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American Aquarium; Valient Thorr; Smells Like Green Spirit 

THE BIBLE & THE BOTTLE ... & BONES?

Raleigh alt.country band American Aquarium spent the better part of the last year recording its second full-length album, The Bible & The Bottle, with Greg Elkins in his Raleigh-based Desolation Row outpost. The album's 11 tracks—slick and polished, washing frontman B.J. Barham's Carolina accent over eloquent beds of organ, violin and pedal steel guitar—are finally ready, but the austere sessions now have company. After what Barham calls a "pretty severe breakup" with his girlfriend, he entered a friend's living-room studio with fewer instruments. The resulting six-track EP puts Barham's noticeably weathered voice in appropriately rougher corners, acoustic instruments and steely electric guitar lines supporting the laments he wrote just after the split. The band will release both the LP and EP with an 11 p.m. show at The Pour House on Saturday, April 26. Tickets are $7.

VALIENT THORR'S KIDNEYS AND PENS

Valient Thoor frontman Valient Himself (some may know the name Herbie Abernethy) announced last month that the band would take a brief break from the road in early April, so that Valient could donate a kidney to his father. Doctors will remove the kidney on April 29 in Charlotte, but—between now and then—Valient is looking to raise enough money to support himself before his mighty rock band returns to the road on June 13.

This week, he'll be auctioning several of his original paintings via the band's MySpace page (www.myspace.com/valientthorr), and he's also extending an offer to fans who would like to be immortalized with a Sharpie-or-pen-on-white-paper portrait drawn by Valient Himself. Each portrait will be $29, but Valient warns, "The sooner the better, as I'll be feeling pretty shitty in a few days for a few weeks." Valient Thorr's fourth album, Immortalizer, is still slated for June 17 release by Volcom Entertainment. The band plans to tour America in July.

ANOTHER EARTH DAY GIG

As complete surprises go, N.C. State's post-Earth Day show, which bears the unfortunate title Smells Like Green Spirit, is one of the better local rock bills of the year so far. Embarrassing Fruits, Hammer No More the Fingers and Red Collar—three energetic indie rock bands who stack divebomb guitars and sharp hooks in three-minute anthems—should make it feel (favorably) like it's 1993. The Tourist brings sweet acoustic songs to the rally, and Maple Stave supplies taut, precise, largely instrumental pieces that sort of make one feel like the takeover could happen. My money's on Jew(s) and Catholic(s), though, simply because the Winston-Salem duo's sense of humor is pronounced enough that it may actually consider changing the lyrics of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to reflect the day's (still unfortunate) title. Please? Find out at Talley Plaza on Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m.

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