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The guide to the week's concerts


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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Calico Haunts, Mount Moriah, Filthybird, Why?, Shipwrecker, Spacelab, Missy Thangs, Funk Fest, Leonard Cohen, Brother Ali, Captured by Robots!, Virus Twins, Kurt Vile & the Violators

EH, WHATEVER: Attack! Attack!, Silverstein, Madina Lake, I See Stars, Closure in Moscoe, The Word Alive

VS.: Pipe vs. Southern Culture on the Skids


SONG OF THE WEEK: Derek Trucks Bands' "Sweet Inspiration"


10.29 Calico Haunts, Mount Moriah, Filthybird @ Nightlight

Like staring into the depths of an old closet for hours on end, Calico Haunts are simple but engrossing. Electric guitar and pedal steel twang hollowly, creating a warped sense of nostalgia more Velvet Underground than Gram Parsons. Add the disinterested vocals of frontman Alexander Holt Iglehart, and the result sounds like getting lost in a closet of dusty hatboxes, dried finger paint and a hidden stash of something. Both opening acts share this distorted, Spirograph-ic folk aesthetic. Bellafea's Heather McEntire slows things down with Jenks Miller in their new band, Mount Moriah. The music is sparse and at times trippy, but the quartet never loses hold of the melody. Greensboro's Filthybird opens, adding graceful keys as an anchor. $5/ 10 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey


10.30 Why? @ Cat's Cradle

Using the one-word question as his handle, Yoni "Why?" Wolf explored the far fringes of hip-hop in innovative West Coast collective Clouddead. Simultaneously, though, he began to explore the fertile nexus of slippery rhymes, rock hooks and ornate arrangements that nod to chamber pop and psychdelic rock solo. His most recent albums, last year's Alopecia and this year's Eskimo Snow, do that in a most personal way, pulling the curtains back from a nasal-voice, detail-driven weirdo who shares general worries (sex, hair loss, germs, weight gain, death, money, being nice) with a wildly imaginative tongue: "I got jumped into living by a coven of midwives/ Under a Dracula-caped eclipse/ Like cutting through watermelon meat with a wire/ you shoot sick from the hip and never miss." With Au and Serengeti & Polyphonic. $10/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

10.30 Shipwrecker, Spacelab, Missy Thangs @ The Pinhook

It's a release show (and pumpkin-carving) extravaganza. Durham's Shipwrecker celebrates its new disc of outlaw country tales haunted by gothic characters, eerie steel guitar and creaky accordion. Spacelab deals largely in electronics, dishing out ambient jams sometimes reminiscent of Air. The Chapel Hill duo drops new vinyl via local Blastco Records. Soft Company has a new EP of its own (see review on page 39), though frontwoman Missy Thangs performs her jaunty pop tunes here with ad hoc backing band BADCO, featuring members of The Huguenots and Violet Vector & the Lovely Lovelies. $5/10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

10.30 Funk Fest @ Durham Performing Arts Center

Somewhere to the right of the proto-funk of James Brown, the intergalactic funk of George Clinton's various enterprises and the spacey-in-a-different-way funk of Sly and the Family Stone, you'll find the work of the five bands gathering for this fest: the Bar-Kays, Con Funk Shun, The Dazz Band, Slave and Sugarfoot's Ohio Players. (I smell the involvement of lawyers in that last name.) While the Ohio Players' "Love Rollercoaster" might resonate the loudest for a lot of us—its "why don'tcha ride, child?!" and that rumor-fueling scream long burned into our collective DNA—there are plenty of other numbers that'll trigger funk-muscle memory, from "Soul Finger" by the star-crossed Bar-Kays to Con Funk Shun's not-a-typo smash "Ffun." $37.50-$42.50/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell


11.03 Leonard Cohen @ Durham Performing Arts Center

There are two ways to talk about Leonard Cohen. One ignores "Hallelujah" and its slow creep through popular culture, focusing instead on the man's surfeit of achingly beautiful material that never quite captured the zeitgeist. The other acknowledges the fact that casual fans' introduction to the greatest living songwriter just might be through that gaudy love scene in this year's big-screen adaptation of The Watchmen. Or via a Kate Voegele cover on One Tree Hill. Or, gasp, that American Idol rendering. But as far as testaments to timeless songs go, the Cohen to Cale to Buckley to everybody else hand-off is worth admiring. And no matter how listeners find their way, upon arriving at the doorstep of that rich, wise baritone, this man's fans are one and the same. Earlier this year, the 74-year-old embarked on his first tour of the States in a decade and a half, in small part to offset some nefarious financial dealings by his former manager. But Cohen has managed to overshadow the tour's dark origins and make his return to American stages one of the truly magical happenings in music this year. $49.50/ 8 p.m. —Robbie Mackey

11.04 Brother Ali @ Cat's Cradle

Twin City export Brother Ali keeps the soapbox under his feet on Us, the latest LP from the husky albino emcee behind some of the least moralistic moralizing in hip-hop. Over the past decade, the flagship artist of the Rhymesayers label has built a career on a gritty craw tempered with a healthy conscience, sidestepping the indie hip-hop trap of insulated cerebralism by spitting street fables that connect in the gut just as much as they do in the head. Us is a message record, for sure, but Ali's panache and compassion make it more than a lecture. With Cali's Evidence and fellow Minneapolitans BK-One and Toki Wright. $12-$14/ 8:30 p.m. —Robbie Mackey


11.04 Captured by Robots!, Virus Twins @ Volume 11

Jay Vance knows about heavy metal—he's held down by it. As the name suggests, Vance has been enslaved by his robotic bandmates and has spent the last 12 years touring at their whim. He's their accomplice in a bondage mask, yielding to their musical impulses, which can run from reggae (in his former life, he played in Skankin' Pickle and the Blue Meanies) to funk and blistering metal delivered with surprising ferocity by his mechanistic compatriots. The between-song banter is more entertaining than most acts you'll see, and Vance always knows that his mates will play their part. $10/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker


11.04 Kurt Vile & the Violators @ Local 506

Very few frontmen in indie rock seem as boundless as Kurt Vile right now: After his trio, War on Drugs, debuted with the powerful Wagonwheel Blues last year, Vile landed a solo deal with Matador Records. Childish Prodigy—his third LP but first for that indie giant—finds him pushing further into the psychedelic possibilities of American bedrock. As intimate with Skip James and The Staple Singers as he is with Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, he skews song shapes and lets tones drift just far enough to be captivating but not so far that he seems too high for his own good. These songs have strong roots, but there's no telling which way Vile will shape the plant above. With Simeon. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin


10.29 Attack! Attack! @ The Brewery

Spazzy hardcore and Eurotrash techno make for jarring bedfellows. Attack! Attack!'s shtick—now extended to its illogical extreme by the apocalypse-signaling hounds of Brokencyde—is to pound about a billion round pegs into just as many square holes. Then they Auto-Tune the noise. They borrow Underoath's agreeably abrasive ooga-booga and couple it with vodka-soused Jersey Shore music or the garish bubble bounce viralized by that Numa Numa kid. Plus, their bassist's low stage crouch has coined a name for the entire ill-begotten genre: crabcore. That's a detail just as inane as the music itself. With I Set My Friends On Fire, Miss May I and Our Last Night. $13-$15/ 6 p.m. —Robbie Mackey

11.02 Silverstein, Madina Lake, I See Stars, Closure in Moscoe, The Word Alive @ Cat's Cradle

Most metalcore (like Silverstein) suggests a failed Frankenstein experiment, implanting the leaking heart of an eosophobic pansy boy in the body of a steroidal lobotomy victim with his ballcap askew. Instead of a compassionate ass-kicker to bridge the geek and jock worlds, we got melodramatic, self-pitying narcissism reminiscent of a suburban teen throwing a tantrum because he can't take his girlfriend to homecoming in the Beemer. All this angst over a girl? Get a job, then you'd have something to rage about. And alternated singing and screeching isn't dynamics, it's a mood disorder. Get Prozac, and then you won't care who won't sleep with you. $13-$15/ 7 p.m. —Chris Parker




From: Chapel Hill
Since: 1992
Claim to Fame: Swaggering garage-punk that resurrects The Dead Boys

They're blind-alley brawlers. They'll jump you in the dark with savage intensity and racing guitars that slash like Tony Perkins at the Bates Motel. It takes more than a red cap to olé this juggernaut whose rapacity rivals the Tasmanian Devil. Just keep those limbs away from the churning maw of charging rhythms. Singer Ron Liberti cracks the whip like he's riding a hunchback, and howls like he's pursuing the ghosts of Black Flag. The original lineup reunited at this summer's XX Merge for what's presumably a limited engagement. With Tin Star. At The Cave. 10 p.m.




From: Chapel Hill
Since: 1983
Claim to fame: Spirited rockabilly and country that's equally reverent (musically) and irreverent (white trash satire)

The staples of SCOTS are too smart to get into a slugging match with Pipe. But the band's comic cleverness is only the most superficial of their charms. Rick Miller is a six-string wizard in overalls, able to wring ferocious country-punk fury from strings while sharing vocals with bouffant siren Mary Huff. Bobbing and weaving between tales of garish garb and downscale culture, they'll spin you round with their humor then floor you with their chops. One of the few area punches able to put away the Pipe. With John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff. At Berkeley Café. $15-$18/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker



11.04 Organos @ Nightlight

"It probably started when Pleasant broke up, so it started at the beginning of 2007," says Maria Albani of her latest project and solo vehicle, Organos. "I was still wanting to play but didn't have anybody to play with, so I started recording bass lines." From there she added parts: layered vocal melodies, clattering makeshift percussion—"I started using things like spoons and bottles," she says.

But this solitary outlet was meant to be just that. "I never really intended to put a band together. That was never the goal," says Albani.

Then Nathan White (aka Nathan Oliver) added a glockenspiel. Wes Phillips added percussion. The crew recorded an EP for Pox World Empire (release date TBA). Phillips, White, North Elementary's John Harrison, Schooner's Reid Johnson and Phillips' wife and Albani's long-time friend, Theresa Stone-Phillips, enlisted, and the band made its debut at last month's Liminal Festival. "When it's live, all the same instruments are used that are on the recordings of the song," Albani says. So the rhythmic quirk, playful melodies and nontraditional percussion are as prominent on stage as on Organos' inviting lo-fi recordings. With Nana Grizol. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Bryan Reed

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