This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Ribbons, Shake It Like a Caveman, Jimmy & the Teasers, Chrome Plated Apostles, Katharine Whalen's Lucky, Jon Shain Trio, Pure Horsehair
VS.: Bowerbirds vs. Bombadil
VS.: Joe Bell & the Stinging Blades vs. Mark Holland's Rhythm Force
VS.: An Horse vs. Of Montreal
INTRODUCING: Fever and the Fallin' Rain
SONG OF THE WEEK: Against Me!'s "White People for Peace"
04.09 RIBBONS @ THE RESERVOIR
Jenny Logan leads Brooklyn-via-California duo Ribbons with a reedy voice that suggests Jonathan Richman as much as Alec Ounsworth. But her guitar lines form the concentric circles of a Television tune, while drummer Sam Roudman offers these gigantic double-bass fills, an ostensible metal guy having fun kicking his way outside of an indie-rock paper bag. A slight but compelling spin on a sound that's had its revivals and lapses, Ribbons stands on its own terms just fine. Durham's Teh Vodak opens. Free/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
04.10 SHAKE IT LIKE A CAVEMAN @ SADLACK'S
Music's a luxury when you ain't got much else, and foot-shaking, hip-swiveling garage-blues is all the stimulus one needs to break free of depression. Black Burris and Duncan Whitney provide a hearty tonic for lingering spiritual deficits with their mud-caked and trembling Hill Country-inspired rumble. The primal throb of their Shake It Like a Caveman burrows through the underbrush like an intent squirrel looking to bust a nut. Expect electro-convulsive twist and therapeutic humbucker buzz. For several years, Burris handled guitar and percussion himself before handing the sticks to Whitney so he could hop and gyrate at the footlights like a Cro-Mag chasing his tail in an attempt to extinguish the fire. Free/ 7 p.m. —Chris Parker
- Jimmy & the Teasers
04.11 JIMMY & THE TEASERS, CHROME PLATED APOSTLES @ THE CAVE
Both of these crackling combos know a different avenue to your heart: For Jimmy and his sexy assistants, it's reverb-ragin', rockabilly-tinged thunder delivered with enough intensity to shake your synapses. For dissolute proselytizing blues-punkers CPA, the plot's rabid, fevered roar with a noisy heart courtesy of legendary local frontman Hunter Landen and his guitar-slinging, fellow ex-Bad Check, Clif Mann. Mann's slide guitar sounds like Cheetah Chrome left too long in the rain, while Landen's mouth harp and pipes command the same respect accorded to a madman waving a .44. $5/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker
04.11 KATHARINE WHALEN'S LUCKY, JON SHAIN TRIO @ CAT'S CRADLE
Katharine Whalen started as a '30s-style chanteuse with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, but her post-Zip work—ranging from country-rock to new wavey pop, all rolled out with veteran confidence and rookie abandon—proves her vocals are timeless. Jon Shain's rustic music has come full circle, from Piedmont-honoring beginnings to a broader roots sound. Now, he's back to the blues of the award-winning variety. Opener Sally Spring is a proto-Americana singer/ songwriter whose 20-some-years-later second act has pivoted on a luminous folk-rock effort titled Mockingbird. $10/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell
04.14 PURE HORSEHAIR, DYLAN GILBERT @ NIGHTLIGHT
Brooklyn duo Pure Horsehair piques interest in its eerie, weary acoustic ruminations through subtle though substantial layers of contrast: Garrett Devoe and Shahzad Ismaily seem as interested in creeping close to the microphone to sing—giving their consonants a little pop and their elliptical observations a bedside proximity—as they are stepping away, moaning of ghosts and memories like a distant wind. Think of Young God-era Devendra Banhart cutting the songs of the Red House Painters in quarters and singing them under spells of tranquilizers. Charlotte's Dylan Gilbert adds a little arch drama to his pleated acoustic pop. See "Introducing..." for Fever and the Fallin' Rain. 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
FRIDAY, APRIL 10
Claim to fame: Eco-conscious folk ambles
Arrangements stripped as bare as the logged forests they mourn, Bowerbirds laces Phil Moore's woodsy strolls of fingerpicked acoustic with Beth Tacular's entwined harmonies and minimal accordion embellishment. Whether to make connections to time and place on "Bur Oak" or to warn of the "hate all around" in "Human Hands," Bowerbirds weave peaceful tales of simpler times (or hostile stories from today) using the imagery of nature, from the hymn of the leopard frog and call of the loon to biting wind and the kindling needed to keep warm. Openers Bright Young Things, whose Matt Damron has recently been touring as the third B-Bird, abet mature pop-rock with twin guitars and swirling organ: Think Sky Blue Sky-era Wilco, which is a compliment to most every band except Wilco. At SLIM'S. $5/ 10 p.m.
Claim to fame: Kaleidoscopic folk jaunts
Burying pop hooks inside cosmopolitan folk like fishing barbs deep in juicy nightcrawlers, Bombadil inflects Bolivian-influenced traditional music with infectious melody. With its kitchen-sink penchant, Bombadil hurls gang vocal curveballs into the quirky, panflute-led fight song "Cavaliers Har Hum," while "Julian of Norwich"—a triumphant ode to the 14th century English mystic—employs guitars, drums, accordion, horns and charango. Don't expect that to change now that the Ramseur Records young 'uns are a trio: Initial peeks at Tarpits and Canyonlands—the follow-up to last year's A Buzz, A Buzz, set for a July 7 release—reveal Bombadil to be no less ambitious following Stuart Robinson's departure. They'll be at home among the dozen-plus Lost in the Trees members that turn Ari Picker's introspective musings into a fully orchestrated splendor. Charlotte singer/ songwriter Benji Hughes does a bit of Beck biting and opens tonight. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $8-$10/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
SATURDAY, APRIL 11
JOE BELL & THE STINGING BLADES
Claim to fame: They'll make you dance
Yep, Joe Bell and company sure enough sting: They pretty much skip the float like a butterfly part and cut right to the bee business. Bell is a no-nonsense front guy, a bar-bander who's proud of said status. He can play harmonica just like that B. Goode fella could play guitar. And the Blades are right and tight behind him, living on that line where Southern rock crosses over to R&B. Think Delbert McClinton. Think Jimmy Hall and Wet Willie. Think Lowell George and Little Feat. But don't think too much while you're concentrating on dancing. At PAPA MOJO'S ROADHOUSE. $8/ 9:30 p.m.
MARK HOLLAND'S RHYTHM FORCE
Claim to fame: They'll make you dance—and maybe play percussion
Yep, Mark Holland and company sure enough have the rhythm: This outfit is a dance band at heart and proud of said status. Holland channeled his inner Flaming Lip and Dylan in machs 1 and 2 of Jennyanykind, followed by his inner backwoods savant in Jule Brown. Now, as he instrument-hops (even finding his way back to the drum kit), it's all about channeling the beat. Think Sly. Think Spencer Davis Group. Think Remain in Light. But don't think too much: You really should just concentrate on dancing and, perhaps, being handed a maraca. Puritan Rodeo and Backwords join the Force. At NIGHTLIGHT. Free/ 10 p.m. —Rick Cornell
MONDAY, APRIL 13
From: Brisbane, Australia
Claim to Fame: Tegan & Sara love them
A fondness for indie pop (a la Rilo Kiley or Tegan & Sara) and no apparent regard for English grammar prove only surface-level descriptors for this Aussie duo. Its debut LP, Rearrange Beds, is endearing in its earnestness, gentle in its arrangements and clever in its just-precious-enough lyrics. But in contrast to the bigger name playing a few blocks away, An Horse's appeal lies more in songs than aesthetics. The duo's simple but full-bodied twee pop uses bar rock dynamics to amp the choruses up to sing-along creeds, keeping the genre's innocence and charm intact. At LOCAL 506, opening for Appleseed Cast. $10/ 9 p.m.
From: Athens, Ga.
Claim to fame: Every indie kid loves them
A decade into its career, we find Of Montreal's glammy flamboyance worn like a badge and used like a crutch. With its casual funkiness and lighthearted obsession with sexual identity, 2008's Skeletal Lamping was a marked improvement over 2007's bloated, pretentious and criminally overrated Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? But still, the band's wholehearted superfluous stance proves both its appeal and its cause for derision. It's a return to the very thing punk and indie rock sought to reject, but it's a new millennium, so whatever, right? Dig it if you like. At Cat's Cradle with Inkwell and Fire Zuave. $18/ 8:15 p.m. —Bryan Reed
04.14 FEVER AND THE FALLIN' RAIN @ NIGHTLIGHT
Local quartet Fever and the Fallin' Rain began 18 months ago, surviving several lineup changes and the departure of its original guitarist. After beginning life as The Magnolia Mountain and recording a four-song EP, the band was threatened with legal action by a Cincinnati band with the same name. Shortly thereafter, guitarist Joseph Wharton left the band for a woman. "I wish I could have that money back," says singer and multi-instrumentalist Steve Styles.
In the aftermath, Styles focused on collaborating with keyboardist Helene Fever, taking an Americana sound in a new direction. The band's recently finished a three-song EP that stakes out a dreamy keyboard-driven shimmer owing debts to acts like Richard Swift, Film School and The Velvet Underground. "The basis is a nice melody with lyrics that aren't necessarily going to be the happiest," Styles explains.
They're presently working on a concept album about Kansas City. In true Sufjan Stevens manner, Styles spent a couple of months studying up on the heartland city before writing songs like "The Rails Decline," about its declining fortunes as a rail hub, the pretty "Malts and Walts," about hometown boy Walt Disney, and the eerie epic "You Came, Now Go!" conceiving a conflict between the townspeople and missionary Mormons. 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker