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Wednesday 1.27

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Boy Genius
  • Boy Genius

Durham
Western Civ, Mitch Easter, Boy Genius

The Pinhook—Boy Genius and Western Civ are connected to Mitch Easter because he produced both bands' latest albums, and they share his winning pop sensibilities, too. With their bright melodies, boy/ girl harmonies and singsong choruses, Brooklyn quartet Boy Genius are the more steadfastly poppy of the two. Frontman Jason K's reedy tenor glides over bittersweet sentiments and bounding tempos, sweeping you inside hook-lined energy. Locals Western Civ possess plenty of pop smarts of their own, often disguised behind churning post-punk guitars that swell and crash like ocean breakers. Their dense thrum and chime strikes an eerie, echo-ridden, post-rock chord on tracks like "KGP," then channels psych-rock drift on "The Disturbing Presence of Chachi." Power/ jangle pop avatar (and noteworthy guitarist) Mitch Easter earned his fame as a producer (R.E.M., Pavement) and as frontman for local '80s icons Let's Active. He'll join the bands tonight starting at 9, but they'll go it as a pair Monday, Jan. 25, for the late show at The Cave. See www.thepinhook.com and www.caverntavern.com. —Chris Parker


Raleigh
Dale Watson, Steve Howell and the Stray Dogs

The Pour House—Dale Watson prides himself on writing them like they used to. His varnished baritone is as strong as oak, though his honky-tonk heart is often split in two by inconsistency. Fueled by Bakersfield country and a little Western swing, his sketches can be as stark and haunted as a Robert Frank photo, be it the alcoholic descent chronicled in "Pint of No Return" or the self-indulgently oblivious barside companion of "Pity Party." But nothing intrigues him like truckers, for whom he's written two volumes of songs (with more sprinkled across his catalog), extolling their wanderlust, loneliness and hardy blue-collar hearts like the cowboys of yore. Pay $9 in advance or $12 at 9 p.m., when Steve Howell and The Stray Dogs open. See www.the-pour-house.com. —Chris Parker

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