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Music worth leaving the house for

Thursday, February 16

Plumerai, Veronique Diabolique, Remora, Kings

Raleigh's Remora seems a bit out of place on a bill with two femme-fronted rock bands, considering Brian John Mitchell is, well, a one-man band, and doesn't exactly play rock music. Instead, he pawns damp-n-droney dioramas and sloppy sound-poems, as if he were Jandek's funky cousin. But Boston's Plumerai can get down with the drone and the 'lectro, too, offering up their best Cure-meets-Cocteau Twins-meets-Portishead impression on tracks like "Illuminati" and "Fixed." --RM

Jon Shain, Stillhouse, Cat's Cradle

A fine split bill of locals who have experienced national attention and will likely find more, this show combines two of our Indy Music Award finalists: Jon Shain has earned a reputation far and wide as a folk singer who comes with a smile and a catalogue of imaginative lifescapes. Stillhouse--Johnny Irion with members of Chatham County Line and Tift Merritt's unit--write indefatigable songs about being fatigued, frazzled and fried by life's bump-ups. $8/8:30 p.m. --GC

Michael Rank & Marc Smith, Local 506

Smith's scathing guitar licks carve scabrous chunks out of Patty Hurst Shifter's songs, while Rank's a filth-rock connoisseur interested in the squishy place where the rubber hits the road-bound creature. Like a snuff film starring the Teletubbies, Rank's Snatches of Pink reconnoiter the dark, dysfunctional and grime-caked side of rock, scraping off four-minute slabs with a spatula, much like Royal Trux. However, all the time in dank basements has kindled Rank's need for sunlight, as the forthcoming Snatches album offers unseen ribbons of pop, which they promise to unveil in this acoustic performance. $5/10:30 p.m. --CP

Friday, February 17

Malcolm Holcombe, Flipside (Clayton)

"Strong soap and lots of boiling water," Holcombe sings above a hard-picked flat-top guitar and a looming upright bass on "Justice in a Cradle," the gem from his A Hundred Lies, an antediluvian album that moves beyond blues, folk and country by moving before them, straight into the existentialism essence of roots. Those seven words sound like a recipe for curing Holcombe's voice of its world-weathered affliction: His voice is high-grain sandpaper smoked in whiskey, stained with smoke and split on cinders. But it's not that you'd ever want to cure it, as his hoarse, rattled crackle is as glorious and potent as it is antique and pained. An Americana treasure. --GC

Tinsley Ellis, Blue Bayou

Although he's a hardcore blues guitarist, Tinsley Ellis' vocals, especially on his last couple of outings, have him sounding like a soul man. On his latest, Alligator's Live-Highway Man, Ellis brings the fire back to his vocals as well. Ellis' stinging, original Texas-style blues are reminiscent of Albert Collins and Freddy King. Wah-wah pedal to the metal, Ellis roars and growls like the big dogs whose heels he's been snapping at the last two decades. 9:30 p.m. --GB

Jule Brown, Fuse

Mark Holland never retired his blues experiment Jule Brown after Jennyanykind wound down. The group has a new record due in September, so expect new speaking in the tongues of Delta and Dylan here.
10 p.m. --CT

Dexter Romweber & The New Romans, Patty Hurst Shifter, The Strugglers, Local 506

On his third album, You Win, Strugglers singer/guitarist Randy Bickford balances parched country-folk with moments of gentle beauty bordering on chamber pop. Patty Hurst Shifter works the other end of the spectrum, with simmering punk brewing beneath the surface of raunchy, country-rimmed rock, like antecedents Drive-By Truckers and The Replacements. Headliners The New Romans get better with each gig, and Romweber's a revelatory guitar talent whose tremendous skill more than justifies Jack White's frequent genuflections. $6/10 p.m. --CP

Maxwell/Mosher, Slim's

The clever distant relatives of Farrelly Brothers' creations Harry & Lloyd, Maxwell and Mosher put the goof in goofball, though their joyous musical larks may disguise deeper, more poignant subjects. (For example, personal fave "Steven Had a Wet Dream" may refer to an actual incidence of sexual abuse.) But that doesn't stop the duo from taking listeners on a rollercoaster ride through decades of musical styles. Terrific musicians, their horn-fed rock is playful in the extreme and melodic to the hilt, driven by the same kind of loose-limbed adventurousness they helped spark 10 years ago in the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Free/ 10 p.m. --CP

Mel Melton & the Wicked Mojos,
Tir Na Nog

To the best of my knowledge, there's only one North Carolinian who's played alongside zydeco legend Clifton Chenier, toured with Zachary Richard, and cowritten a hit for the Neville Brothers. That'd be Roy "Mel" Melton, and he also makes a hell of a crawfish etouffee. Come watch Melton and his Wicked Mojos turn Tir Na Nog into a dance hall with their blend of blues, funk, Cajun and swamp bop. 10:30 p.m. --RC

The Teenage Prayers, Blayloc Cafe

This young band out of New York City will fill up Blayloc's cozy music area with six members and a rock-soul sound that's equal parts Kinks and Stax/Volt. If that hasn't gotten your attention, this might: Solomon Burke produced The Teenage Prayers' version of his "Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)" on 2005's Ten Songs. $5/9:30 p.m. (You can also catch the Prayers on Sunday at the Cave at 9 p.m.) --RC

Gerty!, The Dirty Little Heaters, Midtown Dickens, Duke Coffeehouse

In what they're calling a three-way birthday bash, these Durham bands all belong to the 307 Knox Records family. The points of this triumvirate range from Gerty's high-energy new wave postulations, the Heaters' proto-blues and the folk lull of the Midtowners. This show is all Durham, all the time. $5. --CT

Saturday, February 18

P.O.S. with Turbo Nemesis, Mac Lethal, SIMS, L in Japanese, Cat's Cradle

The TLA (three-letter acronym) perched atop the CMJ hip-hop charts is P.O.S., a black Minneapolis rapper named Stefon, whose punk past--tattoos, body piercings, body surfing, rock bands--runs parallel to his rap game. He's been doing one since he's been listening to the other (mid-'90s), and it shows on his second full-length, Audition, a grimy, gut-punch affair full of topical lyrics, troubled minds and guest appearances from Bouncing Souls' Greg Attonito, Atmosphere's Slug and The Hold Steady's Craig Finn. The bill combines P.O.S.'s touring associates and L in Japanese, a Chapel Hill gem. $10/10 p.m. --GC

Physics of Meaning, Des Ark,
Duke Coffeehouse

If there's a difference between light and hard, it can be found in this bill. Daniel (Go Machine, The Polyphonic Spree) Hart's Physics of Meaning is rich in texture and tempo, but generally warm and softly hued on its self-titled debut. Des Ark features Aimee Argote, whose guitar playing verges on self-immolation as molten shards wallpaper the room during her sometimes discordant, always visceral performances. --CP

The Moaners, Red Smokes White, Spider Bags, Local 506

Yep Roc's The Moaners comes at us from lyricist/vocalist Melissa Swingle, who made Trailer Bride one of the South's most intriguing act in years. But where Swingle let her notes swing low beneath Spanish moss and just above swamp grass with Bride, she seethes her elongated growl on long car rides and in dingy bars with The Moaners. It's two-piece, two-women rock, void of excuses or exorcism. $6/10 p.m. --GC

Sunday, February 19

Electric 6, She Wants Revenge,
Cat's Cradle

Electric is right, because Electric is a dangerous, high-voltage party band. Their disco-punk exuberance is infectious onstage, even if it's a tad predictable on disc. Tourmates She Wants Revenge's debut disc is the product of a pair of L.A. DJs paying slathering homage to Joy Division. The brooding darkness is spot-on, but wouldn't you be better off buying Closer than supporting these posers? Rock Kills Kid opens, too. $10/9 p.m. --CP

Tuesday, February 21

Pedestrian Deposit, Brian Miller & Kevin Shields, Social Junk, Nightlight

When I was a teenager, my brother had a Citizen Band's radio; he would scoff at the radio noise and turn the squelch down. When I was alone with the big silver box, I would twist the squelch knob the other way, mixing it back and forth like an afflicted savant, tickled by patterns of the sound that wasn't supposed to exist. Now, I know there are genres of music devoted to people just like me, and I couldn't be happier. For fellow happy twiddlers, see Pedestrian Deposit's squall-to-the-wall KFJC broadcast at then see it live. $5/9 p.m. --GC

Wednesday, February 22

February's Leaving, The Verdict,
Mona Ray, The Brewery

The members of The Verdict--a polished indie pop quartet from Charlotte--sound like they've never left the house without a comb in their back pocket. The V rely on hearty, if not always heartfelt, balladry, some frosty emo sheen and lead singer Chandler Martin's boyish vocals. One thing is quite clear: Everyone on this bill owns a copy of Clarity. 8 p.m. --RM


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