PISSED PISTOL: In reaction to the wave of mid-’90s pop and ska bands billing themselves as full-on punk, Los Angeles’ Pistol Grip formed to remind true fans of the genre how hard bands like The Clash and Stiff Little Fingers could rock. Their sound is recognizably influenced by both British and American yesterpunk of the ’70s and ’80s, a lot of which was released before the band members were even born. The band has released two albums on BYO Records — a testament to the authenticity of their street-punk sound if there ever was one — and their songs recall a more aggressive, less politically correct era of music that popier stylings have forced underground. Having recently emerged from an extensive songwriting period in preparation for the band’s third album, Pistol Grip’s show on Friday, August 18 at Velvet Jones could give fans a chance to hear new tracks. — Drew Mackie
CLIMB K23: When listening to Al Howard and the K23 Orchestra (pictured), you just can’t help being intrigued by their jams. Who else would describe a gas station as a “caffeination surrealistic sensation”? Melding funk, rock, Latin, jazz, and hip-hop, Howard surpasses genre designations in producing a high-energy sound and dynamic musical experience. Their “structured improvisational” style has landed Howard and crew the San Diego Music Award for best hip-hop band for three consecutive years, including 2006. If you’re a fan of anyone like The Roots, Aesop Rock, or Radiohead — some of Howard’s favorites — check out the five-piece orchestra at Legends Bar and Lounge on Fri., Aug. 18. — Stephanie Cain
SAMPLE THIS: Going out in style means nothing to this 20-year-old band — they’ve got no intentions of aging nicely or going out at all. The Samples, who’ve gone from Boulder, Colorado garage band to major label darlings back to indie rockers, say their true calling is the road. One must respect the time-honored commitment of being an in-the-mix band by staying on the road and putting the time in with real-world situations, realities that give The Samples the soul that they expound through their percussion-laden, lyric-heavy music. They hit SOhO on Monday, August 21. — Hudson Hornick
BIKO BITES: Three groups of angry young men will be tearing through Isla Vista’s Biko House, giving us a chance to find out how the punk sounds of Carpinteria’s own Populace Diseased compare to those of War Against and Fatality, esteemed punk colleagues from Nevada. Hailing from Reno and named after the Nerve Agents song, War Against formed earlier this year. Fatality represents the punk contingent of Incline Village. And, really, who would have thought there would be a punk contingent in Incline Village? California punk meets Nevada punk on August 17. — DM
REGGAE, REEFER, AND A RIVER: The 23rd incarnation of Reggae on the River came and went last weekend deep in the red woods of Humboldt County, where more than 20,000 people descended on the Dimmick Ranch in Piercy to camp along the Eel River, relax in the sunshine, dance the night away, and indulge in a fair share of ganja smoke. While a baker’s dozen of world-class headliners such as Sizzla, Barrington Levy, Don Carlos, the Marley Brothers, Bunny Wailer, and Sean Paul were the initial draw, it was the lesser-known acts like Washington D.C.’s roots-rock warriors Soja, Somalia’s hip-hop guardian K’naan, and Mali’s Salif Keita who proved the real reward. It was a reminder that the most spiritually significant music being made in the world today is coming out of Africa. Read more about Reggae on the River online at independent.com. — Ethan Stewart
AND DON’T MISS: Rounding out the week’s live music lineup is tonight’s concert at the Museum of Natural History, featuring R.W. Hampton, a tried-and-true cowboy songwriter. Part of the museum’s Music Inspired by the Environment series, the August 17 show starts at 7 p.m. … The “Son of Santana” makes a stop at SOhO this Friday, August 18, when Salvador Santana brings his Latin-infused pop and hip-hop to town. … And lastly, the Rocks highlights for this weekend are Arrica Rose and the …’s tonight, Entoven, MAGiSTiR, and Change on Friday, and Shades of Day and Masterstroke on Saturday.