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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Old Bricks, Lonnie Walker, Branford Marsalis, Woodsman, Captured By Robots, Yelle

VS.1: Pokey Lafarge vs. Delta Moon

VS.2: Mikey Erg vs.Titus Andronicus

VS.3: The Fresh & Onlys vs.Davila 666



YES, PLEASE...

04.21 OLD BRICKS, LONNIE WALKER @ THE PINHOOK

Old Bricks are one of a thousand young bands using the signifiers of the Animal Collective—group drum spasms, shouted vocals, haunting textures—to work toward a warped pop mystique. Thing is, the Raleigh quartet mixes that approach with a meek and humble creak, refracting world-weary hymns through a new indie rock vernacular. Lonnie Walker, however, is a little less revisionist about things: A little like Pavement, a little like Modest Mouse, a little like Camper Van Beethoven and a lot like Dylan as a kid these days, the band offers a nervy and restless mix of indie rock and alt-country that's as tough as it is tantalizing. $5/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

04.21 BRANFORD MARSALIS @ UNC MEMORIAL HALL

Given his lineage in one of the most prolific musical families in America, it's no surprise that saxophonist and composer Branford Marsalis has firmly entrenched himself as a star of the jazz world, having played alongside such legends as Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins. But beyond his post-bop tendencies—and, more recently, classical interpretations, too—Marsalis may be best known to non-jazzheads for his crossover performances with the likes of Sting, Public Enemy and Dave Matthews Band, along with a stint leading The Tonight Show Band in the mid-1990s. Marsalis plays Memorial with the 18-piece North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, led by UNC-Chapel Hill Director of Jazz Studies James Ketch. $10–$85/ 7:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

click to enlarge Woodsman - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND

04.24 WOODSMAN @ KINGS

I feel like this listening subset might be rare, but if you've always wished My Morning Jacket and Animal Collective would have wound up in the same neighborhood about seven years ago, you should hear Woodsman's Rare Forms. Released earlier this year, the latest LP from the prolific Colorado band brings all the electric swagger and reverb-washes of the ol' Kentucky rock band to bear on an impressionistic art-kid canvas. It's a fascinating listen full of twists and turns, acoustics and electronics, tribal drum beats and drifting stills arriving in the most unlikely places. At the risk of sounding tawdry and reductive, this band is at the edge of making very special music. With Tjutjuna, Soft Healer and Hatchet Wound. $6/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin

04.26 CAPTURED BY ROBOTS @ LOCAL 506

It's difficult not to get caught up in the gimmickry of Jay Vance's automatron-ificent crew, Captured by Robots. The former Blue Meanies/ Skankin' Pickle member's created a robotic backing band including horns, drums, guitar/ bass and two primates that play cymbals and tambourine. Vance performs in a gimp mask, held captive by his musical creations with whom he engages in an amusing tête-à-tête. Given the floor show, it's not surprising the music's an afterthought, which may also have to do with CBR's metalcore predilections. Expect to hear menacing riffage and feral growling when you're not laughing. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker

04.26 YELLE @ CAT'S CRADLE

Paris actually comes to the Piedmont when French electro-pop trio YELLE arrives with their Safari Disco Club. The band's avant-pop aesthetic pairs a wild kingdom fashion sense with sound that ambitiously collides Caribbean, new wave, Afrobeat and club (to name but a few) to a slicked up, edgy disco celebration. The beats are bubbly; the lyrics are giddy (and delightfully French); the music has a mad whimsy brought to life with commanding charisma. French Horn Rebellion, a pair of Milwaukee-bred, Brooklyn-bound brothers with an ear for yacht rock and synth pop, opens. $18–$20/ 9 p.m. —Ashley Melzer


SATURDAY, APRIL 23

POKEY LAFARGE

Since: 2007
From: St. Louis
Claim to fame: Old-timey country blues and western swing

There's something exhausting about young guys playing very old music being presented as something fresh, particularly given the sudden ubiquity of the type. Can we blame Lafarge because the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Frank Fairfield and dozens of others got there first and better? His old-fashioned skiffle, bloozy swing and string-band country possess ample fervor and some lighthearted charm. Lafarge affects a jazzy tenor warble from the '30 and '40s that suggests he should be dating Jolie Holland. It's generally well-crafted but isn't as earnest as the Avetts or as vibrant as the Zippers. No shame there, and at least there's enough promise to suggest Lafarge might yet carve out his own idiosyncratic corner. At MOTORCO. $5/ 4 p.m.

VS.

DELTA MOON

Since: Early 2000s
From: Atlanta, Ga.
Claim to fame: Swampy Southern blues and country

Though the band's driving duo, guitarists Mark Johnson and Tom Gray, have been making music for years, they're toddlers in blues years. They've no pretense to originality, having shed that illusion in favor of workmanship. Their down-home, close-to-the-vest Southern roots music lacks the arena-size swagger of the Allmans. It's more a greasy boogie given songwriterly finesse à la J.J. Cale or John Hiatt. Gray's gruff vocals nicely complement Johnson's higher, reedier voice. Similarly, Gray's guitar vamps off Johnson's grimy slide leads and leaves a wide berth. Amplifying each other's strengths, they're better together then they could ever be apart. Their twin-powered attack knows the territory better, outflanking relative newbie Lafarge to quickly own him. At PAPA MOJO'S. $12–$15/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker


MONDAY, APRIL 25

MIKEY ERG

From: New Jersey
Since: 2000
Claim to fame: Pop-punk royalty

Mike Yannich, aka Mikey Erg, has punk (well, pop-punk, at least) credentials to spare. As leader of The Ergs (and a member of a score of other cult-beloved pop-punk troupes), Yannich reminded us how much we love The Descendents, while staking his own claim with self-deprecating humor that frequently greeted heartbreak with a familiar smirk. His excellent hardcore outfit, Psyched To Die, did similarly with T.S.O.L. and The Adolescents, but again, Yannich's pen set the band apart, dissecting grown-up angst and depression with a celebratory defeatism well-suited for the genre's recklessness. Solo, Yannich brings his wit and ear for an easy sing-along to unadorned arrangements. And it works. At THE PINHOOK. $7/ 9 p.m

VS.

TITUS ANDRONICUS

From: New Jersey
Since: 2005
Claim to fame: Perfect young hotheads

Make no mistake: Titus Andronicus is no solo vehicle. It's a booming, bombastic bar-rock army, unified in its mission. But denying the importance of frontman Patrick Stickles' lyrics is as foolhardy as thinking this band won't blow the roof off. Like a well-read disciple of Bruce Springsteen and Conor Oberst, Stickles dives headlong into grandiose themes and bold imagery (the band is, after all, named after that Shakespeare play), but where a lesser performer would drown in his own overbearing allusions, Stickles hollers with surplus conviction (as his band stomps and swaggers with the same), turning even lines like "tramps like us, baby we were born to die" into creeds you wouldn't be too embarrassed to recite, full-throated, back at him. At UNC'S HISTORIC PLAYMAKERS THEATRE. $5, $1 students/ 8 p.m. —Bryan Reed

Corrections: Corrections have been made to this listing.


TUESDAY, APRIL 26

click to enlarge The Fresh & Onlys - COURTESY OF THE BAND

THE FRESH & ONLYS

From: San Francisco
Since: 2008
Claim to fame: Prolific psychedelic pop par excellence

While many of The Fresh & Onlys' like-minded contemporaries rely on subpar sound quality to disguise their flaws, Tim Cohen's band of merry men have nothing to hide. The blanket of reverb that's draped over most of their ever-expanding discography (including their most recent full-length, Play It Strange) is purely a stylistic choice, not a crutch. It adds some nostalgic warmth to a collection of top-notch tunes that would thrive in any environment. And if F&O's fuzz isn't enough, the Jesus & Mary Chain moves of openers Crocodiles should satisfy. With Young Prisms. At KINGS. $10/ 9:30 p.m.

VS.

click to enlarge Davila 666 - COURTESY OF THE BAND

DAVILA 666

From: San Jaun, Puerto Rico
Since: 2005
Claim to fame: Nuggets rock as a first language

On record, this septet does an excellent job mimicking the sounds and moves of just about every band that's ever set foot into a garage and/or imbibed illicit substances; there's a reason labels like In The Red are interested in getting these folks some exposure in the U.S. And while their menagerie of costumes and props and dancers might transform these spot-on emulations into something more spectacular in a live setting, there's still a sense that these folks are following others' steps a little too closely. Based purely on the music, Fresh & Onlys' superior songwriting chops make them the clear-cut choice. With Spider Bags and Adam Thorn & the Top Buttons. At CASBAH. $8–10/9 p.m. —David Raposa

  • Old Bricks, Lonnie Walker, Branford Marsalis, Woodsman, Captured By Robots, Yelle, more

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