YES, PLEASE: Kalispell, Adelyn Rose, Jessy Carolina & The Hot Mess, Straight 8s, Blood Red River, Red Collar, Spider Bags, Rat Jackson, OCOAI, Generation Of Vipers, Eilen Jewell, The Features, Girl In A Coma
CELEBRATING: Kickin Grass 10th Anniversary
INTRODUCING: Church Of Wolves
01.12 KALISPELL, ADELYN ROSE @ THE PINHOOK
Both hailing from the cold country of Eau Claire, Wis., the bands Kalispell and Adelyn Rose offer up ethereal tunes—low on pretense, loaded with a certain calm chemistry. For his part, songwriter Shane Leonard of Kalispell takes inspirations from Appalachia and spins them out with modern minimalist sensibility. The hushed folk is a perfect storm of wandering lyrics and contemplative melodies. Meanwhile, Adelyn Rose enigmatically conjures pop melodies with a delicate touch of drama and folk earnestness. Clinton Johnson (aka Reid Johnson of Schooner) opens the night with a solo set. $6/ 9 p.m. —Ashley Melzer
- Photo courtesy of the band
- Jessy Carolina
01.14 JESSY CAROLINA & THE HOT MESS @ CASBAH
The name's Carolina, but the sextet and its namesake frontwoman hail from Brooklyn. Wherever they lay their heads, most of their time must be spent in a world of silent movies, speakeasies and Model Ts. Reminiscent of the Squirrel Nut Zippers' jazz-roots oeuvre, Carolina and company are moodier and a tad more languorous, less concerned with inciting a party than drawing you into sultry ragtime sway. Carolina possesses a big voice, her affectless energy imbuing a vibrancy that goes beyond the music. The band's supple touch provides a warm, lived-in feel. $8–$10/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker
01.14 STRAIGHT 8S, BLOOD RED RIVER @ MOTORCO
Formed in the mid-'90s, Durham's Incriminators Scooter Club is a coalition of aficionados of vintage motor-scooters; this is their 12th annual Freeze Your Balls Off Scooter Rally. Given the club's retro predilections, the evening's musical offerings are fittingly vintage. Rockabilly trio The Straight 8s swing between swampy psychobilly haunts and chrome-accented diner-pop jaunts. Blood Red River's punk-scorched surf and dark exotica make for an easy but hardly redundant complement. And, as this is, after all, the Incriminators' party, it's been recommended that you "Come by scooter—leave by taxi." $8/ 9 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
01.14 RED COLLAR, SPIDER BAGS, RAT JACKSON @ LOCAL 506
When Red Collar released its full-length debut, Pilgrim, in 2009, the Durham quartet was at the top of the local scene. In fact, they began to look like a probable candidate for big-league touring. But, as it does, life got in the way, forcing the band to hurdle births, marriages, injuries, careers and other obligations to keep it going. They didn't quit, though. For a band whose Springsteen-scope post-punk songs are born of struggle and triumph, life imitates art. Later this year, Red Collar will release Welcome Home, its earnest-as-ever sophomore album. Local shows are rarer now, so don't miss out. With the soused and spectacular Spider Bags and bar-band exemplar Rat Jackson. $8/ 9:30 p.m.—Bryan C. Reed
01.14 OCOAI, GENERATION OF VIPERS @ DIVE BAR
Figuring out who plays in which Appalachian metal band is like untangling the roots of an incestuous family tree. The best bands in Asheville, Knoxville and Johnson City seem to share members and, it appears, a common appreciation for the experimental spectrum of Neurosis. Johnson City's OCOAI has been pretty accurately described as "Pink Floyd killing a dinosaur." Knoxville's Generation of Vipers, which shares a member with OCOAI and two members with U.S. Christmas, buries ambient sounds under a thick layer of sludge. Seriously, bring your earplugs. Free/ 10 p.m. —Karen A. Mann
01.17 EILEN JEWELL @ BERKELEY CAFe
Though Eilen Jewell began playing aching, torchy country in the vein of early Jolie Holland, with her slow croon drifting over fiddles and twang, she quickly began to push against the confines of her style. Since, she's dipped into rockabilly, straight blues and cocktail swing. After an album of more obscure Loretta Lynn covers (2010's Butcher Holler), she returned last summer with Queen of the Minor Key, exploring a swinging late-night vibe. It's highlighted by "Bang Bang Bang," where Cupid fires into a crowd with a sawed-off shotgun. "Love is careless, random and cruel," she observes. "He don't take aim/ just bang bang bang." $10/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
- Photo courtesy of the band
- The Features
01.18 THE FEATURES, GIRL IN A COMA @ LOCAL 506
Veteran indie rockers The Features released Wilderness on the label belonging to friends Kings of Leon last year. Fittingly, the disc occasionally sounded an awful lot like the early Southern garage stomp of their fellow Tennesseans. The quartet's sense of melody is pervasive but sometimes complicated, sprinkled as it is with synths and a slew of sometimes surprising influences from British Invasion and power pop to prog and krautrock. San Antonio's Girl in a Coma have similarly benefited from signing to a superstar's imprint—Joan Jett, in this case—and have since opened for idol Morrissey, who penned the Smiths song after which the nervy, all-girl rock trio is named. $8–$10/ 9:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
01.14 KICKIN GRASS 10TH ANNIVERSARY @ CAROLINA THEATRE
Though he's only been a bona fide member for four years now, Kickin Grass banjo man Hank Smith is quick to offer a history lesson: "The Kickin Grass band started out life as the backing band for the Apple Chill Cloggers," he explains, summarizing that, in the 10 years since that initial burst, the Cloggers of yore have gone on to tour the world sharing their moves while Kickin Grass set off to share their music. "The band split off and started writing its own material and played a whole lot of festivals, traveled the country and just built up the name locally and regionally and nationally."
Thanks to three acclaimed records, an energetic touring schedule and the combined talents of Jamie and Lynda Dawson, Pattie Hopkins, Patrick Walsh and Smith, the band has continually won over audiences with its fanciful spin on roots music. To celebrate their first decade, Kickin Grass is bringing back some of their old ensemble members and even their clogging compatriots for a retrospective of their evolution from old-time traditionalists to Americana/ folk rockers with bluegrass chops. "If you can hang in there for 10 years with most of the same members, then you can make a mark. By the time you're playing shows at the 10-year level, you know you're making a living at it," says Smith. With a new record on the way, a 40-foor tour bus to cruise to gigs in and a slot on Merlefest 25's initial lineup, these Raleigh-based pickers are a little more than "making a living" and a little past making a mark. $15/ 8 p.m. —Ashley Melzer
01.17 CHURCH OF WOLVES @ NIGHTLIGHT
"I am influenced by oppression and aggressively standing against tyranny," says Bret McGraw, the bass player and singer of Durham sludge doom band Church of Wolves. You can hear the band's influences (others include the stories of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe) in "Peace Is a Pipe Dream," the newest of their five songs. The music chugs beneath a dirge-like wall of feedback; the lyrics are a scream warning about, among other things, a war whore, the stench of death and moral spite.
"I like to write songs that are heavy and dark but do not fall into the realm of senseless violence or gratuitous worship of dark forces," says McGraw. "Some represent evil but do not glorify it."
With only five shows under their belt, the band—which includes members of Lurch and Mouth of the Ghost—has already opened for Atlanta noisemakers Whores and Pennsylvania doom squad Backwoods Payback. They got their start with an auspicious first show at Kings back in November with venerable heavy locals Black Skies and Richmond stoner doom group Cough.
The band will play its sixth show tonight, with Durham's Hog and Virginia blackened thrash band Orthrus. $7/ 9:30 p.m. —Karen A. Mann