When fireside-voiced Canadian singer Basia Bulat first gathered critical laurels, she was rather new to her 20s. And though she clutched an autoharp to her chest or stood above a dulcimer with hammers in hand, her music felt young and a touch nave, as though those antediluvian instruments hid her innocence from the bustle and bruise of modernity. Bulat is now on the cusp of 30, though, and her third and best album to date, the new Tall Tall Shadow, is defiant and demanding. She tells lovers not to leave and asks difficult questions, chides the mercury of her own heart and feels rushed by the seemingly new march of time. Recorded with a member of and another collaborator to The Arcade Fire, the album also steps far afield of Bulat's former folk comfort zone, with alternating palettes of synthesizers, drum machines and phosphorescent rock outfits pushing her songs into the present. Bulat is newly ready for the future. She doesn't forsake her foundation; she's just doing more than sweeping its dirt floor. With Foreign Fields. FRIDAY, NOV. 15, AT CAT'S CRADLE BACK ROOM. $10–$12/8 p.m.
The long-form pieces of Chicago trio Mako Sica make references to upper-atmosphere and interplanetary states of being easy. Their music lifts aplenty, seeming to exit the realm of terrestrial normalcy with haunting, droning vocals and a tandem of guitars and drums that swells into clouds of sound. Mako Sica gets narcotic-high. But their music is also the stuff of globetrotters, erudite listeners who've absorbed the trance music of the Middle East and the psychedelic rock of Japan, the itinerant grit of American free jazz and the dangerous slither of Delta blues. It's the ways in which they splice and stack those variable strains that give the impression of otherworldly transportation, however earthbound the route may actually be. With Canine Heart Sounds. THURSDAY, NOV. 14, AT THE PINHOOK. $7/9 p.m.
NADASTROM, SALVA, SINDEN
While it's true that market trends predicate that electronic music's wave of popularity will inevitably route some of its aces through Raleigh, credit for this incredible bill goes two local ways: Discovery, the organization that's been best threatening to shatter the city's PAs, and the Lincoln Theatre, whose booking has become increasingly adventurous. Show up early for Los Angeles' Sinden, a thumper with compositional sense both micro- and macroscopic. With Sound Resurgence. SATURDAY, NOV. 16, AT LINCOLN THEATRE. $15–$20/9:45 p.m.
DANIEL BACHMAN, EZEKIEL GRAVES, TASHI DORJI
Ever feel like the guitar is over, like you know every way in which its strings can be worked and everything they can render? Try this bill. Opener Tashi Dorji comes from Asheville, though he actually moved to the mountain town from Bhutan, a small landlocked country that sits at the slopes of the Himalayas. Dorji improvises with a prepared acoustic guitar, meaning that the usual plucks and picks take on phantasmagorical characteristics, as though ghosts emanate from his strings. His work seems to move along a narrative spine, making even his most recondite sounds part of a larger and more relatable sequence. He's released three cassettes of alternately meditative and agitated music this year, all excellent. Durham's Ezekiel Graves just issued Chthonic Journey, a set of distant electric guitar hymns that crackle and cackle like the early works of Loren Connors. Daniel Bachman—a young picker dialed into bluegrass and ragas alike—headlines. FRIDAY, NOV. 15, AT NIGHTLIGHT. $6–$8/9:30 p.m.
COREY PALLON, NORTH ELEMENTARY
In the studio, Atlanta's Corey Pallon is a one-man-band, a competent multi-instrumentalist capable of backing his bracing pop-rock with layers of drums, guitars and keyboards. Though he's played in touring troupes before, including the Americana-leaning Pistolero, the songs on his wonderful new EP, Eat My Gore, make you wish that Pallon could tie himself to a band and do this permanently. He's a chameleonic presence, able to shift from the thoughtful musings of Silver Jews to the sad romanticism of Sparklehorse to the electric charges of Guided By Voices with ease. He's an anchor in need of consistent surroundings. He'll be backed on a short tour by North Elementary, the flagship act for Potluck, the Chapel Hill label that releases his very good songs. North Elementary opens, too. For a few years and two albums, Stuart Edwards was one of two leaders in Old Bricks, a promising band making moody music with spectral blues and psychedelic textures. They've stalled, but he opens with a solo set. Also, Ye Olde Shoppe. THURSDAY, NOV. 14, AT NIGHTLIGHT. Donations/9 p.m.
TATSUYA NAKATANI & SHANE PERLOWIN
Shane Perlowin is the guitar player from the wonderful and scrupulous Asheville instro-rock band Ahleuchatistas. Based in Pennsylvania, percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani animates a world of chimes, gongs, bells and snares, constructing widescreen and incredibly detailed soundscapes with his drum kit. Their debut duo record, Anatomy of a Moment, is a study in finesse and attentiveness, with two masterful players sidestepping egos to listen instead for relationships. With Cyanotype. SATURDAY, NOV. 16, AT FELLOWSHIP HALL. $8–$10/9 p.m.
Since inception, Deleted Scenes has delivered consistently intriguing and intricate art rock, with crisscrossing vocals and generous textures tessellated across wide canvases. But "Stutter"—the first sample of their third album, due next year on Park the Van—seems without precedent: Like Battles, they manage to squeeze the busy sounds of prog into pop-sized spaces, producing music that's florid, focused and more imaginative than an already promising past. With Grounders and Lilac Shadows. SATURDAY, NOV. 16, AT KINGS. $7/9:30 p.m.
In October, Kevin Devine released two albums on the same day, naming them as though they were Iceland and Greenland; Bubblegum is the electrified blitzkrieg, while Bulldozer is its genteel folk-pop counterpart. For Devine, though, it's more than an ironic nod. Though his music is given to distinct poles, it's all united by tunefulness and a topical (if sometimes sanctimonious) nature, so that one set of songs could easily swing into the clothes of the other, and vice versa. With Now, Now; Harrison Hudson; Missing Maps. FRIDAY, NOV. 15, AT LOCAL 506. $12–$15/7:30 p.m.
PIPE, BLACKWOLF BEACH
Here's a different sort of veterans day: Now done with its third decade (time off included), Pipe presses onward, caught forever between hardcore and good-time rock 'n' roll, between endless hijinks and casual intensity. They're joined by Blackwolf Beach, a suitable partner in spirit and style. Blackwolf Beach plays four-piece, two-guitar rock where the biggest frills are the hooks, hoisted high by coed shouts of glory. SATURDAY, NOV. 16, AT MOTORCO. $7/9 p.m.
GEOGRAPHER, ROYAL BANGS
California's Geographer draws a surprisingly clean line between Animal Collective and Radiohead, adding the drama of OK Computer to the overstuffed beats of Strawberry Jam. With radiant keyboards, affected cello and arching falsetto, they turn simple tunes into quixotic adventures. Openers and new labelmates Royal Bangs have seemed poised at the brink of fame for five years, with convoluted pop that practically claps your hands for you. Produced by Black Key Patrick Carney, their latest, Brass, mutes the tones, trims the layers and, ultimately, mitigates their hyperkinetic impact into a Dr. Dog-like trot. FRIDAY, NOV. 15, AT MOTORCO. $8–$10/9 p.m.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Is there a more efficient way to add sadness to an irrelevant musical joke than a Christmas album? Yes: three Christmas albums. In less than two decades, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy—that zippy swing band you just might barely remember from "You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)"—has released a triptych of tinsel discs, just in case their throwback sound didn't drive your nostalgia quite enough. Their latest, October's It Feels Like Christmas Time, is every bit as pat as you'd expect. Do yourself a favor and make two with only your bottle. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Carolina Theatre. $41.85–$58.25/8 p.m.
With his 2011 album Mission Bell, Amos Lee turned the rather rare trick of taking largely unadorned but certainly polished folk-rock to the top of the Billboard 200. There were a few factors at work, including his hard touring, affable demeanor, string of decent albums and lousy competition for the No. 1 slot. But the key to Lee's rise overall is how undecided, non-divisive and simply pleasant his music is. He delivers all the familiar metaphors, plays all the expected chords and slips into the most common molds. He's easy to like, then, but very hard to love or hate. He's just there. Opener Jessica Lea Mayfield, who is at times brilliant, does not suffer the same complacence. Monday, Nov. 18, at DPAC. $46.75–$54.25/7:30 p.m.