This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: The Moaners, Raised By Wolves, Junior Brown, John Howie Jr. and the Rosewood Bluff, The Loners, The Royal Nights, The Spring Collection, Igor and the Red Elvises, Nasty Habits, Schooner, Gift Horse, Lake Inferior, Twin Tigers, My Morning Jacket, Josephine Foster
EH, WHATEVER: The Album Leaf, Sea Wolf
VS.: Carrie Newcomer vs. Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans
VS.: Greg Ginn vs. Kaki King
04.29 THE MOANERS, RAISED BY WOLVES @ TIR NA NOG
You need look no further than Chatham County duo The Moaners to see the power of two. Two women with two instruments churn out distortion-heavy indie blues that barrels through chicanery to punch you right in the gut. Given how little they play these parts, it's a wonder that they're the ones called The Moaners and not their fans. "We try not to play locally too often to keep the local crowd interested," says drummer Laura King. When it comes to their gig at Tir Na Nog for WKNC's Local Beer Local Band series, she's fully supportive of the concept, even if she's not very familiar with the scene. "I think it's great when any community dedicates time and support for local music."
For this night, the definition of "locals" will be loose. Raised By Wolves, a Charlotte-based band that's soon drawing to a close because lead singer/songwriter CT Stephenson is making the jump to Nashville, join The Moaners. He promises to bring big energy to this set though, if only to right the record from the last set they played at such a local's night. "The last time we played here, I had the flu, and out of exhaustion I simply lost my balance and fell on me arse," Stephenson admits, "I just hope that doesn't happen again." Free/ 10 p.m. —Ashley Melzer
04.29 JUNIOR BROWN, JOHN HOWIE JR. AND THE ROSEWOOD BLUFF @ CAT'S CRADLE
Ask folks what they like about Junior Brown, and you'll get one of two answers: that homemade steel guitar-ish contraption or that deep rumble of a voice. In less skilled hands, music built on two novelties could grow shticky and stale. But Brown's playing never ceases marvel, and he uses those state trooper pipes to serve his songs. OK, you might get one more response: Some like a guy who still makes music in the mode of Ray Price or the one guy Brown's baby dances to, Ernest Tubb. Fellow deep-voiced country hero John Howie Jr., and his Rosewood Bluff make the perfect opener. $16/ 8:30 p.m. —Rick Cornell
04.30 THE LONERS, THE ROYAL NIGHTS, THE SPRING COLLECTION @ SLIM'S
The fact that The Loners—a raw, ragged punk duo whose skeletal garage rock has been a Raleigh mainstay for a decade-plus—are still cramming their gear into a skinny downtown watering hole could be seen as an injustice. Or it could be seen as it is: one hell of a way to start a weekend. Like The Ramones road-tripping with The Mummies, The Loners' brain-rattling bluster ought to soundtrack the cracking of more than a few cans and might cause some cracking in the drywall, too. With The Royal Knights and The Spring Collection preceding, the cover seems more than justified. $5/ 10 p.m. —Bryan Reed
04.30 IGOR AND THE RED ELVISES, NASTY HABITS @ THE POUR HOUSE
If Red Dawn had succeeded, the Red Elvises would've been a fixture at Caesars in Las Vegas. Founded by a pair of Los Angeles Russian expats in 1995, they released more than a dozen albums as simply the Red Elvises before co-founder Igor Yuzov rechristened the band last year. Their blend of lounge, surf and rockabilly mines a sultry groove that comes onto you and tries to lick your face like Bret Michaels hoping to bury a bone. Their songs celebrate American culture and all its colorful excess, whether surveying the silicone faux-thenticity of Venice Beach or channeling Fred Flintstone on "Party Like a Rockstar." $12–$15/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker
04.30 SCHOONER, GIFT HORSE, LAKE INFERIOR, TWIN TIGERS @ NIGHTLIGHT
Athens' Gift Horse is led by Hunter Morris, and like cousin Hardy Morris' band Dead Confederate, they fashion a throbbing psych roar that reverberates with the consistency of the tides. The distortion-drenched guitar suggests a more laidback Dinosaur Jr., filling the room with thick washes of sound, swaddling bobbing hooks baited with Hunter's sleepy tenor croon. Fellow Athenians Twin Tigers' psych approach sounds influenced by the cinematic washes of Meddle-era Pink Floyd, spiked with intervals of garage furor. Locals Schooner offer textured indie pop with occasional bite. Guitars churn, drone and crash intermittently, relenting to make room for lilting hooks to breathe, blending alluring drift with flashes of muscularity. 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
- My Morning Jacket
04.30 MY MORNING JACKET @ KOKA BOOTH AMPHITHEATRE
My Morning Jacket's rise from, in 2001, a Kentucky band making fascinating but unfocused rock records to, in 2010, one of the most adventurous, celebrated and popular bands in America is certainly one of the last decade's great music tales. What's more, My Morning Jacket achieved their success in the antediluvian, old-industry way that befits their arching rock roar: They signed to a major label, made better and better records and perfected one of the most well-orchestrated, engaging stage shows on the road today. Along the way, the band's doubled as film stars, production aces, symphony collaborators and festival favorites. This generation's quintessential new old rock band returns to the Triangle for the first time since its Cat's Cradle days. $5–$35/ 7 p.m. —Grayson Currin
05.01 JOSEPHINE FOSTER @ NIGHTLIGHT
Graphic as a Star, Josephine Foster's 2009 album for Fire Records, rendered 26 Emily Dickinson poems as gentle, delightfully slight folk music prayers. With a voice that quivers as it takes flight, Foster afforded Dickinson's century-old words renewed immediacy. The album sounded like a new confessional, then, and not like a new gimmick with an old source. Excellent locals Humble Tripe and Inspector 22 join the bill, as do The Cherry Blossoms, a ragged, outbound outfit that bends banjos, whistles and guitars toward the abyss. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
05.05 THE ALBUM LEAF, SEA WOLF @ CAT'S CRADLE
Some people like to hop in their car and just drive. For those with nothing pressing and no destination, or anyone looking for something smooth and unobtrusive to put them to sleep, Jimmy LaValle's minimalist electronic compositions might be perfect. While obviously inspired by Brian Eno, LaValle has more in common with new age, except acts like Kitaro actually build toward something. What's more, his textures are second-rate Kranky Records tones, giving any experimental obsessives little reason to care, either. Bring a pillow—even Sea Wolf's folk rustle works well for naps. $12–$14/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker
SATURDAY, MAY 1
Claim to fame: Singing and songwriting from the heart
Last name aside, Carrie Newcomer isn't a rookie. She's been active in the music world for 30 years, getting her start with the folk ensemble Stone Soup in the '80s. Since 1990, she's released a dozen albums under her own name for Rounder Records' Philo imprint, alongside such kindred contemporary folk spirits as Nanci Griffith and Bill Morrissey. And that 12th record, the new Before & After, finds Newcomer reporting from the front lines of everyday life, quietly and gracefully reminding us to search for something extraordinary in the ordinary. "Courage doesn't always shout," she sings on "Change of Heart." Amen. At THE ARTSCENTER. $15–$17/ 8:30 p.m.
CORB LUND AND THE HURTIN' ALBERTANS
Claim to fame: Singing and songwriting on a horse
Band name aside, Corb Lund and his crew aren't out to spread pain. If anyone's going to be bruised, it's Lund, a former steer rider from a family of rodeo people and ranchers. With that background—and, going back a few generations, you can add gamblers and miners—Lund was able to draw on family lore as fodder for his New West debut, Losin' Lately Gambler. The resulting mix of history, storytelling and prairie dust suggests Robert Earl Keen by way of Johnny Horton and Ian Tyson, and it's the stuff that'll earn you a shelf full of trophies from the Canadian Country Music Association. At THE BERKELEY CAFE. $10/9 p.m. —Rick Cornell
FRIDAY, APRIL 30
- Greg Ginn
From: Long Beach, Cal.
Claim to fame: Founding Black Flag and '80s indie behemoth SST Records
Into the ring stride two extraordinary guitarists noteworthy for their signature tones and iconoclastic approaches. In this corner, you have the harsh, effects-less guitar style Greg Ginn pioneered in Black Flag. His scabrous, overdriven roar has become synonymous with a broad swath of hardcore and even some post-punk. But Ginn also played in a variety of more experimentally minded acts, most notably instrumentalists Gone. With them, he forged a jazzy, chaotic tone whose arrhythmic bleats are an integral part of his latest act, in which he channels a vaguely belligerent beatnik vibe. With The Brand New Life. At THE CAVE. $8/ 10 p.m.
- Kaki King
From: Atlanta, Ga.
Claim to fame: An inventive percussive acoustic style with fingertapped harmonics
Kaki King's adventurous style scored almost immediate accolades, but she's moving in the opposite direction of Ginn. Where he started in a band and moved outward stylistically, King began as a follower of cult instrumentalists (Preston Reed and John Fahey, for instance) who gradually toned down her technical pyrotechnics to fit more conventional rock structures. She's slowly added her own vocals and with her latest, Junior, is backed by a band, working an indie rock mien. While still textured, the songs are more immediate and less oriented around dynamic soundscapes. Ginn's a legend but sounds sort of like a crank. King gets the edge on relatability. With An Horse. At CAT'S CRADLE. $15/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker