Chapel Hill octet Sweater Weather is nothing if not part of the fabric of orchestral, crest-minded indie rock that's been prevalent nationally and locally since the start of the decade. On its accomplished debut LP, Now, Everyone Can Sing, Sweater Weather climbs for the spiritual apogees of Michigan influences Anathallo, shudders through the emotional tremors that define Okkervil River, and emblazons pop with the textures that Grizzly Bear uses so subtly. Closer to home, the vulnerability of frontman Casey Trela owes flattered debts to Daniel Hart (who plays violin on one track here) and his Physics of Meaning, part of the Bu Hanan clutch that's largely responsible for the sound of swells in the Triangle.
Those referents are a broad swath through a rangy subgenre, though, and Sweater Weather carefully juxtaposes acoustic textures and electronic concrète manipulations from 24 contributors. At its best, Sweater Weather's eight members and several dozen instruments are joists and studs, building up and out instead of in or around. When they're least sure-handed, Sweater Weather crowds its middles, as with the overly didactic, Desaparecidos clang of "The Roots That Clutch." But nine-minute centerpiece "This Is an Owl as He Flies out of Himself" finds the band righting itself at the song's midpoint, the second half overcoming the jumbled first as a tense dirge of strings and horns becomes tinder beneath Trela's lonesome voice and guitar.
At nearly 56 minutes, Now, Everyone Can Sing lacks the sort of trenchant editing that could have trimmed the ornate frames to add focus to the bright picture in the middle. But broil-and-boil emotion, the thing Sweater Weather does so well over these 10 tracks, rarely cedes to restraint and reason, and—here, in the glow of a self-produced LP brimming with ideas and enthusiasms, if not focus or newness—such considerations are mostly an afterthought. A strong start.
Sweater Weather releases Now, Everyone Can Sing at Local 506 Friday, Sept. 7, at 10 p.m. The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers and Kapow! Music open. Admission is free.
Perhaps you know Mikel Ross from Slim's, his Raleigh bar on Wilmington Street that's one of the lone rock 'n' roll strongholds left downtown. But Brite Boy, his keyboard-and-guitar quintet, plays a different sort of Raleigh rock, more tasteful and subdued than androgenic and brawny. Female lead Brandy Tanner eases her breezy voice through a playful, soulful bounce, and Ross—singing about going out and making friends—is full of charisma, his ostensible Stiff Records schooling tempered by a Marvelous 3 charm. Peartree Sessions is occasionally a bit blanched ("Enemy Calling"), but, at its best, it's plenty fun.
Brite Boy releases Peartree Sessions at Lincoln Theatre Thursday, Sept. 6, at 10 p.m. for $6. Goner and The T's open.