When No Age started in the middle of the last decade, their releases came as if from a flood. In their first three years as a band, the Los Angeles duo of drummer Dean Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall issued a string of a half-dozen singles, a compilation that collected many of them and a full-length debut on Sub Pop. As tours increased, they slowed a bit, yet they managed another full-length, EP and two singles in 2009 and 2010. And then, mostly silence: Their first album in three years, the new An Object, finds them attempting to rebuild the model of their propulsive indie rock minimalism. Spunt started banging objects besides drums, including a bass and contact microphones, and they began ripping ideas of song structure apart. The result is a curious collection of songs that moves from the slow and wistful to the blustery and distorted, all while refusing to kowtow to expected verse-chorus-verse ideas. It sometimes falters, but it always rushes headlong with new ideas, the point of No Age from the start. With Spider Bags. Tuesday, Sept. 3, at The Pinhook. $10/9 p.m.
The 19th iteration of ProgDay, the world's oldest continuous festival for prog rock, should be called instead "Permutation Day." After all, the eight bands stretched over the two-day docket create unlikely stylistic hybrids. Saturday beginners Thank You Scientist, for instance, shoehorn funk and hard bop into mathematically minded hard rock, while Corima somehow manages to marry marching-band simplicity, heavy metal drums, samba and space rock into the endlessly restless songs of its Quetzalcoatl. From Iran, Mavara pits Iron Maiden-like thrall with icy electronica comedown. The weekend's strangest combination comes from its most intriguing band: Indonesia's simakDialog drifts into the same hazy ether of Miles Davis' electric period, but they weave the patter of hand drums endemic to their country and tides of rising-and-falling drone into that jazz torpor. After the ceaseless technicality of the bill's other bands, consider simakDialog a deserved exhalation. Saturday, Aug. 31–Sunday, Sept. 1, at Storybook Farm. $90–$140/10:30 a.m.
Transportation, Dynamite Brothers
Five years have passed since the release of Daydreams, the appropriately named swan song of Chapel Hill pop breezers Transportation. Treating AM Gold like the Holy Grail and handling the records of Badfinger, Queen and David Bowie like Bible verses, Transportation mustered exquisite pop music to which some kids are probably making out right now in an alternate universe. They haven't played much in recent years, but they return to link up with the Dynamite Brothers, the soul-funk-rock party who make a rare appearance of their own. This one's a supreme Orange County flashback. Saturday, Aug. 31, at Southern Rail. Free/6:30 p.m.
Locally Grown is a free film-and-music series atop a parking deck on Chapel Hill's Rosemary Street. Though the movies tend toward typical outdoors summer fare, the music is, true to the concept's name, locally sourced. Consider this troika of bands to be seedlings, new acts with great potential expectations. Virgins Family Band, who headline, work through a nebulous mix of jam-band esprit and indie-rock angles, suggesting a midpoint between Akron/Family's tangent-prone rock and Yeasayer's eccentric globalism. Morning Brigade makes bracing, bright-eyed folk-rock, with teenage wanderlust broadcast in full voices and major chords. Openers Clockwork Kids often recall the expired moment when everyone wanted a British accent and a disco-punk beat to ride, but their instrumental impasses give their revivalism space to stretch. Thursday, Aug. 29, at Wallace Plaza. Free/6:30 p.m.
Piney Woods Boys
With the official start of Fall only three weeks away, and after having indulged in several relatively cool spells of autumnal teases, the sad time has come for the Triangle's bevy of free summer concert series to end. The year's best such series—Saturdays in Saxapahaw, just across the street from the banks of the Haw River as it flows through the resuscitated mill town—closes with the comforting Raleigh stringband Piney Woods Boys. A trio whose members have been digging into the region's traditional tunes for four decades, the Boys flit through spirited instrumentals and slide through love-and-loss (and/or murder) ballads. The experience shows not only in warm harmonies and the stories they share but also in their ability to switch instruments often.Saturday, Aug. 31, at Saxaphaw Rivermill. Free/6 p.m.
Tom Maxwell, Wembley, Baobab
In a week, a few thousand cyclists will meet in New Bern for a 100-mile bike ride that last year raised more than $1.7 million to battle multiple sclerosis. This marks the 25th anniversary of the ride, one of the state's true cycling and charitable traditions. This all-day block party—complete with bicycle giveaways, food trucks and bands—serves as a prelude of sorts for the ride and, likewise, raises money to battle multiple sclerosis. Baobab, whose kaleidoscopic pop becomes a multimedia experience live, plays Fullsteam at 5 p.m. Later that night, roots-music polymath, zealous bandleader and former Squirrel Nut Zipper Tom Maxwell shares a bill with the area's best Britpop remodelers, Wembley. The Dogwoods open. If you can't bike next weekend, it's an incredible way to join the ride, regardless. Saturday, Aug. 31, at Fullsteam/Motorco. $8–$10/9 p.m.
Ghostt Bllonde, Gray Young, Blanko Basnet
This show ends Chris Tamplin's seven-year run booking Tir na nOg's free Local Beer, Local Band Thursday concerts, though they will go on without him. The farewell starts with the sharp-angled and bittersweet indie rock of Blanko Basnet and switches to the moody but economical drama of Gray Young's pop-enhanced post-rock. Appropriately, the night ends with Ghostt Bllonde, a relatively fresh-faced rock 'n' roll quartet whose sloppy and endearing songs seem to spring from PBR suds. Their online-only LP, July's TrashPop//DoomWop, is a must-hear for fans of lovably insouciant indie rock. Thursday, Aug. 29, at Tir Na Nog. Free/10 p.m.
Whether the song is a sweeping ballad or a strutting pop number, Philadelphia's Grandchildren line their music with all manner of complications, from cascading harmonies to interwoven percussion. This year's Golden Age thrives on that baroque proclivity, its best moments serving as showcases for that meticulousness. Openers Oulipo explore similarly ornate machinations, as though a million bits of colluding sound are at last released with each of their melodic bursts. Sumner James opens. Thursday, Aug. 29, at Kings. $8/9 p.m.
JP Harris & John Howie Jr.
This is a three-band bill, yes, but most important, it's a rendezvous of two wonderful country baritones. John Howie Jr., the former leader of the Two Dollar Pistols, bears a tone that feels cut from American musical hearthstone, given its mature and measured delivery. Nashville's JP Harris seems a bit less worn and weary; on last year's I'll Keep Calling, that youthful versatility allowed him to switch convincingly from high-flying flitters to slow and solemn ballads. Also, Jonathan Parker and the Bel-Airs. Thursday, Aug. 29, at The Pour House. $6–$8/8:30 p.m.
Deep Chatham, Josh Moore
The dudes of Deep Chatham sport tank tops, tattoos and overalls, and they pick banjo, bass and guitar. While the image might suggest the chaos and broken strings of The Avett Brothers, the sound is more muted and bittersweet, with tales of regret playing out in steady strums and worn-out harmonies. Josh Moore, who possesses one of the region's fairest voices, opens. Sunday, Sept. 1, at Local 506. $5–$7/9 p.m.
Carnival of Madness
Carnival of Madness is a roaming revue of modern hard rock. The tour includes a few of the form's bigger names, from former cutters Papa Roach and the ballad-prone Shinedown to the costumed Christians of Skillet. But listening to these bands, it's hard to find a trace of madness or a mere echo of real, honest-to-goodness injury beneath production bright enough for country-rock and guitars that seem lifted from the same stagnant, fetid, ruefully not-yet-exhausted source. Madness can be intriguing. A mundane imitation of it? Not so much. Sunday, Sept. 1, at Red Hat Amphitheater. $40–$73.90/4:30 p.m.
Hey, Twiztid still exists! Not only do these Insane Clown Posse protégés still push out hip-hop that gets by only on how much shit they talk, but they now bring a posse that includes their own protégés, too. On the new mixtape track "One of Them Days," Twiztid and openers Lil Wyte and Jelly Roll offer fantasies of boss murder and wife dismissal, essentially updating Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff" over a beat Nelly never used. Don't make it one of them days. Sunday, Sept. 1, at Lincoln Theatre. $20–$25/8:30 p.m.