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The guide to the week's concerts

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Hot Panda, David Bazan, OM, Six Organs of Admittance, Lonnie Walker, Goner, Gray Young, Jill Andrews, Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses, Built to Spill, Japandroids

EH, WHATEVER: The Chariot

VS.: Strung Out vs. Monotonix

CELEBRATING...: Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan



On their full-length debut, Volcano ... Bloody Volcano, Edmonton's Hot Panda covers plenty of ground, winding from high-energy indie pop reminiscent of Los Campesinos to nervy post-punk with the theatrical swoon of The Walkmen. There's even a bit of moody, mid-tempo synth pop with a new wave flair. It's enticing, vibrant music, though singer/ guitarist's Chris Connelly's drawling speak-sung vocals may be something of an acquired taste. Connelly's writhing delivery sometimes recalls the anguished tenor of Hot Hot Heat's Steve Bays, other times the strangled drama of Tim Kasher in his The Good Life guise. With Mexican Seafood and Joust. $3/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker


It's funny the trajectories indie rock careers can take in this new media market: In 2004, Death Cab for Cutie, David Bazan's Pedro the Lion and Ben Kweller shared a Cat's Cradle bill at a moment when it felt as if any of those three might've sold the show out solo. Now, though, Death Cab is a giant making throwaway songs for major motion pictures, and most everyone's written Kweller off as a romantic fool. After Bazan disbanded Pedro the Lion five years ago, his output has felt continually like he was stuck in the doldrums. His latest, though, Curse Your Branches, is his best effort since Pedro's Control. At last, his questions of God, family and himself again show a sense of urgency, and his words articulate his anxieties better than they have in years. "Though it may alienate your family/ and blur the lines of your identity/ Let go of what you know, and honor what exists," he proclaims on the standout "Bearing Witness," arriving with a pragmatic doxology for the possibly faithful. With the flimsy pop of Say Hi. $12-$14/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

  • OM


The first two meditative metal albums from OM—the duo of bassist Al Cisneros and drummer Chris Hakius, both formerly of stoner-metal titans Sleep—stand as classics that used variations on a unifying bass and vocal melody (up-down, back-forth, thick-thin) as a mantra. The follow-up, Pilgrimage, worked to break that pattern a bit, and the result was a transitional half step full of undeveloped textures and ideas falling into factions. Hakius is gone now, though, replaced by former Chapel Hill hand Emil Amos, also of psychotropic outfit Grails. OM's fourth, God is Good, is a return to greatness, expanding beyond Cisneros' sacred bass tone to include drones that elide the Western scale, flute that flirts with evil and drumming that emphasizes circular motion and fills so potent they feel like exclamation points. Lichens, the somewhat stale drone project of former 90 Day Man Rob Lowe, opens but, more important, adds his tones to OM's headlining set. Six Organs of Admittance is guitar fireball Ben Chasny, who's almost always a marvel. $12-$14/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


A Raleigh rock triple play: Lonnie Walker frontman and Raleigh beat poet laureate Brian Corum winds his way through last-call rambles over a hybrid of early '90s indie rock and gnarled Americana, shot through with punk esprit. Goner frontman Scott Phillips tells tales from the over-30 bar scene to crowds of peers and college kids who pump their fists in unified response, fueled by head-bobbing rhythms and Phillips' own keyboard glee. Mostly instrumental trio Gray Young imports Explosions in the Sky cinematics into U2-size anthems, resulting in brief climactic journeys that shimmer and blister. $7/10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


Just over a year ago, Jill Andrews accounted for half of the magical harmonies and twangy beauty of the everybodyfields. She now takes the spotlight for herself, though her gorgeous, aching voice and lovelorn lyrics maintain her old unit's fondness for Neil Young and Gillian Welch. Andrews' accomplished backing unit features former everybodyfields keyboardist Josh Oliver, bassist Vince Ilagan of the Jeff Sipe Trio, drummer Chad Melton of the Jerry Douglas Band and Knoxville guitarist Robert Richards. Sultry Lafcadio songstress Liz Ross goes coffeehouse style in the solo opening slot. $8-10/ 6:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


Thanks to both his gruff vocals and a lifetime of tough luck, Austin's Ryan Bingham sounds twice as old as his 28 years: Well-worn from pounding booze straight from the bottle and chaining unfiltered smokes into the wee hours of the morning, the former bull rider's graveled pipes deliver tales of hard knocks and hopeless nights. The Dead Horses are Bingham's backing trio, supplying the ragged roadhouse muscle that courses through his whiskey-soaked narratives and Dylan-biting social commentaries. Jonny Burke opens with serviceable folk tunes. $15/7 p.m. —Spencer Griffith



The party line on Built to Spill's seventh studio album, this month's There is No Enemy, is that it's the Boise band's best work this decade and something of a return to the anthemic guitar glory of the '90s. But, really, There is No Enemy doesn't seem out of step with 2006's You in Reverse: It combines an incensed two-minute sprint ("Pat"), a gentle creeper ("Nowhere Lullaby"), an epic, Crazy Horse-approved guitar build ("Done") and an upbeat pop number that sprints into the sunshine ("Good Ol' Boredom"), all in less than a well-paced hour. Ultimately, the praise seems like a mea culpa for fickle critical patterns that, three years ago, dismissed another Built to Spill gem because the band had refused to meet the shifting tides of taste. Or, as Doug Martsch sings here, "Hindsight brings me down/ keeps me on the ground ... Is the grass just greener because it's fake?" With Disco Doom and Violent Soho. $20-$22/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin



Cranking the distortion to the max, Vancouver garage rock duo Japandroids jumble guitar and drums into a fuzzy mess, trading in yelped lyrics about girls, girls, girls—sticking together and eloping with them, French kissing the French ones, worrying about the sunshine ones, sweating over the cold-hearted variety and mulling the fretful decision to quit them altogether. Their lack of thematic variety is consistent with their singular tone, but nevermind: Bashing out lo-fi pop hooks with punk intensity and a euphoric bliss, Japandroids are the perfect pretension-free soundtrack for a sweaty club crowd. Real Estate sets the table with shambling, summery indie pop. $10/9:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith



Led by scorched screamer Josh Scogin and whomever he's rounded up for the latest release or tour (membership is cheaper than a bus ticket on The Chariot, it seems), their brutal, no-surrender Christian metal-core style will be familiar to fans of Tooth & Nail. But it lacks the melodic space typical of their many post-core peers. Punkier than doom metal but nearly as hard, The Chariot's stop-start dependence sports more breakdowns than a grief survivors' group session. At least the ex-Norma Jean frontman's vocals are decipherable, but with everything pitched at the same level, it quickly decays into an indistinct hardcore goulash. While fine in small doses, after 15 minutes you'll need no few gulps of that wine Jesus auto-fermented in Galilee. With Oh, Sleeper, We Came As Romans, Dead and Divine, Embracing Goodbye. $12-$14/ 7 p.m. —Chris Parker




From: Southern California
Since: 1992
Claim to fame: SoCal skate punk style blending metal and old-school, power-chord punk

Journeymen punk vets Strung Out shouldn't be taken lightly. After 17 years and seven albums in the punk trenches—nearly all with the same lineup—they're tighter than conservative America's sphincter, but somehow with even more lip. They've long delivered a steady stream of chunky, hook-lined punk, though success has been slow in coming. That's afforded them the opportunity to mix up their style, bringing their thrash and heavy metal shredding more to the fore on their last two albums. Frontman Jason Cruz's tuneful vocals reign over a hard-charging punk pulse, even as the guitars pursue a trebly flight. With The Flatliners, Pour Habit, Destroyed Tradition and Dead to Society. At VOLUME 11 TAVERN. $12-$15/ 7 p.m.




From: Tel Aviv, Israel
Since: 2005
Claim to fame: Balls-out, fuzz-soaked roar and onstage hysteria

This garage-psych trio recognizes no rules, and its performances are exercises in manic, anarchic mayhem. The only way to stop them is to cut the power—and even that's not assured of success; the percussive rumble and singer Ami Shalev's theatrical venue-spanning insanity still wouldn't yield the stage. Admittedly, it wouldn't be the same without guitarist Yonatan Gat's heavy, acid-soaked six-string freak-outs, but they're a band that's felt as much as seen and heard, leveling audiences and even road-tested vets like Strung Out. With Turbo Fruits and Whatever Brains. At THE POUR HOUSE. $10-$13/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker




A decade ago this month, Durham trio Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan played its first show at Chapel Hill's Skylight Exchange, opening for one-man testimony-by-noise act Clang Quartet. After spending the past 10 years mastering an expertly cohesive compression of punk, No Wave, arty (Bears) prog and classic rock into something at once tightly wound and full of jazz-informed spaciousness, the trio will headline an anniversary show. And, as history would have it, Clang Quartet will play third on a five-band bill.

Still, in spite of the celebratory nature of this show, drummer Dave Cantwell hesitates at the suggestion that his trio might be some sort of figurehead for adventurous local music. "It makes it sound like it's really serious," he says. "And I don't think it is, really. I mean, we take our music seriously ... I hope that people like us. I think some people do."

"We just keep playing and keep playing and keep doing it and all of a sudden we've been doing it for 10 years," Cantwell continues. This band just seems to be the one that worked best for its members over the years. The audience is still mostly a familiar one. "It's fun that way, to play for an appreciative crowd, and a thoughtful crowd, but also your friends."

Des Ark, Maple Stave, Fortress of Swatches and Clang Quartet open. $5/ 10 p.m. —Bryan Reed


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