Contributors: Rick Cornell (RC), Grayson Currin (GC), Kathy Justice (KJ), Ian Miller (IM), Chris Parker (CP), Dan Strobel (DS), Chris Toenes (CT)
Denotes Editor's Choice
THURSDAY, NOV. 1
Notes: 21 and over. Free.
- Regina Hexaphone
A wistful romanticism accompanies Regina Hexaphone's blend of baroque delicacy and punchy indie pop, the band's dulcet warmth abetted by the spry vocal flutter of frontwoman Sara Bell. The band's latest, Into Your Sleeping Heart, ups the tempos but still swathes in a surfeit of melodicism. 9 p.m. —CP
One of Chapel Hill's new treasures, Nathan Oliver's acoustic bravado is moody, bewitching and punchy, cloaking guitar strums and bruised tunefulness in whispery folk melodrama before stretching into discordant arcs, like a Pixie-fed adolescent rattle. 9:45 p.m. —KJ
Armed with dangerously contagious melodies and charm to spare, ex-Mayflies USA project Hundred Air plays rock by way of twee that doesn't leave a toothache. Like comfort food, Hundred Air's familiarity breeds addiction. 10:30 p.m. —IM
Notes: All ages. Bring your own booze. $8.
Taking a hint from across-the-pond piano bands like Coldplay, Keane and Aqualung, this melodic Chapel Hill trio makes moody love tunes with chiming guitars, piano tinkles and practiced harmonies. 9 p.m. —KJ
Wearing their big pop influences like honor badges, Bull City comes off as a Carolina Big Star. With guitar twang, clean hooks and a drummer comfortable being in the driver's seat, Bull City builds choruses of soaring heights. 9:45 p.m. —IM
With songs that sometimes feel like warm breezes (see their "Sunday Ladies"), Shakermaker builds its pop from the Beatles right up to Badfinger, polishing classicist hooks with a smidge of Memphis soul. 10:30 p.m. —GC
THE DRY HEATHENS
Malcontents with hard senses of humor and justice, Durham's The Dry Heathens conjure images of muscle cars and smoky bars with basic rock paraphernalia and songs about people being asses. Since misery loves company, let 'em sing to you about who they don't dig. 11:15 p.m. —GC
BULL CITY HEADQUARTERS
Notes: No alcohol. All ages. Free.
Frontman Sam Herring's eccentric and spastic voice propels these new-wave/pop weirdos out of Greenville and Asheville. Formerly Art Lord and the Self-Portraits but now in support of a split EP with Moss of Aura, look for Future Islands to insert its party into Troika. 9 p.m. —DS
In the overpopulated class of instrumental indie, Maple Stave redeems itself through Fugazi-esque intensity. Evan Rowe's impossibly precise skin-pounding and Chris Williams' exciting, unorthodox song structures know just when to make a point and when to bow out. When vocals do appear, they serve as a subtle foil to the near-constant momentum. 9:30 p.m. —IM
An appropriately named Bloomington trio of three dudes called Mike. Push-Pull stretches the wires that shape its pop-rock origins by adding an aggressive math-rock tension through shifting rhythms and puncturing guitars. 10 p.m. —GC
Hazerai recently sent the drumman to the bass amp and the bassman to the drumkit, picking up its own pace and clawing at its own metallic volume-and-force seams with parts that are now more about the nails than the hammers. Things still hit plenty heavy, but Hazerai puts pins and needles in its once blunt-force fuselage. 10:30 p.m. —GC
Building upon a foundation of roots and gospel with inclinations for drone and improvisation, the brothers and best friends of Megafaun bring sheer enthusiasm to dynamic, crowd-participatory live sets. The banjo, curling up against three-part harmonies of howling intensity, has rarely sounded so good front and center. 11 p.m. —IM
MELISSA ST. PIERRE
This show puts both Melissa St. Pierre and Megafaun en route to New York City, where they'll play a Battle of the Bands as part of the Table of the Elements team (which includes ex-Swan Jonathan Kane, just intonation-in-drone legend Tony Conrad and Milwaukee's post-rock ecclesiastics Collections of Colonies of Bees). Consider Durham lucky: Tonight will offer a preview of St. Pierre's upcoming album on Table of the Elements' Radium imprint. It's a record that takes new turns in sacred ground—that is, the prepared piano pieces of John Cage. Know that little upright you've plinked at in the corner of BCHQ? Tonight, it sounds different. 11:30 p.m. —GC
BROAD STREET CAFE
Notes: All ages. $8.
SOUND OF SINGLES
Go Christian Marclay on your country 45s, splicing fragments of drone and noise like intercalary abstraction into rustic old grooves. Melt it together, and let the sun warp it into a crisp: Only then would the sound of singles approximate Chapel Hill's country-cleaving Sound of Singles. 8:30 p.m. —GC
Dom Casual revels in mixing all types of good-time music: early rock 'n' roll's rumble, surf guitar's keg-stand swagger, dynamic shifts linkable to the last decade of rock. A decade on now, Dom still kicks it. 9:15 p.m. —CT
- Malcolm Rollick
This Brooklyn-based folkie nestles her wistful acoustic strums and sweet, slinky vocals inside sidewalk confessions. Rollick's music shines with sincerity toughened by sharp-toothed cynicism. 10 p.m. —KJ
MARVELL EVENT CENTER
Notes: 18 and over. $8.
Smooth and sleazy, like Justice stealing Jamiroquai's slurred disco come-ons, Carrboro's trio of electronica-rockers lay down syrupy soul over trippy house beats. Result: glittery, sexy charm. 9 p.m. —KJ
Concise, well-angled indie rock from Chapel Hill, Can Joann floats its shiny hooks in an enviable jangle made with chiming guitars and rhythms that swing with pure Cure panache. 9:45 p.m. —GC
Singer/songwriter Gary Levitt's burbling folk-pop shuffles with off-kilter shimmy. Like Sparklehorse on the proper meds, Setting Sun feels strangely upbeat despite the cloudy, shape-shifting rumble that surrounds the songs. New track "No Devil Me No More" suggests the Silver Jews gone baroque. 10:30 p.m. —CP
New York's Quitzow uses a swill of humor and keyboard-based melodrama to illustrate the superficial and sometimes slaughterhouse rules with which people tend to curse one another. Alternately dreamy and debauched, always smart. 11:15 p.m. —GC
ALIVIA'S DURHAM BISTRO
Notes: All ages. Free.
THE BUSY WORLD
Chapel Hill's Busy World was born somewhere between sweet emo angst and ambient dream pop charm. That is, hi-fi music with a lo-fi soul. 9 p.m. —KJ
Ships is the sometimes-solo shape of Harrison Lee, a Durham songwriter who uses the droll inflection of his baritone to emphasize his despair in a dystopia where trees grow through concrete and water spouts are menacing. Lee's guitar playing, full of unorthodox twists and broad shapes, adds to the intrigue. 9:45 p.m. —GC
Earnest, weepy acoustic duo from Raleigh. 10:30 p.m. —GC
With a big nod to salty cowpunk, Durham's Resist Not rocks with a fiery irreverence, shaking hands with morality before giving it the middle finger. 11:15 p.m. —KJ
Pan-classics Chapel Hill quintet Mingus Young sounds bred on the first five Grateful Dead albums, so that the songs matter mainly (American Beauty), just with room for ideas and improvisations (Anthem of the Sun). Midnight. —GC
- Melissa St. Pierre