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The guide to the week's concerts 



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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: The Old Ceremony, Sunfold, The Future Kings of Nowhere, Datarock, Jolie Holland, Immortal Technique's Recession Tour, Asobi Seksu

EH, WHATEVER: Sian Alice Group, Dead Meadow

VS.: Telefon Tel Aviv vs. 919 Noise Showcase

VS.: A Rooster for the Masses vs. Experimental Dental School

SONG OF THE WEEK: Charlie Robison's "Middle of the Night"



YES, PLEASE...

09.18 THE OLD CEREMONY, SUNFOLD @ THE POUR HOUSE

In markedly different ways, The Old Ceremony and Sunfold share a sense of classicism in their particular and peculiar interpretations of rock music. The Old Ceremony is the more established band and draws from the wider (and more established/ older) field of influences. The name, of course, is borrowed from Leonard Cohen, though this Ceremony sounds increasingly less like Cohen and more like early Elvis Costello tempered with the timeless pop of Tin Pan Alley and Motown and the cabaret intimacy of Tom Waits. Sunfold, the younger band, ostensibly draws from younger influences. Their debut, Toy Tugboats, recasts the dexterity of Genesis for an indie-lite audience, pairing earnest vocals with fluid, complex melodies. $6-$8/ 10 p.m. —Bryan Reed

09.19 THE FUTURE KINGS OF NOWHERE @ DUKE COFFEEHOUSE

Shayne O'Neill now uses the Future Kings of Nowhere moniker for both solo and band gigs, though the latter have become less frequent since his move to Brooklyn last month. O'Neill obsesses over the grand implications of relationship minutiae and delivers them with a sharp tongue and strums throttled to punk speed. Tonight, these confessions come assisted by several special guests. Chapel Hill couple and 307 Knox labelmate Birds & Arrows opens, their conjugal harmonies stretching across indie-folk tunes restrained with rustic romanticism. 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

09.20 DATAROCK @ LOCAL 506

Datarock, the costume-obsessed Norwegian electro-pop duo of Fredrik Saroea and Ketil Mosnes, treats dance tunes like interactive lecture halls. Whether subverting Olivia Newton-John's star turn in Grease on the insidious "Computer Camp Love" or sampling and spearing technology pundits on "The Blog," the two tessalate pop culture references into playful but provocative commentary. They drop perfectly heavy beats beneath it all, and sprinkle keyboards, guitars and inane choruses at the top. Their best tunes—funny but sturdy, conceptual but rooted in a hook—keep you digging your mind into the meaning and your heels into the dance floor. Arrive early for Karin Park, a Norwegian newcomer with a stark voice and a florid imagination for arrangement. Also, London's flattop-sporting Esser. $10-$12/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

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09.21 JOLIE HOLLAND @ THE ARTSCENTER

Like the work of Neko Case, each Jolie Holland album has expressed a broadened musical palette. Her voice isn't as strong, but her smoky, wavering, deep-set croon's an idiosyncratic and evocative instrument. It crawls like maple syrup over tracks that, while set firmly within the Americana universe, lean much closer to roots rock of late than the antediluvian backwoods swing that first introduced her. The meditations and characters that dot last year's The Living and the Dead are a romantic array of dusty wind-blown dreamers, melancholy spirits and directionless souls curled up in one shadowy wail. But though her subjects are dark, Holland exudes affectless warmth. $12/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker

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09.22 IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE'S RECESSION TOUR @ CAT'S CRADLE

Most rappers don't spend their spare time the way New York-via-Peru emcee Immortal Technique does. Last year, after being inspired by the California-based nonprofit Omeid International, Immortal Technique donated a large chunk of time and money to helping to create the Amin Institute orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan. As soon as he returned to the United States, he put on a New York benefit show to raise more money for the orphanage and Rock to Save Darfur. At his fanbase's request, Immortal—who splits his time between being a rapper, humanitarian and political activist—embarks on the 10-city Recession Tour, promising "Hard Core Street Hop" and discounted merch. Also on the bill: Diabolic, Poison Pen and J Arch. $13-$15/ 9 p.m. —Eric Tullis

09.23 ASOBI SEKSU @ LOCAL 506

Having scrapped their noisy aggression in favor of gauzy, ethereal pop drift that owes a debt to the Cocteau Twins, New York duo Asobi Seksu suggests the trajectory and present-day tone of Blonde Redhead. Singer/keyboardist Yuki Chikudate's vocals are not as wispy as those of Elizabeth Fraser, and the band's latest, Hush, boasts a much more strong pop sensibility than Blonde Redhead's discography. But, hey, they share a ZIP code. The change came after two years supporting 2006's shoegazing Citrus and accompanied the departure of a rhythm section. While the band is still a quartet live, guitarist James Hanna has stripped back the layers of distortion, unveiling surprisingly deft songwriting. $10/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker


EH, WHATEVER...

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09.18 SIAN ALICE GROUP @ DUKE COFFEEHOUSE

The best of Athens, Ga.'s Elephant 6 collective—from Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control to A Hawk & a Hacksaw and of Montreal—always reflected the environment in which it was created. Like hot Southern air thick after a summer rainstorm, those bands funneled washes of fascinating sounds into pop songs that seemed as infinite as the sky. Sian Alice Group, then, is the winterized New York City version of such, its chilly textures stripped to thin joyless sheets, like apathetic lovers on the opposite sides of a mattress. The songs have long seemed like afterthoughts, and the instrumental motifs fit better when two Germans named Cluster or an Englishman recording as Current 93 wore them. $8/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

09.19 DEAD MEADOW @ LOCAL 506

D.C. trio Dead Meadow has been slapping the snooze button on psychedelic rock for a decade, a pattern that was cemented by the title of their latest in a succession of competent bores, last year's Old Growth. Though certainly capable in echoing their forebears through—hey, lemme guess—vintage amplifiers and pedals, Dead Meadow has taken a borrowed batch of dark, gritty riffs mostly nowhere. Noncommittally heavy, they've refused to sharpen their riffs into epic narcotic anthems (like Black Mountain) or blur them into some fuzzy or infinite oblivion (like The Goslings, Eat Skull or Earthless). And sometimes they lean acoustic, treading on ground Six Organs of Admittance has already abandoned. Totally fine band, totally unnecessary show. With Miniature Tigers. $10/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin


THURSDAY, SEPT. 17

TELEFON TEL AVIV

From: New Orleans/ Chicago
Since: 1999
Claim to fame: Technically astute electronica; handy with the remixes, too

Charles Cooper and Joshua Eustis met in high school in New Orleans and hit the ground running when their first record, Fahrenheit Fair Enough, established them in the pack of pensive electronic artists. Remixing huge groups like Nine Inch Nails didn't hurt their exposure level, either, but they always kept to their mode of making records. For their latest, Immolate Yourself, they dove into analog equipment to rough up the sound. In January, Cooper died suddenly, and it all seemed on hold. The record was released on Bpitch Control as planned, and now Eustis is going forward again with a friend of the band, Fredo Nogueira, assisting. With Chicago's The Race at LOCAL 506. $8-$10 door/ 9:30 p.m.

VS.

919 NOISE SHOWCASE

From: North Carolina
Since: 2007
Claim to fame: Warm embrace of the noise, the noise and nothing but the noise

919 Noise encourages and generally supports all kinds of noise making in this fair state, and we're better for it. House shows, stores or evenings at Nightlight: The venue doesn't matter. But it's their open, welcoming manner that makes shows like this happen, and sometimes they're not all that noisy, actually, if that's a pejorative term. International Grapevine, for instance, is a Chapel Hill group offering a dirge-like cacophony. Ben Collins sometimes works in computer-manipulated natural sounds; Craig Hilton is a long-time electro-acoustic artist from Raleigh; Bicameral Mind usually takes things far out. Tonight's bout is your choice: precision and melody or bent tones at NIGHTLIGHT. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Toenes


THURSDAY, SEPT. 17

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A ROOSTER FOR THE MASSES

From: Raleigh
Since: 2004
Claim to fame: Angular dub groove punk rock (whew!)

The best thing these Raleigh groove merchants have going might be nimble footwook. You'll never outflank them because the wiry rhythms and trebly, skittering riffs are too agile and energetic. The fat bass lines and spacious, echo-y environs suggest dub, while the vibrant polyrhythms flirt with disco even as the guitars make-out with dance-punk. Like fighting a southpaw, the unusual blend of styles and all the sociopolitical fistpumping can be disorienting. While exposing some experimental verve, the mood of the pieces tends more toward stony lull than dynamic frisson, which can leave you sleepy when the grooves don't catch. With the soulful pop of Velvet and Crash. At THE CAVE. Donate/ 10 p.m.

VS.

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EXPERIMENTAL DENTAL SCHOOL

From: Portland
Since: 2002
Claim to fame: Noise artful quirk rock bristle (whew!)

Though they abandoned some of their unorthodox spasmodic skronk and pared back the squalling intensity for Forest Field, Experimental Dental School still stands as a prickly polyhedron of pulsing post-noise. Melody assumes a larger role amid the churning slashes of guitar, coalescing around something resembling a hook, even if it's spiraling too fast to get a handle on. Considering drummer Shoko Horikawa only started playing a little over a year ago (after manning the keyboards for years), the sound's surprisingly tight. She and guitarist Jessi Hall harmonize nicely, and the less cluttered sound gives the budding bursts of melody room to breathe. Rooster gives good fight, but experience gives Experimental Dental School the late edge. With the sinewy Bellafea and spooky Portland duo Mattress. At THE PINHOOK. $5/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker

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