Update: Drake's show scheduled for Tuesday, May 22, at Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion in Raleigh has been rescheduled to June 19.
This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Dwarr, Black Bananas, Caravan Of Thieves, Lilac Shadows, Jenny Besetzt, Savage Weekend, Pierced Arrows, Don’t, Class Actress, Penguin Prison, White Life, Cassis Orange, William Tyler, Hiss Golden Messenger, Damien Jurado, St. Vincent, Shearwater
VS: Jane's Addiction vs. Drake
INTRODUCING: Jessica Long & The New Kind
05.16 DWARR, BLACK BANANAS @ THE PINHOOK
The Drag City reissues of Dwarr's first two albums—1984's Starting Over and 1986's Animals—offer deserved exposure to the ultra-rare, collector-bait LPs that South Carolinian Duane Warr originally recorded to a Tascam 8-track and self-released on a private press. The low-budget slabs of proto-metal and Sabbath-psych have the outsider charm and skewed sensibility that draw collectors of strange sounds, but the burly riffs and cautionary horror tales of songs like "Screams of Terror" or "Evil Lures" offer immediate riff-metal satisfaction. They take on a haunting prescience, too, given Warr's later conversion to Christianity and (temporary) disavowal of his hard-rocking past. With Drag City labelmates Black Bananas and Magik Markers. $10–$12/9 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
05.16 CARAVAN OF THIEVES @ BERKELEY CAFE
The bearded lady, the strongman and the giant fish with two heads should watch their backs; there's a new troupe of circus freaks vying to steal their thunder, and they're called Caravan of Thieves. When Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni started playing, they were just a couple of lovebirds with musical chops. They soon stumbled on a winning formula for macabre folk-pop and found a few fiery performers to round out their sound. The band's flair for showmanship—inspired by street buskers and traveling entertainers alike—keeps energy high; their wild tales set to gypsy rhythms make for swinging good times. $10/8 p.m. —Ashley Melzer
05.17 LILAC SHADOWS, JENNY BESETZT @ TIR NA NOG
It's not just Lilac Shadows' name that evokes a plush mattress brand; their music swooshes and swirls in sweeping psychedelic shapes, too. Guitars ripple outward past regal keyboard plumes with a sleepy grace that recalls The Moody Blues, especially on tracks like "What Dreams." It's one of four songs off the new EP, A Shallow Madness. The arrangements ebb and flow between dramatic dynamic shifts and slow-burn conflagrations; beneath the sonic finery is a sturdy rhythmic pulse that drives harder than Bruce Willis dies. Greensboro quintet Jenny Besetzt are dreamier, suggesting the coastal sunset shimmer of Beach House, only weirder. Also, the spastic dynamics of Oulipo open. Free/10 p.m. —Chris Parker
05.18–19 SAVAGE WEEKEND @ NIGHTLIGHT
The lineup for the two-day Savage Weekend festival lists just under 70 bands from several states and a few countries. Though presented by local noise imprint Hot Releases as an ostensible offshoot of the much-missed No Future festival, this isn't a straight noise or squall convocation. Rhode Island's The Body is a forceful doom metal affair that certainly twists harshness into its heaviness, while locals Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan fill their No Wave bursts with levels of anxiety that suit such a lineup. But between Goldmund and Slasher Risk, Wolf Anus and SHV, there's plenty to meet most every experimental fancy. For the complete lineup, visit nightlightclub.com. Music starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, 5 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $10–$15. —Grayson Currin
05.19 PIERCED ARROWS, DON'T @ THE CAVE
This week, garage rock royalty rolls through Chapel Hill's favorite underground venue. Pierced Arrows are led by Fred Cole and his wife, Toody. Fred started out in the Nuggets-approved Lollipop Shoppe, transitioning that fuzzy enthusiasm into punk rock in the '70s and playing with a host of different bands, most notably Dead Moon. That band broke up in 2006, but Pierced Arrows live up to the legacy with blurry, bruising outbursts that hinge on the quavering grunts of Cole's road-ravaged pipes. Opening act Don't, a team of garage veterans weaponized with aggressive distortion and the serrated coos of singer Jenny Don't, make for a fitting complement. $12–$15/10 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence
05.20 CLASS ACTRESS, PENGUIN PRISON @ MOTORCO
Even if you're not one to judge a band by its name, trust in the fact that Class Actress' glitzy synth-pop sounds even better under the spotlight. Performed live by leading lady Elizabeth Harper, producer Mark Richardson and multi-instrumentalist Scott Rosenthal, the three-year-old Brooklyn outfit brings histrionics and theatrics to the melodic dance songs of their debut album, Rapprocher, with twinkling electronics, silky bass riffs and Harper slinking around the stage as she croons like the younger sister of Madonna. When the trio springs into their anthemic single "Weekend," next Saturday night won't feel nearly as far away. Electro-popster Penguin Prison shares the bill. $10–$12/8 p.m. —Marissa Muller
05.20 WHITE LIFE, CASSIS ORANGE @ KINGS
Baltimore's White Life serves up kinetic pop-rock with all the bells and whistles. The gauzy synthesizers create a dreamy haze as bass lines saunter sexily and guitars cut through with nervy prickles. Alternating male and female vocals add a captivating sense of romantic tension. Carrboro's Cassis Orange achieves similarly emotional highs, but the band's means are stark by comparison. Filling out the minimal recordings of Autumn Ehinger, the band's combustible jams match gut-check rhythms with jagged keys and guitars, mirroring the emotional fractures in Ehinger's lyrics. Habitat opens. $5/9:30 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence
05.22 WILLIAM TYLER, HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER @ THE PINHOOK
Here's a dream double-bill for Americana enthusiasts who despise the enclosures of that term. Nashville guitarist William Tyler first made his career and reputation by backing Lambchop and Silver Jews, but it's his solo guitar output—namely, 2010's wonderful Behold the Spirit and an unfinished forthcoming LP—that showcases his knack for one-man transcendentalism. His instrumentals twinkle and swell, turning four-minute expanses into short trips to an elevated plane. Less a Fahey acolyte than a broad listener with a stylized palette of his own, Tyler creates pieces that possess the warmth of great zeal, a relative rarity in the solo instrumental realm. Durham's Hiss Golden Messenger shares a sense of simultaneous eclecticism and individuality by turning funk, bluegrass, dub, country and slick singer-songwriter fare into tender, earnest ruminations on what it means to find meaning. $8/9 p.m. —Grayson Currin
05.22 DAMIEN JURADO @ KINGS
The songwriter Damien Jurado has released about a dozen albums in the last 15 years, most filled with bittersweet bits of observation and reflection, brushed by his gentle canter of a voice and backed by an occasionally crackling rock band. The songs have generally fluctuated between good and stunning, earning him a batting average that deserves more than his sustainably modest reputation. Produced by outré pop weirdo Richard Swift, Jurado's latest and possibly best, Maraqopa, contains a few of those aforementioned astounders—the stageman's lament "Working Titles," the innocence adieu "Life Away From the Garden" and the unassailably sweet love song "Museum of Flight." If Damien Jurado is Ted Williams, Maraqopa is his 1941 season. JBM and Cellar Seas open. $12/9 p.m. —Grayson Currin
05.23 ST. VINCENT, SHEARWATER @ CAT'S CRADLE
Dallas native Annie Clark dropped out of school and joined up with The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, living a baroque rock dream. In 2006, she shed the sweetness and became St. Vincent. Last year's Strange Mercy challenges her alabaster image with panic-ridden tracks that scream through her corroding guitar work. "Chloe in the Afternoon" opens the album as Clark sings, with a definite sense of fragility, about a "horse-hair whip" in an S&M love story. Later, the languid "Surgeon" builds into a frenetic synth freakout. In Clark's case, weirdness is the charming bait. Austin's brooding folk-rockers Shearwater open. $17–$20/9 p.m. —Ashleigh Phillips
TUESDAY, MAY 22
FROM: Los Angeles
CLAIM TO FAME: Grand statement-making alt-era legends
Last year's The Great Escape Artist found Jane's Addiction returning once more. Though founding member Eric Avery is gone again, his absence is filled by stadium art rockers including Muse producer Rich Costey and TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, and one hard rock legend, Guns N' Roses' Duff McKagan. Fronted by creepy charmer Perry Farrell, Jane's have, by sticking around, established themselves as one of the remaining purveyors of intimate, artistic hard rock. And if that's boring, a screeching, grinding Dave Navarro guitar solo will come around and kick you in the head soon enough. They're still surprisingly impressive. With The Duke Spirit. At MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM. $40–$60/8:30 p.m.
Update: This show has been rescheduled to June 19.
CLAIM TO FAME: Singing, sometimes rapping melodramatic superstar
On last year's Take Care, Drake fully and finally arrived, tempering his post-Kanye flair for egotism and amending his production with the help of arty R&B-ers including The Weeknd, Jamie xx and bona fide legend Stevie Wonder—not to mention a nice chunk of radio-friendly artists such as Rihanna and Rick Ross. At the front of the stage is the charming, smarmy Aubrey Graham, mostly alone, save for all the tools of intimate R&B at his disposal. He turns strawmen like "haters" into mortal enemies and the perils of fame into an existential crisis. Right now, he's on a roll. With J. Cole and Waka Flocka Flame. At TIME WARNER CABLE MUSIC PAVILION. $46–$172/7 p.m. —Brandon Soderberg
05.19 JESSICA LONG & THE NEW KIND @ SLIM'S
Though as a child, Durham native Jessica Long began penning "little musicals and compositions" that drew as much inspiration from Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles as from Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera, she never considered music as a career option. Indeed, she set out for Los Angeles her last semester of college with hopes of becoming an actress. "The glamour of Hollywood faded on me," Long says, so she soon moved back east and returned to songwriting. "I spent about six months almost literally locked in my room, writing songs, playing guitar, piano, and figuring out who I was and what I was going to do after LA left me with so much uncertainty."
Pulling from her early influences, as well as Radiohead, Ryan Adams and '90s alt- rock ("I used to steal my brother's Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana albums"), the results find the young songstress hanging out in Grace Potter's neck of the woods, plying an accessible brand of pop-rock that's tinged with roots but highlighted by Long's soulful pipes.
A chance meeting in Nashville with Grammy-nominated producer Billy Smiley led to Long's 2011 solo debut, Painted. She soon found backing when bassist Mike Bare emailed to ask if she'd play with his band. Together they crafted the Geography EP, released last month. With River Whyless and Chris Pickering. $5/9 p.m. (Long & The New Kind also play at Nightlight on Thursday and James Joyce on Friday.) —Spencer Griffith