THE PINHOOK'S 5TH ANNIVERSARY
Spreading its five-year anniversary festivities across two events makes logistical sense, as that means The Pinhook gets to celebrate itself twice, with double the number of friends and bands. But The Pinhook's take-all-comers attitude is what really unifies these—and all other—bills on the Durham venue's calendar.
The first night features a Saturday showcase of local rock heavies, headlined by a reanimated Tooth, the bruise-and-bluster punk-sludge quartet that was a tentpole of Durham's emerging scene half a decade ago, and the first band to play The Pinhook's stage (outside of the now-defunct Troika Music Festival). They're joined by Triad instro wizards The Bronzed Chorus and punk veterans The Bastages, whose mix of juvenile humor and political, vitriol draws a straight line to the rise of hardcore in the '80s.
Tuesday brings a marked change of pace, as Big Freedia, the cheerfully androgynous world-record twerker and self-proclaimed Queen of Bounce, headlines and highlights a high-energy dance party. Freedia's music follows all the genre tropes of bounce, an intoxicating collision of rap sloganeering, Mardi Gras chants, EDM and sample-based hip-hop. Her unflagging charisma has made her the genre's most notable ambassador. SATURDAY, NOV. 2, & TUESDAY, NOV. 5, AT THE PINHOOK. $9/10 p.m. & $12/9 p.m.
Following in the Grand (Guignol, that is) tradition of Carcass and Cannibal Corpse, San Franciscan gore-metal stalwarts Exhumed debuted in the early '90s with a take on death metal as rich with anatomical specifics and lurid descriptions of dismemberment as with sledgehammer blast beats and gut-churning riffs. These days, though, Exhumed is a sharper and more precise unit, its riffs cleaner and more cutting and, at least on this year's great Necrocracy, less focused on the splatter-flick novelty and more on stitching big rock hooks to a gnarled death metal frame. With Organ Donor and RBT. MONDAY, NOV. 4, AT THE MAYWOOD. $12–$14/8 p.m.
KING KHAN & THE SHRINES, HELLSHOVEL
Garage icon King Khan has always thrived on a shrewd balance of rock-star swagger and relatable anxiety. On this year's Idle No More, recorded with Khan's big-band rock 'n' soul revue The Shrines, that balance is especially refined. Bearing little of the bombast of the band's earlier work, Idle offers a lush backing for more introspective (but still upbeat) songwriting. "Bad Boy," a solid midtempo soul swing, suggests the rush of Sam & Dave, even as Khan offers a eulogy to a fallen friend. The band never wallows; rather, the somber themes yield happy reflections. Canada's Hellshovel, a warped psych-garage outfit helmed by Demon's Claws leader Jeff Clarke, opens. Raleigh's primitive Black Zinfandel joins. SATURDAY, NOV. 2, AT MOTORCO. $14–$16/9 p.m.
DEX ROMWEBER, J KUTCHMA
Americana can be a clumsy descriptor, but there's really no better word for this bill. Dex Romweber made his name with the rockabilly freak-out pair Flat Duo Jets, but in the time since, he's embraced a broader study of American popular music, adding shades of jazz and exotica, Tin Pan Alley and surf tunes, country and blues to his chameleonic rock 'n' roll. More focused, but no less open-eared, J Kutchma turned from barroom punk toward classic country and folk, lending the former's direct approach to the latter's narrative details. Also, Ghostwriter. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6, AT THE POUR HOUSE. $5/9 p.m.
Khaela Maricich's long-running electronic pop outfit The Blow returned from a seven-year recording hiatus in September with a self-titled album. Now partnered with the artist Melissa Dyne and relocated from Portland to New York, Maricich sounds reinvigorated. The sample-fueled arrangements she and Dyne assemble cull '80s pop and new wave, slinky R&B and basement-party electronica. Without shedding her understated sense of melody or crisp elocution, she delivers more confident vocals this time, fitting the new record's more economical approach to lyrics. Texan chillwave trio Love Inks opens the show. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6, AT LOCAL 506. $12/9 p.m.
As Dysrhythmia, guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, bassist Colin Marston and drummer Jeff Eber form a nucleus of tech-metal prowess. The trio's precision collision of prog gymnastics and metal mood yields nimble and spontaneous instrumentals that unite some of the other projects of its other members. Those groups include tech-death legends Gorguts, algebraic black-metal band Krallice and the cult-favorite math-metal band Behold...The Arctopus. With Zevious and Damn Fine Coffee. SUNDAY, NOV. 3, AT LOCAL 506. $8–$9/9 p.m.
TIM KASHER, LAURA STEVENSON, DES ARK
In a better world, this show might run backward. Des Ark's fans are rightfully fervent, thanks to Aimée Argote's frank and transfixing folk songs, built on unequal parts blues fingerpicking and punk candor. Laura Stevenson, another punk-gone-folk songstress, buoys existential themes with charming twang and lilting pop. Tim Kasher, meanwhile, still carries the interpersonal neuroses he funneled into Cursive before branching into a more musically ambitious solo guise. SUNDAY, NOV. 3, AT KINGS. $12–$14/8:30 p.m.
Pelican's first full-length album in four years and the first without founding guitarist Laurent Lebec, Forever Becoming is also the post-metal outfit's most forceful, shedding ponderous meditations for momentum and streamlined riffs. The material should pair nicely with Kentucky hard-rockers Coliseum, who divine their own themes from the intersections of punk, metal and radio rock. Feltbattery, signed to the label of Pelican's Trevor DeBrauw, opens. MONDAY, NOV. 4, AT LOCAL 506. $15/8 p.m.
Maine's Coke Weed built a healthy buzz ahead of their third album, this year's Back to Soft, and it seems unlikely to wear off soon: The record's a charming, languid spin on dazed and beachy garage-pop, solidly rooted in classic rock groove and capable of slipping from the fog for a crisp hook. The result is a familiar but warped indie pop intoxicant. FRIDAY, NOV. 1, AT THE CAVE. $5/10 p.m.
Raleigh death metal traditionalists Morose Vitality and Bloodsoaked echo the growls and rumbles of their old-school heroes like Morbid Angel and Suffocation. Their complementary focuses yield similarly straight-faced—and satisfying—barrages. Raleigh's Necrocosm and Wilmington's Colossal Abyss offer balance, alloying their death metal bursts with swift guitar melodies. SATURDAY, NOV. 2, AT THE MAYWOOD. $5/9 p.m.
Under his unfortunate solo handle, Band of Horses leader Ben Bridwell dips into well-trod Americana and does little to differentiate himself (or warrant a $20 ticket), his other band's notoriety notwithstanding. In Birdsmell, his thin voice falters without the Horses' swells of distortion and reverb, and his fluid song structures drift downward rather than upward and outward. It's not all a loss, though; show up early for a rare set from the undeservedly obscure country-soul songsmith Bryan Cates. SATURDAY, NOV. 2, AT THE CAT'S CRADLE BACK ROOM. $20/8 p.m.
Novel in much the same way as the sugar-buzzed and strangely forgotten The Go! Team, Sleigh Bells' addled assault of dance-pop and hair metal guitar may not have ever been much more than empty calories. Nevertheless, the band's 2010 debut, Treats, was welcomed like a trick-or-treat bounty. But by album No. 3, October's Bitter Rivals, the stomachache set in. While new ingredients show the band looking to evolve, Sleigh Bells' appeal always resided in a simple novelty—one that has mostly worn off. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6, AT LINCOLN THEATRE. $18–$20/9 p.m.