YES, PLEASE: Creem, Hounds Of Hate, Pop. 1280, Old Bricks, The Clean, Times New Viking, The Foreign Exchange, Paul Thorn, Lera Lynn, Lonnie Walker, Naked Gods, Grass Widow, Afrocubism, Jeff The Brotherhood
VS: Onward, Soldiers (CANCELED, see note below) vs. Lady Antebellum
VS: Fitz and The Tantrums vs. Oberhofer
06.07 CREEM, HOUNDS OF HATE @ BERKELEY CAFE
There's no sunshine on your stupid love tonight; this Creem's a bruiser, straight out of New York. In seven songs, the band's new 12-inch for Deranged Records brandishes crusty Discharge riffs with crossover pummel, twisting it all with sharp, treble guitar leads. They play it loose enough to give a sense of noise-rock mania. Creem keeps an undercurrent of weirdness, which gives unexpected edges to blunt-force hardcore. Tourmates Hounds of Hate—featuring members of Creem and Pissed Jeans—aren't so multifaceted, but they're very good. Last Words and Abuse open. $7/9 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
06.07 POP. 1280, OLD BRICKS @ THE PINHOOK
Spend an evening pondering the freaky underbelly of America: Pop. 1280, named after noir nihilist Jim Thompson's novel, employs Jesus Lizard guitar scrapes and Swans riffage to grind out tales of Lynch-like, small-town living. On City Lights, the latest from Carrboro's Old Bricks, the song titles are terse, almost perfunctory ("Appetite," "Shepherd"), suggestive of a hard-assed poet's vision of the South. If the idyllic regularity of a Norman Rockwell and goofy roadside attractions like that Muffler Man outside Raleigh scan as "Americana," then surely that term includes some lost-highway post-punk and expansive, home-recorded, back-alley folk, too. $8/9 p.m. —Brandon Soderberg
- Photo by Tim Soter
- The Clean
06.08 THE CLEAN, TIMES NEW VIKING @ LOCAL 506
After the better part of a decade away, New Zealand's The Clean returned in 2009 with Mister Pop, a softer and warmer counter to their archives on Matador and Flying Nun. Bracing and welcoming at once, Mister Pop—the product of a band that has been at work in one form or another for more than three decades—benefits from the collective experience of the trio that made it. For their first several albums, Ohio trio Times New Viking blasted sets of pop numbers into tiny microphones at high volumes, primitively burying pristine tunes. On last year's Dancer Equired, the outfit's debut for Merge Records, they showed the songs more than the sound and landed a dozen or so deep hooks in one of last year's more delightful half-hours. $12/9 p.m. —Grayson Currin
06.08 THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE @ LINCOLN THEATRE
There's recent footage of Foreign Exchange frontman Phonte Coleman's mother rapping along, verbatim, to the entire "The Life of Kings" track from her son's solo LP, Charity Starts at Home. It's a touching cross-generational moment, but, more important, a clue into how Coleman's loving relationship with his momma informs his connection with women. On each of the three Foreign Exchange albums (Connected, Leave It All Behind, Authenticity), Coleman sings tangerine tales of love and let-down, buttressed by Dutch producer Nicolay's equally sophisticated compositions. Whether he learned it from his matriarch or his mistress, Coleman knows the ropes. You'll benefit from his secrets. With DJ Castro. $20–$25/9 p.m. —Eric Tullis
06.08 PAUL THORN, LERA LYNN @ CAT'S CRADLE
Exposure to Paul Thorn's music is quickly followed by the question, "Why haven't I heard of this guy?" Thorn was a prizefighter in his 20s and the son of a Pentecostal preacher. His gruff, muscular baritone and surprisingly soulful croon buoy his thoughtful manner. He's a strong enough writer to make it on his songwriting, but he's got roots-rock in his soul, reminiscent at times of John Hiatt. His last two albums have received well-deserved acclaim, and his new covers album features great interpretations of Lindsey Buckingham, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Eli "Paperboy" Reed. $15/8 p.m. —Chris Parker
06.09 LONNIE WALKER, NAKED GODS @ KINGS
While Triangle music fans wait impatiently for the follow-up to Lonnie Walker's These Times Old Times, the handful of tracks that the quintet's released since its debut LP suggest that the Raleigh outfit's ramshackle take on '90s indie rock has become more warped and gnarly. The group gets better with each live show, bringing exceptional energy to tight performances that only appear as if they could fall apart at any second. Wild and woolly Boone quintet Naked Gods seems similarly sloppy, bits of prog and punk strewn about its angular guitar rock. Borrowed Beams of Light imports outlandish hooks from Charlottesville. $5/10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
06.10 GRASS WIDOW @ THE PINHOOK
Listeners often lazily compare San Francisco's Grass Widow to post-punk predecessors like The Raincoats and The Slits because Grass Widow is a group of women that make music that sounds similar to those groups. However, if you give their music the attention it deserves, this group deserves both those comparisons and comparisons to like-minded groups of the male persuasion. Their latest album, Internal Logic, finds the trio further embodying the restless and fertile creative spirit of that era, while also showing welcome signs that a simple recapitulation of what's been done before is not on their agenda. With Flesh Wounds. $8–$10/9 p.m. —David Raposa
06.10 AFROCUBISM @ N.C. MUSEUM OF ART
AfroCubism is more than a supergroup; they are renowned virtuosos, artfully melding the traditional styles of West Africa and Cuba, a musical confluence that flows as easily and naturally as water, and has the same restorative qualities. There are only four opportunities to drink from this rare fountain on AfroCubism's 2012 North American tour, so you won't want to miss it at the NCMA's outdoor park theater. The band features some of Mali's greatest masters, including Djelimady Tounkara (electric guitar), Toumani Diabaté (kora) and Bassekou Kouyate (ngoni), plus Fode Lassana Diabaté, of Guinea, on the marimba-like balafon. They are joined by Buena Vista Social Club's Eliades Ochoa, the pitch-perfect crooner and acoustic guitarist known as "the Cuban Johnny Cash." Concert tickets include admission to the Museum's retrospective of monumental works by Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, many not previously seen outside of Africa. $11–$45/7 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger
06.13 JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD @ BERKELEY CAFE
It's a wonder JEFF the Brotherhood tours at all. Still, between running their Infinity Cat imprint and amassing a staggering recorded catalog, actual bros Jake and Jamin Orrall somehow keep their road-warrior rep intact. And thank god for that. Sure, their records are addictive fun and full of big, sticky stadium rock hooks delivered with pop-punk's thrill-seeking energy. (Their next platter, the incrementally tamed Hypnotic Nights, will wear a Warner Bros. stamp when it comes out in July.) But no record does justice to the JEFF Bros live, where the stage usually serves as a starting block, not a pedestal. (This show is presented by Hopscotch Music Festival.) $10–$12/9 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
FRIDAY, JUNE 8
NOTE: Amy Barefoot with Bynum General Store confirmed that, due to a scheduling problem, this show has been canceled.
FROM: Wilmington, N.C.
CLAIM TO FAME: A Yankee and his Southern rock boys
Sometimes it's easiest to describe Onward, Soldiers as a rock band. "Telling Nobody," the lead single from the quartet's enthusiastically if haphazardly eclectic second album, Monsters, springs with piano and Merseybeat buoyancy, like Dr. Dog rubbing the stoner from their eyes. Other times, though, it's easiest to capture Onward, Soldiers' essence by describing their foundation as [alt-] country. Especially on 2010's Ghosts in This Town, singer Sean Thomas Gerard funnels a practiced Southern sneer into songs anchored on bustling guitars and Tennessee Three drums but peppered with mandolin and pedal steel. If country-rock implies any sort of stylistic circumscription, Onward, Soldiers bounds through it—sometimes striding, sometimes bumbling, but always adding unexpected elements to familiar strains. At BYNUM GENERAL STORE. Free/ 7–9 p.m.
FROM: Nashville, Tenn.
CLAIM TO FAME: A terribly ill-advised name
The first 30 seconds of the music video for "Dancin' Away with My Heart"—the third single from the third album by Lady Antebellum—is perhaps the quickest capsule of everything you need to know about the trio. The members walk through underground hallways in arenas and stare into backstage mirrors, footage that's interspersed into shots of the massive, sing-along crowd. So, lesson one: After three albums, Lady Antebellum is one of the most popular country acts in the world right now. Before the sad song gets going, though, the members share anecdotes about their first dance: Dave Haywood first danced to Garth Brooks in seventh grade, while singer Charles Kelley first moved to Tim McGraw's "Don't Take the Girl." So, lesson two: Lady Antebellum prolongs the line of country-pop superstardom that stretches from Brooks to Dunn to McGraw to Chesney to Swift to Flatts (but not Scruggs). With Darius Rucker and Thompson Square. At TIME WARNER CABLE MUSIC PAVILION AT WALNUT CREEK. $25–$70/ 7 p.m. —Grayson Currin
SUNDAY, JUNE 10
FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS
FROM: Los Angeles
CLAIM TO FAME: Retro soul
Taking its name from frontman Michael Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles sextet Fitz and The Tantrums crafts blue-eyed soul that borrows its slickness from classic R&B and catchiness from Motown, with just a hint of contemporary influence to tip off listeners that they're not hearing a relic. While not striving for strict authenticity like the analog lovers in Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, The Tantrums are among the most accessible soul revival acts around. Oregon singer-songwriter ZZ Ward's bluesy moans liberally borrow both musically and lyrically from hip-hop. Louisiana six-piece Royal Teeth opens with bright co-ed ditties drowned in synths. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $18–$22/ 8 p.m.
FROM: Brooklyn via Tacoma
CLAIM TO FAME: Lo-fi electronica
Taking its name from frontman Brad Oberhofer, Brooklyn quartet Oberhofer crafts psych-leaning synthpop that borrows its production values from laptop junkies and big dance beats from arena-sized electronica giants, with just a hint of noise to keep listeners on their toes. The melodic ditties that populate Oberhofer's full-length debut, Time Capsules II, feature a fuller sound fleshed out by the project's four-piece incarnation, marking a slight shift to more guitar-driven arrangements that maintain the addictive immediacy of Oberhofer's earlier singles. At KINGS. $6–$8/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith