This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: Soft Company, The Houston Brothers, Darien, Autolux, Little Brother, Saint Solitude, Love Is Local Vol. 2, Sin Ropas
VS.: Colour Revolt vs. The Charlatans UK
INTRODUCING: The Numbers
09.02 SOFT COMPANY, THE HOUSTON BROTHERS, DARIEN @ TIR NA NOG
Pay your respects: This is Chris Tamplin's final evening heading up Tir na nOg's Local Band Local Beer series after four years of providing Raleigh with free, well-booked Thursday night bills. Led by The Love Language keyboardist Missy Thangs, Soft Company headlines with artful pop nuggets that are lushly layered but unafraid to cut loose and drone out. Matt and Justin Faircloth pull double duty in Charlotte duo The Houston Brothers—Matt uses pedals to fill both guitarist and bassist roles, while Justin simultaneously plays drums and keys—though their smart, roots-rooted piano tunes sound the opposite of fatigued. The ethereal, folk-graced indie pop of Asheville's Darien Crossley wears the clear influence of Eisley, who inspired her first song. Free/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
09.03 AUTOLUX @ CAT'S CRADLE
Employing a mix of post-punk, Krautrock and shoegazing, LA trio Autolux forge a swirl of guitar distortion and spacious atmosphere. Where most recent neo-psych nostalgists revel in creamy, sultry shimmer, Autolux's Transit Transit explores more minimalist arrangements, tempering the spates of noise with fat, chewy rhythms, spare lingering melodies and somnambulant vocals. U.K. electro-pop artist Gold Panda features heavily stitched beats that throb amid hypnotic ambient washes of melody recalling early Aphex Twin. Though frequently compared to Caribou and chillwave bands, Autolux has a percussive pulse that suggests greater dance music allegiance. $10–$12/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker
09.04 LITTLE BROTHER @ CAT'S CRADLE
Despite Little Brother's throwback style, the group's never had much use for nostalgia. Even on Leftback, their formal swan song, Phonte and Big Pooh ignore hammy looks into the past for the simpler, more immediate joys of fun, hard-edged rapping. And a recent guest spot on Slum Village's "Where Do We Go From Here"—an existential meta-rap pairing the guys with the perpetually in-flux Detroit group—curiously sidesteps the song's rhetorical question in favor of furious verses unconcerned about career moves.
Indeed, Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh will be fine. They'll both keep rapping, sometimes together, mostly apart, and Phonte will sing a lot more, and that will be that. So when Durham's favorite songs come through town, for what's ostensibly their last local show (at least for awhile), don't expect victory lap histrionics. These guys are just going to deliver their mix of humble sincerity, knucklehead comedy and pointed political commentary along with some of their most rapping-est friends (Joe Scudda, Jozeemo, Chaundon) and call it a night. Don't bring your hankies or nothing: Just be ready to have a good time. Also, Roc C. $18–$20/ 9:30 p.m. —Brandon Soderberg
09.04 SAINT SOLITUDE @ LOCAL 506
Asheville's Saint Solitude is a band in constant transition. In fact, this will be one of the last shows with the current lineup before songwriter Dup Crosson moves to Massachusetts. Balancing lyrics that are honest to the point of vulnerability with confidently original guitar work, Saint Solitude's Journal of Retreat is a fine specimen of educated pop rock. Pete and Andrea Connolly of Birds and Arrows' primary topic is their marriage, which the duo's songs explore without restraint or sensationalism. Folk-rockers with sing-along hooks a-plenty, the Connollys have been recently paired with cellist Josh Starmer, whose contributions range from mellow melancholia to uplifting swells. Free Electric State plays hard-hitting indie rock reminiscent of the mid-90s. Picture Jawbox sitting on a bull in the heather—or the Breeders revisited. $7/ 10 p.m. —Corbie Hill
09.08 LOVE IS LOCAL VOL. 2 @ THE POUR HOUSE
Sample from this hip-hop smorgasboard as a Hopscotch Music Festival liftoff. Imaginative duo Freebass 808 meshes Camp Lo emcee Suede's eccentric, intergalactic rhymes with producer Apple Juice Kid's trippy, teeming soundscapes. Elsewhere is a slew of promising local lyricists. In the absence of Kooley High, King Mez just may be Raleigh rap royalty at the ripe age of 20, divulging stories from the corner in intimate detail. Blaze the Sky similarly spins cautionary tales with a touch of swagger, while Kourvioisier rips the mic nonstop with vicious might and wall-to-wall wordplay. Dow Jones' polished flow and beats sound poised for the big time, while Tyler Hipnosis' ambitious efforts hold much potential but could handle some refinement. DJ Flash of Little Brother spins. This night was curated by Independent Weekly hip-hop critic Eric Tullis. $7/ 9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
09.08 SIN ROPAS @ NIGHTLIGHT
Sin Ropas evoke a spirit similar to leader Tim Hurley's old band Red Red Meat (and perhaps even more, its off-shoot, Califone), wrapping noisy, atmospheric sputter and squall around somber roots rock. Guitar skronk and processed effects whine like a slow-burn apocalypse as Hurley's gruff baritone intones with reverent gravitas reminiscent of Mark Linkous, aka Sparklehorse. Their latest, Holy Broken, tones down the distancing clamor in favor of an oft-lulling creep. Italian openers Father Murphy's cacophonous theatricality travels in nightmarish fits and starts. Also, The Toddlers. 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 8
From: Oxford, Miss.
Claim to fame: Chunky Southern-fried indie rock that earned them a major label cup of java
These Mississippi kids' whirlwind youth saw them picked up briefly by Interscope for their self-titled EP, and then Fat Possum for their 2008 full-length debut, Plunder, Beg and Curse. They once suggested a cut-rate Kings of Leon circa 2005 (not a compliment at this point), but a lineup overhaul reconstituted 60 percent of the band, including producer Hank Sullivant (The Whigs, MGMT) on bass. The resulting The Cradle boasts much more finesse and charm. Rawk bluster gives way to melody, dynamics and atmosphere, not to mention better writing. They're not there yet (and perhaps not even better than opener Turbo Fruits), but at least they're moving in the right direction. At LOCAL 506. $8/ 9 p.m.
THE CHARLATANS UK
From: Manchester, England
Claim to fame: Genre-hopping psych-dance-britpop act that survived "Madchester"
While early '90s peers (Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses) eventually combusted like one of Spinal Tap's drummers, The Charlatans proved durable, showcasing remarkable resourcefulness and musicality. Singer Tim Burgess' versatile tenor—equally adept at dreamy croon, insouciant strut and plaintive wheedling—is the cornerstone. They seemed more staid than the other Manchester phenoms, but the solid chops and traditional songwriting sensibilities that held them back provided a better foundation for growth and exploration. Aside from "Get Out of Bed," they've never been a home run hitter so much as an act that used the whole field effectively. Colour Revolt just doesn't have the stuff yet to get them out. With Sherlock's Daughter. At CAT'S CRADLE. $18–$21/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker
09.02 THE NUMBERS @ LOCAL 506
The Numbers is a cool name. But this central North Carolina-based outfit, co-fronted by Britt Harper "Snüzz" Uzzell and Sam Frazier, could also be The Survivors. Or if that's too close to the "Eye of the Tiger" crew, The Just Happy to Be Heres would work. "The new band is a minor miracle," says Uzzell. "After I contracted Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, I thought my playing career was about finished. After six months of chemo, I've recovered and am out playing again." Frazier has a comeback story, too: He had a heart attack in the late '90s, as well as his own bout with lymphoma. But, says Uzzell, Frazier is "healthy, clean, and sober—not to mention in the best musical form of his life. There are lots of convergences in our styles that might not be immediately recognized until you see us perform together." Rounding out the quartet is the veteran rhythm section of Eddie Walker (Majosha) and Andy Ware (Hobex). "This is really one of the best bands I've ever played with," offers Uzzell. "I've never been happier." With Decoration Ghost. —Rick Cornell