This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Weesefest, Jozeemo/ Cayenne the Lion King, Charles Latham/ The Monologue Bombs, The Allen Boys, Filthy Rotten Sex Machine
VS.: Red Hot Poker Dots vs. The Black Angels
VS.: Imaad Wasif vs. The Impossible Shapes
INTRODUCING: The New Familiars
SONG OF THE WEEK: Fleet Foxes' "White Winter Hymnal"
07.03 WEESEFEST '08 @ THE POUR HOUSE
Walter Benton Weese is a Horniblows Tavern bartender, Pour House doorguy, undisputed Oak City arm-wrestling champ and July 3 birthday celebrant. He's also known for his "Weese-isms," according to the Pour House's Chris Malarkey, which are the dumb/ funny/ profound things he says when, um, over-celebrating. This year's birthday fest keys around "Weese in '08," while past themes involved James Bond and mermaids—the latter due to Weese's fixation with Ariel. (A healthy fixation, I'm sure.) Another of his likes leans toward guitar rock, as presented with just a hint of twang by Patty Hurst Shifter or a whiff of chaos by the T's. American Aquarium, Left Outlet and Set to Sound round out this year's Weesebill. $10/ 6 p.m. —Rick Cornell
07.04 JOZEEMO/ CAYENNE THE LION KING @ THE POUR HOUSE
Here's a reworking of the typical Fourth gathering: Young Southern rappers and reggae artists mix it up in Raleigh, their defiant spirits intact. The lineup boasts Jozeemo, Duo, Amaman, Co-Defendents, Atlanta MC Cayenne the Lion King, and Ms. Ashley Altice, with DJ Ska on the decks. Check the flyer for the 'tude: Uncle Sam flips the bird. $8/ 10 p.m. Military get in free. —Chris Toenes
07.05 CHARLES LATHAM/ THE MONOLOGUE BOMBS @ BCHQ
Tonight's four-band bill is keyed on minimized membership and maximized potency: Each songwriter in this cartel of ones builds upward from the tiniest of details, be they the expensive china and infantile elitism of Charles Latham's hypothetical sick-fuck dream "Rich Girls" or the Pavement references and anatomical minutiae of The Monologue Bombs' "Floaters + Empties." Tonight marks Latham's first area gig since the Triangle expatriate moved to Philadelphia last year. He'll bring the Box Five—the disarming wit-pop of one Mary Bichner—with him. You may recognize the big chords and imagery-obsessed songwriting of The Monologue Bombs from Raleigh rock trio Goner: Scott Phillips—he of much empathy and melody—leads both bands. Young Cary songwriter Hunter MacDermut handles The Tourist's unequal measure of grace and sadness with a perfect touch of diffidence. $5/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin
07.06 THE ALLEN BOYS @ DUKE GARDENS
The Allen Boys brings its soulful sacred steel to the lovely Duke Gardens on the Sabbath, the day for which the House of God tradition was intended, if not exactly the setting. The only North Carolina band to take the church tradition on the road, the quartet (none of them named Allen) possesses a fiery energy: A funky rhythm section that crackles and pops is capable of reigning it in for the bluesy slow burners, but only until pedal steel maestro DaShawn Hickman lifts the roof off with a blistering solo. An unconventional choice for the serene garden but sure to be a blast. —Spencer Griffith
07.06 FILTHY ROTTEN SEX MACHINE @ SLIM'S
Finally, a band delivers on the promise of its name. Think the New York Dolls licking Alice Cooper's stinky finger—dark, gritty and mesmerizing, like grainy home movies of coke-addled '70s swingers. It's arena-size boogie in a studded glam-punk collar, barking at your neighbors. Be sure to close the curtains. With The Luxury Pushers and The Cheats. $3/ 10 p.m.—Chris Parker
THURSDAY, JULY 3
RED HOT POKER DOTS
Claim to fame: Known to combust spontaneously on-stage
These wild-eyed croc country sidewinders know the skadiddle and skedaddle too, sautéing up a rockabilly strut. Like a downunder SCOTS, these riotous twangmongers feature Lil' O'Dette riding her double bass like she might do kickflip with it, plus the laidback, hat-clad harmonizing singer/ guitarist Ray Anonymous. The quartet's loose-limbed playing, high energy and party attitude produce great shows known for hootin' and hollerin'. They may not be from Austin but the Dots' wry, devilish sound is more consistent with that Texas country sound than certain dark-minded seraphim who hail from there. Hard to beat in a place like THE CAVE. $5/ 10 p.m.
THE BLACK ANGELS
From: Austin, Texas
Claim to fame: Took name, logo and style from The Velvet Underground
The shamanistic space-psych drone of The Black Angels combines several familiar elements: Frontman Alex Maas' wavering reverb vocals sound like Jim Morrison lost in a Heart of Darkness as he faces "The End." The humid hum recalls the atavistic drone of The Velvets' "Venus in Furs" languishing in Death Valley, while drugged out tempos circle like Spacemen 3 in vulture mode. It's not new, but neither is sex, and that still excites you, right? (right?). The Black Angels' knockout punch is surefooted melody that's beneath understated sinews and an insistent churn of relentless effects pedals, sometimes suggestive of a narcotized Sonic Youth. At home at LOCAL 506 with The Warlocks. $10-$12/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker
WEDNESDAY, JULY 9
Since: Los Angeles
Claim to fame: Membership in Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Strange Hexes, the second album from Los Angeles guitarist Imaad Wasif under his own name and the first with a rhythm section he's calling Two Part Beast, builds colossal guitar walls around a solid indie rock fortress. The guitar playing comes in long, winding, thick black lines, like Neil Young howling past midnight with certain members of Pavement. The nocturnal atmosphere fits, too, as Strange Hexes explores the manic tendencies of someone in love, allowing Wasif's words of carnal pleasure and mortal doom to pour from between the rhythms as if they were thoughts from a madman's diary. Alternately plagued and charged by his paramour, Wasif wrings his feelings free with his amplifier and his microphone, and he manages both exceptionally well. Chapel Hill psych syndicate and punctuation rebels SONS* opens at LOCAL 506. $8/ 9:30 p.m.
THE IMPOSSIBLE SHAPES
Since: Bloomington, Ind.
Claim to fame: Perpetual, undeserved bridesmaid status
The Impossible Shapes, the seventh album from the Indiana quartet of the same name since 2000, encapsulates why the band's dynamic, multi-talented Amerindie has long gone ignored and builds a strong case that it's our fault: Across 11 tracks, the shapes shift from slow, divisive psychedelic bliss to the playful rhythmic oddities of late Polvo, sweeping through pastoral interluds and charging, top-down pop-rock (complete with an exclamation mark in one such song's title) along the way. The band handles most of these forms perfectly, adding unexpected flourishes (the aforementioned rhythms and roadhouse slide guitar on the exuberant "Hey!"), so why hasn't most of the world caught on? Like tonight's no decision between two bands worth more attention than they're getting, The Impossible Shapes is uneasy to define. Hillsborough's Felt Battery lifts and reshapes the ambience of still life with electronic hums. At NIGHTLIGHT at 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
07.05 THE NEW FAMILIARS @ LOCAL 506
Depending on the song, The New Familiars' driver may be kicking it at a backwoods party, returning to or leaving a love, or hauling tail from the cops with a bed full of moonshine. Like a beat-up truck kicking up dust down a dirt road, the Charlotte quintet takes country and roots-rock for a new ride.
"It's what came out of all of us sitting around in the living room and playing together," says singer and guitarist Justin Fedor, effectively describing the band's roots-rock countenance and its dependency on the inclusion and collaboration that stem from having three singers and songwriters in one band. "It's not about who gets to take what solo or who wrote the lyrics to what song or any of that any more."
That selfless approach also translates into the various sounds folded into The New Familiars. Drawing as much from Southern rock as it does Americana, the band starts with guitar, banjo, mandolin, upright bass and drums. Prominent harmonica and moaning dobro mirror the desperate sincerity in its wanting, needing and pleading lyrics.
Live, the band turns its acoustic instruments into electrified crowds. In fact, this headlining gig came after a raucous opening set for Langhorne Slim in May: "We're generally pretty rowdy everywhere we go," says Fedor, "We feed off the people." Get in early for flowing psychedelic rock and genre exploring of The Mantras. $6/ 9:30 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey