Perhaps Dwid Hellion, the sole constant member of long-running metal and hardcore confounders Integrity, is a perfectly amicable fellow. I've never met him. But when Hellion steps behind a microphone, he sounds like the meanest motherfucker on the planet. No matter how intricate his backing unit's mix of punk rock pummel, death metal agility and doomy lurch gets, he overruns it all, shouting out in a voice so full and corporeal that it makes a guy like Fucked Up's Damian Abraham sound reserved.
Integrity's forthcoming Suicide Black Snake is an urgent and inscrutable broadside, shooting through 10 songs with the crazed insistence of a band trying to distinguish itself on a debut. Integrity again makes a mess of genre borders, even adding forelorn harmonica to a song that starts like Slint, visits the blues roadhouse and eventually erupts into a Neurosis-sized wall of roar. Don't miss this band's rare visit.
The opening cast draws similarly crooked lines between heavy metal and punk rock; Gehenna, Full of Hell and Young and in the Way share the bill. Tuesday, May 28, at Motorco. $12–$14/7 p.m.
Dege Legg, Anders & Kendall
If the songs of Rotten Sound lasted any longer than the typical minute or two, would anyone be able to withstand them? Indeed, for the last two decades, the Finnish crew has served as a brutal bellwether of grindcore, with drums that roll in like great uninterrupted waves of fuselage and urgent, incensed vocals that take aim from all sides. Their latest, the fitful six-song EP Species at War, actually slows for "The Game," a 52-second, mid-tempo stagger that, by way of its steady development, still feels like assault. They're joined by an A-list support cast that includes Japan's blackened wizards Abigail, Richmond's lithe and ripping Occultist, breathless and barking Denver rippers Speedwolf and Raleigh's No Tomorrow. Monday, May 27, at Berkeley Cafe. $12/8:30 p.m.
"You gotta do that zydeco, and do it with a feeling," offers lifelong Louisiana zydeco musician Major Handy during one of his trademark tunes. Now in his 60s, the Major has been pumping the region's endemic sound from his accordion for more than five decades, including a stint with Buckwheat Zydeco's original crew. That's one reason the Music Maker Relief Foundation chose the Major as its first emissary of the form. The other is because he needed help: After hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged America's south, Major Handy lost his steady gigs playing zydeco on cruise ships and in local haunts, a situation compounded when his wife fell ill with lymphoma. Now he's back at it, working with a whip-smart band that pushes hard into the groove and up through his squeezebox's displaced air. Friday, May 24, at Papa Mojo's Roadhouse. $10/9:30 p.m.
Sons of Tonatiuh
Atlanta trio Sons of Tonatiuh specialize in belligerence. Sure, their promising 2012 debut, Parade of Sorrow, also merited more quantifiable tags, such as its joinder of galloping thrash and arching doom, bruising hardcore and crackling guitar solos. But the chain that binds those Tonatiuh qualities together is general misanthropy, or the unshakable feeling that these three dudes have never met an expression of unrest that was aggressive enough to sate the rage. As with fellow Georgians Black Tusk (see No. 6) and Kylesa, their impressive crossover fare succeeds because it links uncommon elements with a common goal—to delight with despair and, of course, riffs that shuttle momentum masterfully. With Old Codger and Royal Nites. Friday, May 24, at Slim's. $5/9 p.m.
Black Tusk employs the same viscid guitar distortion and bleeding bass tones that have become synonymous with the term "Southern metal," but they cut the low-tempo anchor, setting the sounds to a fleet rumble that pulls from hardcore, biker rallies and, to be honest, a little "Mountain Jam," too. Their forthcoming EP, Tend No Wounds, combines their familiar bark-alongs with a still-developing interest in greater textural complication. Live, expect only to rumble. With Bedowyn and Stampede. Saturday, May 25, at The Pour House. $10–$12/10 p.m.
Mark Charles Heidinger sounds like he could've fronted a famous frat-rock band in the mid-'90s; he lilts and croons, canters and winks with his voice, romantic and familiar and friendly. But as Vandaveer, Heidinger shows remarkable restraint with both his singing and songs. He builds around that tone with gentle and approachable acoustic skeletons, gilded by minimal electronics and faint harmonies. Deliberate and delicate, Vandaveer's music confers familiarity through its transparency. With The Mike Roy Show. Sunday, May 26, at Local 506. $8–$10/9 p.m.
John Howie Jr. & The Rosewood Bluff
The Rosewood Bluff adds just enough rock behind John Howie Jr. to put a little jolt in his engrained twang. This quartet doesn't abandon the basic thrills of Howie's old Two Dollar Pistols—that barroom baritone, those large acoustic chords, an itinerant sadness. No, it uses those assets as a launching pad, pushing out into a country-rock mien that feels heavy and permanent. Expect some dancing on the Haw's verdant riverbank. Saturday, May 25, at Saxapahaw Farmers Market. Free/6 p.m.
Baobab, Sumner James
With kaleidoscopic electronics, intricate arrangements and complex and mechanized harmonies, the Durham duo Baobab makes the legacy of Paul Simon safe in a post-Animal Collective world. The group embraces the pan-African aesthetic of Graceland but doesn't let reverence smother its radiant melodies. James Phillips knows a thing or a dozen about eclectic influences, as he's the drummer in wide-eyed adventurers Bombadil. His solo outlet, Sumner James, pushes his melodies and maple-like voice into more experimental arrangements of thumb-piano patter and beat machine disarray. Thursday, May 23, at Tir Na Nog. Free/10 p.m.
Sweet-voiced Charlotte singer Jon Lindsay is an ambitious aesthete who composes billowing pop pieces largely by himself, using analog and digital accessories to push up songs that wade in confessions and whimsy. His albums daisy-chain classic songcraft to nebulous arrangements—sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, always for an adventure. Thursday, May 23, at Slim's. $5/9 p.m.
The solo productions of singer, songwriter and sap Benjamin Davis writ large by drums and a developing live band, Bad Veins sits in that strange and uncomfortable zone between indie rock and mainstream radio. They nod to the aesthetic conventions of the former with quirky, cute things, including the incorporation of ukuleles and singing through megaphones. But their hooks come on heavy-handed and without preparation, showing less craftsmanship than a plastic lawn chair. Junk dressed in haute couture is still junk. With Canine Heart Sounds. Saturday, May 25, at Local 506. $10–$12/8:30 p.m.
Dressed in metal shirts, covered in tattoos, smeared with sweat: On a superficial level, it's tempting to be captivated by Krewella, a Chicago trio that looks tough but sports enough humor to name this run of rock clubs the Get Wet or Die Trying Tour. But they cover grimy dubstep and house influences with a saccharine sheen, essentially updating vapid hooks with zero gravity for orgiastic EDM parties. At least you won't die trying. With Don Winsley, Rob Banks and Atomika. Thursday, May 23, at Lincoln Theatre. $40/9 p.m.