If music sales in local record stores valley in the next quarter, don't lambaste Limewire, Soulseek or piracy at large; blame the clubs. Actually, don't blame them at all. This fall is going to be fun.
In fact, grab that stack of College Music Journals sitting in your living room, pull the pages out, throw them in the air and play pick-up. Chances are, 75 percent of the plucked pages will mention bands that will visit the Triangle in the next three months, and the clubs have plenty to offer besides college rock before 2006.
Per normal, the Cat's Cradle is the epicenter of it all: Before November, you can see bands that run the range, from the primo songwriting of John Vanderslice, Devendra Banhart, Mac McCaughan, Sufjan Stevens, Josh Ritter and Mike Doughty and the international fare of England's The Doves, Sweden's Dungen and Mexico's Jaguares to forays into the fertile hip-hop (under?)ground with Sage Francis, Atmosphere, Little Brother and Wu-Tang's Ghostface and country slabs of Junior Brown, Kate Taylor and bluegrass savants Peter Rowan and Tony Rice. That barely scratches the surface, though: Don't miss The Kingsbury Manx's CD release party for their exquisite The Fast Rise and Fall of the South, or the noise-plosion of Black Dice and Growing. Some are excited about The New Pornographers' return to the Cradle, but I mention it here for two reasons, which are one in the same: Dan Bejar's Destroyer opens, and Bejar comes way in front of Newman, according to both my abecedarian and songsmith paradigms.
Some of the Cradle's best bookings will happen worlds away in Chapel Hill proper at Local 506, though. Mary Gauthier plays there next Wednesday, followed this year by the punked-soul of The Bellrays, the lush orchestral pop of Merge's The Clientele and the picturesque pain of Okkervil River. 506 owner Glenn Boothe is drawing fine acts into the fold on his own, too: Laptop god Four Tet plays Sunday, followed in short order by noise grinders Wolf Eyes, stone space sludgers Nebula, and the Thrill Jockey/Tigerbeat 6 gender-imploding of Adult and Genders. Local CD release parties at 506 include several standouts this fall, with The Strugglers, The Physics of Meaning and Nathan Asher. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! plays one of the most anticipated shows of the season at 506 on Oct. 17, and everyone (well, me) wants to know if these New Yorkers will sport "God Bless Pitchfork" shirts on stage. Be forewarned, though: If Alec Ounsworth screams "Child stars!" more than 20 times, either my or his head will explode. Seriously. But I hope that doesn't happen, as I plan on rapping along to every word from The Perceptionists' amazing debut, Black Dialogue, when they hit 506 on Nov. 9.
Former Go! Talent buyer Mike Triplett has Chapel Hill's newest club, Wetlands Dance Hall, rocking, and there will be plenty of chances to catch the proof this fall: Angular slow marchers Calla paradoxically join Celebration on a bill, and instrumental topographers Saxon Shore headline the same week in October. GoGoGo Airheart plays with The Joggers in November, followed by the promising one-two package of Styrofoam and Ester Drang later that month.
Don't forget to look east, though--Kings Barcade hasn't finalized their line-up past September, but they've got plenty of solid bills in the can: DMBQ--whose last Kings show ended with lead singer Shinji Masuko hanging from the ceiling wearing a gas mask as he ripped his jeans off--returns, as well as Texas songwriter/survivor Richard Buckner. The far-left-of-weird hip-hop flavors of Grand Buffet and Kerbloki share the stage one night, and former members of The Arcade Fire come to Raleigh as Les Angles Morts. Speaking of The Arcade Fire, their Merge labelmates The Rosebuds bring some of the Triangle's best melodies back to Kings for the release party behind their second LP, Birds Make Good Neighbors, with a new drummer in tow. Also not to be missed: the Swedish Travis, aka Shout Out Louds; Dischord's Medications with Durham's des_ark; and Japan's Green Milk from the Planet Orange.
By now, The Pour House's Sunday Roots Series should be a weekend ritual, but if it's not, here are four upcoming reasons to make it happen: the delirious eclecticism of Spottiswoode & His Enemies; the stained-oak soul of Malcolm Holcombe; songwriter's songwriter Chris Knight; and a three-set bluegrass extravaganza. Other highlights: Terry Anderson, Stillhouse and Steep Canyon Rangers CD releases, the gone bonkers New Orleans sounds of Drums & Tuba, and the gorgeous songwriting of hopeless, hapless romantic David Mead.
Keep an eye on The Brewery's schedule at brewerync.com, and remember that tickets are selling fast for Death Cab for Cutie's date with Stars at Disco Rodeo. Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre boasts plenty of party-worthy shows this season, too: Nathan Asher & The Infanty present Sex Without Love, Homegrown Music Network turns 10 with Keller Williams, Southern Culture on the Skids takes it to the trailer, and jam icons Railroad Earth, Umphrey's McGee, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and Sam Bush welcome the Raleigh Hash All-Stars.
Just remember what mom said: Don't spend it all in one place.
With the opening of 305 South, there is promise that Durham finally has a club big enough to draw some names to town. So far, there's only one show booked and most of the larger music acts are at Duke (check out the Coffeehouse) or the Carolina Theatre, but stay tuned.