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It seems like yesterday that Chapel Hill's Milemarker (pictured below right) pulled up stakes and moved to Chicago to seek their fame and fortune, leaving many to wonder, "What was that?" Milemarker's credo was to write "hardcore" music without hardcore's typical instrumentation: musically intense songs with a definite political agenda set against synth and samplers (fear not--there's still guitar). The band's live shows took on an artistic-political bent, and not everyone dug it. But whatever hat these guys (and a gal) are wearing--emo, post-punk new wave, or that all-inclusive moniker, indie rock--their fourth album, Anaesthetic, careens with keyboards, acoustic piano, thudding drum parts and explosive bursts of brittle, slashing guitars, all overlaid with unsettling vocals. There's small bursts of fragile beauty: Roby Newton's soprano, or a lilting melody line, but the band is as unflinchingly earnest as ever. See them with Cursor Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Go! Room 4 in Carrboro. Call 969-1400 for details.

DiamondDiamondDiamondDan Bern is one of those "next Dylan" types: a prolific singer-songwriter whose timely lyrical commentary and rootsy folk-rock approach have garnered him comparisons to everyone from Bob D. to Springsteen. On his latest disc, New American Language, his most orchestrated to date, Bern delivers a smoking collection of roots rock loaded with spirit, attitude and poignancy. Check out "God Said No," where Bern fantasizes about going back in time to "Find Kurt Cobain/Take away his gun/Take away his bullets." (God's answer is no: He thinks Bern will just try to use Cobain to get a record deal or a good lawyer.) See Bern this Thursday, Oct. 26, at The Brewery in Raleigh. Call 834-1718 for details.

DiamondDiamondDiamondStan Lewis and the Rockin' Revelers, aka the original Southern Culture on the Skids lineup minus Rick Miller (FYI--Miller didn't sing in SCOTS version one), will be doing a reunion show of Southern-fried favorites and classic country covers this week. Bassist Leslie Land is working up numbers by Loretta Lynn and Kitty Wells for the occasion. The "Leave Rick at Home Tour" will be throwin' down at Ye Old Tavern (behind Boxer's, next to Durham's New Hope Commons Shopping Center) this Saturday, Oct. 27. Call 493-5957 for details.

DiamondDiamondDiamondLike your bands heavy, tight and mercilessly rockin'? You're in luck. The Cherry Valence is throwing a pre-Halloween Bash at Kings in Raleigh this Saturday, Oct. 27. If you don't have their relentlessly heavy, eponymous Estrus Records debut, your chump ass is missing out. The Cherry Valence's streamlined, road-honed rock machine will be firing on all cylinders for their Raleigh homecoming show (they've been out touring for six weeks--including a stop in New York less than a week after the terrorist strikes). Should be hotter'n four Hells. The Dynamite Brothers are also on the bill, and TCV's Paul Siler promises "movies, food, a costume party" and more.

Also at Kings: an evening of spare, whimsically orchestrated pop with Athens, Ga.'s Elf Power (Elephant 6 collective) on Tuesday, Oct. 6, supported by Masters of the Hemisphere and The Dents. Call 831-1005 for details. --Angie Carlson

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