Other than Wilco, it's hard to think of an American band that's flowered more in the last five years than the Pernice Brothers. Like Wilco, the Massachusetts-based soft-rock combo sprang from the ashes of a legendary alt-country group (Scud Mountain Boys). And like Wilco, Joe Pernice and friends have gracefully stretched their legs into every corner of the pop idiom, tacitly refuting claims that conventional American song forms have run their course. The World Won't End, the latest Pernice album, is headed straight for a lot of year-end lists. The Pernice Brothers and The Sadies play next Wednesday, Nov. 14 at Go! Room 4. Call 969-1400 for details. --Gavin O'Hara
Lately, things have been rather quiet in the camp of Evan Dando, onetime indie-pop pinup as leader of the frequently brilliant Lemonheads. Quiet, in that it's been over five years since his last release, but quiet also describes the musical mood of Dando's recent shows. He's favoring a more stripped-down approach these days (as captured on an upcoming Australian import disc titled Live at the Brattle Theatre), and it's a credit to Dando's expressive voice--equal parts cool-guy nonchalance and crooner richness--and his way with a melody that such Lemonhead favorites as "My Drug Buddy" and "Stove" still shine when shorn. Joining Dando at the ArtsCenter this Thursday, Nov. 15, is multitalented fellow traveler Chris Brokaw (Come, Pullman, New Year). Call 929-2787 for details. --Rick Cornell
Swedish punk popsters (The) International Noise Conspiracy's new disc, A New Morning, is a boisterous, exuberant high-energy musical excursion. It's also a lyrical treatise on the dissolution of modern ideals in the face of capitalism's insidious influence on the world's political stage. Leave it to the land of ABBA to spawn a group (pictured) that combines musical hooks with explorations into queer theory, labor issues (Karl Marx, anyone?) and "the negativity of the corporate fascist state." Referencing everyone from Foucault and Simone De Beauvoir to Bikini Kill, these rock neo-radicals still manage to deliver one of the most fun records these jaded ears have heard in awhile. They're appearing with former Chapel Hill group Milemarker, recognized music politicos in their own right. Check it out Tuesday, Nov. 20, at the Cat's Cradle. Call 967-9053 for details. --Angie Carlson
Critics have called Pete Yorn "the best thing to come out of Jersey since Bruce Springsteen" (guess they forgot about Bon Jovi?), but his new album, Musicforthemorningafter, sounds more like a combination of another Bruce (Cockburn) and New Order. The first single, "Life on a Chain" (with a video in heavy rotation on MTV), marries R.E.M.-style jangly guitars and Yorn's strangled, just-woke-up vocals to Joy Division and OMD-style synthesized beats and strings, while another tune, "Black," recalls The Violent Femmes or The Normal in high "Warm Leatherette" mode. The last track, "Simonize," even offers an eerie love poem ostensibly penned by Jack the Ripper. Yorn plays with Remy Zero at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh Wednesday, Nov. 21. Call 821-4111 for details.