This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Jeff Crawford/ Paleface, Wood Ear, Black Skies/ All the Saints, Auxes/ Hundred Air/ Kerbloki, Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles, Puddin' Tang
EH, WHATEVER: Dr. Dog
VS.: Beach House vs. The Spinto Band
INTRODUCING: Holy Ghost Tent Revival
LAST WEEK'S PARTY: Dawn Upshaw and Orquesta Los Pelegrinos
SONG OF THE WEEK: These United States' "Slow Crows Over"
02.28 JEFF CRAWFORD/PALEFACE @ TIR NA NOG
A sweet-and-sour Americana affair that pairs Roman Candle bassist Jeff Crawford's easygoing pop leanings with the gravel-voiced Paleface. Paleface, who now calls Concord home, is best known around these parts for his co-conspirator role with The Avett Brothers, but he has origins in the NYC anti-folk scene, where he collaborated with Beck and Daniel Johnston. He's a live-wire performer, so the free beer should be perfect. Free/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
02.29 WOOD EAR @ BULL CITY HEADQUARTERS
Wood Ear's self-titled debut EP was a highlight of last year's local releases, showcasing Nathan Tarr as a blue-collar shaman who surveyed the bluster of day jobs and bill-paying with a jaundiced eye but overcame it all with a sturdy backing band and quixotic guitar instrumentals full of lift and breeze. Greensboro's Dawn Chorus, led by the beard of Andrew Dudek, opens. $5/ 9 p.m.—Grayson Currin
02.29 BLACK SKIES/ ALL THE SAINTS @ HELL
Buttress yourself against the bottom end because this triple-bill is big on murky-bass, slow-groove throb. Atlanta's All the Saints are the highlight, with a sinewy acid-psych thrum that ebbs and flows. The steely malevolence of Black Skies' garage-metal rumble matches their moniker, while Ruscha dig moat-like grooves of spastic black-metal pulse. Free/ 9 p.m.—Chris Parker
02.29 JUNIOR BROWN @ CAT'S CRADLE
Hard to say what first brought Junior Brown into his small corner of the limelight: His homemade guit-steel, an old-school feel (an early song referenced Ernest Tubb for good reason), being championed by Nick Lowe, that authoritarian voice? No matter, he still prowls that corner with, well, authority. $16/ 9:15 p.m. —Rick Cornell
03.01 AUXES/ HUNDRED AIR/ KERBLOKI @ LOCAL 506
A contrasting triptych of unequal parts energy and allure: Kerbloki's a hip-hop duo with a sludge metal backend, and its live show is a melee of smiles and sweats and swears. John Crouch, who beats their drums, also plays in the two-drummers, math-and-force-and-motion Auxes, which pulls from Caltrop, Milemarker, Challenger and Fin Fang Foom. Hundred Air is a power-pop casestudy that feels more genuine than most. $5/ 10 p.m.—Grayson Currin
03.02 SARAH BORGES & THE BROKEN SINGLES @ BERKELEY CAFE
Two Next Big Thing candidates, two different roots-based styles: Sarah Borges' sleek sound comes equipped with rock crunch and pop sheen options, and she's as quick to cover the Compulsive Gamblers and Teenage Fanclub as she is Charley Pride and Dolly Parton. It's not quite 12-lane highway stuff, but it is well paved. Eilen Jewell's music, rustic but also willing to romp, feels born more of train tracks and of car wheels comfortable on gravel roads. Start with Jewell's take on cult folkie Eric Andersen's "Dusty Boxcar Wall" and go from there. Two approaches, two winners. $10-$12/ 7 p.m.—Rick Cornell
03.03 PUDDIN' TANG @ THE CAVE
This Brooklyn combo drops soul-soaked garage into greasy roots-funk. Together, it's a foot-tapping swill: Hard to resist, Puddin' Tang's infectious charms are further sweetened by joyous boy/ girl vocals that subtly recall Jimbo & Katherine's days in the Zippers. They open for a local favorite, The Curtains of Night (see 8 Days A Week).—Chris Parker
03.04 DR. DOG @ LOCAL 506
Nothing's really the matter with Dr. Dog, the Philadelphia soul-pop-space band with the incredible litany of A-list, B-name influences—Beatles, Byrds, Badfinger, Buffalo Springfield, Browne (Jackson). It's just the Dog's borrowed tunes, which treat the ideas of Lennon, McCartney and Parsons like Microsoft Word document templates, are nothing to write home about, either. On the heels of Chapel Hill's introductory installment of the International Pop Overthrow, Dr. Dog's soul will feel plastic (no matter how many dismissible lo-fi demos these bros throw our way), and its songs will just seem a week (or a few decades, for that matter) late. Brooding songwriter A.A. Bondy is new to the Fat Possum roster, and the quality seal of that label expired about three years ago. $10/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
FRIDAY, FEB. 29
From: Baltimore, Md.
Claim to fame: Waking up the dream pop
Singer/organist Victoria Legrand and guitarist Alex Scally don't write songs as much as they create moods that sound like songs. But those moments, hanging at half-time tempos, linger and sink in more than some throwaway pogo pop song. Sure, Beach House points to bands like Opal and even Galaxie 500, but, unlike those predecessors, there's not a lot of extraneous instrumental clatter, or the feeling they need to kick up the tempo here and there. There's just Legrand's choral-like voice, with chimes or a warm organ providing counterpoint—a somber, church-like ambience—or adding emotional heft. This battle is a no-brainer over dudes lke the Spintos, who are just working out some "issues" in well-worn template rock. With Paper Cuts and Will Donegan and The Apologies at LOCAL 506. $10/ 9 p.m.
THE SPINTO BAND
From: Wilmington, Del.
Claim to fame: Quivering vocals and accessible power pop
The Spinto Band's "Crack the Whip" is one of those songs that maddens the mind with the "Where do I know this song?" question. The band has gained a lot of exposure because it leans heavily on proven modern rock pillars, like punchy, metronomic rock with quirks and an edgy singer whose voice flutters more than it emotes. It's gained them all-access passes, as they tour alongside Arctic Monkeys and Art Brut. While Beach House might move folks to recline, its ethereal atmosphere has a more tangible "feel" than The Spinto Band's generic model. Oh, and that song: Totally reminds me of The Strokes. Exponential Xeroxing, anyone? With The Whigs (who are at least fun) at DUKE COFFEEHOUSE. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Toenes
03.02 HOLY GHOST TENT REVIVAL @ THE POUR HOUSE
Don't think too hard about the genre in which Holy Ghost Tent Revival should be pigeonholed. Rather, get up, dance with your eyes closed and relish in the fact that the Greensboro six-piece makes euphonium and banjo sound good together. "We challenge anyone to really give us a genre," says bassist, guitarist and vocalist Patrick Leslie.
With a name taken from a sign spotted on the side of the road, Holy Ghost recalls a New Orleans jazz band rocking out, reminding us that, for a time, jazz wasn't much more than good and dirty dance music. It mixes old-time aesthetics, vocal harmonies that can border on doo-wop, and the kitchen sink. During its high-energy shows, "People dance, people clap and we get a lot of quizzical looks," Leslie says. See for yourself at The Original Music Festival, a nine-band bill that begins at 2 p.m. and costs $7-$9. Holy Ghost plays at 8:15 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey
LAST WEEK'S PARTY
02.23 DAWN UPSHAW AND ORQUESTA LOS PELEGRINOS @ DUKE'S PAGE AUDITORIUM
A Jewish composer from Argentina, Osvaldo Golijov entwines folklore within a classical framework; Ayre is considered his masterpiece. Soprano Dawn Upshaw is a powerful muse to him, and, Saturday, she delivered soaring intensity to the sometimes jarring piece, singing deftly in Arabic, Hebrew and Ladino, the lost language of the Spanish Jews. Members of the Eighth Blackbird ensemble (who performed Ayre with additional musicians as the Orquesta) started with a busily energetic Stephen Hartke piece, but it was their exquisite trio performance—amplified flute, cello and piano—of George Crumb's Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale) that sent tremors through Page Auditorium. Three masked players, bathed in deep blue light: It was beautifully eerie, an arresting example of the most powerful new music. —Chris Toenes