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Music worth leaving the house to hear this week

Thursday, March 24
The Old Ceremony
Local 506

From cocktail jazz to Brill Building pop, Django Haskins has found another outlet for his inestimable talents. Originally begun as a left-turn from International Orange and his solo singer/songwriter fare, Old Ceremony strikes a balance between the cabaret-noir stylings of Tom Waits or Serge Gainsbourg and sophisticated chamber pop. But Old Ceremony won't erase the Elvis Costello comparisons: It just means Haskins has entered the "Brodsky Quartet" phase. 10 p.m./$6 --CP

Lake Trout, SNMNMNM
Martin Street Music Hall

Combining slow-building improvisational rock and minimalistic, electronically-tinged numbers, Baltimore's Lake Trout is somewhere between the ethereal compositions of Vidna Obmana or Steve Reich and the rock experimentalism of Kid A Radiohead, with a dash of Sound Tribe Sector 9. Joyful, nerdish, orchestral pop rockers SNMNMNM open. 10 p.m./$8--CP

Friday, March 25
French Kicks, The Nein, Calla
Local 506

Those outside of a town's musical literati often modify the word band with "local," implying that no domestic act possesses the ability to exchange those parallel L's for "cool" or "exciting." Shenanigans. "Local band" The Nein taps the collective influences of Texas-spawned, dirge-plowing Calla and NYC's trite French Kicks better than they do, spewing instantly contagious, refreshingly abrasive anthems with pints of sneer. Go for The Nein, stay for Calla, and then ... Nightlight? --GC

Ian Moore, Sputnik

Once a Joe Ely sideman and Stevie Ray Vaughan-style blues disciple, Moore's been growing away from his blues-rocker start for a dozen years, and finally arrives with the terrific Luminara. Putting his excellent guitar work in service to the songs, Moore delivers robust country/folk-rock with bits of dissonance, guitar fuzz and horns sprinkled in for texture. Sputnik is keyed to the girlish vocals of Genie Morrow and their dreamy pop-rock textures. 10 p.m./$6--CP

Jane Francis & Excellent Teeth (feat. Velvet's Jane and Jay)
The Cave

Francis' acoustic-driven folk-pop came abruptly to life this past summer and has been captured on her forthcoming debut, Skeletons for Tea, which was recently picked up by Eskimo Kiss for release this summer. If Velvet is any indication, expect sweet, thoughtful music with good hooks. 7:30 p.m./$5--CP

Saturday, March 26
Nashville Pussy, The Paybacks
Martin Street Music Hall

You better wear clean underwear, because this pairing will rock your pants off (meaning: don't go commando). Between the rumbling, feral, hard rocking fury of Nashville Pussy with their Southern-fried AC/DC imitation and the nut-twisting, garage rawk thunderball of Detroit's The Paybacks, led by Wendy Case (who makes L7 seem tame by comparison), there's little chance of escaping sonic annihilation. 10 p.m./$12 --CP

Spottiswoode & His Enemies
De La Luz

With horn-, piano- and guitar-wielding enemies like this, who needs friends? Not U.K.-born, NYC-based, Cohen-voiced Jonathan Spottiswoode, whose music--as brought to life by him and six friendly foes--has the urgency of gospel, the breadth of the Jazz Butcher and a warm audacity all its own. Followed by a screening of the short film The Gentleman. 10:30 p.m./$10--RC

Beth Wood, Rod Picott
Six String Cafe

I confess to not being familiar with the music of Beth Wood, but I'm well acquainted with the work of opener Rod Picott. He's a hyper-literate songwriter and singer from the same school of hard books that graduated the likes of R.B. Morris, Jeff Black and occasional writing and touring partner Slaid Cleaves. 8 p.m./$8--RC

Blood Sweat and Gears II

Kings hosts a car show featuring pre-1967 American-made cars, trucks, hot rods and kustoms, followed by music that's pretty pre-'67 and kustom in its own right thanks to local rockabilly band the Straight 8's, the Eddie Cochran-worshipping Rocket 350 and seven other acts. See for details. The car show is noon to 4 p.m., and the bands keep things revving until 2 a.m. $10--RC

Jason Crumer, Realicide, Moribund, Boyszone

Glorious gobs of knob-twiddling noise will be flying around the Nightlight at extreme volumes. Chapel Hill's Crumer, of outfit Aluminum Noise, goes solo here. Cincinatti's Realicide is power electronics, with the harshness of Moribund and our own bubble wrap crazies Boyzone. Do earplugs, not drugs. 10 p.m./$5--CT

Sunday, March 27
The Album Leaf, Bloodthirsty Lovers, Mar
Martin Street Music Hall

This isn't to say that Sub-Pop's The Album Leaf is entirely instrumental (it's not), but the post-rock spacecraft of Black Heart Procession's James Lavelle is capable of wordless poetry, the kind of electro-tone poems that come faint and floating, drifting like Northern Lights above worldly hustle and bustle. Unfurling in distended swells, The Album Leaf straps Do Make Say Think wonder inside icy Sigur Ros vectors. Arrive early, find a dark corner spot and sail away. --GC

Monday, March 28
Otis Gibbs, Kelly Pardekooper, Joe Swank
The Cave

This is a night of first-rate song-swapping from the I states, with Indiana's Otis Gibbs, Iowa's Kelly Pardekooper and Illinois' (now Carrboro's) Joe Swank--all practitioners of thinking person's country. And the three guys will swap 'em again at Sadlack's on March 29. 7:30 p.m. --RC

Tuesday, March 29
Viva Voce
Martin Street Music Hall

The Muscle Shoals, Ala. husband and wife duo of Anita and Kevin Robinson play bouncy, friendly indie pop reminiscent of Papas Fritas, Madder Rose and the Blake Babies. They do a good job of utilizing dynamics and a variety of musical touches to keep the arrangements interesting, and write catchy, memorable tunes. 10 p.m./$6--CP

Two Cow Garage
Local 506

Just a guess, mind you, but Two Cow Garage's coat of arms probably sports a battered van, an enormous guitar and a dual picture frame displaying shots of Grand Champeen and the late Slobberbone. This road warrior trio from Columbus, Ohio plays roots-acknowledging rock like it's head-banging music. The Cartridge Family and Emily Waszak open. 10 p.m./$7--RC

Wednesday, March 30
Jedi Mind Tricks, Living Legends, Pigeon John
Cat's Cradle

JMT work in a smooth flow similar to the pioneering artists of the '90s, Boogie Down Productions, et al. Head-bobbing heat from the West also comes in the form of the ever-present Living Legends crew. Get there early for Pigeon John's quirky, humorous rhymes. 9 p.m./$14--CT

Decibully, Codeseven
Martin Street Music Hall

Certainly the week's oddest bill: Ten years into it, Winston-Salem's Codeseven decided to take their metal predilections for an intergalactic synthesized adventure, and the result is the unfocused, scattered and too-smart Dancing Echoes/Dead Sounds. The same adjectives apply for Milwaukee's Decibully, whose sophomore Sing Out America! matches its state's principal export of cheese pound-for-pound. If you enjoy seeing bands teetering on the brink of brilliant and abysmal, this is a must-see. --GC

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