this year. Tinariwen plays Belly Up with the always-entertaining Khmer surf-rock band Dengue Fever.... Else on Thursday: Mild High Club convenes at the Hideout with Frankie & the Witch Fingers for a night of top-notch psych-pop...Detroit’s “garage-disco” band Electric Six (“Gay Bar”) plugs in at Casbah after Residual Kid and Secret Samurai...and Burger Records’ lo-fi SanFran band Part Time plays Blonde Bar with likeminded locals Heavy Hawaii and the L.A.-based Drinking Flowers.
From Austin, Texas, the rock-and-soul big band Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears will drizzle their sticky goodness on a couple of San Diego stages this weekend, Friday night at Pete’s Place in La Mesa and then Saturday at Casbah. They are touring in support of this year’s Backlash, which Pitchfork says “trawls the familiar intersection of blues, soul, funk, and garage rock, but with a few enlivening strategies to make the old formula feel fresh.” Vampire Weekend drummer Chris Tomson’s Dams of the West opens both shows behind his new long-player, Youngish American.... Best of the Friday rest: Brick by Brick stages the hard-rocking Atlanta band Nashville Pussy after hardcore Seattle act Zeke and San Diego supergroup Spitfire Tornado (Manual Scan, Creedle, Dragons)...Widows and Kabbs split a garage-rock bill at Whistle Stop...garage-punk’s Terrible Human Beings the Orwells play the Irenic with the not-as-terrible Walters...Bosswitch, Mission Creeps, Mrs. Henry, and Strawberry Moons (ex–Burning of Rome) fill a locals-only rock-roll bill at Casbah...while alt-country quartet Old 97’s roll into Belly Up in Solana Beach behind this year’s Graveyard Whistling — more “meat-and-potatoes music” (Paste) from the Dallas act.
Vinyl Junkies will set up their record-swap shop on Saturday at Casbah, where from noon til 2 San Diego’s jackhammer drummer Mario Rubalcaba (Off, Hot Snakes, Earthless, RFTC) will spin some of his favorite discs. And then Saturday night at the Middletown mainstay, it’s the aforementioned Black Joe Lewis and his crew after dem Dams of the West.... Britpop band the Verve bring their bittersweet symphonies to Spreckels Theatre Saturday night. April fools, it’s just the singer Richard Ashcroft. Stillandall, he’s pretty good. Cold Play’s Chris Martin called him the best singer in the universe. Ever. So, yeah. Ashcroft is out to tout his new record, These People, which Metacritic says “received generally mixed-to-favourable reviews from music critics.” Favourable with a very British u.... For those who feel like bouncing a bit: the OC’s punk-rock perennials Agent Orange will headline hardcore sets at Soda Bar after Chango’s Psychotic Garage and On D’ Rugs...hepcat jazz act Squirrel Nut Zippers will wind up the Music Box with their swing-band jams...SanFran punk band Nothington headlines Hideout sets by our own BombPops and Western Settings...while SD’s salty sock-hop rockers Gone Baby Gone hit the Tower Bar with Fuzz Junkies, R3X, and Of Ennui.
Everybody’s favorite multi-instrumentalist Delicate Steve sets up at Soda Bar Sunday night. And by “everybody” I mean the New York Times, NPR, novelist Chuck Klosterman, and music types like David Byrne, Dirty Projectors, tUnE-yArDs, Mac DeMarco, Dr. Dog, Lee Ranaldo, and Built to Spill, all of whom he’s collaborated with. And according to the Soda site, he’s “likely the only guitarist alive who will cut records with Sondre Lerche and Death Grip’s Zach Hill. [Delicate Steve] was handpicked to open a sold-out North American tour for Tame Impala. And most recently, he provided guitar on Paul Simon’s new record.” I never heard of him either, but that’s some CV, yo. Body Song and Lucy Ring open the show.... Otherwise: Generationals and Raindeers split a synth-pop bill at Casbah...while English indie-folkie Passenger gets dropped off at House of Blues.
The Three One G/Planet B deal at Blonde Bar this week brings in L.A.’s long-lost noisy boys Festival of Dead Deer, featuring drummer Chris Hathwell who went on to play in the popular dance-punk band Moving Units. According to Three One G, which released Dead Deer’s 1998 disc Many Faces of Mental Illness, “They were great because the noise they made could melt steel and boil blood, and they were doomed because they reared up fast, spat out beautiful music, then vanished into the ether.” The Reader’s Chad Deal has a chat with singer/guitarist Michael Crain in advance of this rare Dead Deer sighting. Silent sets it up.... No on the noise? Foo Fighter Chris Shifflet will alt-rock the Casbah...whilst Oakland’s neo-soul band Paper Void plays Soda Bar after some Wine.
“W.R.” Thornton, aka actor Billy Bob Thornton, says he started out a musician and fell into acting. Mr. Thornton has finally found the rockabilly band to get him back into the recording studio and out on the road. The Boxmasters are touring support of their latest record, Boys and Girls...and the World, and will play Belly Up on Tuesday. Dave Good breaks it down in this week’s Of Note.... Best of the rest on Tuesday: emo meets screamo when Mayday Parade marches into Soma...Gayle Skidmore headlines folk-rock sets by Dani Bell & the Tarantist and Joe Marson at Casbah...German punk band Scheisse Minneli plays Til-Two with Finland’s Wasted Ones...and Jackyl and Bred Dogs split a Southern-fried hard-rock bill at Brick by Brick.