A black metal album sporting a peachy pink cover ought to raise a few eyebrows, and certainly it has, but San Francisco's Deafheaven never made music to please the purists. Centered around vocalist George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy, the band was ambitious at the outset, stretching beyond post-hardcore roots to incorporate the bleak and bitter onslaught of black metal with the textural heft of shoegaze. And their sophomore album, Sunbather, can blast with the best of them. Clarke's a devilish screamer, offering a raspy and effective complement to sheets of distorted guitar. The rhythm section behind him pushes generously without overwhelming the band's gradual melodic reveals, which prove crucial to Sunbather's appeal. With wide-open progressions that refuse to wallow in their own murk, Deafheaven has essentially repurposed black metal technique for dramatic uplift. Further blurring the boundaries, the band moves seamlessly into elegant passages of ringing guitars and piano, casting their own torrential bursts in sharp relief.
Marriages, a new Los Angeles band featuring Greg Burns and Emma Ruth Rundle of post-metal vets Red Sparowes, joins Deafheaven on the road, offering a more spacious approach to meditative heaviness. Raleigh's Gray Young opens. SATURDAY, JUNE 29, AT KINGS. $10–$12/9 p.m.
Wymyns Prysyn, Future Binds
Catchy like the Buzzcocks and belligerent like Pissed Jeans, Atlanta's Wymyns Prysyn whips up a remarkably inviting noise-rock maelstrom. Documented mostly by a consistently engaging sprawl of short-form releases, Wymyns Prysyn cuts ornery scuzz with upbeat hooks. Locals might also recognize new drummer Bobby Michaud, who pummeled the kit for Double Negative and Brain F≠ before joining Wymyns Prysyn. In the middle slot, the new Raleigh hardcore band Future Binds cuts raging sprints with spacious breaks, making theirs a more dynamic breed of hardcore blitz—enough, apparently, to court the outstanding Canadian punk label Deranged Records, which will release the band's first 7-inch. Raleigh's No Love opens. FRIDAY, JUNE 28, AT THE MAYWOOD. $7/9 p.m.
This gig celebrates the release of Faking the Wisdom, Goner's fourth album. An exercise in quality over quantity, Goner has continued to log marked improvement with each successive album. With contributions from of a gang of friends (including members of Gray Young, The Tourist, the Kickin' Grass Band and others), Faking the Wisdom is a fuller, more layered effort. But Goner's spotlight still shines on frontman Scott Phillips, whose everyman vocals suggest Michael Stipe or Craig Finn and whose writing makes ordinary struggles feel epic. Beloved Binge and Wood Ear, both from Durham, share the bill. SATURDAY, JUNE 29, AT THE PINHOOK. $5–$7/9 p.m.
Justin Robinson & The Mary Annettes
Though he departed the revivalist Carolina Chocolate Drops, Justin Robinson hasn't left his folklorist impulses behind. In the storytelling tradition of Southern music, Robinson's post-Drops work is rife with poignant allusions and compelling narrative. With the Mary Annettes, Robinson augments his writing with an idosyncratic synthesis of Southern vernacular music, merging elegant chamber-pop with his string-band roots, blues groan with hip-hop swagger. The group's excellent 2012 debut, Bones for Tinder, is eclectic only in terms of influence; Robinson's vision, no matter how disparate its inspirations, is singular. With Parker Smith & the Bandwith and the Bob Funck Band. SATURDAY, JUNE 29, AT CASBAH. $7/9 p.m.
Las Supper featuring Big Daddy Kane
Las Supper's debut, Back to the Future, takes a glossy, show-band approach to vintage soul, touching on Gamble & Huff groove, Otis Redding heat and pulp-movie soundtrack moods. Hailed by the The New York Times as "maybe the first nonembarrassing adult-oriented rap album by a late-career rapper," Back to the Future also provides a sturdy backing for Big Daddy Kane. The influential Brooklyn-bred MC went relatively quiet after relocating to Raleigh in 2000. With Las Supper, he re-emerges with urgency. THURSDAY, JUNE 27, AT THE POUR HOUSE. $20–$24/10 p.m.
Kooley High / Kaze
It's probably best to consider this as a solid doubleheader rather than two distinct shows. Raleigh's Kooley High convenes at the Wallace Plaza parking deck rooftop for Chapel Hill's Locally Grown music series, delivering a sharp and lively boom-bap revival fueled by a casually compelling group dynamic. JSWISS opens. Chapel Hill mainstay Kaze, who headlines Local 506's official after-show party, is an agile wordsmith with an urgent delivery well-suited for the hard-driving beats he favors. Durham's The Real Laww and Chapel Hill's SkyBlew open. THURSDAY, JUNE 27, AT WALLACE PLAZA / LOCAL 506. Free/8 p.m.; $5/10 p.m.
Despite its fairly straightforward roots-rock sound, Cracker's Alternative Nation appeal is readily apparent in David Lowery's sardonic and occasionally confrontational lyrics—see "I Hate My Generation" or "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)." They're an agile band, shifting casually from rootsy twang to big-room rock, but that wink-and-sneer charisma makes them compelling. With Justin Robinson & the Mary Annettes, Blanko Basnet and Blue Angel Blue. THURSDAY, JUNE 27, AT RALEIGH CITY PLAZA. Free/6:45 p.m.
T0W3RS, Lilac Shadows, Zack Mexico
As they hop from playful, beat-driven pop to churning, strummy guitar rock, it'd be fair to criticize T0W3RS for creative restlessness. But their adventurous approach to pop is consistently charming, so that criticism could as easily be considred a compliment. Lilac Shadows and Zack Mexico are more focused in their deliveries, divining hooky psych-pop from rock craftsmanship and hazy surf runs, respectively. FRIDAY, JUNE 28, AT LOCAL 506. $7/9 p.m.
While their name was made in that initial mid-'90s alt-country boom, The Backsliders have aged well. Their aching twang and heartbroken anthems never felt like pastiche, but rather a continuation of the bards of classic Nashville. Raleigh's Craig Thompson, the bass man in Old Habits, opens with a complementary set of honky-tonk. FRIDAY, JUNE 28, AT THE POUR HOUSE. $10–12/10 p.m.
On their second effort, the Kickstarter-funded Nobody Panic, Raleigh's Nuclear Honey swaps the casual acoustic sound of their debut EP, Tombstone Sessions, for a full-band presentation. As it steers the band into comfortable Southern rock grooves and flirts with jam-band looseness, the expanded lineup mostly suits the easygoing songs penned by guitarists Gray Henderson and Reaves Greer. Wilmington's Onward, Soldiers and Raleigh's Octopus Jones open. FRIDAY, JUNE 28, AT KINGS. $5–$7/10 p.m.
3 Doors Down, Daughtry
Last year, three of Chris Daughtry's N.C.-based former bandmates sued the American Idol star for claiming full credit on co-written songs. It's hardly shocking that dumped ex-bandmates would cry foul; what's surprising is that anybody would want to take credit for the utterly indistinct modern-rock ballads Daughtry rode to become the Aaron Lewis of his generation. He's a good match for 3 Doors Down, whose own modern rock mush brings aggressive music to new levels of passivity. Halestorm opens. WEDNESDAY, JULY 3, AT RED HAT AMPHITHEATER. $31–$84.20/7:45 p.m.
Among the drawbacks of our Internet age is the notion that anybody with the impulse to do so can share their "art" with the world. We're living in a new age of twee arts & crafts celebrated as if spray-painted macaroni noodles were the pinnacle of creativity. By that logic, Zigtebra are genius. Zebra and Tiger, the pseudonymous members of the Chicago duo, paste together varied strums and coos for a cloyingly earnest brand of lo-fi folk, void of the crucial ballast self-awareness and self-deprecation can provide. With Effingham and Humon. THURSDAY, JUNE 27, AT CASBAH. $6/9 p.m.