Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week

Primadonna: Marina & the Diamonds

Slowcore, witch house, sugar-pop. The throwaway signifiers tend to make anyone remotely involved bristle. But when you’ve got an amorphous blob of musicians stretched out across the country/world with similar milieus, you tend to want to identify these similarities, to connect all those rich musical dots.

It’s our duty as music nerds, to categorize and look for patterns, to listen to the influences of the bands we love, to find the path of sound that keeps rolling backwards in time and space. And so that brings us to White Ring, influenced by Waka Flocka Flame and presumably, vintage horror films (and playing DNA Lounge this week). Or to early 1990s act Codeine, foreparents to a rather sad-core future genre, back in the saddle again and playing San Francisco. It's topsy-turvy Music Appreciation 101 in the city this time around.

Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:

The Babies
Those humming bloggy masses have long been itching for this one: the closely-watched collaboration between Cassie Ramone and Kevin Morby, members of Vivian Girls and Woods respectively (the Brooklyn group was originally conceived of as a side project  to play house parties). The resulting mixture is simple, sweet garage-pop, best served warm over ice cream. Check “Here Comes Trouble,” the Pixies-ish limited seven-inch released last December; or newest single “Moonlight Mile” off the upcoming fall release Our House on the Hill.
With Pamela, Love Devotion
Wed/11, 9pm, $8
Hemlock Tavern
1131 Polk Street, SF
(415) 923-0923

Marina & the Diamonds
Welsh pop singer-songwriter Marina & the Diamonds (singular, like Florence + the Machine) had an underground sleeper hit with 2010’s The Family Jewels — thanks mainly to diamond crusted call to arms “I Am Not A Robot.” She returns to SF this year with a huge new album under her glittery belt, Electra Heart, which takes her in an even poppier – if too sugary – and more polished direction. Regardless, she puts on a helluva eye-popper show.
Wed/11, 8pm, $22.50
1805 Geary, SF

While Codeine only existed the first time around for five short years beginning in ‘89 (its reissues and this subsequent tour are billed as a “commemoration,” not a reunion), it managed to have a lasting effect and influence on the many dreary slowcore bands that followed, most notably, Low.
With Mark Eitzel
Thu/12, 9pm, $18
Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell, SF
(415) 885-0750

White Ring
It’s perfect that this show falls on Friday the 13th, because this NYC duo’s music — lumped in fairly with the so-called witch house scene — is creepy as hell. With lasers, lights, billowing fog machine clouds, and the eerie vocals of Bryan Kurkimilis and Kendra Malia rising over warped synths and chopped beats, a White Ring appearance is a veritable haunted house party.  
With Deathface, and DJs S4nta_Mu3rte, Chauncey_CC
Fri/13, 10pm, $13
DNA Lounge
375 11th St., SF
(415) 626-1409

Last year, Sacramento's S.S. Records celebrated a decade of life with its own intimate music fest. It went so well, they're doing it again. Bands such as San Francisco legends Icky Boyfriends along with late '80s psych-garage stalwarts Monoshock, and newer Modern Lovers-ish LA weirdos Wounded Lion (now on In the Red) will come together to play the two-day 11th anniversary gathering this weekend.
Fri/13-Sat/14, 9pm, $12 each day
Hemlock Tavern
1131 Polk Street, SF
(415) 923-0923

Street Justice and Awesome
Remember the original version of the Sega Genesis game Streets of Rage? It was all tight jeans, big muscles, ominous background noise, mobster bosses, and beating killer punks with pipes. The sonic equivalent would be SF hardcore band Street Justice (tag for this one is “Vigilante music for those who are mad as hell and don't want to take it anymore”). And Awesome, well that’s members of Filth, Strychnine, Econochrist, and Sahn Maru, so you pretty much know what you’re getting into there. Moshy good times.
With Utter Failure
Sat/14, 10pm, $5
800 S. Van Ness, SF
(415) 824-1800

Aesop Rock
“Recently rated the industry’s most intelligent rapper by Listverse, San Francisco resident Aesop Rock is a hip-hop maverick with a quick tongue and sharp wit that will leave your feet tapping and your head spinning.” – Haley Zaremba
With Rob Sonic & DJ Big Wiz
Sun/15, 8pm, $22.50
1805 Geary, SF
(415) 346-6000

Also from this author

  • Love rumbles

    Who is Charlie Megira? A Berlin rebel with a Bay Area connection

  • Down at the Rickshaw

    One of our favorite independent music venues celebrates 10 years of rockin' -- with a week of great shows

  • Rockin' New Year's Eve

    Let 2013 all hang out at these musical blasts