YES, PLEASE: Mutant Supremacy, Atrophix, Pressed And, C Powers, Featureless Ghost, Holygrailers, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Black Experience, Brand New Life, Fuck The Biters, Jonathan Byrd, Sally Spring, Red Horse, Dare Dukes & The Blackstock Collection
VS1: Young And In The Way vs. Last Year’s Men
VS2: I Was Totally Destroying It vs. Jason Kutchma & The Five Fifths
INTRODUCING: Hard Rock Open Mic
01.19 MUTANT SUPREMACY, ATROPHIX @ DIVEBAR
Brooklyn's Mutant Supremacy plays old-school classic death metal in the truest sense, with songs that veer wildly between plodding and breakneck, lyrical imagery straight from the goriest grindhouse movie you can imagine, and vocals that sound vomited. Think of Florida's Death, Sweden's Entombed or Liverpool's grindcore kings Carcass. If you've played the ultra-gory video game Splatterhouse, you've heard the band's music, alongside High on Fire and Lamb of God. Raleigh crust punks Atrophix open the show. Free/ 9 p.m. —Karen A. Mann
01.19 PRESSED AND, C POWERS, FEATURELESS GHOST, HOLYGRAILERS @ KINGS
Raleigh's Denmark Records is proving there's an electronic community in the Southeast that needs some attention; Andrew Hamlet and Mat Jones' collaboration Pressed And is one of the reasons why. Their debut LP with Denmark, Imbue Up, builds on ambient layers and simple loops that tantalize, getting Pressed And called post-chillwave in a world where that's what you'd better be. Atlanta's C Powers and Featureless Ghost bring their ominous, synth-heavy stomps to the party. Holygrailers should hypnotize with their soul-and-jazz-induced dub. Free/ 9:30 p.m. —Ashleigh Phillips
01.20 STEEP CANYON RANGERS @ LINCOLN THEATRE
Though Steep Canyon Rangers have worked up quite a reputation thanks to their collaborations with banjo-playing comedian Steve Martin that began in 2008, the Asheville quintet is a mighty fine bluegrass group in its own right. Since beginning in Chapel Hill a decade ago, the group has used first-rate songwriting, splendid singing and sharp picking to build an admirable catalog of traditional and contemporary bluegrass, with bits of gospel, old-time and country sprinkled about for good measure. Largely overlooked Raleigh roots quartet Clay Pigeons opens with rich four-part harmonies gracing plainspoken tales that take the shapes of easygoing pop numbers and rowdy barnburners. $14–$17/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
01.20 THE BLACK EXPERIENCE, BRAND NEW LIFE @ THE PINHOOK
Trussing soul, funk, gospel, jazz, rock and hip-hop into one, The Black Experience is the electric project of Triangle jazz heavyweights Ernest A. Turner (keys) and Larry Q. Draughn (drums). Joined by Darity brothers Aden (emcee) and Will (guitar) plus Justin Henry (bass), they intend to loosen jazz's tie. "We have the personnel to go from Fats Domino to Notorious BIG," Turner says. They merge songs and influences with a DJ's flow. To this groove party comes Brand New Life, Greensboro's jazz-Afropop explosion. This voracious young band delivers a truly ecstatic blend of West African dance grooves, tinged with a healthy dose of experimentalism. Featuring horns and a talking drummer from Senegal, its Manu Dibango-style fusion will make "dance" your default setting. $6/ 10 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger
01.20 FUCK THE BITERS @ KINGS
Otherwise known as Fuck the Biters, Henry Lancaster III spent the past several months trotting through Europe, entertaining himself with games like "counting berets and people holding baguettes" while powering up on live shows and parties, stretching from dance pushers Horsemeat Disco and Crookers to the venturous antics of the Cinematic Orchestra and Ms. Dynamite. But he's back home now, ready to tend to his own dance brainchild, Discovery, in its 12th rotation at Kings. If there's any leftover adrenaline from his foreign adventures, all you'll have to do is tap in and wait for the kick. Hometown personnel Nixxed and Blngxbdgt help Lancaster navigate through this hopefully uninhibited Raleigh night. $5/ 10 p.m. —Eric Tullis
01.21 JONATHAN BYRD, SALLY SPRING @ CASBAH
Last year, Jonathan Byrd released Cackalack, and each track is a North Carolinian anthem of pines, oaks and wild ponies. Alone with his guitar, Byrd draws out syllables with an ease that's only inherited. Opener Sally Spring delivers gentle tunes once hailed by Gene Parsons as "a treasure." This singer-songwriter double-bill is a seated show. $12–$15/ 8 p.m. —Ashleigh Phillips
01.21 RED HORSE @ FLETCHER OPERA THEATER
A folk supergroup of sorts, Red Horse features established singer-songwriters Eliza Gilkyson, John Gorka and Lucy Kaplansky, together supporting a 2010 self-titled album. The dozen tracks showcase not only their keen lyricism but wonderful harmonies, which stand well against the spare acoustic arrangements. One of the album's great thrills is hearing these skilled performers reinterpreting each other's solo tunes, notably Gorka wrapping his hearthlike baritone around Gilkyson's tender "Wild Horses." The material is uniformly suffused with somber delicacy and surprisingly plainspoken emotional power. $32.25–$34.25/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
01.23 DARE DUKES & THE BLACKSTOCK COLLECTION @ CASBAH
Dare Dukes and his company inform their American roots with hints of clever college pop, like They Might Be Giants. The Savannah, Ga., native and his slightly nasal tenor have followed a circuitous route back into music after spending the late '80s in a Minneapolis band. As such, there are hints of Pixies-ish bristle, though Dukes mostly prefers full-bodied pop abetted by strings, occasional harmonies and a melodic warmth reminiscent of Bright Eyes. Dukes releases his second full-length, Thugs and China Dolls, this week, recorded with guests from Sufjan Stevens' band, TV on the Radio and Of Montreal. Anna Rose Beck opens. $6/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
FRIDAY, JAN. 20
YOUNG AND IN THE WAY
CLAIM TO FAME: Innovative hardcore hardliners
This contest falls into a logical binary: reverence versus irreverence. In the former category, Young and in the Way recordings such as V Eternal Depression are veritable hymns to emotional devastation. The band's remarkable blend of black metal atmospheres with uncompromising hardcore aggression and even orchestral timbres puts it in its own category, even within the recent stateside black metal surge. Three-minute breakbeat anthems sometimes lead into expanded, even ambient melancholic soundscapes. Considering this intense band rarely makes it to Raleigh, this free show is an unbeatable deal—that is, unless you're looking for music with a sense of humor. With Old Painless. At the DIVE BAR. Free/ 10 p.m.
LAST YEAR'S MENFROM: Carrboro
CLAIM TO FAME: Teenaged, yes. Wasteland, no.
Last Year's Men also exists in a recently resurgent style: garage punk. Yet on its 2010 debut Sunny Down Snuff, the young trio's flippancy is an aesthetic in and of itself. They have the requisite awareness of the style's roots in '60s pop, yet none of the undue deference that leads lesser bands to slog predictably, derivatively along. To Last Year's Men, garage and its connected aesthetics are more of a playground than a classroom. If anything tips the scales between these bands, it would have to be Last Year's Men's Twitter activity, which can take on Kanye West levels of abstraction. Two wins tonight, each very different from the other. At NIGHTLIGHT. $7/ 9:30 p.m. —Corbie Hill
FRIDAY, JAN. 20
I WAS TOTALLY DESTROYING IT
FROM: Chapel Hill
CLAIM TO FAME: Hooky, heartfelt pop-rock anthems
I Was Totally Destroying It has long been one of the Triangle's most potent pop-rock attacks, but on the band's more recent material, the pop side has become more dominant. Last year's Preludes set its sites on arenas with huge, overdub-heavy hooks and slickly produced riffs that favored attractiveness over impact. It still works, just for a different set than the stuff with which IWTDI began. Jack the Radio strengthens the rock end of this equation with classically inspired riff-rock that's tuneful and charming. With Decades and Crowfield. At DEEP SOUTH THE BAR. $5/ 9 p.m.
JASON KUTCHMA & THE FIVE FIFTHS
CLAIM TO FAME: Gruff tales of American heartbreak
Casbah bests Deep South with two exemplary songwriters playing with ace backing bands. Jason Kutchma, best known as the frontman for Durham's powerful barroom punk outfit Red Collar, explores similar territory in his solo material. The Five Fifths—featuring members of Rat Jackson, Maple Stave and Aminal—wrap his songs in updated folk-rock that accentuates the bittersweet tension in his stories. Wesley Wolfe and his kinetic ensemble run headlong through power-pop gems. Catchy riffs abound as Wolfe finds the razor's edge between self-loathing and redemption. With Josh Moore. At CASBAH. $7/ 9 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence
01.18 HARD ROCK OPEN MIC @ VOLUME 11 TAVERN
It's safe to assume that most of us picture pretty much the same thing when we hear the phrase "open mic"—new acoustic crooners debuting their bedroom-bred ballads in front of a handful of their friends and a few regular drunks. One of Raleigh's loud venues, Volume 11 Tavern, has a cure for that common amateur hour: The Hard Rock Open Mic provides a forum for up-and-coming metal and hardcore bands to refine their chops in front of a receptive crowd.
"If you like to rock and rock loud, this is the showcase/open mic event for you," Scott Cannon writes of the event in a post for the Raleigh Music Industry Association. His band, psychedelic hard rockers Motrendus, present the event alongside Volume 11. "You will finally be able to crank your amps up without fear of upsetting the acoustic sensibilities found at many local area open mic events. The only volume limitation? Don't be ear-splitting, painful or deafening. Know your gear, be loud and be good. That's all we ask."
Three to four groups are chosen to play a showcase after the open mic, so you're assured a curated show following the chaos. Consider it your weekly heavy gamble. —Jordan Lawrence
Sign-up for the free event starts at 5:30 p.m. The open mic portion runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. with a showcase following immediately after. Admission is free. More info at volume11tavern.com.