This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Des Ark, Naked Gods, Dirty Little Heaters, Dry Heathens, Rat Jackson, Birds of Avalon, Dark Meat, Seth Walker Band, Peaches, Pontiak, Caltrop, In the Year of the Pig
EH, WHATEVER: Filter
VS.: Wrinkle Neck Mules vs. Firehouse Rhythm Kings
VS.: Black Dice vs. The Dillinger Escape Plan
VS.: TRKFest vs. Fiesta Latina
SONG OF THE WEEK: Portugal. The Man's "Created"
06.11 DES ARK, NAKED GODS @ SLIM'S
Both de facto members of the Charlotte music scene that's centered around the sprawling, punkish glee club known as Yardwork, Pittsboro's Des Ark and Boone's Naked Gods each bring their own brew to that shoes-optional bonfire. For Des Ark, it's a Jekyll/Hyde duality of scorching post-punk and aching front-porch folk, and the ease with which Aimee Argote balances both skewed personalities. For Naked Gods, it's a propulsive, percussive boogie punctuated by squiggles of guitar noise, all ending in the inevitable shout-along crescendo. It'd actually sound an awful lot like Yardwork if not for the moments of classic rock-radio purism. $5/ 10 p.m. —Bryan Reed
06.12 DIRTY LITTLE HEATERS, DRY HEATHENS, RAT JACKSON @ BROAD STREET CAFE
Consider this one-stop shopping for the Triangle's loudest, booziest—and best—garage rockers: Reese McHenry's puissant pipes front The Dirty Little Heaters' punk blues destructo bluster, now in devestating four-piece form. Bull City comrades The Dry Heathens plow through tunes too intelligent for the mosh pit with a roaring buzz saw of twang and distortion, while Chapel Hill's Rat Jackson adds a hefty dose of swagger to muscled deliberations on the fairer sex. Boone's flannelled indie rockers Naked Gods (see above) join this terrific local bill. Free/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
06.13 BIRDS OF AVALON, DARK MEAT @ LOCAL 506
It's not that Birds of Avalon sounded like it had anything to prove, really. It's just that, coming off the energetic high that was pretty much everything The Cherry Valence ever did, the Raleigh quintet seemed anxious to illustrate the mettle of its twin riffs and vocal ascendancy. On its wonderful forthcoming second album, Uncanny Valley, BOA relaxes, letting the guitar lines act like little clouds above Mitch Easter's analog production. Craig Tilley sounds at ease as a psychedelic pop frontman, and the rhythm section—Merseybeat plus muscle—has never sounded better. Tonight, BOA opens for Athens, Ga.'s Dark Meat, a traveling Southern circus that equally treasures the Allmans, the Arkestra and your right to sing along. With One Man Machine. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
6.14 SETH WALKER BAND @ BERKELEY CAFE
Seth Walker is a big fan of both Ray Charles and Willie Nelson. And just as Charles could hold court with a country & western or pop song when he wasn't perfecting rhythm & blues, and Nelson delights in whatever circles he puts a mind to, Walker likes to mix it up. And he does his stirring with a soulful voice and inventive guitar work. If you subscribe to the Big Tent theory of Americana, then Walker—with his blend of blues (of both the jump and low-down varieties), gospel, pop, R&B, rock and a dash of country—just might be your poster boy. $10/8 p.m. —Rick Cornell
06.16 PEACHES @ CAT'S CRADLE
Peaches—the onstage persona of Merrill Nisker—owns most any room during performance: Her overt sexuality pushes through her songs, and live, that translates to steamy, highly provocative voguing. Sure, it's meant to shock, but her direct face-off with sex and androgyny isn't dumbed down for cheap thrill. On her latest, I Feel Cream, she collaborates with a handful of DJs and producers for a strictly electronic album. Like disco's hedonism had Grace Jones as its guide through the '70s sexual revolution, Peaches may be coming into her own as this era's edgy, whip-smart diva. $18-$20/ 9 p.m. —Chris Toenes
06.17 PONTIAK, CALTROP, IN THE YEAR OF THE PIG @ NIGHTLIGHT
The dudeliest show on Earth extends the perfect summer scorching: The Carney brothers of rural Virginia call themselves Pontiak and call their third LP (and second for Chicago's Thrill Jockey) Maker. The year's essential exploration of power-trio rockdom, Maker snaps rock songs into 74-second bursts and stretches them into 13-minute parades of glory, bending blues, pop, noise and metal into gnarled ironworks. Caltrop's big riffs rattle their bigger amplifiers, the sweet sound of distortion rippling from speakers that should feel blessed to have these guys as masters. With two drummers and two bassists, In the Year of the Pig gives German musical engineering—you know, Kraftwerk and Kreator—shots of scuzz and steroids. Sure, you could go to the gym. But this is the better workout. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
06.13 FILTER @ MOORE SQUARE PARK
During this year's introductory installment of Raleigh's annual bad-music barnburner, Bud Light Presents Downtown Live, a brilliant fisticuffs erupted down near stage left after Candlebox covered Alice in Chains' "Rooster." You can't imagine scenarios better than that, but we shall try: After enduring one of the least noteworthy opening-band rosters of this year's (and there are several great ones this year, particularly in front of Joan Jett) docket, frustrated front-row fans—beleaguered by seven hours in the sun and dangerous proximity to the speakers—riot after realizing that, instead of making the trip to Charlotte to see Nine Inch Nails the night before, they settled for the bland social commentary and staid arena rock of a former NIN sideman whose band, Filter, hasn't been relevant since ... well ... uhh ... hmm... Does having four hits last decade necessarily mean you were ever relevant? OK, just asking. It's free, but that Clydesdale-sized hangover will cost you tomorrow. 2:30-11 p.m. —Grayson Currin
THURSDAY, JUNE 11
WRINKLE NECK MULES
From: Richmond, VA
Claim to fame: Mandolin=Folk. Wait. Rock?
Dusk turns to night. Fireflies twinkle in a field. You're lying on the hood of your car with an old friend watching the stars gleam through space. Roots rock and a laid-back country shuffle bound forward with the energy of the day or soothe through a blanket of starlight. At BERKELEY CAFE. $8/ 8 p.m.
FIREHOUSE RHYTHM KINGS
From: Carrboro, NC
Claim to fame: Fiddle=Folk. Wait. Swing?
Streetlamps light up Parisian cobblestone streets. People cluster around small tables with wine and coffee. You're bumping shoulders with strangers on the dance floor inside. Swing music and deep pockets of gypsy jazz bubble with the excitement of the night or allure with promises for the morning. At BROAD STREET. Free/ 10 p.m.—Andrew Ritchey
FRIDAY, JUNE 12
From: New York
Claim to fame: Blowing loads of noise over busted rhythms
During the last decade, many of Black Dice's northern peers—from Animal Collective and Gang Gang Dance to outsiders like Mouthus and Sunburned Hand of the Man—tightened their loose aesthetic just enough to bring their rich rhythmic and textural sensibilities to bear on songs, or something like it. Black Dice, though, has remained steadfastly scattershot, producing mounds of musical fragments bound together as albums. Trouble is, its sonic palette hasn't grown much (in fact, it's arguably diminished), giving the grafts of their ruptured beats a feeling of stagnation. The band's impressionistic output doesn't need to become pop music to work, but it does need to find its welcoming mat again. As Soft Circle, former Dice Hisham Bharoocha proved interesting rhythms, melodies and ideas could work as one within this scene. The Copeland brothers have yet to catch up. With smoldering garage rock trio Awesome Color at LOCAL 506. $10-$12/ 10 p.m.
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN
From: Morris Plains, N.J.
Claim to fame: Blowing audiences apart with a maniacal live energy
During the last decade, many of The Plan's members and fans have been injured by the band's turbo-charged onstage aggression—busted bones and bruised limbs, broken guitars and bloody noses. Anything else would be a letdown. The Plan's albums are fastidiously constructed marathons of complex metal, rock, punk and prog, as dependent on Greg Puciato's voice (comfortable with hardcore bellows and Patton-style singing) and room-rattling drums (handled by Gil Sharone after Chris Pennie took his leave for Coheed and Cambria). Though the band nails mostly every part in high fashion live, they electrify with a kinetic stageshow that leaves sweat, blood and the occasional tooth on any club's concrete floor. 2007's Ire Works was a step toward focus, but don't expect these guys to take it easy. With The No. 12 Looks Like You at THE BREWERY. $14/ 7 p.m. —Grayson Currin
SATURDAY, JUNE 13
From: Trekky Records
Claim to fame: Jorts, ballgames and tie-dye
Last year's inaugural TRKFest was a halcyon day spent on the green grass of Pittsboro's PIEDMONT BIOFUELS as bands like Des Ark, Bowerbirds and Embarrassing Fruits played on a plywood-and-pine stage. There were dogs and a dance-off (which this guy won), facility tours and tossed footballs (which this guy threw). This year promises much more of the same, and we offer nothing but the strongest recommendation: A dozen bands—from Ivan Howard's solo songs and Midtown Dickens' bigger band to The Never's sharp pop and Mount Moriah's faded country—take the stage, while the dank little lot scene has expanded to include a tie-dye station, massages, volleyball, mural making, haircuts and something intriguingly called a "Bliss Tent." So totally there. $10/ 2 p.m.-midnight —Grayson Currin
From: The Hispanic Liaison of Chatham County
Claim to fame: Acrobats, diversity and pony rides
After canceling last year due to a plant closure in Siler City, Fiesta Latina—an outreach festival built around Chatham County core values of ethnic diversity and community—returns. Live performers include Goldboro's accordion-driven Bravo Norteño, Chapel Hill dance combo Saludos Company, Siler City's upstart Firehouse Rhythm Kings, as well as the acrobats of Galumpha and traditional Mexican dancers of Ballet Folklórico Guadalupano. Also, you get food vendors, children's activities and 25 nonprofit booths offering info and services such as free HIV testing. Shakori Hills donates the festival grounds for free, in exchange for a modest $2 parking fee per vehicle. At SHAKORI HILLS FARM. $2 per car/noon-7 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger