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Music worth leaving the house to hear this week

Afroman, Squeezetoy
Wednesday, June 23
Lincoln Theatre

Based on his 2001 hit single of the summer "Because I Got High," one would assume that the California-raised Afroman is just a silly, weed-smoking musician with time, money and grass to burn. In part, that's true. But Afroman is more than that: he's a smart, funny cat with a real bent for contradictions, constantly singing the praises of his mother (who was his first music teacher) while admitting that the amount and quality of free dope that headed his way on the success of his sole chart-topper was astounding. You may want to yell, "Play that song about your teacher." It will be worth your while. --Grayson Currin

Sons & Daughters, The Oranges Band, Fashion Design
Wednesday, June 23
Local 506

Baltimore's The Oranges Band is a pumped-up group of rock dudes with great hooks and many pals in the Triangle area. Please take note of Sons and Daughters, a Glasgow troupe that released the stunning Love the Cup on Ba Da Bing Records, now re-released by Domino. David Gow and Adele Bethel have recorded and toured as members of Arab Strap, but in S&D they turn away from Arab Strap's slow dirge, gritting their Scottish teeth through quick and violent ballads and vendettas that cut straight to the dark marrow of things. Fantastic. Locals Fashion Design open. --Chris Toenes

The Greatest Hits, Quartre Tete
Thursday, June 24

It seems that Raleigh now has three bands led by Fuquay-Varina-bred boys to boast of. Along with The Cherry Valence's Brian Quast and The Rosebuds' Ivan Howard, Jeramy Lowe of The Greatest Hits spent his formative years in the hallways of Fuquay-Varina High School with current bandmate Trent Bowles, contemplating riffs, women and their eventual departure from the growing suburb. Lowe is a balls-to-the-wall, rock 'n' roll screamer, a quintessentially gruff-voiced frontman who doesn't mind laying his heart on the line. It works well with the outfit, too: big, loud guitars cutting swathes of sweaty fever in, around and above a rollicking, furious drum attack. --Chris Parker

Psyche Origami, Ill Rottin Intelligence
Thursday, June 24
The Library

Psyche Origami brings Jurassic Five hip-hop harmonies, De La Soul vernacular idiom, and a Dilated Peoples' itch for scratching. The trio's ATL roots lurk beneath this conceptually vibrant soundscape, and their style recalls the beginnings of hip hop, when DJs still shared the limelight with MCs. Wyzsztyk (pronounced wiz-stick) blesses the mic and his counterparts, Dainja and Synthesis, hold down these wheels of steel. --Kevin McNamee-Tweed

Two Dollar Pistols, The Bigger Lovers, Grand Champeen
Friday, June 25
Pour House

It's hard to imagine a bill with better bang for your buck. Openers Grand Champeen are an Austin-based band who briefly decamped to Chapel Hill in their formative years. While playing a country-rock sound like Texas peers Slobberbone and Old 97s, these Champs also subscribe to Punk Rock Rules, channeling the corn-fed churn and crash of Soul Asylum (pre-"Runaway Train"). Philadelphia's The Bigger Lovers feature some of the sweetest vocal harmonies this side of The Byrds. Grand Champeen also plays Thursday, June 24 at Go!, with Transportation and Chrome Plated Apostles.--Chris Parker

The Forty-Fives, The Loners, The Greenhornes
Friday, June 25
Fowler's Garage

It hardly seems justifiable, much less plausible, to call the latest offering from The Forty-Fives, a band whose last album cover depicted an unpolished Gretsch being played with a flat-head screwdriver, as polished. But it's true. High Life, High Volume pulsates with the force, flair and vitality of what it would sound like if the circa-Shake Your Money Maker Black Crowes took a turn at Let It Bleed. Expect the grit to return live, though: clean from the split strings and cracked sticks to the shakin' asses and bleeding lobes, The Forty-Fives are ballistic on stage. --Grayson Currin

Mic Harrison
Friday, June 25-Wednesday, June 30
around the Triangle

Unless you were able to hunt down his 1999 solo album Don't Bail, Knoxville's Mic Harrison is probably known to you as Mic Harrison, Band Member. He was stage-right guitarist and vocalist for the V-roys during that quartet's pub-rocking-American-style five-year run, and he was most recently a member of Superdrag. But for the moment at least, he's Mic Harrison, Solo Guy, with a fine new release titled Pallbearer's Shoes that deftly blends all his pop, rock and roots experiences. Harrison will be at The Cave with Kenny Roby for the late show on Friday, June 25; at Durham's Ooh La Latte on Sunday, June 27, a 7 p.m. show; and on a side stage at the Alltel Pavilion on Wednesday, June 30. --Rick Cornell

NRBQ, Memphis
Friday, June 25
Cat's Cradle

The letters stand for "new rhythm and blues quartet," but that ain't all you'll get when you encounter NRBQ in person or on record. They can and will play anything, as they demonstrated on their 1969 self-titled debut, covering Sun Ra, Eddie Cochran and Brownie McGhee with equal ease. Live, they'll play anything the audience shouts out--from Johnny Horton's "North to Alaska" to the Angel's "My Boyfriend's Back." But the band is no nostalgic time machine. With their level of musicianship and zany sense of humor, NRBQ is still one of the best things in rock'n'roll. --Grant Britt

Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, Vetiver
Saturday, June 26

An amazing, unusual talent, Banhart's music could be called folk but that'd be far too limiting, as he melds elements of Appalachia, blues, ragtime, and Celtic folk into tender acoustic elegies whose weird, wild-eyed style recalls Daniel Johnston and Syd Barrett. But unlike those precious naifs, Banhart seems less a slave to his iconoclastic artistic impulses than their equal partner. With his rich, lyrical imagery and high, crackling voice enveloped in warm, spare musical tapestries, there's something haunting yet endearing about Barnhart's music--like an eccentric uncle with a penchant for enigmatic stories and acid folk. Opener Joanna Newsom is a classically trained harpist with a childlike voice whose debut surveys Appalachian folk and bluegrass with delicate grace. --Chris Parker

Dub is a Weapon, Dub Addis
Saturday June 26
De La Luz

Dub reggae affected various strains of music from its inception in Jamaica to the beats in electronic music and the rhythms in post-punk groups. Brooklyn group DIAW sticks close to the originators, with heavy echo effects driven by bass percussion. Even though they're a young group, they've worked with roots dub heavies like Ashanti Roy of The Congos, one of the first Lee Perry outfits, and share a member with Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. Durham's Dub Addis mix the vibe and rhythmic qualities of reggae with their African roots. Sounds like a good summer Saturday night. --Chris Toenes

Sonny Landreth, The Iguanas
Saturday, June 26
N.C Museum of Art

They're from the same place, but their music comes from two different worlds. Louisiana is home to both funky slide guitarist Sonny Landreth and The Iguanas' mix of Mexican Norteno with honky-tonk and rock. Landreth was the first white member of the band led by Zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier, mixing blues and rock with Creole and Cajun music. The guitarist is in demand as a session player--on records by John Mayall, John Hiatt and Junior Wells--and has toured as a member of Hiatt's band, The Goners. Landreth's '03 album, The Road We're On, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Recording. --Grant Britt

Bio Ritmo
Sunday, June 27
The Pour House

Puerto Rican Pride Day may have come and gone, but it's not too late to get in on the party: Bio Ritmo returns to The Pour House this Sunday to let their freaky bandera fly. Touting a critically acclaimed new album of salsa, bomba, bolero and funk, this 9-piece salsa machine has something for everybody, from new generation salseros to old school Latin groovasaurs. Stylish yet unpretentious, they don't pander to the trends--you won't catch them playing cheesy "salsa romantica" covers in matching suits. As an indie band they are as hard-hitting as they come: from Giustino the timbalero (who's been known to break cymbals), to tropical storm Marlysse at the piano, to Gabo's suave power on the congas, backed by a gutsy brass section and fronted by Rei who sings like an acrobat without the net. Bio Ritmo plays it like they mean it. Haven't heard them in a few years? Hermano, check this out. --Sylvia Pfeiffenberger

Icarus Line, Dead Meadow, 400 Blows
Sunday, June 27
Cat's Cradle

Throttling, high-energy rockers Icarus Line have a garage-punk sound that's equal parts Black Flag and The Stooges. Alan Moulder (Blur, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails) mixed their punishing new album, Penance Soiree, calling it the most exciting thing he'd worked on in years. Besides the thundering, intoxicating roar tearing up the intersections of punk, post-punk and garage, the band has a scathing sense of humor that knows no bounds, whether that's breaking the glass containing Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar and playing it at a SXSW gig, or painting "$ucking Cock$" on former tourmates Cave-In's van. Says Aaron North (who also edits the seminal 'zine Buddyhead), "We're just trying to entertain ourselves, and to us that's kind of bumming people out."--Chris Parker


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