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The guide to the week's concerts


This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Lonnie Walker, Filthybird, The Thermals, Duck Down, Wild Weekend, Mandolin Orange, Woven Bones, Brainstorm, David Daniell and Douglas McCombs

VS.: Sorry About Dresden vs. The Old Ceremony

VS.: Carolina Chocolate Drops vs. Two Cow Garage



Lonnie Walker and Futurebirds take similar routes to success. Targeting rock icons of yesteryear and stuffing their styles with the trappings of modern indie, the two feel as fixated on the past as they do lodged in the here and now. Raleigh's Lonnie Walker, for instance, cops the amphetamine-fueled garage style of Dylan's late '60s, often stripping it back to acoustic foundations before piling on warm '90s slacker distortion. Athens' Futurebirds hew closer to the vagabond folk-rock of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, adding jagged, freak-folk upheaval and heavy shoegaze tones to the twang of rambling narratives. Johnny Corndawg opens. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence


These three bands take distinct approaches to songwriting and arranging. Organos sprinkles almost child-like fragments of melody over simple rhythms and chords, the parts intertwining playfully but addictively. Calico Haunts take root with rugged, earnest reflections and paint them carefully in sepia-toned psychedelic drift. The most rigorous, diverse and mature band here, Filthybird showcases a half-dozen looks on its second LP, the forthcoming and fantastic, Songs For Other People. The peppy "Pick Me Up" moves with the cool assurance of a Carol King classic, while "Mostly of Waves" suggests Beach House reworking Radiohead. Though by different routes, each band here leaves songs that leave impressions. $5/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin


The Thermals recall a pre-Blink 182 moment when punk was synonymous with smart, catchy, energetic music. There's a blue-collar ethos to their bash-and-dash rumble, which wears its point-blank simplicity like a badge. The Portland trio drapes its albums in grimy lo-fi buzz, and the last three have featured such thematic concerns as the intertwining of religion and politics, life and death, and, on their latest, Personal Life, the pursuit of love. Openers Cymbals Eat Guitars' debut is at turns noisy, dreamy, clambering and propulsive as it cycles through a grab bag of alt/college-rock influences like the Pixies, Pavement, Modest Mouse and The Flaming Lips. $12–$14/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker


For any record label, 15 years is tough; given industry trends, for an independent hip-hop label the tenure seems damn near impossible. In the case of Duck Down Records, luck likely has less to do with survival than the creative freedom CEO Dru Ha has long given to his diverse roster. Consider the talent pool of this anniversary showcase: There are few things in rap as entertaining as the Brownsville, Brooklyn emcee Sean Price throwing ape-like punch lines at a roomful of fans geeked by his equally insulting and comedic lyrical brawn. If you prefer a more technical emcee, you'll be blown away by the performance of another rhyme exhibitionist and recent Duck Down signee, Pharoah Monche. His multisyllabic word flurries are a lesson in hyperpoetic convention. For something a bit less difficult, DJ Evil Dee offers his loud throwback set on the turntables. Punch in with him when it's time to yell the classic tagline, "Evil Dee is on the mix, come on kick it!" Boot Camp Clik members Buckshot and Smif-N-Wessun and Jamla/Duck Down artists Skyzoo and The Away Team also perform on this leg of Duck Down's 15-Year Anniversary tour. $20–$23/ 9:30 p.m. —Eric Tullis


Blackbeard's Lost Weekend's been redubbed Thee Wild Weekend, but the spirit and sound—chunky, '60s-adoring garage pop/rock—remain the same. Josh Johnson not only books the night, but with his one-man band, Pinche Gringo, he brings mouth-foaming intensity to his primal, garage-abilly shake. The Mermaids' girl-group flair imbues their Hollies-biting garage pop with head-lolling effervescence that'll have you craving a tan. Kansas City's Conquerors purvey classic Nuggets-inspired garage rock flavored with a dash of psych. Don't miss Friday's show either, highlighted by Memphis rockabilly wrecking duo, The Gunslingers. $8/10 p.m. —Chris Parker


Earlier this year, Carrboro-based roots-and-harmony duo Mandolin Orange released Quiet Little Room, a 10-song gem whose low-key, late-night mood is efficiently summarized by the first word of its title. But now Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin are ready to make some noise. To that end, they've enlisted a rhythm section (local mainstays Jeff Crawford and James Wallace) and written new songs with a full-band mind-set. Sharing the bill is Greg Humphreys, who raises a pop-soul ruckus with Hobex and the periodic Dillon Fence reunion while tending to keep his solo work (like the new Realign Your Mind) at listening-room volume. $7–$8/ 9:30 p.m. —Rick Cornell


They were formed in Florida, and they currently reside in the live music capital of the world (Austin), but don't be surprised if Woven Bones' debut full length, In And Out And Back Again, makes you think of New York. Their brand of tribal distortion recalls both the strummy subway sway of the Velvet Underground and the electro-aggression of proto-punk duo Suicide, with a little bottom-of-the-bong psychedelia also in the mix. The result is a grimy, groovy concoction that'll satisfy the little nihilist in everyone. Frankie Rose & The Outs open. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —David Raposa


This bill showcases a trio of madcaps from the stable of Portland-based multimedia label Lasercave. Conjuring a mini-Man Man overdosing on math rock, Brainstorm uses unlikely combinations of tuba, keys, guitars and drums to recast orchestral indie rock into duo form. The pair's spastic, harmony-rich nuggets shift gears constantly. Through remixes of tracks by fellow Portlanders and his own glitchy exploits, Jeffrey Jerusalem fuels dance floor-filling electropop party with thick, bubbling synth grooves and a sputtering drum machine. Complementing their mercurial sounds with stimulating sights, experimental visual artists Ellie Carey and Jesse Malmed transform the event into a compelling multisensory experience.—Spencer Griffith


Last year's Sycamore presented the debut collaboration between Tortoise multi-instrumentalist Douglas McCombs and guitarist David Daniell, a Chicago-based tone explorer as comfortable with intricate, picked lines, as with iridescent, long-form drones. Full of smolder and flutter, Sycamore's four pieces don't so much climax as simply climb, with slowly circling parts from lap steel, processed electric guitar and pattering drums coalescing into arching instrumentals. Daniell and McCombs bring two guitars tonight; expect their sound to fill the slim space of Neptunes with a warm, wobbly glow. Free/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin




From: Chapel Hill
Since: 1997
Claim to fame: unruly urgency and Saddle Creek ties

Matt Oberst, co-frontman of the fitful quartet Sorry About Dresden, is used to sharing the spotlight—the massive shadow of his little brother Conor still looms. Tonight, he'll hand it over to James Hepler in honor of the 37th trip around the sun for the Durham drummer. Along with Oberst's rough-hewn howls, Hep's beats incite SAD's punk-spiked, '90s-flavored indie rock, touched by heartland twang. Rat Jackson will steal your girlfriend and mom without apologies to either; after all, the quartet's lewd and crude garage blues gives fair warning to its larger-than-life libido. Dreamy disco-punk crew Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun opens. At MOTORCO MUSIC HALL. $5/ 8:30 p.m.



From: Carrboro
Since: 2004
Claim to fame: lush layers and skinny ties

Hepler's birthday gets stiff competition from the Raleigh release party for The Old Ceremony's latest, Tender Age, which finds the cinematic quintet continuing to improve and reinvent itself on record with both richly orchestrated ballads and stripped-down acoustic turns. Frontman Django Haskins' songwriting stands no matter the setting, but when his sharp band injects the dramatic arrangements with its energetic spirit onstage, they're all at their best. Easily able to pack Kings on their own, Durham power trio Hammer No More The Fingers counters The Old Ceremony's deliberateness with crunchy, impulsive alt-rock with thick bass lines and economical beats backing the flashy fretwork of Joe Hall, one of the most invigorating guitarists around. At KINGS. $10/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith



From: the Triangle (and now beyond)
Since: 2005
Claim to fame: old-time tunes with modern spirit

In the beginning, Rhiannon Giddens, Dom Flemons and Justin Robinson of the Carolina Chocolate Drops refined their estimable string-band chops playing alongside nonagenarian fiddler Joe Thompson of Mebane (although, granted, he was merely an octogenarian when they started). And the Chocolate Drops excel at the tunes that they, using Thompson's term, caught, putting young faces on the ancient soul of songs like "Georgie Buck." But the trio uses that traditional base as a launching pad, taking off on flights of Celtic hip-hop, reimagined modern R&B and whatever else might strike their apparently boundaryless fancy, including a runaway-train take on Johnny and June's "Jackson." At DORTON ARENA during the N.C. State Fair. $5 (plus fair admission)/ 7:30 p.m.



From: Columbus, Ohio
Since: 2001
Claim to fame: old-fashioned rock with modern twang

In the beginning, the guys in Two Cow Garage sounded like they developed their estimable rock-band chops playing alongside records by Uncle Tupelo and Soul Asylum, as well as peers like Grand Champeen and Lucero. But somewhere between album number two, The Wall Against Our Back, and the usefully titled III, the quintet found its own voice—reflected in inward-digging songwriting and a sound that felt like a product of the band and not its record collection. The subsequent Speaking in Cursive equaled its predecessor in terms of triumph and growth, setting the stage for Sweet Saint Me, scheduled to land in two weeks. At KINGS. $7/ 9:30 p.m. —Rick Cornell

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