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Claire Holley (pictured) writes songs like her lettered Mississippi brethren write books--illuminating truths joyous and despairing in symbols of everyday happenings. She chooses a niche of life and exhumes its stories until its harsh realities and dreamy escapes are clear. On Salvation, her first album, she collected and rearranged the gospel songs of her childhood. Her new eponymous release occupies the space where the white-bread world converges with homeless ramblers, hairy eccentrics and grease monkeys. Her voice sounds real, warm, somewhat familiar, and she might sing about seersucker suits and sleeveless shirts or businessmen and bums in the same phrase. Backed by her delicate guitar picking, this is folk pop a la Dar Williams, but pop without the callow chorus and catch phrase. She tells her stories circuitously, with an eye to detail, often leaving them as open-ended vignettes. Holley left her native Jackson, Miss., to record here in Durham with John Plymale at Overdub Lane. You can help her celebrate her Yep Roc Records CD release this Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro. --John Martin

DiamondDiamondDiamondDrum 'n' bass artist LTJ Bukem has a background in fusion and jazz funk, but he's known for his DJ projects, remixes, label (Good Looking Records) and his drum 'n' bass collection Logical Progression. Still putting out compilations (Progression Sessions, volume six in the series) as well as a forthcoming solo album, Bukem's post-rave breakbeat cultural odysseys expand from drum 'n' bass to explore ambient, house, soul and more. Catch the musician-mixmaster, along with MC Conrad and Nookie, live at Gotham in Chapel Hill Thursday, Sept. 13. Call 967-2852 for details. --Angie Carlson

DiamondDiamondDiamondDavid J, former bassist-vocalist for seminal goth band Bauhaus and college-radio favorites Love & Rockets, will be appearing live in a rare solo acoustic performance at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro Saturday, Sept. 15. Along with the Sinister Ducks project and collaborations with such artists as The Jazz Butcher, David's released several solo albums. WXYC-FM will also feature an in-studio performance and interview that Saturday at 5 p.m. David will be performing a solo acoustic set, followed by a DJ set spinning atmospheric downtempo grooves. Call 967-9053 for details. --Jennifer Betowt

DiamondDiamondDiamondUsing a fiddle like a lead guitar (they do a Hendrix-ified version of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower"), Dayton Ohio's Homeland comes to the Triangle for a spate of gigs this weekend. Led by Scott McGillivray (who's played the Eno Fest), the group's been described as a Celtic Dave Matthews Band. They'll be in town for shows at The Cave in Chapel Hill (Thursday, Sept. 13), Tir na nOg in Raleigh (Friday & Sunday, Sept. 14 & 16) and Ri-Ra in Raleigh (Saturday, Sept. 15). --Angie Carlson

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