Soda Bar stages Off with Their Heads on Sunday. The Minneapolis four-piece trades in melodic hardcore seasoned with straight-ahead punk rock, and it looks as if they are picking up a tour that was cut short in 2013 behind their Home record. Apparently, the main head-lopper had a, shh, nervous breakdown, so be cool. The “therapeutic punks” from West Chester, Pennsylvania, Spraynard, set it up.... From Oregon, Wisconsin (yes, that’s a place), jazz-punk hip-hop (yes, that’s a thing) ten-piece Youngblood Brass Band split a bill with old-timey locals the G Burns Jug Band at Casbah. With all those heavy-metal instruments and ten milk-fed Midwestern dudes, the ’Sbah’s gunna get loud and steamy Sunday night, y’all.
My Love Is Cool is Ellie Rowsell’s coming out with Wolf Alice. The hard-touring English alt-rock band dropped one of this year’s best debuts, a grunge-based set of songs with weaknesses as interesting as its strengths. If that makes sense. If it doesn’t, stick around for the buried title track (“Teach me, teach me/ Teach me rock and roll”). Had the collection on shuffle all weekend, and it wins no matter how you cut the deck. Wolf Alice takes the all-ages stage at the Irenic on Monday night. Drenge and Made Violent open the show.... Ex-Unicorns/Islands frontman Nick Diamonds plays Casbah behind this year’s art-pop gem City of Quartz. Diamond (né Thorburn) has fun with analog synths and tends to get conceptual with his records. Pitchfork suggests that City of Quartz, like its video-game name, is a little trip through planet Nicky — on a Unicorn (the similarities in this set are too strong not to mention the Unicorns, and that’s a very good thing). London-based singer-songwriter-producer Lyla Foy is up first.... From Orlando, Florida, 15-year-strong thrash-metal band Trivium takes the stage at Observatory North Park behind their seventh studio set, this year’s well-received Silence in the Snow. That one’s an all-ages show.
Grunge daddy Neil Young’s at the RIMAC at UCSD on Tuesday. “Old Neil” has got a new one in the bins called The Monsanto Years, a concept record criticizing the agribusiness giant. According to the Missoulian (Montana, 3 days ago at this typing), “Young mesmerizes crowd.” I read the piece and it’s referring to his show-opening acoustic and piano balladeering. After the crowd was sufficiently mesmerized, Neil’s new electric band, Promise of the Real, came out and kicked in Montana’s teeth. Alt-country chanteuse Jenny Lewis opens the San Diego show.... Else: English indie-rock act alt-J plays the other college campus at Cal Coast Credit Union’s Open Air Theatre at SDSU...L.A.’s playful synth-pop trio Superhumanoids visit Casbah...while Oklahoman alt-rock trio Other Lives (they toured with some band called Radiohead in 2012) take the stage at Belly Up in Solana Beach behind this year’s Rituals record.
I am out of room, so here are the humpnight hits you should look inta: English indie rockers Florence & the Machine, touring in support of this year’s well-regarded How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, plug in at Viejas Arena at SDSU...L.A. singer/songwriter Bob Forrest rolls into South Park bar Whistle Stop with his new collection, Survival Songs, a folk-rock record of new material and reworked songs by his old bands, Thelonious Monster and the Bicycle Thief...nu-wave singer George Lewis Jr., aka Twin Shadow, bring’s his Rally Midnight Tour to Belly Up...for fans of the Coldplay brand, Casbah screens Silent Film, an English piano-rock and drums duo touring in support of their new, eponymous record...Joy-pop troupe Calliope Musicals will headline sets at the Merrow in Hillcrest...Greyboy’s “next-gen power trio” Taurus Authority takes the stage at Bar Pink...while Lagwagon’s Joey Cape plays Brick by Brick with “the shouty one in Albion Gold,” folk-punk Laura Mardon.