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Malcolm Holcombe, A Place to Bury Strangers, The Curtains of Night, They Might Be Giants, Johnette Napolitano, more

The Guide to the Week's Concerts 



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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Malcolm Holcombe, Stars, Say Hi to Your Mom, Robert Randolph

EH, WHATEVER: A Place to Bury Strangers, Matt Pond PA, She Wants Revenge

VS.: They Might Be Giant vs. Johnette Napolitano

INTRODUCING: The Curtains of Night

LAST WEEK'S PARTY: The Shins

SONG OF THE WEEK: Scout Niblett's "Kiss"




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YES, PLEASE

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10.25 MALCOLM HOLCOMBE @ HIDEAWAY BBQ

During a recent phone call, Malcolm Holcombe recalled a story about Willis Alan Ramsey, the Texas singer-songwriter whose self-titled release has been his only output in 35 years. Folks would ask Ramsey, "Why don't you put out another record?" His reply: "What's wrong with the first one?" Holcombe doesn't share Ramsey's inclination. Prolific as he is potent, Holcombe released albums in 2005 and 2006, an EP this year, and will unleash full-length Gamblin' House come January. And there's not a thing wrong with any of 'em: Those records mix harmonica-blessed folk, acoustic blues, stringband country and smalltown-bred soul, balancing steely chill on songs of doubt with ample warmth on songs of home. $10-$12/ 8:30 p.m. —Rick Cornell

10.26 STARS @ CAT'S CRADLE

Norwegian opener Magnet has abandoned the cinematic electro-folk of his earlier album for real instruments and an organic vibrancy that enrich his baroque pop. Stars shine with iridescent indie pop hooks, even if they sometimes feel distant and cold. SOLD OUT/ 9:15 p.m. —Chris Parker

10.28 SAY HI TO YOUR MOM @ LOCAL 506

Like headliner Say Hi To Your Mom, The Velvet Teen and A-Sides crank Ivy League rock with serious white-boy flair. Such slight variances on classic late-'70s/early '80s power-pop heed modern indie thought, just bouncy enough for college radio and sappy enough for high-school mix tapes. Clap your hands and tape the radio, kids. $8/ 9 p.m. —Rich Ivey

10.30 ROBERT RANDOLPH @ UNC'S MEMORIAL HALL

Pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph puts down a sweaty, foot-stompin' boogie with his Family Band: Raised in the church but obsessed with the party, Randolph escalates spirits whether he's finessing twitchy funk or channeling Pentecostal fever through his 13 strings, or doing both at the same time. $25/ 8 p.m. —Kathy Justice


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EH, WHATEVER

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10.26 A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS @ DOWNTOWN EVENT CENTER

EVENT CANCELED (see comment from futurehead below)

Ex-Virginia shoegazer Oliver Ackermann (Skywave) relocated to Brooklyn in 2003, and the connections came steadily: His handmade Death By Audio effects pedals are now used by bands from Lightning Bolt to Wilco, and his trio A Place to Bury Strangers soon earned rank as "the loudest band in New York." High praise from Pitchfork and bam! Ackermann & Co. are part of a label-bidding, publicity and booking battle. But, like its eponymous debut, it's all noise, no substance. Pale imitations of Ride, Spacemen 3 and MBV with unbearable treacle for lyrics, the songs on A Place crackle into a tepid (hey, but loud and noisy!) New York amateur hour. Circuits are learnable. Volume is easy. Songwriting or any sort of idea, really? Tough! 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin

10.27 MATT POND PA @ LOCAL 506

For reasons that rest entirely on marketing, the inclusive world of indie rock in 2007 claims bands like New York's Matt Pond PA. Like James Taylor for fans of The Arcade Fire, Matt Pond PA plays irksomely inoffensive soft rock songs whose hooks have the grab of flatlines. With Jesca Hoop. $10-$12/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin

10.28 SHE WANTS REVENGE @ CAT'S CRADLE

A pair of middle-aged posers (some called 'em DJs) needed a quick buck, so they dug up Ian Curtis' moldering corpse and propped it up with some Depeche Mode. Proof: Fortune favors not those without talent or imagination, but rather those with a good shovel. Now, scat. With Kenna and The Start. $15/ 8:30 p.m. —Chris Parker


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Friday, October 26

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THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS

From: New York City
Since: The early '80s
Claim to fame: Bringing the quirk

1990: After a handful of indie releases that often sounded like a two-man version of the Mothers of Invention let loose in a candy store, They Might Be Giants (John Flansburgh and John Linnell) release Flood for major-label Elektra. Worldwide fame doesn't follow, but their exposure grows. They win over fans with an off-kilter sense of humor and their equally nonconformist sense of melody and pop hooks—not to mention polkas, particle men and purple toupees. Now, 17 years later, onward they march, soldiers of the absurd. At CAROLINA THEATRE. $21-$24/ 9 p.m.



VS.

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JOHNETTE NAPOLITANO

From: Los Angeles
Since: The early '80s
Claim to fame: Bringing the drama

1990: After a couple of false starts, vocalist Johnette Napolitano, guitarist James Mankey and the rest of Concrete Blonde find huge commercial success with the album Bloodletting and hit single "Joey." Almost as ubiquitous as that song is the story of how IRS labelmate Michael Stipe came up with the idea for the band's name. Seventeen years later, Napolitano is back with Scarred, its title a knowing nod at that 1990 record and its centerpiece a cover of The Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties." At LOCAL 506. $15/ 9:30 p.m. —Rick Cornell


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INTRODUCING...

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10.27 THE CURTAINS OF NIGHT @ NIGHTLIGHT

Drummer Lauren Fitzpatrick had been in Carrboro six months when she was asked to teach at Girls Rock Camp, the annual Triangle event that allows young Triangle musicians to band together. She was participating in a session that demonstrated how bands write songs. "Everyone was doing this poppier thing," remembers Fitzpatrick, "and I just latched onto the guitar riff, even though I was supposed to be hooked onto the bass."

The connection was with guitarist Nora Rogers, and it became the basis for Fitzpatrick and Rogers' new blister-and-howl metal duo Curtains of Night. It makes perfect sense to Fitzpatrick in retrospect. Growing up in Chicago, she was a fan of the city's heavier side of indie rock, like Big Black, Shellac and Jesus Lizard, plus many of the bands who released stuff on Amphetamine Reptile label. When she looks through Rogers' records, she says, she sees many of the same things: "It's rare to be able to talk to another girl about that stuff, in my experience at least. This is the band we both wanted to be in when we were 14." With Avec and Problems at 10 p.m.for $5. —Grayson Currin


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LAST WEEK'S PARTY

10.19 THE SHINS @ MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM

Indie-pop giants The Shins (you know, Garden State) played with few frills or excesses, and that was just fine: From show start, fans rose to meet the music head-on, even rushing the stage during the sleeper hit "New Slang."  The race of guitars met the warmth of the swelling chorus in "Australia," but—appropriately—the concert's dramatic gem came at its finish. The band reconvened on stage for a stellar, crowd-pleasing encore that included a glossy cover of Pink Floyd's "Breathe." Welcome advice for a smitten crowd. —Kathy Justice

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Thanks for the note, Amy. We've adjusted the text.

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