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The guide to the week's concerts


Correction: Xiu Xiu plays Kings May 1 (not April 29).

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Ed Askew, Baby Copperhead, Allo Darlin', T0W3RS, Lonnie Walker, Weedeater, ASG, Cough, Midnite Reggae Band, Phil Cook, Cantwell Gomez & Jordan, Birds and Arrows, White Hills, Sleepy Sun, Bear In Heaven, Blouse, Doldrums, Roomrunner, Zack Mexico, Last Year's Men, Xiu Xiu, Deep Sleep, Infeccion, Khaira Arby, Kairaba

VS: The Beach Boys vs. Elvis Costello



Bad vinyl rips of 1968's Ask the Unicorn and loads of questions about the man who made it for extreme avant label ESP-Disk have circulated through the Internet for years. Recently, at least some of those questions have been answered thanks to the release of Imperfiction, a collection Ed Askew recorded about the time he stopped performing in the early '80s. Combining a sense of Dadaist writing with an askance approach to both folk and pop, Imperfiction offers a charming look at a songwriter who seems genuinely bemused by the majesty that simply writing and singing can provide. Now, live, Askew conveys that same sense of wonder, stopping to tell cute stories about songs the audience before him has likely never heard. New York banjo player Baby Copperhead opens with songs that stretch spectral textures beneath his lively five-string style. Also, Clarq Blomquist. $5/9:30p.m. —Grayson Currin

04.27 ALLO DARLIN’ @ LOCAL 506

Most anywhere you see London quartet Allo Darlin' mentioned, you'll see the word "twee" soon in tow. And it's true that Australian émigré Elizabeth Morris writes the kind of sweetly sad-eyed love songs bound to satisfy new-school Camera Obscura fans or old-school Sarah Records adherents. But Allo Darlin' accompanies its feelings with a bracing rock immediacy, whether that's afforded by a properly pounding bass drum or a lead guitar that twists with a little added urgency. Even the quiet and clutched "Some People Say" sneaks in a riot grrrl reference and an elliptical guitar solo to counterbalance the abundance of pretty. The band's second album, the appropriately Slumberland-issued Europe, is one of the year's most exquisite and endearing, a little record that moves in big emotional arcs. With The Big Picture and The Wave Pictures. $8–$10/9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Carrboro's T0W3RS appeared at a day party at Hopscotch Music Festival last year, and they've been publicly exploring the outer realms of pop ever since. The experimental five-piece is led by Derek Torres, whose lyrics confront generational crisis with surprising élan. Indeed, their upcoming debut, If All We Have Is Time, is anything but desperate with bright major-chord melodies that are addictive and kinetic. Raleigh's skewed root squallers Lonnie Walker and surfing reverbers Coastal Vision open. Free/9p.m. —Ashleigh Phillips


You might not suspect it, but the North Carolina coast is home to an impressive contingent of heavy bands. For proof, see this stacked Casbah bill: Wilmington's Weedeater lumbers with Savannah-sized sludge, and they have one hell of a time while they're at it. Blasts of distortion meet Gollum-esque shrieks as this rough and rowdy crew drink, spit and sometimes puke onstage. Hometown compatriot ASG attacks with similar heft but moves more nimbly, matching abrasion with soaring riffs and heroic choruses. Richmond's Cough lends support to the coastal pairing with expansive doom metal that's more overwhelming than frightening. Also, Bitter Resolve. $10–$13/8:30p.m. —Jordan Lawrence


Hailing from the Virgin Islands, veteran reggae band Midnite is a solid but unremarkable representative of the genre, except when judged by the magnitude of its output. Over the past decade and a half, the prolific sextet has appeared on a stupefying amount of releases—upward of 50, according to its own website—either as themselves or while backing or collaborating with others. Musically, Midnite brings a classic soulful roots sound with conscious Rastafarian lyricism. The similarly styled tunes of Durham's Dub Addis put them on par with the international headliners, while the modern reggae hybrid of Raleigh's Crucial Fiya is dosed with rock and R&B. $20–$25/9p.m. —Spencer Griffith


This is so odd, yet so essential; in a word, this is so Pinhook and/or Durham. This show sees the release of a Phil Cook/ Cantwell, Gomez and Jordan cassette split, on which each act covers an Elton John track (Cook plays "Rocket Man" while C,G&J takes "Bennie and the Jets"). There's no obvious middle ground between the former's acoustic guitar and dobro-playing rural panoramas and the latter's highly angular, discombobulated free-punk, none other than the remarkable talent and spirit of all musicians involved. Eternally endearing folk-pop trio Birds and Arrows, which opens the show, has just started a Kickstarter campaign to fund its third LP. $6/10p.m. —Corbie Hill


The trio White Hills are a very loud, very busy rock band of guitar, drums, bass and myriad effects from New York. Across an inordinate amount of splits, singles, cassettes, discs and records, they've shaped an extreme aesthetic of propulsive psychedelia that finds a levitated middle ground between a pub's beer-soaked stage and a completely stoned stratosphere. Guitar tones spiral and shriek over lumbering rhythms. Live, they are unstoppable. Sleepy Sun mines similar psychedelic textures for different, much less limber results. Also, No Eyes. $8–$10/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin


On their third LP, I Love You, It's Cool, Brooklyn's Bear in Heaven upped the synths and maxed the percussion, resulting in an album of holy-shit-that's-thick dance tracks. Yet their shoegaze take on blissful New Wave has lost something this time around. This is still great music; that's not up for debate. If anything, this is what happens when a band follows up an amazing record with one that is merely great. Previous LP Beast Rest Forth Mouth was at its most captivating when Jon Philpot's voice emerged, plaintive and clear, from an expansive wash. Where Beast Rest (and its more noise-oriented predecessor, Red Bloom of the Boom) were equally at home on the highway or, hell, anywhere outdoors, I Love You, It's Cool exists entirely within the nightclub. With Blouse and the captivating and mysterious Doldrums. $12–$14/9p.m. —Corbie Hill


Ask anyone that lived through the alt-rock boom and bust of the '90s, and they'll tell you that too many groups lobbying to be the next Nirvana simply lacked the melodic knack. It might seem sacrilegious, then, to suggest a group in 2012 can pull that particular sword from the stone. But with just a handful of relentlessly catchy and, yes, grungy songs, Baltimore's Roomrunner—rising from the ashes of another beloved Baltimore group, Double Dagger—seems as likely a candidate as any. Locals Zack Mexico and Last Year's Men fill out this promising bill. $7/9p.m. —David Raposa


Since arriving temporarily in Durham a few years ago, Jamie Stewart has played only a handful of local shows, perhaps symptomatic of his well-documented lack of love for the Bull City. That's a shame, too, as Stewart is one of those rare bandleaders who treats the stage like an exhaustive exhortation; every note, every song, every wavering texture and every line about abuse and sadness and fighting against them feels like a right of life. Always—which is ostensibly the last LP Stewart will release while a North Carolinian—provides ample opportunities for such deliverance. Whether slashing at anti-abortion fundamentalists, stateside warmongers or the creeping demons of his past, Stewart's weld of synthesizers and big beats and softness cradled by volume remains simultaneously ostracizing and alluring. With Oulipo. $10–$12/9:30p.m. —Grayson Currin


In sound and execution, Baltimore's Deep Sleep offers a lesson in concision. Last year's Turn Me Off races through its 10 tracks in little more than 13 minutes, trimming every ounce of fat from the band's hook-heavy throttling. In its nods to genre standards—Descendents, Black Flag, 7 Seconds, et al.—Deep Sleep finds a balance of melody and force, coupling no-frills riffs with sinewy fills. "Nothing Inside," for example, repurposes the immortal "Rise Above" riff into a feel-good rock anthem. Local powerhouse Infección is similarly pop-minded, but the new unit delivers hooks in tangled bursts of trebly guitar and counter-melodic bass lines that owe as much to fragmented art-pop as to spastic hardcore. $5/8p.m. —Bryan Reed


With her honeyed, high vocal range, Khaira Arby sings with the confidence and authority of a messenger. That comes naturally for Timbuktu's "Diva of the Desert," who defied the dictates of husband and family to pursue a full-time music career, a rare feat for women in Northern Mali. She learned the craft of guitar-driven desert blues alongside Ali Farka Touré and has since used her lyrics to champion peace and women's rights. Beloved in Mali, where her music circulated for years only on cassette tapes, Arby is still being introduced to U.S. audiences via her first internationally released CD, Timbuktu Tarab. Carrboro's own Kairaba, a kora-led dance band with Senegalese griot Diali Cissokho, opens. $9–$11/9p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger



From: Hawthorne, Calif.
Since: 1961
Claim to fame: Harmony-laden pop with orchestral pretensions

With the long-running court drama dismissed, The Beach Boys have ostensibly buried the hatchet, notably between long-running adversaries Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Not only have they reunited for this 50th anniversary tour, but they also have a new album due in June. At their best, they mix sweet, tender innocence with a begrudging acknowledgement of encroaching darkness, all swathed with brilliant harmonies and soaring, swelling arrangements. While many have lifted the formula, few have managed to retain their bubbling, insistent pop effervescence. While Wilson's own career has been feted, his recent results have been spotty. We can only hope together they can rediscover the missing magic. At RALEIGH AMPHITHEATER. $40–$111.80/7p.m.



From: London
Since: 1976
Claim to fame: Finest British rocker of the last 35 years

Elvis Costello was the crest of New Wave, blending Steve Nave's bustling, inventive keyboards, a punchy rock undercurrent and the most biting wit in rock. If all he had to show for his career were his first four albums, he could stand proud. Instead, Costello's reinvented himself several times with country-rock, an album with Macca, an astounding blues record, chamber quartets and jazz outings. While the last two incarnations were relative duds, Lou Reed would kill for his hit/miss ratio. His lyrical virtuosity and continuing relevance give him a slight nod over the Beach Boys' reunited oldies act. At DURHAM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER. $49.50–$90.25/7:30p.m. —Chris Parker

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