Okay, San Diego Music Thingers, put on your “Thinging” caps because you’ve got to figure out how to see all the bands you want to see of the hundred-plus that are playing on 12 stages around town. You could treat it like an algebra problem — you’ll need a map, a compass, and a calculator — or you could just follow the bouncing Monk. Here we go... Thursday night’s more like Calculus II than Algebra, actually, as you’ve got critics’ (and pretty much everyone else’s) darlings Yo La Tengo at Observatory North Park. I’ve seen them, and a more generous band there is not. Also, the new record, Stuff Like That There, is why we all love the art of pop. And with Portland’s finest folk-rock band Blitzen Trapper setting it up (their new record, All Across This Land, is their best yet by a country mile), what’s the problem, right?...the problem, Crawler follower, is that post-punk Canada band Viet Cong is headlining sets by Mrs. Magician and Gateway Drugs at the Irenic. I’ve yet to catch Viet Cong live, and this year’s self-titled record is just about the most immediately and wholly engaging collection I’ve heard all year — “restless” and “propulsive” are the common critical denominators. I’d like to stand in the middle of all that. But, Yo La Tengoooo.... When the doors close on those, and you can be sure the doors will close on those, Soda Bar’s staging Seattle jump-punk quartet the Briefs with our own Widows, Touchies, and Diamond Lakes...the Kabbs and Elephant Stone (sitarist for Beck) will split a bill at Whistle Stop (be sure to check out our interview with the Kabbs in this week’s ish)...Fat Possum folkie A.A. Bondy’s at the Hideout with Sonny Boy Thorn, Old Tiger, and Grampadrew...while Dave and Phil Alvin blast through Belly Up with their band the Guilty Men.
These are all “Things”: Pennsylvania punk-n-roll band Beach Slang’s latest, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, isn’t just a mouthful, it’s an angsty, Replacements-scuffed earful. I suspect Pitchfork’s 8.0 is 7.5 for its solid sonic goodness and 0.5 for its arrested development content. With James Snyder’s (ex-Weston) sandpaper pipes, the words are kinda beside the point. I can’t wait to watch the old man rock the kids off the stage at the Hideout after the also fun-punkin’ Swingin’ Utters and Bomb Pops.... Right up the road at Soda Bar, indie hopefuls Born Ruffians take the stage after Young Rival, James Supercave, and My Goodness. The Ruffians’ 2015 offering RUFF was another in a tidy line of post-punky preening that isn’t quite tough enough for Canadian hockey, but it has its quirky Heads/Femmes charms.... Casbah’s got a mixed bag Friday night, when Jimmy LaValle’s ambient side, Album Leaf, headlines sets by soundscape theatrical act Ilya (according to their F-book page, this is their last show), L.A.’s big-sound acoustic group Eagle Rock Gospel Singers, and street-beats electronica artiste Bakkuda.
Here’s another Music Thing Calc II problem, with three variables: L7, who you refuse to miss, will take the SDMT stage behind the Observatory at some point on Saturday night. The other bands on that bill include Joy Formidable, Milo Greene, Chicano Batman, Neighbors to the North, Madly, Palace Ballroom, and Moth to the Flame...at the nearby Irenic, No Age will headline sets by Retox and Big Bad Buffalo...somewhat between the two, Bar Pink is billing some cream of the local crop, with Creepy Creeps, Schizophonics, Subsurfer, and Grizzly Business. You pretty much want to see all of the aforementioned bands, but you’ll settle for mostforementioned. So, lock down set times and wear running shoes: it’s about a mile between L7 and No Age with a quik stop at Bar Pink for a drink, and you’re in awesome shape! You may not catch whole sets, but you’ll be drenched in rock-roll sweat, you beast!... Also up in the Heights, you’ve got a Redwood Records revue at Soda Bar, featuring Midnight Pine, Birdy Bardot, Erik Canzona & the Narrows, Creature & the Woods, Dani Bell & the Tarantist, and a pretty good chance of seeing Al Howard going throne to butt bone.... Want to avoid the whole “Thing” and just chill electro-pop style? San Diego native Trevor Powers and his Youth Lagoon are touring in support of this year’s well-received Savage Hills Ballroom record and will be playing Belly Up with DJ/producer/beat-box Brooklynite Taylor McFerrin (yup, the eldest son of jazz maestro Bobby).
Follow the Crawler into next week...