The asymptotically pop black metal of Deafheaven, the fitfully interesting fare of the thrash revival and reconfiguration, the death of Jeff Hanneman: The most prominent threads in heavy metal this year haven't really made room for Agrimonia, a Swedish crew whose long-form mix of doom, crust punk and post-metal accounts for one of the year's best albums. Indeed, the oblong and hourlong Rites of Separation comprises just five songs, each a series of down-tempo zigs and up-tempo zags through seemingly disparate metallic molds. Glacially paced marches uphold hardcore bursts fit for basement shows and atmospheric expanses suited for particularly cinematic scores. It's an apt release for Southern Lord, the home not only to drone monsters Sunn O))) but also to a motley mix of black metal bands, hardcore upstarts and sound-art veterans. But Rites of Separation is more than an indecisive mix of styles: All the parts that hold it together—livewire riffs and shifting rhythms, shout-out-loud yammers and delicate impasses—are wonderful in isolation, too. Agrimonia's music might not be au courant, but it is excellent and imaginative, the sort of stuff that will be waiting when the calendar and its trends shift into the new year. T.O.A.D. is an acronym for Arizona six-piece Take Over And Destroy. The gritty crew backs rock 'n' roll worship and death metal warpaths with acidic organ runs—less confounding than Agrimonia, but strange all the same. Wednesday, Nov. 27, at The Pinhook. $8/9 p.m.
The nebulous term "indie classical" loosely refers to ensemble- or orchestra-based music played largely by often young, seemingly cool groups of musicians/composers/advocates somewhat uninterested in distinctions that divide art and entertainment. It's a phrase and a caste that tends to produce discomfort among its constituents, but the field itself renders interesting programming choices. For instance, the rightfully lauded Chicago sextet eighth blackbird offers pieces here from The Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry and The National's Bryce Dessner, alongside work by the late György Ligeti and multidisciplinary Australian composer Brett Dean. That's an intriguing mixed lot. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Duke's Baldwin Auditorium. $10–$32/8 p.m.
The stoner stereotype holds that those who smoke don't get much done—that is, frequent inhalation fosters a lack of ambition but an abundance of beards, calorie excess and interest in bad movies. Seattle quartet Samothrace posed inside a weed dispensary for the promotional photos for its most recent album, the aptly named Reverence to Stone, and the band's non-female members indeed sport either dreadlocks or thick facial tufts. But both of their records are audacious statements, where the burly distortion of the stoner set follows shapes more suited to prog rock. The band builds into crescendos, with guitars lifting over belligerent upsurges, and slinks into comedowns, feedback wafting from the ashes like smoke rings. Meters shift, and solos spiral into new sections of these umpteen-minute songs. Too deliberate and decisive to be mere jams, the songs of Samothrace follow the grand stoner tradition of Sleep and Electric Wizard by checking in to music meant for checking out. With Fields of Mars and In This World. Thursday, Nov. 21, at Local 506. $8–$9/9 p.m.
Parties is a band name that comes with a wink: Though most might not associate slowly shifting half-hour hums of guitar sustain and amplifier phosphorescence as much of a soiree, this trio is an improvisational outlet for three musicians with other interests. (Former North Carolina musician Andrew Weathers, for instance, is now a modern composition student at California's vaunted Mills College.) Their amoeboid motion gradually fills whatever space it's given, single notes drifting outward from a steady base to take up residence in corners and cracks. A guitar militia of sorts, Parties suggests ascendance through endless drone, not unlike La Monte Young. Very active, relatively new improvisational collective Polyorchard opens, along with Remora, the ever-evolving guise of Silber Records head and drone/noise/industrial explorer Brian John Mitchell. Sunday, Nov. 24, at Nightlight. $5–$7/9:30 p.m.
Tune Tramp, the latest collection from Virginia-via-Canada fiddler Erynn Marshall, collects spirited interpretations of 20 fiddle numbers, gathered by traveling across North America to play with 45 different old-time musicians. Marshall is a scholar, preservationist and proselytizer of these tunes, with a quick, deft hand that precisely renders their swiveling melodies. But when she's at her best, these aren't clinics; they're vehicles for feelings and tales, as they were intended to be. She ferries a wide crew of collaborators southward for this show. Friday, Nov. 22, at The ArtsCenter. $11–$19/8 p.m.
The premise of the new album by former Soul Coughing singer Mike Doughty is suspect: Unsatisfied with the definitive versions of his songs as recorded by his old band, Doughty—who has been playing Soul Coughing songs live for years, anyway—crowdfunds a re-recording of them. Thing is, these updates are actually interesting, as Doughty's voice has deepened and his sense of rhythm has loosened. Soul Coughing once walked a line between despair and whimsy; Doughty dances on it now. With Moon Hooch. Thursday, Nov. 21, at Cat's Cradle. $20/8 p.m.
Sagan Youth Boys, Forest Kingdom
Philadelphia's Forest Kingdom, who take the middle slot on this three-band bill, are fascinatingly fucked-up. With bursts of grindcore melee spliced into mesmeric synthesizer expanses, the music suggests a dream state punctuated by fitful nightmares. Annotated Universe, the excellent new 12" from Carrboro's Sagan Youth Boys, builds a lush bird's nest of four-four beats, intergalactic synthesizer, calliope-like keyboards and sampled-and-looped '80s drum fills. The dark electro of Ritual Witch Sex takes the night's opening spot. Friday, Nov. 22, at Nightlight. $5–$7/10:30 p.m.
Lilac Shadows, Estrangers
Lilac Shadows are overdue for full-length treatment, a space where Sam Logan's pop smarts can fully luxuriate in his backing band's wavy psychedelic excess. "Turn It Off," the band's half of a split single released in May, suggests Black Rebel Motorcycle Club washed in radiant neon. Greensboro's Estrangers are brighter still. Their latest, Season of 1,000 Colors, funnels '50s rock mannerisms, blue-eyed soul affectations and indie pop verve into occasional anthems. With Smoke Bellow. Saturday, Nov. 23, at The Cave. $5/10 p.m.
Midnight Gladness Band, Dom Casual
Midnight Gladness Band wobbles through golden country-rock simulacrums; cracking falsetto and casual structures suggest a Sunday spent in the basement with some friends, a case of domestics and a gaggle of wry songs worth working up. The Breaks deliver hot rock verve—lurking bass and sashaying vocals, bursting harmonies and invigorating guitars, somewhere between Elvis Costello and Cheap Trick. Dom Casual, who open, don't get their horn-abetted, slinking-surf-guitar curios onstage often anymore. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Motorco. $5/9 p.m.
Fool Metal Jack is the new album by Os Mutantes, the long-running Brazilian psych pioneers now featuring only co-founder Sérgio Dias and a big set of younger collaborators. Alternately terrible and delightful, Fool Metal Jack musically pushes into the Middle East, the New York City of The Dirty Projectors, the mind of Mike Patton and the grooves of Kingston. If you want classic Mutantes, sit at home with your turntable. If you want to risk a strange trip of the unexpected—holy shit, Os Mutantes is in town! With Capsula and Richard Bacchus. Friday, Nov. 22, at The Pour House. $20–$25/9 p.m.
Raleigh Gets F*ucking Weird
The promotional prose for the weekend-beginning dance party "Raleigh Gets F*cking Weird" screams this question as a command: "RALEIGH HOW WEIRD ARE YOU WILLING TO GET?" Apparently, not very: Started in Charlotte, this traveling series of "Gets F*cking Weird" shows promises high-energy dance jams and outrageous outfits. We'll see about the outfits, but the music itself mostly travels to popular EDM tropes, meaning this night should be less strange than simply stereotypical. At least Raleigh producer Shuhandz, one of several DJs and beat-builders on the bill, seems to have some aggressive, enjoyable tunes. Friday, Nov. 22, at Southland Ballroom. $10–$14/9 p.m.
If you want to feel the danger written into rock 'n' roll or the real-life anguish and anxiety ingrained in some of the world's best folk music, pay no mind to the Celtic-American folk-rock of Carbon Leaf. When the band emerged a decade ago, they seemed ready to electrify trans-Atlantic interpretations of Irish tunes. But they've become listless and droll with old age, playing their songs as though scared that, without the net of a large label these days, they'll ward off any incoming fans with excitement. With Mel Washington. Friday, Nov. 22, at Cat's Cradle. $15–$18/8:30 p.m.