YES, PLEASE: Trepak, Lights Resolve, Kathryn Calder, Wet Ink Ensemble, Hindugrass, L.E.G.A.C.Y.’S Birthday Bash Part 9, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Hank Sinatra, The Clinks, Amy Ray, The Shadowboxers
RECURRING: Chatham County Line
VS: Kooley High vs. Hiss Golden Messenger
12.08 TREPAK, LIGHTS RESOLVE @ MOTORCO
Rolling Stone dubbed New York trio Lights Resolve a "breakout band" after their appearance at 2010's Bamboozle Festival in New Jersey. With all the band's Muse-size bombast and Brand New emoting, filtered as it is through the tightly wound mid-'00s post-punk of bands like Maxmo Park and The Bravery, it's easy to understand what Rolling Stone heard, even if the band hasn't exploded quite as quickly as predicted. Trepak, the new band fronted by Seamus Kenney of geek-rock favorites SNMNMNM, opens. $5/ 9 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
12.09 KATHRYN CALDER @ THE PINHOOK
Kathryn Calder is better known as being a relatively recent addition to The New Pornographers' powerful pop coterie—first as an on-stage replacement when Neko Case wasn't available for tours, and then as a full-time member. She's had her own musical thing going on for just as long, however; 2011's Bright And Vivid is her second album as a solo artist and sixth non-Porno offering overall, following another four albums with her previous band, Immaculate Machine. While Calder's own music might lack the oomph and pizzazz of her other outlet, its more-considered bittersweet elements are often just as charming. With Himalayan Bear and Des Ark. $7–$9/ 10 p.m. —David Raposa
12.09 HINDUGRASS @ CASBAH
From ragas to Irish reels, Hindugrass explores the deep technical and mystical connections between Appalachian and classical Indian music. Composer John Heitzenrater plays the 25-stringed sarod; he's accompanied by guitar, tabla percussion and a three-piece string section of cello, viola and violin, which makes its debut tonight and features Lost in the Trees' Jenavieve Varga. The sextet is gearing up to record an album of new material next month, so creative juices should be flowing. Special openers for this show: The Onyx Club Boys' Gabriel Pelli and Dave Smith, and individual sets by Colombian harp innovator Pavelid Castañeda and Lebanese oud maestro Naji Hilal. $8–$10/ 9 p.m. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger
12.09 WET INK ENSEMBLE @ NELSON MUSIC ROOM
We have the genre and term "New Music" because "experimental music" doesn't capture the technical mastery and dramatic flair of a collective like Wet Ink Ensemble. They have been on the A-list of groups presenting American and European avant-garde compositions since their founding in 1998. Based in Brooklyn, Wet Ink camps out in those spaces between classical, jazz and noise, in which visionary scores require idiosyncratic, handmade instruments out of a Dr. Seuss book to produce just the right minimalist drone or pneumatic bleat. At Duke for a residency with the music department, the ensemble plays works by Rick Burkhardt, George Lewis, Alex Mincek, Kate Soper, Eric Wubbels and Sam Pluta as part of the "Encounters: with music of our time" series. The next day, at 4 p.m. in the Ark on Duke's campus, Wet Ink will also premiere works by Duke music department composers Youngmi Cho, Vladimir Smirnov, Paul Leary and Paul Swartzel. Free/ 8 p.m. —Chris Vitiello
12.09 L.E.G.A.C.Y.'S BIRTHDAY BASH PART 9 @ THE BERKELEY CAFE
Remember the roast? Remember L.E.G.A.C.Y. getting absolutely obliterated and passing out at The Brewery? Those were the days. Maybe when Leg's next LP, Amerikkkan Psycho, finally drops, we'll get another round of turmoil, horror and controversy, just at a room aside from that old Raleigh standby. I at least miss the controversy from the guy with the gall to say, "I'm better than whoever" and that "Most rap acts around here are terrible." Of course, he'll have to back up all the shit-talking; he'll try with this annual birthday celebration—in its ninth year—surrounded by talented friends like Wilmington electroclashers D&D Sluggers, Big Hop, Firehead and DJ Mars Eddie. $7/ 10 p.m. —Eric Tullis
12.09 HOLY GHOST TENT REVIVAL @ CAT'S CRADLE
No matter how wild Holy Ghost Tent Revival and the packed dance floors of their shows may get, the Greensboro five-piece can reign it in a moment's notice to sweetly harmonize on hooks that'd be the envy of most classic guitar pop groups. At first blush, the lustrous, atmospheric indie folk of Charlotte's Matrimony may conjure Mumford & Sons, but Ashlee Hardee Brown's pipes provide a change of pace from co-leader Jimmy Brown's obvious Irish roots when the couple swaps vocals. Singer and guitarist Mike Quinn opens with bluesy, ramshackle folk tunes that sound a bit like a drawling Mick Jagger's take on Dylan. $10–$12/ 9 p.m.—Spencer Griffith
12.10 HANK SINATRA, THE CLINKS @ DEEP SOUTH THE BAR
Raleigh cowpunks Hank Sinatra play garage rock with a rockabilly flair. They're a little like the Supersuckers, with more whiskey and fewer narcotics. There's no Hank, only singer/guitarist Jeff Holshouser, who first conceived the band while living in Nashville. It took his return to North Carolina to make it happen. Their catalog remains thin, with only an EP and the 2007 debut LP, Poolhalls and Pantyhose. Still, what's there is a nice mix of earnest roots rock like the plaintive "Open Your Eyes," blooze boogie come-ons like "(I Wanna) Drink With You" and honky-tonk odes to aging exotic dancers with scars in "Low Rent Strip Bars." With The Clinks. $7/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker
12.10 AMY RAY, THE SHADOWBOXERS @ MOTORCO
Amy Ray is typically associated with the folk and pop of her band Indigo Girls, but her three solo studio albums employ a wider palette. Ray's 2001 debut features locals The Butchies on five tracks, adding the backing as Ray explores her Southern and punk rock roots. The striking 2005 follow-up, Prom, indulges a high school conceit and, in turn, features some of her best writing, including the lost-friend ode, "Covered For You." Didn't It Feel Kinder, from 2008, is brighter and peppier. It trips from '60s folk and rock to soul, rockabilly and pop, all in the examination of growing up as an outsider in a small town. $12–$15/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10
FROM: Raleigh, N.C.
CLAIM TO FAME: Still hunting for the next hip-hop level
For the better part of two years, Kooley High—or at least about half of the postgraduate crew—has lived in New York, working to turn their upstart potential into an actual career. They've had variable success, including a few strong reviews in major outlets and, more recently, distribution for their new LP, David Thompson, through hip-hop tastemakers Fat Beats. The move to New York has had an impact on more than the group's stock, though; David Thompson finds the peppiness and exuberance of the group that left Raleigh swapped for a more subdued approach, with beats that drift and sway as much as they boom or bap. The city's given them a touch of nostalgia, too, as acknowledged in the LP's title and its references to local heroes and landmarks. Kooley High has previously been about being, well, cool and making it; on David Thompson, they feel human and sincere, like kids sticking with their aspirations no matter how weary these dreams can make them. With King Mez, Lazarus and Actual Proof. $8–$10/ 10 p.m. At THE POUR HOUSE.
HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER
FROM: Durham, N.C.
CLAIM TO FAME: Hunting, gathering and changing strains of American music
After years of recording and touring in the woefully overlooked The Court and Spark, M.C. Taylor settled into domestic life in Durham, with a wife and a kid and a house with a porch. The relative calm of that lifestyle hasn't dulled his music. In fact, Poor Moon, the excellent LP from his wide-reaching American roots project Hiss Golden Messenger, is one of the year's more restless explorations and recombinations of the sounds this country has made during the last century-plus. Comforting bluegrass drifter "Pittsboro Farewell (Two Monarchs)" sits between the dangerous slide-guitar roar of "Super Blue (Two Days Clean)" and the snarling, organ-and-piano stomp "Westering." Taylor alternately sounds light and lugubrious, pained and poised—a newfound family man still feverishly looking for answers within the world. Tonight, he'll be accompanied by a rare full-band set, as well as acoustic guitar wizard William Tyler, David Strader and several DJs. At NIGHTLIGHT. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
12.14 CHATHAM COUNTY LINE @ THE POUR HOUSE
Chatham County Line's annual holiday show in Raleigh—now in its eighth year—is as reliable as the internationally acclaimed quartet's regular European excursions. This year, the traditional gig is the first stop of a five-night road show with friends Johnny Irion, Jay Brown and Zeke Hutchins. They'll start things off with a set of Irion's breezy, '70s-flavored folk tunes that suggest deep pockets of Neil Young. CCL will follow with a full set in its standard acoustic format—blazing through bluegrass-based barnburners, picking through warm, wrenching ballads and stretching its legs with fresh perspectives on rock-infused Americana. Expect near-perfect harmonies, deft arrangements and a genuine spirit.
The whole gang will take the stage again for a rollicking, late-night electric set; expect a taste of their rock 'n' roll side projects Stillhouse and The Jackets, along with some amped-up takes on CCL material and classic rock covers. You'll rarely find The Pour House more packed than tonight, so advance tickets and early arrival are both recommended. The $17–$20 show starts at 9 p.m. The tour also stops at the Haw River Ballroom next Sunday, Dec. 18, with tickets for that 8 p.m. show costing $15–$17. —Spencer Griffith