This week's guide contains:
YES, PLEASE: 919 Noise, The Lake Isle, Kruger Brothers, Kate Edwards, Reese McHenry, Joe Swank, In The Year Of The Pig, Last Year’s Men, Deerhoof, Ben Butler & Mousepad, Le Weekend
VS.: Monotonix vs. Paleface
02.03 919 NOISE @ NIGHTLIGHT
The term noise music is a terrific expository descriptor. Noise, at its best, doesn't merely challenge notions of what deserves to be classified as music. Anyone with any tool for producing sound, after all, can assemble some bangs, clicks or whooshes and call it music. Good noise doesn't challenge as much as it persuades. In its explorations of timbre and formal subversions, noise must find new ways to captivate or defy an audience.
Steve Burnett, who performs as Subscape Annex and headlines this installment of the periodical 919 Noise showcase, evokes dub and glacially paced, bass-heavy prog rock by submerging listeners in pulsating looped tones. He uses unconventional instruments like theremin and Chapman Stick, as well as various effects and found objects. Nuss offers harsher tones, referencing noise rock and black metal with strangled shouts burdened by dense, swirling electronics. Guitarist Andras Fekete of the spacious instrumental outfit Boat Burning offers a solo set, as does Matt Northrup, who plays bass in Greensboro's experimental rock band Casual Curious. Among the four sets, music will adopt new shapes, bending to fit the artists' carefully constructed notions of possibility. Like religion, noise can offer the promise of unknowable things beyond what we already understand. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Bryan Reed
02.05 The LAKE ISLE @ THE PINHOOK
New Greensboro quartet The Lake Isle chimes and twists through shimmering, psychedelic sequences. Like Galaxie 500 on mood enhancers and uppers, they make pop soft and bright. From the Georgia hills come Damon Moon and the Whispering Drifters, whose deconstructed folk dabbles with expressionistic noise and dark psychedelics. "Flatlands Call," for instance, leads in like a Patti Smith dirge before breaking into a free jazz freak-out. With Wild, Wild Geese. $5/ 10 p.m. —Corbie Hill
02.05 KRUGER BROTHERS @ COMMUNITY CHURCH OF CHAPEL HILL
Is it appropriate to refer to The Kruger Brothers' gentle folk/ bluegrass hybrid as Americana, even if the trio actually hails from Switzerland? The ringing endorsement of Doc Watson—who had the band back him well before its move to North Carolina in 2003—should serve to resolve any doubts. "The Kruger Brothers are just about as fine a band as I've ever played with," said the elder statesman. As if they needed more credibility, banjoist Jens lived with and learned from Bill Monroe in the '80s, while guitarist brother Uwe developed a unique style that blends flatpicking with classical techniques. It doesn't sound much more authentic than this. $15–$20/ 8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
02.05 KATE EDWARDS, REESE MCHENRY, JOE SWANK @ THE CAVE
This night features a pair of gruff, well-seasoned growlers. Joe Swank's dusty baritone is suited to the spunky rockabilly/ country-rock barn burners besotted with Slobberbone, Drive-By Truckers and the Waco Brothers. Besides a mix of honky-tonk sway and foot-stomping twang, Swank possesses a fine irreverent wit that shouldn't be overlooked. Reese McHenry fronts blues-rockers Dirty Little Heaters with a sultry, meaty wail that recalls Janis Joplin. Its earthy reverberations hook a rhythmic tumult. Her solo material veers in a crisper folk direction, though its spirit's still gritty. Swank is billed as a possible surprise guest for this show. $5/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker
02.05 IN THE YEAR OF THE PIG, LAST YEAR'S MEN @ NIGHTLIGHT
Aside from sharing space within the vague and very general category of rock 'n' roll, In the Year of the Pig and Last Year's Men have very little in common. A two-drummer, two-bassist, older-dude militia armed with weapons fabricated from noise rock, Krautrock, drone metal, stoner metal, black metal and sheer fucking willpower, In the Year of the Pig is one of the ugliest, most brutal and—really—best bands the Triangle can offer right now. A one-guitar, one-drummer, one-bassist teenage posse with a dozen perfect melodies delivered through a preternaturally righteous mix of fuzz and clarity, Last Year's Men is one of the most delightful, spry and—really—best bands the Triangle can offer right now. Kindred spirits, after all. With Defamiliar. $5/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin
02.06 DEERHOOF, BEN BUTLER & MOUSEPAD, LE WEEKEND @ KINGS
One of music's most joyously unpredictable bands, Deerhoof has built a decade-long career on high ambitions and risks that yield admittedly mixed returns. When Deerhoof misses, they obfuscate their chief charms—razor-sharp riffs, music-box melodies, surprising rhythmic tricks—in tangents and textures. But when Deerhoof lands, they make the sort of pop-rock that you'd never imagine possible. "I Did Crimes for You," which sports the most indefatigable melody from the new Deerhoof vs. Evil, gathers hand claps, chimes and acoustic guitar alongside distorted bass throb, chiseled and chiming electric guitars and chilly synthesizer sweeps. As continually challenging as indie rock gets right now, they're a must-see. $15/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
THURSDAY, FEB. 3
From: Tel Aviv, Israel
Claim to fame: Sweaty, incendiary, club-roaming performances
At first blush, this doesn't seem like much of a matchup. Monotonix are heavyweights. Like a bong hit delivered with a city bus tailpipe, the trio's garage-punk is dirty, dizzying and powerful enough to run you over. Their galloping rhythms thud within a mesmerizing haze of distortion. The overdriven guitars produce a head-lolling sensation, while the ravenous percussive rumble incites a desire for destruction. This push and pull produces a tremendously satisfying cocktail only improved by maniacal frontman Ami Shalev's spasmodic, boundary-challenging showmanship. Like latter-day Stooges peering out of the Funhouse, it sounds like an incitation to riot. With Federation X and Pujol. At KINGS. $10–$11/ 9:30 p.m.
From: New York City
Claim to fame: Beck's onetime roommate, early anti-folk adherent
He's not much to look at—some pasty-faced dude strumming a guitar and singing songwriter-folk in a warbling tenor. But music's about more than the waxy finish, and Paleface has put enough time in under the hood that his songwriting purrs. It's not showy. That wouldn't be his style. The songs are tuneful, written crisply and smartly enough that you won't feel embarrassed for him if you offer up the attention. Paleface won't wow you. Rather, it's the sensation of never feeling fatigued. Like you could keep listening ... until, whenever. With the Avetts' old home, Ramseur Records, releasing his last two albums, Paleface seems poised for even better things. It's not enough to top the block-razing intensity of Monotonix—they're still the champs (unless you require something lower-key), but Paleface, perhaps surprisingly, holds his own. With Nick and the Babes. At THE POUR HOUSE. $8/ 8:30 p.m. —Chris Parker
Correction (Feb. 3, 2011): The last name of Boat Burning's Andras Fekete was misspelled.