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Future, Michael Ford Jr. & the Apache Relay, Mono, Maserati, Moreland & Arbuckle, Static Minds, The Coathangers, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, These Arms Are Snakes, Ra Ra Riot, more

The guide to the week's concerts 



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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Michael Ford Jr. & the Apache Relay, Aminal, The Honored Guests, Mono, Maserati, Moreland & Arbuckle, The Loners, Static Minds, The Coathangers, Pink Flag, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Max Indian

EH, WHATEVER: needtobreathe

VS.: These Arms Are Snakes vs. Ra Ra Riot

INTRODUCING: Future

SONG OF THE WEEK: Tenderhooks' "Starlight"



YES, PLEASE...

09.24 MICHAEL FORD JR. & THE APACHE RELAY @ BERKELEY CAFE

Since last year, Louisiana native Michael Ford Jr. has been awfully busy. He met the members of The Apache Relay at Nashville's Belmont University, formed a band after convincing the young trio to back him and put his tunes to tape with the help of longtime Avett Brothers producer Doug Williams, Avett member Joe Kwon and Avett pal Jessica Lea Mayfield. All in a year's work, right? Though the lineup features fiddle, mandolin and dual guitars, the quartet's sound is more in line with Nickel Creek's progressive Americana than traditional folk or bluegrass. Ford's yearning vocals have a touch of Ryan Adams' earnestness, too. $8/ 8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

09.24 AMINAL, THE HONORED GUESTS @ THE PINHOOK

Released in May, the dual EPs from Carrboro quartet Aminal, A Will to Fight and A Face to Fight, are two of the year's local treasures. Pop enthusiasts with rock aplomb and soul swagger, Aminal is equally capable of nuance and bombast, leaping into infectious hooks only to settle surprisingly into rich pockets of steel guitar and piano texture. "Emotions Rule Me," for instance, is a keyboard-and-drums anthem mixing Tom Petty and The Walkmen. It erupts and exclaims but changes keys and directions before it has the chance to become cloying. Like The Honored Guests, who open tonight, Aminal suggests an interest in re-creating big production on the cheap, lending their songs a sort of probated commercialism. San Francisco's Low Red Land join Aminal at The Cave on Sept. 23. $5/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge Mono
  • Mono

09.25 MONO, MASERATI @ LOCAL 506

The allure of symphonic-born, ultradynamic instrumental post-rock ain't what it used to be: Slint's reunion stalled. Mogwai's continued existence is mostly pointless. Explosions in the Sky hasn't released an album in two years, a great one in six. Pelican still needs a new drummer. Scores of imitators have adulterated the structures, tones and aesthetics of their forebears. But let's not give up on Japanese quartet Mono. As if imitating of one of their slow-building songs, they've been steadily building their approach for most of the decade, adding strings and length and scope to songs that unfold like an orchid in a spring's morning sun. Sensual, luxurious and electric, their latest, Hymn to the Immortal Wind, asks for and earns your continued attention. With the agile Maserati. $10-$12/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin

09.25 MORELAND & ARBUCKLE @ BLUE BAYOU CLUB

Whether playing an electric, a resonator or a cigar box, Aaron Moreland keeps his guitar sound fuzzed and dirty. As he smacks and shakes that thing, Dustin Arbuckle sings with a fat baritone reflecting hard times and rural scenes, sometimes tying his wailing harmonica between Moreland's rich licks. The Kansas duo's primal blues feel urgent, starting in the deep roots and often peaking into a North Mississippi Allstars-style rock-out with the help of drummer Brad Horner. 9:30 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey

09.25 THE LONERS, STATIC MINDS @ THE POUR HOUSE

The Loners' performances generate enough crackling energy to power Jason Statham through two Crank sequels. The duo's gruff drag strip stomp corners a crunchy groove and beats it senseless. Fellow rock pugilists The Static Minds ride a bloozy boogie to hip-quaking rumble. Their hell-bent enthusiasm and piston-pumping action may sound familiar, ripping down a similar path as singer/ guitarist Erik Sugg's old acts, Dragstrip Syndicate and The Cherry Valence, but with better manners. The chunky blues-psych vibrations of Natural Science descend from the band The Heavy Pets. Expect a clamor that's not quite housebroken. Also, The Last Tallboy. $7/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker

09.27 THE COATHANGERS, PINK FLAG @ LOCAL 506

They're your sassy girlfriend whose unpredictable behavior makes her something of a liability in a bar. Put her on a stage, though, and now that's entertainment. Backed by thin, scratchy guitar, popgun drums and tinny keyboard bursts, Atlanta quartet The Coathangers conjure punky, atavistic bristle like X-Ray Spex giving Wire a noogie. Their generally shouted team vocals flatten an oddball array of subjects, from Tonya Harding to arthritis, compensating for a lack of sharpness and charm with volume, exuberance and expletives. Local openers Pink Flag aren't as cheeky, but they play with plenty of energy and tunefulness and Jessica Caesar, one of the Triangle's best rock drummers. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker

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09.29 THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART @ LOCAL 506

It's easy to dismiss Brooklyn's The Pains of Being Pure Heart as a flock of fresh-faced kids mixing the sounds of manifest heroes like The Jesus & Mary Chain and Belle & Sebastian, subduing the distortion of the former as they sharpen the teeth of the latter. And, really, it's impossible to defend against that criticism, since, across an LP and the excellent new EP, Higher Than The Stars, that's exactly what they've sounded like. But just above these perfectly blurred guitar tones, simple keyboard chords and bulbous bass lines, Kip Berman politely offers perfect encapsulations of teenage troubles: suicide, sexual orientation, the (un)certainty of love. The band is stark and harsh, but Berman adds hope to its best tunes (see "103"), reconstructing angst for the kids that elected Obama. For an interview with openers Cymbals Eat Guitars, see www.indyweekblogs.com/scan. $10-$12/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

09.30 MAX INDIAN @ BUSY BEE CAFE

I'm unsure about the sound-bouncing brick walls of Raleigh's Busy Bee Café for a rock band venue, but I doubt the ubiquitous-of-late Max Indian will have trouble adjusting. The Chapel Hill quintet features jazz hands and veterans of a dozen local acts (Roman Candle, Thad Cockrell, The Tomahawks, Boxbomb), who've finally funneled their chops and experiences into perfectly executed romps through sun-dazed Beatlemania. Less willfully arty than Dr. Dog and with a soulful swing that suggests lessons learned from The Band, these tunes are the sort of strangely familiar anthems you'll hum even if you're listening for the first time. It's not often that pop sounds both this effortless and this exuberant. Free/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


EH, WHATEVER...

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09.25 NEEDTOBREATHE @ CAT'S CRADLE

For all his wailing, you'd think needtobreathe singer Bear Rinehart was undergoing an invasive medical procedure absent anesthesia. His tenor warbles over his band's arena-size adult contemporary acoustic-folk like a sine wave, suggesting Dave Matthews driving down an unpaved road after a double hernia operation. If that doesn't make you wince, the devotional lyrics might. While many Christian artists clothe their sentiments in metaphor or question what it's all about, needtobreathe's are as naked as Kim Kardashian's ambition, but even less palatable. This band preaches to the converted with all the subtlety of someone holding a bullhorn. With Crowfield and Green River Ordinance. $12-$14/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker



WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 30

click to enlarge 09.23mushearingaid_thesearm.gif

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES
From: Seattle
Since: 2003

Claim to fame: Barbed post-punk angularity within sleek, wiry, rhythmic arrangements

It's the classic matchup: beauty and the beast, brains versus brawn. Not to disparage the lyrical acuity of These Arms Are Snakes, but the band's appeal lies mostly in tightly coiled tracks whose tension mounts faster than factual inaccuracies on a Glenn Beck broadcast. Singer Steve Snere writhes over steely riffs that crackle without restraint, luring the listener into the center of a maelstrom. Their volatile complexity makes these songs difficult to outflank, as the ominous guitar churn closes the gap, ready to envelop and destroy. The Snakes offer a lingering malevolence built for the long game, less interested in pummeling than forcing the opponent into submission. With DD/MM/YYYY and Fin Fang Foom. At LOCAL 506. $10/ 9 p.m.

VS.

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RA RA RIOT

From: Syracuse
Since: 2006
Claim to fame: Energetic chamber pop that survived the demise of their drummer (John Ryan Pike) and label (V2)

Ra Ra Riot's sweet sounds sport a graceful profile made of rich orchestration, lilting boy/ girl harmonies, and pulsing arrangements driven by trilling strings and vibrant percussion. With a fey delicacy particularly evident in Wes Miles' Stuart Murdoch-ian croon, they'd sooner beguile and entreat than bum-rush the show. The gifts of these canny songwriters extend beyond the music's generous warmth, making fine use of dynamics. The lyrics mine more than a few gems, too: "Speakers made of tin cans passing through my window like a cool breeze on my ears," goes on abstruse but evocative line. All said, it's more than a pretty face that battles the Snakes. With Maps & Atlases and Princeton. At CAT'S CRADLE. $12-$14/ 8:45 p.m. —Chris Parker


INTRODUCING...

click to enlarge 09.23mushearingaid_future.gif

09.30 FUTURE @ THE POUR HOUSE

Plenty of party bands exhibit a vague notion of eclecticism. Using hip-hop, reggae, soul, funk and rock, they haphazardly throw disparate elements of each into a musical blender and pray for some cohesion. Many fail. But then there's the ambitiously dubbed Future, a D.C. quintet that seamlessly melds those genres by fusing emcee Antoine "Chuck Bucket" Ware's heady slam poetry and Gordon Sterling's explosive, soulful pipes with deep reggae grooves, driving rock rhythms and guitar pyrotechnics—often over the course of a single song. Future's extended explorations are unbound by stylistic notions.

The group, which gelled three years ago after Sterling and bassist Tony Moreno started playing with friends after the demise of a previous band, has adopted "Spread Love Massive" not only as the title of the opening track from its self-titled debut but also as a motto of sorts, evident in the positive vibes overflowing from the disc and the quintet's energetic live performances. "Our music is a conversation about the human experiment," Sterling explains. "As this experiment goes, so goes our music." Considering they're out-of-towners, Sterling says, "It's a real honor to be accepted [in the Triangle] ... people seem genuinely interested in seeking out groundbreaking new music." $6/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

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