This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Bastard Noise, Sourvein, The Moaners, Scots, Jill Andrews, The New Pornographers, The Dodos, Naked Gods, Invisible Hand, Sam Baker, Frontier Ruckus
VS.: Eilen Jewell vs. Dar Williams
VS.: Adrian Duke Projek vs. Will McFarlane
INTRODUCING: Brooks Wood Band
06.23 BASTARD NOISE, SOURVEIN @ THE POUR HOUSE
With three locals—Devour, R.B.T and Man Will Destroy Himself—sandwiched between two legends, this midweek melee is sort of a mess. What's not a mess is Bastard Noise's battery of power electronics and powerful hardcore, as airtight as it is aggressive. The band's latest material invokes the full-band rage of Man is the Bastard, fitfully connecting co-founder Eric Wood's skull servitude. The swampy Southern metal of Cape Fear's Sourvein shares only intensity with Bastard Noise. Slowing and thickening Eyehategod's atavistic roar and eliding the side-winding tangents of Weedeater, the band's a simply scary beast. $8–$10/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
06.24 THE MOANERS, SCOTS @ WALLACE PLAZA
This double bill offers a sturdy blast of two-fisted fervor. The Moaners' first two albums purvey sultry, mud-caked blues boogie with the bite of a cobra and the roar of a bear. The sinewy duo coils behind drummer Laura King's insistent thwack and frontwoman Melissa Swingle's writhing guitar distortion, though the forthcoming album, Nocturnal, portends more moody finesse. Southern Culture on the Skids are a flaming semi without brakes steaming down a steep grade, rolling over a raucous country-billy blend as amusing as it is high-spirited. Few bring the party like guitarist Rick Miller and his throbbing rhythm section. This is the first date of Locally Grown, a new music series sponsored and presented by various Chapel Hill businesses and booked by Local 506. Free/ 6 p.m. —Chris Parker
06.25 JILL ANDREWS @ LOCAL 506
Rife with devastated stories of lost love, Jill Andrews' self-titled EP—her first official release since the break-up of the everybodyfields, the Tennessee alt-country unit she co-led for more than six years—continues in that band's tradition of honest, melancholic roots music. Even if you didn't understand a word of English, Andrews' pain would be clear: The striking, crystalline character of her sighing voice is a window into sorrow, and the sparse backdrop of acoustic guitar, keys and drums is just as lonesome. Charming Carrboro folk-pop quintet Gambling the Muse opens, wrapping gloomy ballads and pleasant jangles in twangy guitars and weepy pedal steel. $9/ 9:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
06.25 THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS, THE DODOS @ MEMORIAL HALL
An obscene concentration of talent: Canada's The New Pornographers formed in 1997, only a few years before the Great White Northern assemblage sprouted three heavyweight solo careers. Maybe you've heard of Neko Case, A.C. Newman and Dan Bejar's Destroyer? The Pornos are currently pushing Together, a dozen expert rock songs abetted by another laundry list of household indie names. Beirut's Zach Condon, Annie "St. Vincent" Clark and Will Sheff of Okkervil River all make appearances alongside the Brooklyn horns of Sharon Jones' Dap-Kings.
Then there's Meric Long and Logan Kroeber, who share the bill with the Pornos and serve as the core of San Francisco acrobatic-folk troupe The Dodos. Kroeber cut his teeth drumming in metal bands, while Long sports the lengthy playing-hand nails of a "serious" guitarist and the pedigree of a dusty Delta bluesman. Last year, the duo enlisted the aid of vibraphone player Keaton Snyder. The addition tempered the jittery folk of their sophomore outing, Visiter, and swapped out its rambunctious energy for texture and a more measured pace on the Phil Ek-produced Time To Die. But its performances—documented on Live From Akropolis, Prague, recently released for free on the band's website—likely earned the trio this tour slot. The Dutchess & The Duke open. $22–$25/ 8 p.m. —Robbie Mackey
06.26 NAKED GODS, INVISIBLE HAND @ SLIM'S
The word "tight" is often used positively to describe a band's performance, indicating the players were particularly in sync with each other and the songs were delivered exactly as written. But loose seems the most appropriate mutual descriptor for Boone's Naked Gods and Virginia's Invisible Hand. This isn't to say the bands aren't tight, only that they don't aim for sterile precision. The buzzing psychedelic pop of Invisible Hand—like Talking Heads flexing Kinks songs—seems liable to burst into flames. Naked Gods' group-hug American rock—as if Don McLean fathered Akron/Family—could unravel with the right tug. Also, Order. 10 p.m. —Bryan Reed
06.27 SAM BAKER @ BERKELEY CAFE
Sam Baker offers up country-style folk inspired by Guy Clark and powered by a gruff baritone over three spare, pretty, wistful albums, all less likely to bowl you over than insinuate themselves into your rotation. John Fullbright is a talented young singer/ songwriter from Red Dirt country with an ambling roots style tracing its old-fashioned charms back to Woody Guthrie. Of special note is opener Natalie Zukerman: The daughter of acclaimed violinist Pinchas Zukerman, she possesses a particularly percussive strumming style (reminiscent of Ani DiFranco) and a graceful blend of smoldering blues, ambling folk and country shuffles, abetted by impressive multi-instrumental chops. $10–$12/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
06.28 FRONTIER RUCKUS @ BERKELEY CAFE
Though headliner Samantha Crain's second album, You (Understood), adds a bit of angularity and electricity to her previously pleasant distaff folk, she's got a lot of instruments and looks to add before matching Ramseur Records labelmates, Frontier Ruckus. The Michigan quintet's occasionally topical, often romantic new LP, Deadmalls & Nightfalls, is stylistically kin to the kitchen-sink Americana of O'Death. Songs like the gentle, horn-abetted "The Tower" and the Laurel Canyon rocker "Ringbearer" add a grace and restraint that bands so young and inclusive generally lack. $10/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin
FRIDAY, JUNE 25
- Photo courtesy of the band
- Eilen Jewell
From: Boise, Idaho via Cambridge, Mass.
Claim to fame: Parched, understated roots-jazz blend reminiscent of Jolie Holland
Jewell's deliberate alto blows steady and arid across generally sparse, lonesome arrangements. She's a little like a natural athlete in that her voice moves with such matter-of-fact austerity it seems to expend little effort. Indeed, it rather recalls the downbeat delivery of Trailer Bride-era Melissa Swingle. Though Jewell's first two albums preoccupied themselves with smoky country and swing, the familiar reverb twang of last year's Sea of Tears extends into the more bustling tempos of rockabilly. Jewell's a testament to "less is more," demonstrating sneaky knockout power with her unwillingness to over-sing. With The Vespers. At BERKELEY CAFE. $10/ 9 p.m.
- Photo courtesy of the band
- Dar Williams
From: Upstate New York
Claim to fame: Smart, tender folk with occasional forays into peppy rock
So much songwriting, particularly in the folk realm, is about personality and presence, undoubtedly because the only thing between you and the performer is an acoustic guitar. Like Jewell, Dar Williams possesses an artless charm that's suffused with warm intelligence. She seems liable to invite you into her kitchen, offer you fresh-baked cookies and beguile you with a story from her innocent tomboy youth. Williams' secret weapon is a stirring eclecticism that—sadly because of touring financial exigencies—is generally limited to her albums. That versatility, along with wide-ranging lyrical subjects and an impressive eight-album oeuvre, give her a slim advantage over wily up-and-comer Jewell. With Sara Watkins. At CAT'S CRADLE. $25–$27/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
FRIDAY, JUNE 25
- Photo courtesy of the band
- Adrian Duke Projek
ADRIAN DUKE PROJEK
Claim to fame: channeling Billy Preston, Ray Charles and Dr. John
Billy Preston—that's a name you don't hear nearly as often as you used to, especially since his passing in 2006. But keyboardist/ vocalist Preston was a legitimate star in three acts: a gospel music prodigy who, in his teens, toured with Sam Cooke; a genuine fifth Beatle and sixth Rolling Stone; and a major crossover success thanks to hits such as "Outa Space." You'll hear several Preston stages in the work of fellow keyboardist/ vocalist Adrian Duke, as the well-traveled Duke blends funk, blues and jazz (albeit of the New Orleans piano variety), and tops it off with gospel-aspiring vocals. At the BLUE BAYOU CLUB. 9:30 p.m.
- Photo courtesy of the band
- Will McFarlane
Since: early '70s
Claim to fame: Bonnie Raitt sideman and a heck of a session résumé
Muscle Shoals—that's a name you don't hear nearly as often as you used to, the Black Keys' new record excepted. But in its prime, that Alabama locale was where the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Cliff and Bob Dylan, as well as a who's who of soul stars, chose to record. It's also where guitarist Will McFarlane, after a half-dozen years in Bonnie Raitt's band, relocated in 1980 to play alongside Etta James, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton and others. He still has Muscle Shoals in his soul and Muscle Shoals soul in his fingers. At PAPA MOJO'S ROADHOUSE. $12/ 9:30 p.m. —Rick Cornell
06.26 BROOKS WOOD BAND @ THE POUR HOUSE
After calling it quits with the soulful acoustic guitar-fronted band that bore his name, Brooks Wood, in romantic singer/ songwriter fashion, relocated to New York City with hopes of making it big. So far, he has no regrets: "[It] felt like the right progression for me," Wood says, 18 months after the move. "I've fallen into a good community of singer/ songwriters here, and I feel like the music I'm writing now is a product of the new energy and vibes only this city can bring."
Though he's writing tunes for his solo album, Wood felt there was unfinished business back home with the band he led up and down the East Coast college rock circuit for four years. "Our CD we were recording leading up to our last show was never completed, and we always had a problem with that," he explains. While there haven't been talks of a full-fledged run, the original lineup of the Brooks Wood Band—Wood plus guitarist Paul Sheeran, bassist Miah Wander, drummer Danny Shampine and keyboardist Greg Holzer—now reunites to release Good Timing.
"We owe it to the people who supported us for so many years—our friends, family, fellow bands and musicians. We owe it to The Pour House, which has always been great to us," Woods explains. But let's not forget that unfinished business, either. "We owe it to ourselves." Fullproof, which features Shampine on drums, opens. $5-7/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith