This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Charlie Louvin; RahDunes; Erykah Badu; Druha Trava
EH, WHATEVER: The Surf Seniors; Last Waltz Tribute Ensemble; The Format; Dirty Little Rabbits
VS.: Michael McDonald vs. Peter Frampton
INTRODUCING: Great Big Gone/ The Damage Done
LAST WEEK'S PARTY: Endless Mic
SONG OF THE WEEK: Schnitzel's "Truck Bedliner"
08.23 CHARLIE LOUVIN @ THE POUR HOUSE
Now 43 years after the Louvin Brothers broke up and 42 years after the death of older brother and mandolin-playing partner Ira, Charlie Louvin (photo, right)—who turned 80 last month—has hit an unlikely career revival. It began properly with The Louvin Brothers' induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, followed by a Grammy-winning tribute in 2004. Earlier this year, Tompkins Square paired Louvin with Will Oldham, Paul Burch, Jeff Tweedy and George Jones. The results are mixed, but the message is not: The effects of Louvin's salt-of-the-earth baritone remain vital. $20-$25/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin
08.24 RAHDUNES @ NIGHTLIGHT
RAHDUNES' MySpace page looks like computer spit-up, but the songs it houses are gorgeous, sleepily magnificent trances and beautiful, mimetic abstractions of living organisms. Each second of the San Fran duo's music grumbles and breathes with earthen, shamanic charm. With Lakes, In the Year of the Pig, Felt Battery and Horseback. $7/ 10 p.m. —Robbie Mackey
08.25 ERYKAH BADU @ KOKA BOOTH AMPHITHEATRE
The woman on the hook for "You Got Me"? The one who had a kid with André 3000? The one that said Tyrone could help "you get your shit"? "On and On"? Badu's career has suffered from a dozen reductive ties. Tonight, she has this distinction: She's the sole artist on the three-day Carolina Music Festival bill still full of promise. $40-$62.50/ 2 p.m. —Grayson Currin
08.29 DRUHA TRAVA @ HIDEAWAY BBQ
The hook of a bluegrass band from the Czech Republic is immediate and apparent enough. Despite that geographical oddity and the progressive-grass arrangement of songs by Dylan, the Stones and Chick Corea on their inevitably titled album Czechmate, Druha Trava is no novelty act. These guys are supremely skilled players worth a listen. $10/ 8:30 p.m. —Rick Cornell
08.23 THE SURF SENIORS @ WALNUT CREEK
Nobody's arguing with Mike Love's right to tour: He co-wrote many of the early Beach Boys hits. In question is his motivation. While one can appreciate Love's forever stalled solo career, does that justify dragging this decrepit, well-flogged horse through another nostalgia junket? Fer crissakes, he's a 66-year-old man in a bad Hawaiian shirt singing about teenage girls and surfboards. Has dude caught a wave in the last 25 years? Total tool. The Four Seasons are still great. $30-$60/ 7 p.m. —Chris Parker
08.24 LAST WALTZ TRIBUTE ENSEMBLE @ THE POUR HOUSE
Covering The Band isn't easy: To be passable, you'll need vocalists with unorthodox inflections, maybe a Dylan, a drummer who fill pockets with soul, and a guitarist and keyboardist who forewent common knowledge. Last Waltz is almost passable, but there's authenticity in chemistry. Try these: The DVD included in A Musical History and the heartbreaking novella Music from Big Pink. $8-$10/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin
08.26 THE FORMAT @ CAT'S CRADLE
Tepid college pap from Arizona, The Format is as generously tuneful as a radio jingle, just twice as forgettable. Don't judge gruff power-pop openers Limbeck by the company they keep. $15/ 7:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
08.27 DIRTY LITTLE RABBITS @ BERKELEY CAFE
If Joanna Newsom didn't play harp but did relish Creed's guitar dynamics, shape her hooks on lyrics like "Hello, it's so nice to see you," and have a barely interesting voice, her name would be Stella Katsoudas. She'd lead Dirty Little Rabbits, an upstart whose selling points are "featuring 'Clown' of Slipknot" and Katsoudas' somehow charmingly cheeky delivery on first single "Hello." Beyond "Hello," though, let's say goodbye. 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
From: California, via St. Louis
Since: The late '70s
Claim to fame: "For the first time, today, I woke up, I came to the store, and I—I feel confident to say to you that if you don't take this Michael McDonald DVD that you've been playing for two years straight off, I'm going to kill everyone in the store and put a bullet in my brain!" —The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Keep forgetting how the '70s blew? How, if we're lucky, things will never be the same again? Keep forgetting how he's made that so clear? Keep forgetting? Then "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)," the noxious single from Michael McDonald's 1982 post-Doobies debut, is maybe the best reminder of the era's soul-sucking mediocrity: Only a fool believes his warmed-over soul could hold the door for its Motown antecedents. Hey, Michael, regarding your recent take on "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," are you kidding us? We're not high enough for that anymore. With War at KOKA BOOTH AMPHITHEATRE AT REGENCY PARK. At least Regency Park is pretty. $35-$72.50/ 7:30 p.m.
From: Kent, England
Since: The early '70s
Claim to fame: "Dude, he's making the guitar sing, man!" —Every teenager since 1976
You'd have to resurrect half of Milli Vanilli or find out where Hammer's teaching 8-year-olds how to dance to rival the career trajectory of Peter Frampton, which is whiplash waiting to happen. The 1976 release Frampton Comes Alive flogged 16 million copies worldwide. The sale of wah pedals skyrocketed. Things went south within a year, as Frampton starred with the Bee Gees in the movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band. (No one informed the director it was an album.) At his best, Frampton's a destitute man's Clapton, and "Show Me the Way" is maybe his "Wonderful Tonight." Frampton scored a Grammy in 2006 for his instrumental album Fingerprints: Truth be told, his industry friends just felt sorry for him after he starred alongside WWE's Chris Jericho on Fox's short-lived Celebrity Duets. Frampton gets reborn at Raleigh's MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM. $40-$54/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
GREAT BIG GONE/ THE DAMAGE DONE
When Brown Mountain Lights called it quits in March, Jeff Hart and Janet Place knew they'd continue in two separate bands. But five?
"I lost a band, and I ended up gaining four," says Hart, who now leads Young Neil & The Damage Done (FLIPSIDE, AUG. 24), Jeff Hart & The Damage Done (SHAKORI HILLS, AUG. 31) and his longtime band The Ruins. He's also starting a new Television tribute band and an acoustic duo with Tom Meltzer, Meltzer-Hart (say it aloud). "Hey, I'm a single guy. I can still do it."
The quintet that long joined Hart as the Lights continues as Great Big Gone, a line borrowed from one of the songs Place penned for the Lights. Hart will play his Lights songs in The Damage Done, and Great Big Gone (BYNUM GENERAL STORE, AUG. 24) will continue playing Place's Lights catalogue. Hart was the band's pop edge, she says, so they've branched out into even more eclectic roots, incorporating Tex-Mex and jazz-swing.
"He was just bored, and he admitted it," says Place, noting that the first Great Big Gone release is due early next year. "But now, when he comes to our shows, he says the new band lets me come out even more." —Grayson Currin
LAST WEEK'S PARTY
08.17 ENDLESS MIC @ CAT'S CRADLE
For such an articulate guy, Akrobatik's redundant: I nodded my head 100 times to his set, responding to his constant "This is hip-hop!" cry. It didn't spoil the night, with Akrobatik sandwiched between Durham's Jozeemo and Chapel Hill's headlining Endless Mic. Akrobatik's rapid-fire delivery drew the small crowd closer, and Endless Mic, releasing their second record from the stage, proved why they're the perfect hip-hop group for Trekky Records, bouncing lines back and forth around the stage like a hot potato. —Alex Henderson
Richmond's SCHNITZEL (THE CAVE, AUG. 23) are alt.country risers in the right way: "TRUCK BEDLINER" comes with thick organ and spry mandolin, not to mention their Chapel Hill-specific imagery. Download the song and read Rick Cornell's band interview here soon.