YES, PLEASE: Dex Romweber & The New Romans, Prisms, Fan Modine, Coastal Vision, No Eyes, The Spiveys, T0w3rs, Company, Marcia Ball, Boykiller, Flesh Wounds, Jill Andrews & Erick Baker, Army Of Infants, Bombadil
INTRODUCING: Idiot Family
INTRODUCING: Tab-One & Sunshine J
VS: Modern Skirts vs. Los Campesinos!
06.21 DEX ROMWEBER & THE NEW ROMANS @ DUKE GARDENS
The big band that backup drummer Dave Schmitt enlisted to set his buddy Dexter Romweber against a broader and brighter sound isn't a regular performance vehicle; its dozen-strong roster makes sure of that. But when the logistics align, The New Romans might well provide the best possible conduit for Romweber's songs, which build from the rockabilly and surf of Romweber's Flat Duo Jets days to dig into lounge, swing and barroom balladry with aplomb. This, Romweber says, is music for dancing—"lascivious stripper music," when it's done right. Setting it outside in the gardens near sunset promises a unique thrill. $5–$12/7 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
06.21 PRISMS, FAN MODINE @ THE PINHOOK
Unlikely bills such as this are one of the best perks of Triangle music: Yeah, there are enough area acts for Prisms to play with two other experimental psychedelia projects, or for Fan Modine to only hop on twee-pop bills. Still, tonight, these two join at The Pinhook. Overall, though, this bill leans in a space-kraut direction, with The Boxing Lesson rounding out the lineup. This Austin trio plays longish, crescendo-driven psych-rock. When its songs come together, almost without fail, there are catchy hooks and choruses that hew closer to Fan Modine than Prisms' raw experimentation. $6/9 p.m. —Corbie Hill
06.21 COASTAL VISION, NO EYES, THE SPIVEYS @ THE CAVE
The young Raleigh trio Coastal Vision released its Are You Anxious? EP in June, but the songs began taking shape as early as 2009. The long gestational process shows in the sometimes uneven arrangements, bounding between nervy, angular Strokes-isms and the more fluid hooks of The Love Language. The band does it all with infectious enthusiasm, though, packing plenty of promise into the EP's six songs. Tonight, they'll share the bill with No Eyes' psych-shaded alt-rock and Charlotte band The Spiveys' easygoing rock effervescence. 10 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed
06.22 T0W3RS, COMPANY @ LOCAL 506
Tonight's bill represents a bumper crop of three regional upstarts making familiar and quixotic variations on what you might collectively dub indie rock: For their part, Charleston, S.C.'s Company mixes obvious touchstones from The Shins and Modest Mouse to My Morning Jacket and Weezer into sleek, heart-on-sleeves songs that, at best, can be tough to slip. Winston-Salem's Estrangers don't stray from that last revelation, making fuzzed-out bursts of pop bombast that swing and sing like The Love Language gone off the rails. Carrboro's T0W3RS not only headline but also take more chances than the openers, burying fine hooks into a delightful decoupage of abstraction and obstruction. $5/9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin
06.23 MARCIA BALL @ THE ARTSCENTER
Marcia Ball's hometown of Orange rests squarely on the border of Texas and Louisiana, which is as perfect a geocultural metaphor as could be imagined for her music. Though the New Orleans-centric aspects of her soulful piano playing and sweet-meets-sassy singing have tended to get the most attention, Ball first made a name for herself in early-1970s Austin while fronting one of that city's proto-hippie/ country bands. More than a dozen solo albums later, Ball remains at the top of her game, as her Grammy-nominated 2011 disc Roadside Attractions attests. The $18–$26 show starts at 8 p.m.; come at 6:30 for gumbo, red beans & rice and pecan tarts served up in the lobby by the Papa Mojo's folks. —Peter Blackstock
06.24 BOYKILLER, FLESH WOUNDS @ CHAPEL HILL UNDERGROUND
In "Get Get," the three members of Boykiller shout "You just wanna get get/ naked naked naked all the time." The delivery falls somewhere between the unison singing of '60s girl groups and the "nyah nyah nyaaah!" of a schoolyard taunt. It's loose, ridiculous and innocently hedonistic—essentially Brill Building pop, stripped. New-ish Chapel Hill garage trio Flesh Wounds applies '50s R&B structures to trebly-as-hell, two-minute, two-guitar scorchers with infectious, wide-open vocals. This is the first of the Underground's monthly WXYC Backyard BBQ series, which will be outdoors, weather permitting. And yes, there will be a grill. $3/5 p.m. —Corbie Hill
06.26 JILL ANDREWS & ERICK BAKER @ THE POUR HOUSE
Since splitting with Sam Quinn to go solo three years ago, ex-everybodyfields frontwoman Jill Andrews' charming, twangy tunes have increasingly incorporated indie pop. While she now wraps her glowing voice around bright arrangements rather than the stark scenes cast by the everybodyfields, Andrews still writes some of the saddest songs imaginable, no matter how cheery those hooks may seem. This tour teams Andrews with fellow Tennessee native Erick Baker, who ably navigates the avenues of adult alternative with dramatic—though often overwrought—songs. $8–$10/9 p.m. —Spencer Griffith
06.26 ARMY OF INFANTS @ THE CAVE
The Black Keys' dude-blues can be too much for some. But what immediately comes to mind upon listening to the also-from-Ohio Army of Infants is how refreshing it is to see this style as delivered by a raucous garage outfit. With blues-rock riffs slathered in feedback, casual-to-offhand vocals and drums that suggest the post-grunge bounce of mid-'90s alt-rock, Army of Infants' ability to reach beyond the borders of blues makes it a necessary recommendation for anyone burned out on the genre. With the color-by-numbers horrorpunk of Nightmare Sonata. 10 p.m. —Corbie Hill
06.27 BOMBADIL @ DUKE GARDENS
When you see Bombadil onstage or listen to one of their studio albums, the mix of joy and melancholy is one of the quartet's most striking features. They analyze self-mutilation over glorious piano jaunts, question the triumphs of long-term relationships over weepy ballads, and turn courting anxieties into smiling ukulele sweetness. They're goofy and weepy, complicated and cute. Those contradictions manifest Bombadil's narrative perfectly. Once post-Avett ascendants who seemed bound to fit somewhere between the Langhorne Slims and Sufjans of the world, health problems and membership woes shut the band down for a spell. But they're back again, living and working together on new material to follow last year's excellent return, All That the Rain Promises. $5–$12/7 p.m. —Grayson Currin
06.21 IDIOT FAMILY @ TIR NA NOG
When it comes to the side project of an established band, the easiest reaction is to highlight the differences between the two. With Idiot Family, which features four-fifths of Chapel Hill's I Was Totally Destroying It, things aren't so simple.
Idiot Family's trajectory has been far from linear: In early 2011, the four-piece first tackled heavy-minded Sonic-Youth-meets-Fugazi rock but soon transitioned into a rhythmic combo of drum machines and keys. They finally decided to indulge in shoegaze, a shared influence that had little place in IWTDI. They bolstered those strung-out riffs with trip-hop beats and the irrepressible hooks that are their main act's bread and butter.
"We've always been so driven to explore different sounds and directions," says singer/ guitarist/ occasional drummer John Booker. "It wasn't a leap to think we could write a handful of songs in a different configuration."
At Tir na nOg, they will perform with the full IWTDI lineup, reclaiming a batch of Idiot Family songs in the process. More a symbiotic offshoot than an island to itself, Idiot Family is far from your average side gig. With Museum Mouth and Homer Sparks. Free/10 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence
06.22 TAB-ONE & SUNSHINE J @ KINGS
The portmanteau "Madflowridiculous" sounds like an ill-advised descriptor for the wordy world of rap ciphers. But it's actually the new collaborative album from Kooley High emcee Tab-One and self-proclaimed "melody coordinator extraordinaire," Raleigh producer Sunshine J. That's all right: Between Rapsody's overplayed rap homages and Charlie Smarts' wanderings, Kooley High's third emcee, Tab-One, has always been the one to turn his raps into man-versus-himself rhyme battles. He loves rapping.
Don't see this as Tab-One's stepping out but rather as him shifting his stratagem to highlight the same skill set he toyed with on his first solo project, The Tabloids. This time, Sunshine J treats Tab-One to a mélange of beats ranging from the weighty, whistling horns of "Never Give Up" to the dainty jazz of "Origami Rap," where Tab-One raps cleverly, "I get ripped on bass, kicks and melodies/ and met tricks whose metrics won't measure me."
Tab-One is hardly a newcomer to Raleigh's music scene, but just like Raleigh's recently renovated Pullen Park—where Tab-One, Sunshine J and Kooley High affiliate Napoleon Wright II romp around in part of the video for Madflowridiculous' second single, "Sunshinin'"—this project is a sweet upgrade to recreation. Joe Scudda, Median and Wreck N Crew open Friday's show at 10 p.m. Tickets are $6–$8.—Eric Tullis
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27
FROM: Athens, Ga.
CLAIM TO FAME: (Initial) piano/ jangle-pop sound
This is the story of bands going in opposite directions: Though Modern Skirts benefited from boosterism (Hi Paste!), their first two albums feature some of the most mundane college pop-rock this side of "Stay (I Missed You)." The band was so sick of their own mediocrity they contemplated breaking up before singer/ keyboardist JoJo Glidewell showed them some new bedroom tracks he'd been toying with. Minds were blown. Dramatically and thankfully different, 2010's Gramahawk blends perky New Wave synth-pop with electronic drums and quirky, harmony-enriched melodies. Think They Might Be Giants by way of Devo, and you're close. With The District Attorneys, Left Outlet. At LOCAL 506. $7–$8/9 p.m.
FROM: Cardiff, Wales
CLAIM TO FAME: 2008 UK twee pop breakthrough act
The Campesinos have undergone some turnover of late and now appear on the verge of having their reputation overshadow their momentum. On their latest, Hello Sadness, lolling mid-tempo sub-Pavement indie guitar rock subsumes the ebullient hand-claps and gang-singing energy of their first two terrific albums. It's still well crafted, but the plaintive whining of frontman Gareth Campesinos! now overpowers the sweet female vocals and engaging blend of precocity and pace. No longer all that distinctive, they're another instrument-heavy indie-pop act complaining about their love life. Los Campesinos! get by Modern Skirts thanks to their résumé, not future prospects. With Yellow Ostrich, Moonlight Blue. At CAT'S CRADLE. $15/8:30 p.m. —Chris Parker