This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Cajun Country Revival, Royal Bangs, S. Carey, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Eugene Chadbourne, Tatsuya Nakatani, Black Lips, Vivian Girls
VS.: Jeffrey Lewis vs. Kurt Heasley
INTRODUCING: Slingshot Cash
COMMEMORATING: Silber Records Turns 15
03.30 CAJUN COUNTRY REVIVAL @ BERKELEY CAFE
The Bayou comes to town as renowned fiddler Joel Savoy and Cajun legend Jesse Lége showcase their latest music venture, Cajun Country Revival. Savoy, the son of Cajun music royalty Marc and Ann Savoy, grew up and learned to play at the elbows of greats like Dewey Balfa and Michael Doucet. Lége's accordion and vocal skills have won him most every Cajun music award there is, and he was just recently inducted into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame. As Cajun Country Revival, Savoy and Lége stretch things out a bit, pairing down-home Louisiana gusto and honky-tonk stomp, aided in no small part by the Caleb Klauder Honky Tonk Band from Portland, Ore. It's doubtful you'll find a better opportunity to dance the fais-do-do. $10/ 8 p.m. —Ashley Melzer
- Photo courtesy of the band
- Royal Bangs
04.01 ROYAL BANGS @ LOCAL 506
Hard-to-pigeonhole, bass-less Knoxville trio Royal Bangs are back with their third album of funky, danceable indie rock, Flux Outside. Singer/ keyboardist Ryan Schaefer's dramatic delivery leads the way as keyboards wriggle like a teen squirming out of responsibility. Their latest isn't as chaotic or uptempo as 2009's Let It Beep. Rather, they attempt to stretch their boundaries, leaving the rock playground at times to pursue windier prog-like structures. Thankfully, they don't get bogged down in the knottier arrangements, splashing through each groovy turn with the unbridled enthusiasm of a child in an inflatable pool. With Antibubbles. $10/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
04.02 THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART @ CAT’S CRADLE
Two great pop bands get bold here: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, though always pleasant enough, once seemed like a flimsy filter of retro shoegazing, boiling down the melodies and bringing down the guitars behind pop songs that were mostly fine. This year's Belong, though, is a step in the brave direction, with a big-named production ensemble helping the band push the volume and impact without forsaking the muted shuffle of the melodies. Teen angst, once gentle, now growls. Twin Shadow is the project of Dominican-born producer George Lewis Jr. Though associated with chillwave when he released his debut last year, Lewis' beat-driven electronic pop is more expansive and ambitious, pushing its hooks well above the surface. What's more, Lewis is playing with a big, well-built band these days, giving his hooks the locomotion they deserve. $12–$14/ 8:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
- Photo courtesy of the artist
- S. Carey
04.02 S. CAREY @ KINGS
Sean Carey plays drums, keyboards and sings in Bon Iver, the retreat-to-riches band Justin Vernon started after he fled Raleigh and DeYarmond Edison almost five years ago. Unfortunately, that's about as deep as a lot of the press goes on Carey, especially since his pretty and largely acoustic songs border those of his bandleader. But Carey's emphasis on rhythmic gestalt and his atypical song structures denote a mix of Steve Reich and post-rock that moves beyond the general mope-with-guitar trope. His All We Grow, released last year via Jagjaguwar, is a placid, evocative and sadly overshadowed collection. With Midtown Dickens. $10/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
04.03 EUGENE CHADBOURNE, TATSUYA NAKATANI @ NIGHTLIGHT
Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani lives in Pennsylvania, from which he tours with the incessant prowl of a rock 'n' roll man. Lucky for the Triangle, that means he stops in these parts often. Nakatani is a champion of extended technique, meaning he bows his cymbals and scrapes his drumheads to get sounds you'd never expect from a kit. But he's not some simple, dexterous freak. Rather, Nakatani conjures his tones like an emotional storyteller, poring over each sound like it's a piece of a ponderous, poetic narrative. Meanwhile, North Carolina's Eugene Chadbourne is one of the original renegades of extended technique for guitar. His music—shot full of psychedelic wit and curious ecstasy—is open to go anywhere. $6/ 9 p.m. Chadbourne and Nakatani also play Marsh Woodwinds in Raleigh Tuesday, April 5, 8 p.m.; $10 at the door; see taintradio.org. —Grayson Currin
04.06 BLACK LIPS, VIVIAN GIRLS @ CAT'S CRADLE
Atlanta's Black Lips have staked their reputation on being reliably unpredictable—from sets soaked in assorted bodily fluids to a brief but well-publicized spat with Wavves. Black Lips have happily taken the mantle of indie rock's mischief as their own, which is a bit ironic given how closely their music hews to garage rock standards, all '60s pop hooks and trebly guitars captured in grainy lo-fi. Vivian Girls seem to be more focused on letting their tunes evolve. Their latest, Share the Joy, builds on the group's fuzzy girl-group foundation with spare, wiry indie rock and crisp, no-longer-obscured melodies. Gringo Star opens. $12–$14/ 8:30 p.m. — Bryan Reed
FRIDAY, APRIL 1
- Photo by Eric Lippe
- Jeffrey Lewis
From: New York City
Famous for: Engaging anti-folk with a strong perspective
It's not surprising that Jeffrey Lewis made the comic insert for the Mountain Goats' Heretic Pride—his aesthetic recalls John Darnielle's early boom box recordings, which is to say "anti-aesthetic." Lewis frequently seems less concerned with what accompanies his free-ranging thoughts than using that self-conscious minimalism to highlight the lyrics. There's a nafish child-like aspect reminiscent of Jonathan Richman in the artlessness of his delivery—at times a near monotone—but great cleverness and wisdom in what he communicates. With 2009's fine 'Em Are I, Lewis embraces the band format to fine effect. The newfound vibrancy gives the songs added punch and allure beyond the words. With The Wigg Report and Billy Sugarfix. At DUKE COFFEEHOUSE. $5/ 9 p.m.
- Photo courtesy of the artist
- Kurt Heasley
From: The East Coast
Since: Late '80s
Famous for: Ever-shifting lineups and styles of great guitar pop as Lilys leader
One of alt-rock's guitar gods, Heasley is a skillful chameleon who's worn a variety of costumes over the last few decades, all generally along the psychedelic axis. Shoegazing, dream pop, ringing psych folk, mod and '60s pop have all emerged from his amps, sculpted by his expert ear for texture and tone. He's less a shredder than an imaginative artist at work. While 2006's Everything Wrong Is Imaginary boasted one of the Lilys' finest batches of songs, it's been a long wait for new material. Jeffrey Lewis is a smart, talented guy, but even armed with more than an acoustic, going toe-to-toe with Heasley is like grabbing a garbage disposal. Bring plenty of towels. With Soft Company, Fan Modine and Towers. At KINGS. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
04.01 SLINGSHOT CASH @ NIGHTLIGHT
To hell with South Beach, thought Jon Ackley, when he left Madison, Wi., a couple years ago. The Slingshot Cash frontman took his talents to the Triangle for the weather and the music scene. He reconvened his band with a new lineup and remodeled sound. "The other version was more straight-up alt-country, and this has stuff like The Band and early '70s Stones in it," Ackley says.
The title of their new album, From Aftermath to Exile, suggests a Stones retrospective, but with its ass-dragging twang and Ackley's parched, craggy drawl, it's more like Ramblin' Jack Elliott turning into Hank Sr. Ackley began recording last summer by revisiting tracks from the band's debut, names + drugs. He became so excited by what he was writing that all but two of the record's 11 tracks are new material. One of the holdovers, "Causeway," was originally an indie rock song before Ackley countrified it.
"It was originally about my frustration with the indie rock scene and hipsters," he says. "I added a third verse that made it about playing music in general since I'm not a young guy anymore."
But he still likes a party, an idea that informs the album. "It has a druggy vibe because a bunch of the songs are about addicts, drinking and the attendant problems of people who do that," he says. "We know it's bad for us but we keep going back." —Chris Parker
Slingshot Cash plays with Gambling The Muse and Jeremy Blair at Nightlight. The $5 show starts at 10 p.m.
04.02 SILBER RECORDS TURNS 15 @ NIGHTLIGHT
"I would love to be at a higher level, sales-wise, but not necessarily profile-wise," Silber Records owner Brian John Mitchell told the Independent Weekly in a long 2009 profile. "I feel like Silber has a good brand, and that there are people who buy basically everything we put out." Mitchell was right about his brand: During the last 15 years, his home-based experimental record label has built a haven for an array of experimental sounds, unified by mutualistic senses of dark unease and tonal unrest. From the spectral solo guitar works of Low's Alan Sparhawk to the brazen caterwauls of Clang Quartet and Aarktica, Mitchell has explored the outbound edges of indie rock to gather descendants of noise rock, 4AD atmospherics and aleatoric execution. Silber's responsible for more than 90 releases during the last decade-plus, and tonight, an astonishing 13 of his artists will gather for a free anniversary show. Check www.silbermedia.com/15 for the lineup and details and for streaming videos of the show, which runs from 6:30 p.m. until the last pedal has been unplugged. —Grayson Currin