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Exitmusic, Gringo Star, Breakestra, Still Black Still Proud, more

The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Indian Jewelery, Prisms, Megafaun, Bowerbirds, The Sea And Cake, Brokeback, Shana Tucker, The Fling, Floating Action, Youth Lagoon, Hog, Bitter Resolve, In The Year Of The Pig, Wooden Shjips, Birds Of Avalon, Chris Thile, Gringo Star, Exitmusic, Breakestra, Still Black, Still Proud

VS: Reckless Kelly vs. Todd Rundgren



YES, PLEASE...

11.10 INDIAN JEWELERY, PRISMS @ THE PINHOOK

Indian Jewelry plays hypnotic synth-rock, defined by redlined, dying-battery drum machines and keys. Much like the New Wavers who betrayed Throbbing Gristle's influence, this Houston band brings welcome caveman heavy-handedness and gravel to the often sterile synth-rock world. This aesthetic gels well with kindred spirits Prisms. And Music Workers, featuring members of Greensboro pop dudes Casual Curious, play a Kraftwerk tribute set. $7/ 9 p.m. —Corbie Hill

11.11 MEGAFAUN, BOWERBIRDS @ HAW RIVER BALLROOM

This terrific twin bill features two of the area's finest acts, both of which could headline the gorgeous Haw River Ballroom alone. On this fall's self-titled LP, Megafaun continued its evolution from the backwoods experiments of its folk-laden early work toward a rambling, 21st-century take on cosmic country-rock. The trio's expansive approach explores the various idioms of American music while dabbling with digital and worldly influences. Bowerbirds, too, are moving beyond rustic, fingerpicked folk origins into gentle, keyboard-abetted ditties that flirt with indie pop while remaining simple and powerful. $12–$15/ 8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

click to enlarge The Sea and the Cake - PHOTO BY MEGAN HOLMES
  • Photo by Megan Holmes
  • The Sea and the Cake

11.11 THE SEA AND CAKE, BROKEBACK @ LOCAL 506

With Daylight Savings Time done and fall gradually giving way to winter, a visit from The Sea And Cake is the perfect chance to indulge in some seasonal denial. With their strummy, jazz-touched tunes and Sam Prekop's luxurious drawl leading the way, these stalwart Chicagoans have been steadfast enablers of warm-weather musical dreams for more than 15 years. Their latest album, The Moonlight Butterfly, finds the group exploring more turf than they have in the past, but thankfully not at the expense of their trademark wistful brilliance. With Brokeback and Butterflies. $14–$16/ 8:30 p.m. —David Raposa

11.11 SHANA TUCKER @ N.C. STATE

It's been a big year for Shana Tucker, the "chambersoul" cellist, singer and songwriter from upstate New York who has made North Carolina her adopted home. A year ago, she scraped together enough money to record a CD; the resulting Shine has resonated so well with critics and fans, she's just manufactured a second batch. Going out on a high note, her last Triangle performances of 2011 will be this Friday at NCSU's Kennedy-McIlwee Theatre, an intimate stage with the acoustics of a jazz club. With a power quartet of Mark Wells on piano and organ, Nick Baglio on drums and Darion Alexander on bass, Tucker intersperses her originals with gutsy, footloose arrangements of her favorite artists, from Billy Joel to Roberta Flack. $18/ 7 & 9 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger

11.12 THE FLING, FLOATING ACTION @ LOCAL 506

This packed bill should appeal to those who can't choose between college radio and classic rock. California's Fling adds buzzing slacker guitars to Beatles-isms, creating a concoction of strung-out distortion and hyperactive pop hooks. It's like following an espresso shot with a high-gravity beer. Black Mountain's Floating Action coat laid-back but precise lo-fi soul in a blissful haze. Bass and guitar lock into a driving groove as singer Seth Kaufman lays out charmingly neurotic narratives with a comfortably rough croon. Schooner opens. $8–$10/ 9 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence

11.12 YOUTH LAGOON @ MOTORCO

In the last few years, the number of bedroom pop crooners who have turned a handful of lo-fi recordings into upstart careers with potential is too high to track. Sometimes these folks stick around, maturing and progressing nicely, and sometimes they become nothing more than a fading memory of the blogosphere. Only time will tell if Youth Lagoon—the project of Idaho singer, songwriter and arranger Trevor Powers—stays or goes, but in either case, his debut, The Year of Hibernation, is an icy, affecting look at isolation. Powers writes some of the prettiest, most endearing melodies to creep into indie rock in the last few years, but on Hibernation, they sound distant and ghosted, like an echo of a pop song you heard in a dream as a kid. He's done his best to maintain that essence live, using a minimal setup and that touching voice to fill progressively crowded rooms with loneliness. With Young Magic and Robes. $8–$10/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

11.12 HOG, BITTER RESOLVE, IN THE YEAR OF THE PIG @ THE CAVE

The Cave may be small, but the long-lived Chapel Hill room sounds surprisingly good with a deafening band inside. The soft stucco ceiling absorbs sound more than reflects it, a big assist for bills like this. Hog plays Southern sludge à la Mastodon, or maybe a crunchier Kylesa, while Bitter Resolve's proto-metal bears a '70s English flair (think Black Sabbath slapping some sense into Hawkwind). In the Year of the Pig somehow plans to squeeze its two-drummer Kraut-noise collective into this cozy little space. Watch out. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Corbie Hill

11.12 WOODEN SHJIPS, BIRDS OF AVALON @ KINGS

San Francisco Kraut-garagers Wooden Shjips have always had a past-conjuring sound, mostly doing their best to borrow from the Stooges and Suicide. But the band's latest album, West, is especially classic-rock-obsessed. The quartet still works from a base of chugging stoner grooves, but their new songs have a more melodic, verse-chorus-bridge shape. "Home" actually evokes Neil Young's "Hey Hey My My," the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun" and Television's "See No Evil." I still prefer their more pure repeti-grooves—and no doubt they can still churn out endless cycles live—but it's hard to deny Wooden Shjips do the classic rock thing pretty well, too. Also, Birds of Avalon. $10/ 10 p.m. —Marc Masters

11.13 CHRIS THILE @ CAROLINA THEATRE

Chris Thile has the habit of perpetually finding himself in good company. After spending a share of his young adulthood playing with pals Sean and Sara Watkins as one-third of Nickel Creek, Thile released a couple of solo records to moderate acclaim, suited up to found The Punch Brothers (a rapid-fire gang of bluegrass boys) and most recently joined forces with Yo-Yo Ma for The Goat Rodeo Sessions, a record of bluegrass-meets-classical compositions. Thile will be uncharacteristically solo here, offering an intimate set packed with enough virtuosic mandolin licks to quiet anyone who might mistake his collaborative bent for anything other than good nature. $30–$38/ 8 p.m. —Ashley Melzer

11.15 GRINGO STAR @ SLIM'S

Atlanta's Gringo Star shows great affection for the '60s, with British Invasion guitar tones cadged from the Hollies, swells of ringing guitars like the Byrds and fuzzed-out bursts of paisley psych. But their music's also bolstered by modern power pop flair. The result is somewhat woolly but well-crafted, insidiously catchy music that doesn't feel nostalgic so much as properly reverent. There are traces of The Walkmen in the barroom suaveness of these organ-driven rockers, and few acts fashion melodies this effortlessly irresistible. They're supporting their terrific second album, Count Yer Lucky Stars. $6/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker

click to enlarge Exitmusic - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND

11.15 EXITMUSIC @ CAT'S CRADLE

Phantogram headlines tonight, but do arrive early for openers Exitmusic. From Silence, the quartet's four-song debut EP for Secretly Canadian, is a perfectly tense collection that pirouettes along the unlikely boundary of post-rock and electronic pop. Led by the married pair of Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church, Exitmusic strikes a thrilling balance between beauty and danger, with songs that feel perfectly invested in both turmoil and delight. Don't expect this pair to hold opening slots much longer. $14/ 8:45 p.m. —Grayson Currin

11.16 BREAKESTRA @ CAT'S CRADLE

Founded by Music Man Miles (aka Miles Tackett), the hip-hop orchestra Breakestra brings together the best musicians of Los Angeles' funk/ soul/ hip-hop underground to create an explosively energetic sound. Tackett, a cellist who's recorded with musicians from B.B. King to The Black Eyed Peas, started the band in the hopes of playing hip-hop in a raw instrumental, group context. The current 14-deep lineup now adeptly swings between breakbeat jams, neo-funk and psychedelic soul. $12–$14/ 9:30 p.m. —Ashley Melzer

11.16 STILL BLACK, STILL PROUD @ UNC MEMORIAL HALL

For three years, Still Black, Still Proud has paid tribute to James Brown by infusing his music with still more of the African influence that inspired The Godfather's hard funk and soul. The project is helmed by Pee Wee Ellis, who co-led Brown's band in the late '60s while helping write and arrange some of Brown's most celebrated songs, like "Cold Sweat" and "Say It Loud—I'm Black and I'm Proud." Ellis is joined tonight by Brown's longtime saxophonist and North Carolina native Maceo Parker, along with South African singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela and Senegalese vocalist/ drummer Cheikh L. It's a fantastic squad, legendary in its own right. $10–$39/ 7:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith


THURSDAY, NOV. 10

RECKLESS KELLY

FROM: Bend, Ore., by way of Austin
SINCE: Mid-'90s
CLAIM TO FAME: Rollicking country rock with pop undertones

Reckless Kelly spent a decade striving before breaking through with a pair of Yep Roc releases. In the process, they've developed a honky-tonk amble accessible enough for country radio but with enough dirt beneath the nails to impress the indie crowd. The band manages a strangely authentic beer-and-pickup truck vibe for kids from the Pacific Northwest. Frontman Willy Braun's strong vocals give them crossover potential, but their latest, Good Luck & True Love, feels too pat for that. With Micky and the Motorcars. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $12–$15/ 8 p.m.

VS.

TODD RUNDGREN

FROM: Philadelphia
SINCE: 1967
CLAIM TO FAME: Sometimes extravagant producer and prog-inflected hard rocker

Rundgren's just the opposite: His only apparent ambitions are personal, resulting in an eclectic range of releases. He's always been partial to British blues-rock as well as blazing through glam, prog and electronic music alongside interests in pop and soul. His ability to mix experimental impulses with sturdy pop structures has enriched his music and given him a lengthy production résumé. On his latest, [Re]Production, Rundgren covers songs by bands he's produced, including unusual versions of "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and "Personality Crisis." Rundgren is an idiosyncratic sort, always looking adventurously forward, trumping even the most crisply executed banality. At CAROLINA THEATRE. $35–$55/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker

  • Exitmusic, Gringo Star, Breakestra, Still Black Still Proud, more

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