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Punk garage trio the King Brothers (pictured) shred like it's a kamikaze mission--there's no P.A. stack too high to leap off of, no stage that can contain them. These three young'uns from Nishinomiya make Guitar Wolf sound like Guitar Pup. They appear Sunday, April 1, at Local 506.

Another don't miss: Legendarily non-P.C. iconoclasts The Frogs, hailing from Dahmerland, U.S.A. (aka Milwaukee), are infamous for albums like It's Only Right and Natural (their "homo" album) and Racially Yours (where they wore blackface and whiteface). It's a chance to share the magic live, and decide if these guys are geniuses or just tasteless mofos. Opening are The Greenhornes, a raw, organ-driven '60s punk combo on Telstar Records. Listening to their new self-titled disc is like taking the way-back machine to the Sunset Strip circa '66. Cooler than Baron von Zipper. See them Tuesday, April 3, at Local 506. Call 942-5506 for details. DiamondDiamondDiamond

Mix lounge and music noir with a healthy dose of The Blue Angel attitude, and you've got songbird Eleni Mandell doing her neu take on the cabaret genre. Catch them Wednesday, March 28, at Go! Room 4.

In a case of a local musician successfully reinventing himself, check out former Queen Sarah Saturday frontman Johnny Irion's new project with Sarah Lee Guthrie at Go! Room 4 in Carrboro Friday, March 30. Irion moved to Los Angeles several years back, met up with Guthrie--Arlo's daughter and Woody's granddaughter--and started a partnership that also extends offstage (they married last year). Irion's "high lonesome" vocal style and roots rock compositions recall early Neil Young, and Guthrie is the spitting image of her dad circa Alice's Restaurant. Call 969-1400 for details.DiamondDiamondDiamond

The Orange County Animal Shelter is still feeling the effects of last month's bombing (someone put a propane canister in the animal drop box, destroying an incubator and killing several animals). With damages at $10,000, the Cat's Cradle's Frank Heath and Local 506's Dave Robertson got together to line up a benefit, with Jim Mathus' Knock Down Society, Lud, Underbrush and others donating their talents. The benefit is Friday, March 30, 8:30 p.m. at Cat's Cradle. Call 967-9053 for details.

Indigo Girl Amy Ray (pictured) has long been a supporter of independent music--just check out the roster of her own imprint, Daemon Records. Ray's solo Daemon release, Stag, starts with a mandolin and vocal ditty, "Johnny Rottentail," then plunges into rock, with guest appearances by Merge artists The Rock*A*Teens, Durham's The Butchies and Danielle Howle. But my favorite is the full-on rocker "Hey Castrator," which features former Runaway Joan Jett on guitar and has a wistful, glam-rock chorus. Backing Ray on tour is Durham's own The Butchies (who'll also be doing a set), whose new release, The Butchies 3, is in your local record store now. This heavyweight line-up debuted at Austin's SXSW and is touring the nation. They pull into the Cat's Cradle Tuesday, April 3. Mr. Lady artist Tami Hart opens, so get there early. --Angie Carlson

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