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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Cactus Truck, Fenster, The Sea And Cake, Sharon Van Etten, Damien Jurado, Titus Andronicus, Spider Bags, Mac McCaughan, Steve Forbert, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Jerry Douglas Band, Divine Fits, Cold Cave, Mark Sultan

VS: The Alkaholiks & The Beatnuts vs. GZA & Killer Mike

VS: Hospitality vs. A.C. Newman



YES, PLEASE...

10.25 CACTUS TRUCK @ KINGS

The name of Amsterdam trio Cactus Truck might tickle you, with its inherent mind's-eye image of a massive succulent passing by on the back of a flatbed pick-up. But the sound of saxophonist John Dikeman, bassist and guitarist Jasper Stadhouders and drummer Onno Govaert is more combustible than comical, with the brass shrieking between lunging lead lines and drums that treat stillness as death. This is an early gig, but expect the intensity to send you home for tea and a nap. $8/8 p.m. —Grayson Currin

10.25 FENSTER @ NIGHTLIGHT

The artsy outfit Fenster takes bedroom pop to its logical conclusion—that is, apartment building pop. Airy, lo-fi production pairs with tasteful found sounds, suggesting the bare-walled and sunny minimalist chic of some cosmopolitan loft. There's romantic exuberance and artful despondency, painted in gentle strokes of primitive electronica: The dreaminess here is presented through an understated palette of ambience, dying synths and folk instruments. Carrboro's Sagan Youth Boys bring danceable bleeps and bloops that are appropriately reminiscent of a chopped and remixed Cosmos soundtrack. $5/9:30 p.m. —Corbie Hil

10.25 THE SEA AND CAKE @ CAT'S CRADLE

"New Patterns" is a late-album highlight on Runner, the 10th record by long-running and ridiculously stocked Chicago band The Sea and Cake. As drummer John McEntire and bassist Eric Claridge staple a thick groove to the floor, vocalists and guitarists Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt explore toughness and tenderness at once. The former comes in the form of a serrated guitar tone, biting at the soothing effluence of Prekop's sweet singing. The song eventually glides into skitters and shards, with synthesizers and pedal effects creating a tumble over an inescapable beat. Built for the first time from synthesizers and sequencers into full-band recreations, Runner indeed establishes new patterns for The Sea and Cake, a quartet of preternatural cool and confidence. Matthew Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces opens. $15/9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

10.26 SHARON VAN ETTEN, DAMIEN JURADO @ CAT'S CRADLE

"Museum of Flight" is the stunning ode to the bittersweet comfort and vulnerability of love that pushes Damien Jurado's latest album, Maraqopa, into permanence. Jurado's career has been one of fits and starts, trials and errors, but "Museum of Flight" and Maraqopa at large find him at ease with both the folk-rock and soft-glow psychedelics of his output. Strangely, when I first heard "Museum of Flight," I noted that it sounded like a song built for Sharon Van Etten—bruised but brave as it struggled to find meaning in difficult situations. It seemed like the natural corollary to her oeuvre of breakup-survival songs. Perhaps tonight, on this tremendous double bill of singer-songwriters that puts equal importance on both terms, they'll sing it together. $15–$17/9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge Mac McCaughan - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

10.26 TITUS ANDRONICUS, SPIDER BAGS, MAC MCCAUGHAN @ DURHAM CENTRAL PARK

Mac McCaughan wants your voice to be heard. The Superchunk frontman organized and will play solo at this rally for early voting that also boasts two of the best rock bands in America. Titus Andronicus hitches Springsteen-inspired punk to riot-worthy diatribes about battling back a world doing its best to bury you. Spider Bags rev up sad-bastard laments with breakneck rhythm and blues and irresistible garage scuzz. Without Superchunk's pogoing power, McCaughan ups the emotional stake, howling with nerve. Free/12 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence

10.26 STEVE FORBERT @ THE ARTSCENTER

As a young folk rocker in the'70s, Steve Forbert was one of many singer-songwriters unfairly saddled with the expectation of becoming the new Dylan. Though the strength of his writing rarely enters Dylan's elite stratosphere, Forbert's clever songs are much more accessible due to his considerable pop smarts—take his biggest hit, "Romeo's Tune," as evidence. More than three decades later, Forbert has since grown into a mature songsmith who pairs his rasp well with rich, nuanced arrangements on moody, direct tunes. Local folkie Jon Shain is a fitting opener. $16–$20/8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

10.27 JASON BOLAND & THE STRAGGLERS @ BERKELEY CAFE

Boland lived with Cody Canada of Cross Canadian Ragweed and Stoney LaRue in a musical flophouse near Oklahoma State known as the Yellow House. Building on the country-folk strains of forebears like the Great Divide and Red Dirt Rangers, they've helped forge a loose style known as Texas Red Dirt. Boland and his crew blend honky-tonk country, ringing folk and intermittently jammy Southern rock. They have earned their stripes with relentless touring that's honed their live show and pushed their fanbase well beyond the comfort of regional borders, establishing them as the genre's flagship artist since Ragweed's breakup. With Mic Harrison & the High Score. $15/9 p.m. —Chris Parker

10.27 JERRY DOUGLAS BAND @ CAROLINA THEATRE

If not today's best dobro player (though it's tough to argue against that title), Jerry Douglas is at least the best known and most widely acclaimed. His baker's dozen Grammys are exceeded only by his haul of IBMAs, garnered as a member of Alison Krauss & Union Station and for session work with seemingly every prominent artist in modern country and bluegrass. As bandleader, Douglas is joined by a pair of prolific, virtuosic sidemen in bassist Viktor Krauss and violinist/vocalist Luke Bulla. Though his June release, Traveler, ranges from blues and rock to indie folk and progressive bluegrass, expect mostly the latter without guests like Eric Clapton, Paul Simon and Mumford & Sons. $35–$50/8 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

10.28 DIVINE FITS, COLD CAVE @ LINCOLN THEATRE

This Sunday night invitation to dance is a byproduct of Moogfest's beneficence: After playing Asheville Saturday, Divine Fits and Cold Cave swing east briefly before sprinting across the country for a pair of California shows next week. Cold Cave opens, but don't expect the first slot to dull the unbridled chutzpah of Wesley Eisold's performance. A showman perfectly suited to ride the crest of his own dark-hearted disco-death pop songs, Eisold makes a magnetic bandleader—and, as it were, his band has turned its cowering lo-fi experiments into hi-fi triumphs in short order. Headliners Divine Fits pair Britt Daniel of Spoon and Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade, two distinctive singers who betray their bigger bands' manners for heart-in-the-microphone dance-rock that's anxious and intricate. Just show up early, OK? $16–$18/8 p.m. —Grayson Currin

10.30 MARK SULTAN @ MOTORCO

One could fill quite a bit of space simply by listing the bands Mark Sultan has played in, assuming names like the King Khan & BBQ Show or The Spaceshits are implicitly compelling and that their raucous reputations precede them. But there are innumerable budget-rock outfits whose off-the-rails performances begin and end the discussion. Sultan isn't one of those: Led by his arresting, R&B-informed voice, Sultan's music ranges from blistering, no-frills punk to tender soda-shop ballads. His arrangements can veer into dense, noisy textures or rely on the most basic guitar-drums setup. In 50 minutes recorded live and in one take, this year's War on Rock 'n' Roll covers most of that ground. $8/8 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed


THURSDAY, OCT. 25

THE ALKAHOLIKS & THE BEATNUTS

FROM: Los Angeles and Queens
SINCE: Early 1990s
CLAIM TO FAME: Hyper-hedonistic hip-hop chiefs

It took more than a decade for these two legendary rap crews to get the logistics together, but they've finally combined to form the bicoastal supergroup Liknuts. Hanging in the balance is still a yet-to-be-titled album, surely to be ballooned by Tash, J-Ro, Psycho Les and Juju's loose, lewd lyrics, and first-class beats from both The Beatnuts and The Alkaholiks' E-Swift. Judging from the project's first two singles, "Grumpy Crocodile" and "Bang," the two camps merge merrily, leaving the question of what's blurrier: the actual distinction between the two frolicsome units or your vision after you throw back several swigs of whatever it is they're drinking? At SOUTHLAND BALLROOM. $12–$20/10 p.m.

VS.

GZA & KILLER MIKE

FROM: Staten Island and Atlanta
SINCE: 1989 and 1999
CLAIM TO FAME: Wu-Tang Clan intel-rap and steely, trap intelligence

For those who missed Killer Mike's electrifying performance during last month's Hopscotch Music Festival, this is your chance to catch a condensed performance on the same stage. Luckily, you'll get all of the earsplitting brain rage from his critically adored R.A.P. Music, plus the GZA, performing the entirety of his classic Liquid Swords LP. Now nearly 20 years old, the album still plays like a complex labyrinth of crime schemes and mindful rhymes. This is sacred ground for any Wu-Tang fan and one of the 36 chambers that even an intimidating guy like Killer Mike can't beast his way out of. With Professor Toon. At LINCOLN THEATRE. $17.50–$20/9 p.m. —Eric Tullis


SATURDAY, OCT. 27

HOSPITALITY

FROM: Red Hook, Brooklyn
SINCE: 2007
CLAIM TO FAME: Witty whimsicality, beyond bedroom pop

The Brooklyn quartet Hospitality shares a strummy, cardigan-redolent air with Belle & Sebastian, along with a similar set of lowercase concerns: the peculiarities of intimacy, uninspiring jobs and post-academic stasis. "Eighth Avenue," the enchanting opener from the band's 2012 self-titled debut for Merge Records, begins with steady gut-string strumming and vocalist Amber Papini's guileless-sounding vocals. New colors enter, such as an acquiescent orchestral synth line, rich harmonies, guitar countermelodies; we end up in an unforeseen, and rather glorious, place. Originally a trio but now fleshed out with a full-time drummer, this seasoned live act brims with smarts and sophistication, without skimping on the fun. With Teen. At LOCAL 506. $9–$11/ 9 p.m.

VS.

A.C. NEWMAN

FROM: Vancouver
SINCE: 2004
CLAIM TO FAME: Piquant pop auteur, sans supergroup

As prime mover of The New Pornographers, Carl "A.C." Newman has written dozens of criminally catchy songs that teem with ideas; even their titles, like "Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns" from his latest LP, Shut Down the Streets, feel like pop treatises. But whether intoning with choirboy purity or a modest snarl, Newman remains a man who knows exactly when to dispense with words and just go na-na-na. His solo songs snap and build in ways familiar to fans of his main outfit. Onstage, unfettered from co-existence with his unwieldy, overly talented New Pornographer mates, the songs breathe a bit. Newman's deep catalog earns him the nod, however slightly, as the night's show to see. With Mynabirds. At MOTORCO. $15/9 p.m. —David Klein

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