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The Skinny on IndieFest: Shows Not To Miss

Ladies and gents, IndieFest/Winter Music Fest is upon us. In case you couldn't wait another month for Noise Pop, the lovely folks at SF IndieFest and Talking House bring you some great indie movies and artists over the next week (1/29-2/4). The best part? Each show is $10 (if not free), or buy the WinterMusicPass at a reasonable $70 for all access. That's 43 bands in seven days to choose from. Take your pick. Here are some of our highlights:

The Hot Moon, Judgement Day, Battlehooch, Bottom of the Hill, 1/30: Oakland's stringed metal trio is back for more. Judgement Day is coming (no pun intended) to show SF that strings don't have to be soft. We promise these guys will take you by surprise. Complimented by the wild and crazy non-genre-specific, Battlehooch, this is going to be one hell of a start to IndieFest.

Kelly McFarling, Daniel James, Bhi Bhiman, Eric McFadden, Thee Parkside, 1/31: If you hate the Lakers, think the DPT is the spawn of Satan, and in general, love a little light-hearted humor in your standard acoustic guy with the guitar, Bhi Bhiman should be high on your to-do list. His voice is as strikingly unique as his name, and his sets are more entertaining than Disneyland. Accompanied by the lead singer of our favorite garage-blues band Leopold and his Fiction, Daniel James takes his solo to the stage. If his set is as tight and perfected as his band's normally is, this is going to be something to behold. Just as beautiful and well-rehearsed is folk singer, Kelly McFarling. This is definitely not a show to miss.

Scene of Action, Luke Franks Or The Federalists, The Hundred Days, Please Do Not Fight, Bottom of the Hill, 2/1: Have you seen Live105's Not So Silent Night local prodigies, Scene of Action yet? Get on it. They come heavily recommended with more energy than a three year old on a sugar high. We would be surprised if these guys aren't headlining arenas in the next five years. If you like Fleet Foxes, M. Ward or Wilco, be sure to check out Luke Franks Or The Federalists. Somehow they make current indie themes seem timeless and fresh at the same time, it's quite the skill. If the Killer's somehow wrote way better lyrics to their songs (Are we human, or are we dancer? Come on.), they might face some sort of copyright infringement suit by The Hundred Days. If you can appreciate deep looming vocals with striking mass appeal, this stands to be your kind of show. Yet another SF band that we would be surprised not to see filling the stadiums in the near future.

Kuma/Koshka, Fake Your Own Death, Two Sheds, Grand Lake, Thee Parkside, 2/2: We're patiently awaiting Two Sheds' first full length album out this spring. They've been performing for nearly five years around the circuit meanwhile capturing the hearts of SF's indie scene.

Fighting the Villain, Tempo No Tempo, The Hot Toddies, The Downer Party, Bottom of the Hill, 2/3: Branching out from their normal routine, SF's Tempo No Tempo has emerged with a fresh feel that should position them out from under the radar and into the limelight in a hurry. While you're at it, check out the highly underrated, The Downer Party. The somewhat sugary indie four-some has a background in some serious hard partying, and it surely comes through in their energetic tunes.

Smash Up Derby, Kid Beyond, Gooferman, DNA Lounge, 2/4: Yikes, this closing party might get a little out of control. The bizarre yet surprisingly exceptional Gooferman "micro-circus and band," pumps out some incredible electro. They'll have you dancing all night, but beware clown-o-phobes, they wear the full garb. SF's "Best Beatboxer," Kid Beyond, is also going to be in the house. The passionate lyricist is known for executing exhausting and seemingly impossible beats, with his mouth, then looping and layering them for the background music to his songs. Yep. He's kind of amazing, and lucky for you, this particular show will be the debut of his new band, Kid Beyond and the Interplanetary Love Army, anticipated to be an electro experience on par with his previous achievements.  Speaking of amazing, have you seen the world's only live mash up band yet? If you responded no, shame on you. The delightfully brilliant and unpredictable genre mash-ups of Smash Up Derby close out the night with a bang. Like some Lady Gaga blended with Nirvana? No problem. What about Black Sabbath on top of Led Zeppelin? Perfection. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the band's impeccable musicianship. What a great way to end an amazing week!