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The guide to the week's concerts 

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Malcolm Holcombe, Jeff Hart/ The Future Kings of Nowhere, Death Metal Fest, Randy Owen, Goner, Gray Young/ Andrew Weathers, Chip Robinson, Angela Desveaux & The Mighty Ship


VS.: Southern Culture on the Skids vs. The Huguenots



Holcombe's gruff, rugged baritone rattles and shakes like an old wagon train on a return trip to mountain-born country-folk. His weathered vocals only reinforce his music's antediluvian backdrop. While his musical template is rather spare and unadorned, the music's performed with widescreen intensity: Every twang is so vibrant, it evokes a haunted past like John Sayles' Matewan, similarly plumbing the depths of a slowly disappearing culture. His latest, Gamblin' House, peels back some of the spooky backwoods ambience and brings to bear more of the N.C. native's no-nonsense John Prine-ish spark. Wake County poet Al Maginnes opens. $10/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker

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This is where the torch (song ... of sorts) gets shared: Durham's relatively upstart The Future Kings of Nowhere plays bustling heart-on-the-tongue acoustic rock, strengthened by power-pop culled from stacks of Jawbreaker wax and the scorched-earth sneer of Mountain Goats MP3s. Jeff Hart, who now calls Durham home, has been mining his emotional upheavals in bands in these parts for more than two decades. A strong night of song. 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin

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Along with Virginia and Maryland, North Carolina is the third contiguous state to host its own Death Fest, an exhausting gathering of those playing (very loosely) death metal. Maryland's the mammoth of the ciruit, but, in its second year, North Carolina's festival gathers a pretty solid 10-hour bill. Bloodsoaked juxtaposes its growl and rumble with diabolical moans, while Bristol, Va.'s Human Excoriation plows straight through beastly tunes like "Inexorable Defilement" and "Virulent Infestation." But if you're only prepared to die so much today, consider Worse Than Birth, the magnificently named Raleigh band that keeps getting better and better while continually promising to "melt your fucking face off." With Abruptum-like shifts spliced into a classic grumble, it's sort of starting to rule. Music starts at 2 p.m., and WTB goes on around midnight. Tickets are $10. —Grayson Currin

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Since 1980's commercial country breakthrough My Home's in Alabama, the Fort Payne-born Randy Owen has sold 30 million records with the unprecedented Alabama. The band became a franchise of sorts before it bid farewell in 2004 with epic, all-night shows traversing two-plus decades of hits. Owen's finally returned with a solo debut that lacks much of the quirk and curiosity of Alabama's best work, but—most importantly—it misses the vocal accompaniment of the big band. Still, expect some of the old hits—some of the best modern country has offered—from Owen tonight. With Lee Ann Womack, Randy Houser and Justin Moore at 8 p.m., this $10 show is the steal of the season. Owen reads from his book, Born Country, at Quail Ridge Books at 3 p.m. tomorrow. —Grayson Currin

12.06 GONER @ SLIM'S

Broadening its palette on this year's terrific Rock N' Roll Always Forgets, the synth-heavy bar rock of Raleigh vets Goner takes the Titus Andronicus approach: ragged, urgent and heady, laden with sharp hooks that sink in and don't let go. Raleigh metalheads Here Lies open. $5/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


Gray Young breaks its cinematic post-rock into instrumental miniatures—passages of dreamy vocals and gentle waves of guitar and bass jarred by snare blasts and furious, cascading guitar washes. Composer Andrew Weathers, who formerly played and recorded as Pacific Before Tiger, tempers his minimalist drones with keyboards and guitar. Also, Chicago's CJ Boyd. $5/ 10:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


Great moments in Chip Robinson history No. 27: It's the winter of '97, and Robinson is swapping songs with Kenny Roby and Gerald Duncan at Cup a Joe. He unveils a new tune, an instant favorite that not only name-drops the Flamin' Groovies but rhymes 'em while pivoting on the (ironically enough) indelible line "You're fading slow like a bloodstain on my sleeve." Come on out for the opportunity to witness the birth of the next potential "Abe Lincoln." 6 p.m. —Rick Cornell

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Despite membership on a Thrill Jockey Records roster that includes outward bound sorts like Oval, Tortoise and Califone, Angela Desveaux's gentle, drifting country-soul is so safe it makes Tift Merritt sound experimental. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and I could think of worse ways to spend Monday night (especially since there's no cover tonight). But Desveaux feels a lot like a soft heart in need of a hard experience to write herself out of. See also: Lucinda Williams. Still, if you need to drift away in the early winter, here's a fine chance. With Erie Choir. Free/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin


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Devils in My Details is the completely worthless solo debut from Kevin Oger, co-founder of the ignorable if influential Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy. Released under the name ohGr, Devil is mostly what you'd expect, full of tenth-of-a-wit social criticism about America killing its citizens with bacon, suicide flies and the pleasures of bestiality when cream is added. It all comes below a cacophony that aims either for Trent Reznor rhythmic play (and falls short) or Prurient arrhythmic abrasion (and, again, falls short). Save yOurSeLf from the Ogre. With American Memory Project. $17-$20/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin


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From: Chapel Hill
Since: 1985
Claim to fame: Affectionate, banana pudding-loving look at white trash culture—and '95 hit "Camel Walk"

One of the three best rock acts in Chapel Hill history (alongside Superchunk and the Moaners), SCOTS doesn't just perform, it puts on a show. Only live will you truly discover how great Rick Miller is at guitar, blending the four corners of rockabilly (blues, country, surf, old-fashioned rock) into a crackling sound that's just short of local six-string slingers Cool John Ferguson and Dexter Romweber. SCOTS' amusing forays into down-market lifestyle shine an equal light on our pretensions, and unlike most bands plying humor, it has not descended into mere kitsch, goofiness or gimmick. This is a great band that happens to have a sense of humor. With Malamondos at LINCOLN THEATRE. $12-$14/ 9 p.m.


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From: Chapel Hill
Since: 2006
Claim to fame: Turning Good Morning America's Kate Snow into a rocker during their back-to-campus segment at UNC

Rock's one of the few places where being called simple can be more compliment than disparagement. In The Huguenots' case, it's a testament to the timeless allure of a ringing hook and pleasing vocals. The Chapel Hill quartet's songs inhabit the nexus of British Invasion and garage pop, as it pens lovelorn three-minute relational paeans with Beatle-esque harmonies and more bounce than Baywatch. While the sound is familiar, this is hardly the economic environment where you discard what still works. Besides, if you've lived in town for a while, you're probably familiar with SCOTS, in which case The Huguenots offer a refreshing change of pace. With Magic Babies and Static Minds at SLIM'S. $5/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker

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