This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Black Tusk, Irata; North Mississippi Allstars; FrequeNC Roots/Acoustic Jamdown; Destruction; Music Hates You; Auxes vs. Challenger
EH, WHATEVER: Rocco DeLuca & The Burden, Honeyhoney; Ariel Pink, Vivian Girls
VS.: Nicky Click vs. Brian Jonestown Massacre vs. Neko Case
VS.: Lonnie Walker vs. Michelle Malone
SONG OF THE WEEK: John Prine's "In Spite of Ourselves"
04.02 BLACK TUSK, IRATA @ MARVELL EVENT CENTER
Not unlike Georgia brethren and tourmates Kylesa, Savannah's Black Tusk refracts its hardcore-and-thrash-inspired riffs through a tall drink of swamp- and bongwater. Wasting little time, Black Tusk's malevolent and hyper-aggressive pummel moves quicker than that of its Southern brethren, the arty tangents of, say, Baroness or the unorthodox diversions of Harvey Milk supplanted by a big-bad-wolf relentlessness. Greensboro trio Irata gets increasingly interesting, its concisely constructed but sonically adventurous instrumental anthems assimilating 40 decades of Krautrock and heavy metal into tenacious little beasts. Check "Infinite Eight" for proof of performance. With Clang Quartet. $7/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin
04.03 NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS @ LINCOLN THEATRE
While the consistency of North Mississippi Allstars' recorded material slipped as the decade progressed, its most recent release, the live retrospective Do It Like We Used To Do, reminds us why the trio can be so good in its natural setting, where it stretches smoking, slightly psychedelic blues-rock boogie to jam-band lengths. Luther Dickinson's scorching slide jumps in the Mississippi mud, wrestling with Chris Chew's thick bass thumps. Chew and drummer Cody Dickinson, who remains one of my favorites to watch behind the kit (or on electric washboard, for that matter), pull double duty tonight, as side project Hill Country Revue is along for the tour. $16-$18/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
04.04 FREQUENC ROOTS/ ACOUSTIC JAMDOWN @ NIGHTLIGHT
Tonight offers an ode to American roots music through "historically relevant DJ sets" and live music paying homage to the blues and old-time American music. It kinda makes Pinche Gringo—the Greensboro duo whose garage-rock rattle evokes blues and rockabilly plenty, but hardly on account of acoustic guitars—seem the wild card. But ex-Spinn Josh Johnson's grimy guitar lines meander and swing like his Piedmont forebears. Virginia's Black Twigs pair hollerin' breakdowns and languid contemplative instrumentals, while Brooklynite soloist Feral Foster throws his Delta moan and bottleneck guitar into clean-cut pop melodies. Unnamed DJs drop deep blues cuts and lost soul into the wee hours. $5/ 10 p.m. —Bryan Reed
04.05 DESTRUCTION @ VOLUME 11
The list of aged but still-strong metal greats to roll through Raleigh this year grows yet again: Destruction's been masticating metal thrash-style in sharp, quick bites for 26 years now, withstanding a dozen lineup changes and a fan boycott of sorts after the temporary replacement of restored-to-power frontman Dave Schmier to arrive at a newfound post-millennial appreciation. Good thing, too, as the band's recent records for Nuclear Blast and Candlelight are preternaturally tight, the cascading rhythms and trigger-fire guitars inflicting torture through constant tension created by brutally precise German engineering. With Krisiun, Mantic Ritual, Morose Vitality and Worse Than Birth. $15-$20/ 7 p.m. —Grayson Currin
04.05 MUSIC HATES YOU @ RESERVOIR
The swaggering, malevolent churn of hardcore quartet Music Hates You will bum rush your senses, cave your chest cavity and roger your dog in 120 seconds. Poised between the steely, hard-headed throb of metal and mall-burning punk intensity, the band's chunky roar leaves an impression like a beating. Noah Ray is the catalyst, riding roughshod over the sonic stampede while demanding your attention and bad attitude. If you won't give it willingly, he's likely to leap into the crowd and extract it face-to-face. Neither he nor the music ever backs down. Tonight with the glorious Caltrop at 10 p.m. Also catch Music with Beast in the Field and Noble Rust April 7 at 8 p.m. at Volume 11 Tavern. —Chris Parker
04.08 AUXES VS. CHALLENGER @ LOCAL 506
Fronting his two-headed Auxes/ Challenger creation, this is more accurately Dave Laney vs. Dave Laney. In one (presumably longer than usual) set, Laney's band dips into the catalogs of both Challenger—Laney's early-'00s Chicago punk band—and Auxes, the more recent, more open-ended project which, ironically, would be the challenger were this an actual battle. Challenger's muscular shout-alongs offer a streamlined assault, striking head-on with the paired vocals of Laney and his Milemarker cohort Al Burian. Indeed, Challenger's got the strength. But Auxes' winding guitars and jittery rhythms offer a more nimble, more versatile approach. Looks like the audience wins. Boxbomb opens. Free/ 9 p.m. —Bryan Reed
4.04 ROCCO DELUCA AND THE BURDEN, HONEYHONEY @ CAT'S CRADLE
It's surprising to find music this limp coming from a guy named Rocco. Presumably designed for denture-wearers, this gummable swill meanders to a light rock groove that makes Josh Rouse sound like the Dirty Projectors. The colorless elegance of the overwrought arrangements bogs down in string-laden pomposity. Christopher Cross, but lighter? DeLuca's vocals apply the self-conscious acrobatics heard too often on American Idol, while aping Robert Plant's Honeydrippers-era Adult Contemporary sonority. From pace to tone to production, his latest, Mercy, will have the listener begging for it. That is, if they can stay awake that long. $12-$15/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
04.05 ARIEL PINK, VIVIAN GIRLS @ LOCAL 506
More self-conscious than a diary, Ariel Pink's bubbly pop confections slumber beneath a blanket of lo-fi fuzz, sputtering effects and other elements designed to project offbeat oddity. Instead it sounds muddled, half-formed and consumed with hipster-envy, trying desperately to appear uninterested while vying for indie approbation. The muffled pop pretense suggests Hall & Oates in a deep hole, rubbing lotion on their skin lest they get the hose again. The line between inspiration and garbage is notoriously thin for experimental rock acts. There's simply not enough ballast here to prevent it from sliding into the wastebasket. Also, Vivian Girls could be interesting if they wrote songs and played those instead of mere image and hype. $10/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
Tuesday, April 7
From: A Bad Dream (or Durham, N.H.)
Claim to fame: Cell phone-sporting electro-pop as obnoxious as Peaches
Minimalist high-concept-techno-tinged pop whose sophomoric humor can almost pass for cheeky, Nicky Click is Peaches' queer counterpart, meaning you're either likely to love her or hate her. Click plies plinky beats and synth with lyrics as deep as The Hills about ideas easily summarized in song titles like "You're the Sh*t," "Don't Call Me Baby" and the title track from her second album, I'm On My Cell Phone. The arch attitude isn't so much ironic as insipid, and it's difficult to imagine enjoying her outside of the senses-benumbed environment of a dance club, where the right 'scripts might make her seem a clever caricature. At LOCAL 506 with Anaturale and Farmer. $7/ 9:30 p.m.
BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
From: San Francisco
Claim to fame: Frontman Anton Newcombe's onstage intra-band belligerence and self-destructive tendencies
Watching the Sundance-winning doc Dig!, it's difficult not to come away with the impression that Anton Newcombe values his insular iconoclasm higher than anything else. Nearly two decades of recorded material suggests otherwise. BJM's shambling, Velvets-loving garage-psych drone is resounding enough to pop Nicky Click's bubble brain, while their Stonesy bluster paints Newcombe as a street-fighting man. Wiry and tough, his body suggests the limber resilience of BJM's '60s-inflected grooves, which keep reverberating in your mind long after they're over. On the other hand, his psyche appears as fragile as the figurines of a glass menagerie. At CAT'S CRADLE with Flavor Crystals. $15/ 9:30 p.m.
From: Tacoma, Wash.
Claim to fame: An alto powerful enough to turn priests from God, and hair as fiery as her personality; and New Pornography
Case left home as a teen, living in a friend's basement while working at a local rock club and indulging her love of music. A drummer long before her winning pipes found their prominence, she's self-possessed enough to make a macho man stutter. One imagines her breaking BJM's Anton Newcombe into firewood, then picking her teeth with the splinters. This attitude shines from within the music, its inner strength powering a lyricism that's grown by bounds as she's moved from full-on country to infectious pop-rock with a bit of twang. She's a sultry independent siren capable of intimidating with musical skill or unquenched spirit. At MEYMANDI CONCERT HALL with Crooked Fingers. $23-$26/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker
SUNDAY, APRIL 5
Claim to fame: The Pink Floyd Syndrome ("By the way, which one's Pink?")
In the brief time since it moved to the Capital City from East Carolina's School of Art and Design, Lonnie Walker has been projected by many to reach great heights. The predictions are accurate, though the Terpsikhore signees' country lean is often overstated, as the quintet is just as prone to pull from the slack but nervous noodles of Pavement or the bombast of recent indie rock faves like labelmates Annuals. Unlike Lonnie Walker, Baltimore's Small Sur may not have a live artist working behind it, but it does paint pastoral scenes with gentle strokes of acoustic strings and verses that wander through ocean and valley. At NIGHTLIGHT. $5/ 9:30 p.m.
Claim to fame: Nicknamed Moanin Malone by Albert King for her fiery blues
Slinging a slide guitar that roars, Michelle Malone is a crackling live wire and, in a better world, her ability to crank out ballsy blues-rock barnburners and smooth, soulful roots pop with equal panache and passion would have her replacing Sheryl Crow on the big stages. While unfortunate that the last 20-some years haven't afforded Malone such recognition, it does allow for the opportunity to catch the gritty songstress fresh off the release of her tenth album in intimate settings like BERKELEY CAFE. $10/ 8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith