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Friday, December 9
Meredith Bragg & The Terminals
Bickett Gallery

Meredith Bragg, formerly of Virginia's Speedwell, has spent the year traveling the country with his wife and staying with friends. His work shows the patience and austerity of a well-learned writer who knows that the small things don't really matter, but they sure hurt like hell. Think Elliott Smith with twice the love. --GC

Tony and Hardy Williamson Duo
The Flip Side

Siler City's Tony Williamson, mandolinist extraordinaire, has inspired such young bluegrass bands as Big Fat Gap and shared the stage with everybody from Bill Monroe to Luciano Pavarotti. These days he gets to do something even more exciting: share the stage with (and no doubt inspire) his son Hardy, a fine guitar picker and talented songwriter/vocalist, in the four-piece band RIFT and as a duo. Donation/9 p.m. --RC

Rob Watson, SEDA, Madison Fair
The Pour House

Rob Watson's album To Trade Hands is a dazzling display of versatility, with Watson making like an amphitheater troubadour, a modern rock hero, a neo-soulster and an tourist (that last one mostly by association, thanks to guest Caitlin Cary and occasional traveling partner Kenny Roby) across the record's dozen songs. And get this: He's even better live. $6/9:45 p.m. --RC

Lucero, Southern Bitch, American Princes
Local 506

The Yep Roc Rock Band Referent Game is as fun as it is easy, and their latest signee, Arkansas' American Princes, is a worthy game piece, indeed. Let's see: They sound a bit like rock 'n' roll redemption with dance-punk punch (more Kasabian than Franz Ferdinand), spit by a singer splitting the difference between mid-'90s alterna-rock and three-year-old adulterated emo. And, no, I'm not sure if that's an endorsement or a slam. Personally, I've always been kind of worried that Lucero would sleep with my sister. Then again, I don't actually have a sister, so their punked-out inscriptions of Southern guitar rock brought to you from Memphis is nothin' but love. $10/10 p.m. --GC

Jodie Manross
The Cave

A diminutive lady with a big voice, Manross' lilting vocals and rumbling country-folk approach recalls the grace of Shelby Lynne, the dulcet warmth of Mindy Smith and the fierceness of Ricki Lee Jones. Her sad, soaring songs follow the singer/songwriter tradition, tracking familiar territory of ache, hope and desire, but can feature surprisingly rocking arrangements, as on the bluesy, funk wah-fest "Waiting My Whole Life." $6/7 p.m. --CP

The Honored Guests

The Guests take some inspiration from the Flaming Lips, with a spacey, lysergic-folk sound that scans from the Pink Floyd-ish acid-rock of "The Punch" to the psych-tipped guitar rock of "Postmarked," rich in jangle and reverb. An underrated local act. Raleigh alt-poppers Boxbomb open. $6/10 p.m. --CP

Hi-Fi Royale
Blue Bayou Club

What's not to love? Five working Joes who have not just bonded over a love of vintage music, but also occasionally convene in area clubs and dance halls to resurrect those sounds that are dear to their hearts. Expect to hear jump blues, Gene Vincent-style rockabilly, and made-for-dancing swing. $7-9/9 p.m. --RC

Seven Nations
Tir Na Nog

Well of course this show is going to be at Tir Na Nog. Where else would a Celtic rock band that augments its crunch with bagpipes, a tin whistle and fiddles play? The Longbranch? 10:30 p.m. --RC

Saturday, December 10
Southern Culture On The Skids, The Moaners
Cat's Cradle

Melissa Swiggle's sunglass-clad ersatz "bluesman" persona is an uncanny fit for her dispassionate vocal style. Inverting Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy," The Moaners drag it back to the delta muck and dose it with enough gritty, greasy distortion to deep fry John Spencer. Southern Culture (aka "the poets of plastic seat sweat") are the aperitif at this pig roast, the tangy sauce with whom the juicy, slow-cooked sonic smorgasbord of glazed twang and pickled sensibilities would not be possible. $10/10 p.m. --CP

The Capulets, Hide and Seek

Rumors have been buzzing that Yep Roc is interested in these four Raleigh pals, so it looks like another round of The Yep Roc Rock Band Referent Game: On their way to a gig at Disco Rodeo, The Strokes get mugged by four adoring fans with shorter hair. The Strokes can't go on, so they ask the muggers--who they have since bonded with over passionate talk of songs about parties and girls and how to dress for pimp-game Lower East Side success--to be stand-ins. The younger lads pull it off and become local heroes, naming themselves The Capulets and playing shows in smoky bars with Hide And Seek. 10 p.m. --GC

Haunted House, Boyzone

Michael Watton, the confident pasticheur behind Haunted House, re-envisions icy New Age schmaltz-fests as Red Bull rock anthems, creating a boisterous brand of blissed out, pomp-y pop that preens like Andrew WK covering Enya. Sure, you can call it kitschy. But call it ironic at your own risk, as anyone familiar with Watton's cumbersomely titled debut, La Vida Es Difícil Pero Bonita Cuando Hace Sol y el Cielo Es Una Mierda, appreciates his innocent absurdity. Local noiseies Boyzone, undoubtedly pulling a gaggle of kitchen appliances and two scantily clad dancers in tow, open. $5/10 p.m. --RM

Tuesday, December 13
Anathollo, Javelins, Sweater Weather
Local 506

Sometimes the members of Anathollo tuck away dirt and wildflower seeds in the folds of their album sleeves; and much like this fanciful approach to packaging, the band's on-stage aesthetic is both whimsical and organic. A monstrous collective of musicians--some classically trained, some blissfully unaware of music's formal side--conjure up large scale suites and lively rock-marches like a misfit indie rock marching band. Local openers Sweater Weather deal in a similar form of simple magnitude, relying on folk instrumentation and hushed intimacy to suggest a sort of Sufjan Stevens-style enormity. $3/10 p.m. --RM

Wednesday, December 14
The Pour House

They've built an impressive catalog without graduating beyond "critical fave with cult following," which is just fine with us. The Bielanko brothers' rootsy rock somehow splits the difference between their arena rock heroes (fellow Jersey boy Bruce Springsteen) and the underground that birthed them, much like the early work of Roger McGuinn fan Tom Petty. And indeed, the latest album, If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry, is all about jangle and country-rock rave-ups after the outsized rock ballads of their last effort. $10-12/10 p.m. --CP

Fake Swedish, White Elephant

The Swedes, a Chapel Hill group, branch out to Slim's in Raleigh, hoping to spread the gospel with their rough-hewn pop that verges on the fringe of psychedelia. Big chords punctuate the songs, like pointillist circles dotting a canvas. 10 p.m. --CT

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