Across his two excellent full-lengths as the dance-party instigator and antagonist ITAL, Daniel Martin-McCormick has gotten progressively aggressive, rupturing his four-four marches with all manner of caustic noise and florid accompaniment. He's not averse to incorporating a recognizable sample of a pop song, but he does it to show the extent to which he can torment with it, not as a facile trigger for people putting their hands up. You'd expect as much from the batty guy leading the post-punk wrecks Mi Ami or synth-pop malingerer Sex Worker. Still, Martin-McCormick's musical corrosion doesn't preclude any fun you might have; he just tests it, as if to make sure that the beat and brain can move at once, bound by euphoria or its equally affecting opposite. DJ Dynamo Dreesen joins the bill, along with producer $tinkworx. Friday, Oct. 25, at Nightlight. $7–$9/10:30 p.m.
The Foreign Exchange
Whether through the civilian lyrics of his former nice-guy rap trio Little Brother or through the emotional trauma and triumph he's limned in his grown-folks soul outfit The Foreign Exchange, Phonte Coleman's career has thrived upon wide-eyed candor. He's been an underground music star of sorts for more than a decade, but he's also a relatable fellow, a guy who could empathize with your own worries over a beer or in his hook that pushes through your speakers. The Foreign Exchange's fourth album, Love in Flying Colors, reconfirms the group's embrace of audacity and honesty: Look for the former in producer Nicolay's mix of techno chic, funk lasciviousness and string-and-keys elegance. Look for the latter, as always, in Coleman's rapped-or-sung confessions of the mercurial heart, as he progresses from the regret of discarded amorous interests toward the album's final line: "You are a dream that's realized/When I feel love." With DJ Castro. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Lincoln Theatre. $20–$25/9 p.m.
Comparing a new instrumental guitarist to John Fahey is a bit like relating a young pop-rock quartet to The Beatles or a new religious cult leader to Jesus of Nazareth: It's such an obvious and overused comparison that it's lost most of its currency. But Portland, Ore., player Marisa Anderson makes good on the reference not through her technique or wordless storytelling but instead through the gyre-sized range of influences she weaves into her impressionistic, moving fragments. There's the blues and bluegrass, old-time numbers and astral psychedelia, with melodic splinters of pop and country peppering the mix. Her second album, this year's wonderful Mercury, is appropriately named. Shifting between acoustic and electric guitars, it wends among syncopated slow gazes, quick jaunty gems and pensive six-string meditations with the restlessness of a traveler's diary. With Ezekiel Graves. Saturday, Oct. 26, at The Pinhook. $7/6 p.m.
Chelsea Light Moving
Chelsea Light Moving could've called itself Thurston Moore's Playhouse. An outcropping of the crew that toured with the (former?) Sonic Youth co-founder behind his excellent LP Demolished Thoughts, the quartet races between many of Moore's enthusiasms: There are silly punk sprints, spoken-word settings and exercises in verbal ad libs, not to mention the alternating atmospheric ruminations and screeching-and-swiveling noise rock of his famous band. But this group, which features a simpatico mix of American avant veterans, is at its best when it's loud and relentless, doubling down not on abrasion but on force as it roars through instrumental breaks that suggest the Melvins and The Dead C rummaging through the Sonic Youth archives. With Birds of Avalon. Sunday, Oct. 27, at Local 506. $12–$15/9 p.m.
Crystal Antlers, Lovers
The Crystals, Crystal Method, Crystal Antlers, Crystal Stilts, Crystal Castles: Do you have Crystal Confusion? To keep it simple, only one such band—Los Angeles trio Crystal Antlers—visit the Triangle this week. But they don't make identification much easier, as they've spent their career bounding from headstrong rock bruisers to hazy-headed psychedelic workouts, with manifold departures and trips in between. At least this year's Nothing Is Real pulls the reins a bit tighter, with a handful of would-be rock radio hits where the singing has gusto and the production has muscle. If you like the idea of a mixtape containing songs by Weezer, Black Lips, Women and The Walkmen covered by an anxious lot of sweaty dudes, you'll find Nothing Is Real to be perfectly legitimate. Portland's Lovers make dangerous, seductive and highly referential pop noir, a little like Suicide with a touch of brown-sugar sweetener. Friday, Oct. 25, at The Pinhook. $7/9 p.m.
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion
You might expect traipsing folk songs from Sarah Lee Guthrie, the daughter of Arlo and the granddaughter of Woody, and her longtime husband and collaborator, Johnny Irion. It's true, in part; the songs on the pair's new Wassaic Way are solid of foundation, with rich details and identifiable scenarios. But they're handled with a newfound pop bravura that suggests the classic bustle of Cat Stevens and the ineffable grace of The Kingsbury Manx. A record that balances lush with restraint at every turn, Wassaic Way is another expected charmer from the pair that simply charms in unexpected ways. They'll be bringing a full band, too. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Casbah. $14–$16/8 p.m.
Tim Easton, Freedy Johnston
Here's a supreme double bill of smart songwriters: Tim Easton sidesteps his general roots milieu on this year's Not Cool, a saucy early rock homage that suggests John Hiatt digging through stacks of Sun records. Freedy Johnston, meanwhile, is best known for a string of small folk-rock-to-alt-rock hits in the early '90s (e.g. "Bad Reputation"), but he's continued to survey the plights of beautiful losers quite well. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Local 506. $8–$9/9 p.m.
Uzala, Demon Eye
Doom metal led with bewitching female vocals isn't a new idea, but between the likes of Windhand, SubRosa and Demon Lung, the form is having a banner year. Add Uzala to that roster: On the new Tales of Blood & Fire, the Boise crew does an excellent job of giving Darcy Nutt space to serenade before saturating the space with twin-guitar roar. For this stacked bill, the similarly looming-and-soaring Mount Salem opens, as well as Mike Scheidt, the Yob and Vhöl frontman who released an acoustic trifle on Thrill Jockey last year. Demon Eye, an exciting new crew of Raleigh metal classicists, headlines. Monday, Oct. 28, at Local 506. $7–$9/8:30 p.m.
On last year's Skeptic Goodbye, Boston duo You Won't emerged as heirs apparent to the highly percussive and expressive indie rock that The Dodos and even Local Natives pushed to popularity. They broadcast their instant hooks emphatically, with simple textures reinforcing refrains. Live, they're louder, encasing the acoustics in a tarpaulin of distortion and pounding the drums with less preciousness. The Tender Fruit—the elegant emotional excavations of singer Christy Smith—opens. Saturday, Oct. 26, at Casbah. $8–$10/8:30 p.m.
Revolutionary Sweethearts, Eros and the Eschaton
This pair of music-making married couples unites Raleigh's The Revolutionary Sweethearts with Greensboro's Eros and the Eschaton. In the former, Rich Flickinger plays meaty baritone guitar, while Brandy Flickinger twists her fetching blues-rock swagger over unpolished drums. It's agile and endearing. Meanwhile, Eros finds Adam Hawkins and Kate Perdoni hidden behind a mountain of electronics, turning their sketches of romantic do's-and-don'ts into wonderfully gauzed pop songs, like a minimalist Arcade Fire hovering in a sky of pink clouds. Saturday, Oct. 26, at Slim's. $5/9 p.m.
In spite of his failure as frontman for promising pop-rock upstarts The Marvelous 3! or his plateau of cult status as an eponymous bandleader, Butch Walker has forged his own path to success. By writing hits and producing them for stars able to sell them, he's proverbially made it. That parallel avenue to his own output has exposed his central weakness as a singer: No matter the weight or topic of a tune, Walker belts out the material without finesse. His songs are a diet consisting solely of simple sugars. Sunday, Oct. 27, at Lincoln Theatre. $16–$20/8 p.m.
Father John Misty
Before he was a Fleet Fox, Josh Tillman wrote and recorded several very good records of solemn, somewhat removed Americana wonder. Last year, with his Fox run done, he released his eclectic debut as Father John Misty, a self-aggrandizing if ridiculous moniker that illustrates the cult of personality he's shaped. An antagonistic frontman who offers his opinions, jokes and stories with as much gusto as his songs, he sometimes suggests a snake oil salesman drunk on his own medicine. With comedian Kate Berlant. Friday, Oct. 25, at Cat's Cradle. $20/8:30 p.m.