All three acts on this bill—Mark Fosson, Hiss Golden Messenger and young Virginia guitarist Daniel Bachman—have released music on Tompkins Square Records, the label that has best championed the imaginative exploration of the acoustic guitar for the last decade. Earlier this year, the imprint reissued Messenger's glorious Poor Moon, a psychedelic country-soul beauty; this summer saw the revelation of the early Fosson recordings that, decades ago, got him signed to John Fahey's Takoma label.
But Bachman's gorgeous Seven Pines, released only last month, is arguably the venerable stable's most important offering of 2012. At age 22, Bachman has inherited the methodical pace of John Fahey, the flurrying notes of Robbie Basho and the fireside feel of Jack Rose, recombining them all into one of the most preternaturally wise and assured guitar albums in years. On "Mount Olive Cohoke," he makes the strings creak and growl, the mystery of a great ghost hunt worked into the brooding melody; on "Seven Pines," he stacks one idea on top of another until, by song's end, it's a wonder that the strings haven't vibrated off of the tuning pegs. With Bachman, right now feels like an opportunity to see a new leading light of instrumental music in the making. SUNDAY, NOV. 25, at NIGHTLIGHT. $6/9:30 p.m.
HURRICANE SANDY BENEFIT
When disaster hits, a swift and ambitious response from the Triangle's music community is typically a foregone conclusion. Tonight, former New York resident Richard Bacchus (he was on the East Village, palling around with Jesse Malin in D Generation) leads a big bill that pulls from the area's ribald alt-country and rock 'n' roll legacies. John Howie Jr. and Chip Robinson offer songs, while Michael Rank brings his languid Stones caravan, Stag. Bacchus, bolstered by his Luckiest Girls and session saxophonist Danny Ray, headlines. Also, The Bleeding Hearts, Maldora, Greg Humphreys, No Eyes, Robert Kirkland and Hank Sinatra. FRIDAY, NOV. 23, at THE POUR HOUSE. $10/5 p.m.
At the start, OM was the rhythm section of Sleep, the slow-motion weed-metal titans who split after their masterpiece, Dopesmoker, was done; as a duo, Chris Hakius and Al Cisneros found a sleepy-eyed groove and rode it into oblivion, chanting polysyllabic spells over the top. Since Hakius' departure, though, and the addition of Emil Amos, OM has stretched into psychedelic excess, shrouding its throb in intriguing new age and classical tones. Their latest, Advaitic Songs, pushes the band into new narcotic realms, deep rhythms washed in lysergic patterns. For more on OM, see page 45. With the amazing Daniel Higgs and the local Solar Halos. SUNDAY, NOV. 25, at CAT'S CRADLE. $12–$14/8:30 p.m.
So you don't consider yourself a fan of American folk music, particularly that hardscrabble stuff that came down from the mountains or helped guide Depression-era workers toward survival? Frank Fairfield might just change your mind: Pulling from a deep well of old songs (mixed with a few of his own), Fairfield doesn't summon previous generations so much as prove that, in spite of seismic technological and social shifts, their concerns about family and faith and work and love and money still sync with our own. He's a mesmerizing, masterful performer, turning his tinny, knotty voice and fiddle pulls into a center of gravity. With Deep Chatham. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 21, at THE PINHOOK. $8/9 p.m.
North Carolina rap has had a relatively low pulse during the last several years, though there have been standout exceptions, including J. Cole and possible breakout guy King Mez. But don't tell that to area aspirants, including the fleet of rappers who gather for regular showcases at Raleigh's The Pour House. Sunday, one of the Triangle's best recent hip-hop hopes, Drique London, joins the faded flow of Wiz Khalifa-adherent Keaton and the tectonics of DJ Flash for one such stacked bill. At his peak, Drique London is a clear heir to the soul-sample legacy of Little Brother, when Phonte Coleman exuded likability over 9th Wonder's finger-snapping ebullience. That's a high promise, to be sure. SUNDAY, NOV. 25, at THE POUR HOUSE. $5/10 p.m.
J. KUTCHMA & THE FIVE FIFTHS
Both Durham's Jason Kutchma and Indiana's Austin Lucas are often linked with folk and punk: The former leads an actual rock band and the much more pastoral Five Fifths, while opening act Lucas is a burly, tattooed kid who taunts enemies and tags bigots behind an acoustic. Lucas' oeuvre seems haphazardly limited by such associations, but Kutchma smartly bends those straightforward lineages with weepy romanticism and arena-rock bombast. His Five Fifths seem bound to blossom. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 28, at THE PINHOOK. $6/9 p.m.
Icelandic singer and multi-instrumentalist Sóley Stefánsdóttir captivates with a slight voice, an at-dawn coo that mitigates her songs' sadness and softness with robust beauty. Stylistically similar to CocoRosie and Ane Brune, Stefánsdóttir decorates hooks with loops and textures, turning simple songs into miniature symphonies. With Wool. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 28, at KINGS. $8–$10/9 p.m.
Phantom Limb, this year's debut LP from the accidental Midwest duo known as Water Liars, is a slingshot of Americana audacity. Moving from gently ruminative drifts to surging electric phosphorescence, from staggeringly sad waltzes to jangling pop buoyancy, Phantom Limb gives the singing of Justin Kinkel-Schuster a bold spotlight. He stands tall, a promising bard lurking in the wings. With Mechanical River and JPHONO1. MONDAY, NOV. 26, at LOCAL 506. $7–$8/9 p.m. TUESDAY, NOV. 27, at SLIM'S. $5/9 p.m.
This San Diego pair of brothers pushes pop-rock blasts into the red, not unlike Canadian duo Japandroids. While their songs lack that band's love of tattoo-able slogans, they harmonize in a way that suggests TV on the Radio, indicating that there's more to hear than mere bludgeon and bombast. Writer are delightful and deceptively simple. With Tragic Magic and Lions to Lambs. FRIDAY, NOV. 23, at LOCAL 506. $8/9 p.m.
MEL MELTON & THE WICKED MOJOS
Restaurateur, chef, club owner, bandleader, singer, blues harmonica howler: Though it seems an appropriate title, calling Mel "Papa Mojo" Melton a renaissance man would be putting an unflattering polish on his music's raw zydeco strut. Thick and insistent, the four-piece Wicked Mojos go hard and loud alongside their leader, charging more than shuffling. They'll play Melton's songs in his Cajun pub. SATURDAY, NOV. 24, at PAPA MOJO'S ROADHOUSE. $12–$15/9:30 p.m.
For a decade, Acoustic Syndicate issued a string of exploratory bluegrass records that combined rock timekeeping with tight picking, all eventually funneling into massive jam movements. Live, they could be sensational, burning through the moment with playing that dared to defy the conventions of their Western North Carolina roots music. Ostensibly, it's been just long enough to land the reunion/commemorative anniversary haul: Acoustic Syndicate has restarted for a few tours, as well as their first album since 2004's interesting Long Way Round. So much for that in-the-moment, play-it-while-you-got-it mentality they once embraced on stage. SATURDAY, NOV. 24, at LINCOLN THEATRE. $14–$17/9 p.m.
During the middle of the last decade, Sufjan Stevens was the new face of indie rock. An eccentric arranger with both orchestral pop ambitions and the audacity to proclaim he'd eventually write an LP about every state, Stevens seemed set to resurface the sound of his chosen scene. But he got ahead of himself, overinvesting in certain compositional traits until they gelled into a morass of maudlin. This year's Silver & Gold, his second five-disc set of Christmas music, jumps from guitar rock to electronica to twee, but it's united by the fact that Stevens seems again nauseatingly obsessed with his musical habits. See the sugar-dripping harmonies of his "Silent Night" or the adult juvenilia of "I Am Santa's Helper." His sold-out "Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice" sure will be "cute." SUNDAY, NOV. 25, at HAW RIVER BALLROOM. 8:30 p.m.