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Music worth leaving the house for 

Contributors: Bennett Campbell, Rick Cornell, Grayson Currin, Rich Ivey, Kathy Justice, Chris Parker, Chris Toenes

Thursday, June 21

Carolina Chocolate Drops, Duke University

If you don't say enough nice things, there's a very real danger you'll undersell the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The Durham trio serves notice that Appalachian string music was the province of African Americans, too, and the Drops are doing their part to reclaim. After meeting in 2005 at the Black Banjo Gathering, the trio spent time with octogenarian fiddler Joe Thompson, soaking in his knowledge and using it to produce the wonderful Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind. Besides their terrific playing, Rhiannon Giddens' vocals are purely ascendant. They play the Stagville Historic Plantation in Durham on Saturday, June 23, at 1 p.m., just a few hours before their segment airs on A Prairie Home Companion. —CP

Haale, Local 506

This NYC trio features evocative Iranian-born singer-guitarist Haale Gafori, who blends traditional Sufi rhythms and tones with a smoldering psych rock aesthetic, sublimating in droning, tribal atmosphere. The Eastern flavor helps ensure this doesn't sound like anything you've heard before, though if Arto Lindsay and P.J. Harvey had a love child delivered by Macha's Joshua McKay, you'd at least be in the right neighborhood. The sultry Haale frequently sings in her native tongue, adding further mystery to their undulating, hypnotic rock. $8-$10/ 9 p.m. —CP

Michelle Malone, Hideaway BBQ

Although she named her ninth album Sugarfoot, Michelle "Moanin'" Malone's music is the antithesis of sugar-coated roots-rock. Rather, it's all grimy blues ballads, the heartbeat of a humid Southern summer beating seductively underneath electric currents and her signature nasty slide guitar. Landing somewhere between Lucinda Williams' woozy, boozy vocal rasp and Shelby Lynne's coy, sometimes poppy country-soul, she's a Delta woman who relishes all that's real and raw, like dirty tube amps, brown liquor and a love for desolate highways soaked in Southern sweat. $8-$10/ 8:30 p.m. —KJ

Alesana, Yearling, The Brewery

click to enlarge Yearling
  • Yearling

Considering the amount of sub-par, predictable emo and pop-punk hitting the airwaves, it's common for up-and-coming acts to sacrifice originality. Raleigh's Yearling might not be perfect in that regard, but 2007's The View From Here is a step in the right direction of canned guitar melodies and heard-them-before lyrics. Fans and critics understandably might expect more from subsequent albums, but Yearling's debut material, in the spirit of The Starting Line, is too damn catchy to quibble over long. Indeed, sold-out shows for labelmates Alesana in New York and Anaheim show people don't worry about such for long. Also, The Hottness, Forever 27. 8 p.m. —BC

Lisa Furukawa, Broad Street Cafe

Tokyo-born, Durham-settled pianist Lisa Furukawa flirts with diverse styles. She plays brooding song-tales associated with the likes of Tori Amos (while tweaking the sound with electro beats and ambient production) while singing in both English and Japanese. Furukawa also touches on traditional Japanese folk while regularly touring anime festivals, where she interprets songs from the hyper-colorful animated film culture. Converging conflicts, one could say. 8 p.m. —CT

Friday, June 22

Django Haskins & Mary Johnson, The ArtsCenter

Django Haskins likes '60s soul and jazz, Springsteen's Nebraska, Argentinean tango master Astor Piazzolla, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Louvin Brothers and a thousand others. Somehow, when stepping away from the mysterious and musically moody 10-or-more-piece The Old Ceremony, he managed to get all that across with an acoustic guitar and smart songs. Pawnshop Ruby's Mary Johnson may have a similarly eclectic list, but she chooses to wear the honky-tonk and country & western side. $12/ 8:30 p.m. —RC

Saturday, June 23

the everybodyfields, Sweet By & By, Shannon O'Connor, Local 506

It feels inherently suspect to compare a band to its press photo, but, if you've at all noticed the evolution of Johnson City's the everybodyfields over the past several years, you'll understand completely: Jill Andrews and Sam Quinn used to look like what they were—slightly quirky, homegrown kids who liked folk music and gentle melodies. But the snapshot for their stakes-raising Ramseur Records debut and third full-length Nothing is Okay puts the beautiful Andrews in a dress and the oddly stately Quinn in a collared shirt. But they're still the same people, just writing more refined, alluring songs and continually getting better at dressing them in truly interesting (and sometimes electric) ways. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —GC

Kenny Roby, The Cave

Roby's subtle twang can be electrically charging and ice cube cool. But unlike most branching off the country road to the y'all-ternative route, he's got quite a lot of the other Elvis in him (you know, Costelo), and his songs send direct messages like Mr. My Aim is True, too. Don't miss this chance to see him in the Cave's new Spotlight Series. 8 p.m. —CT

Tres Chicas, Squirrel Nut Zippers, American Tobacco Campus

Squirrel Nut Zippers are a band that launched a thousand careers: There's Katherine Whalen's recent venture into glossed pop, Jimbo Mathus' dirty Delta production and raconteuring, the whistling Andrew Bird and Rickie Lee Jones collaborators Ken Maxwell and Tom Mosher, just to touch the surface. In reunited form, they've lost some of those original voices and players, but they soldier on with swing, as odd as that sounds. Tres Chicas—three women with gorgeous voices and steadfast songwriting, together eclipsing the rootsy waltz of their debut—join the Zippers for WUNC's All Things Festive. Tymas Jazz Trio goes on at 11 a.m., followed by The Chicas at 2 p.m. and the Zippers at 3:45 p.m. Tickets are $15. —GC

Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Walnut Creek

Toby Keith has been releasing records on major labels for 14 years, and his latest, Big Dog Daddy, is a duly fascinating testament to his status as a musician keenly and uniquely aware of how to, at once, satisfy and expand his audience. His specialty is big, funny odes to getting drunk, hating work or intimating sex, and, here, he nails them, from opener "High Maintenance Woman" to the subtle-as-Cuervo "Get My Drink On." Elsewhere, he quotes "Born to Run" and furls his voice into a Nebraska lament for the common-man-left-behind burner, "White Rose." And what about the lines "My father gave me my shotgun/ That I'll hand down to my son/ Try to teach him everything it means"? The full-page Ford advertisement that bookends the liner notes is proof: Keith, if politically misguided and self-impressed, is a marketing and demographics maestro with few rivals. His stage show agrees. Miranda Lambert, a mainstream beneficiary of striking attention, opens. $15.75-$69.50/ 7:30 p.m. —GC

Sunday, June 24

Beat the Devil, Blend

Led by the eerily commanding howls of singer Shilpa Ray, Beat the Devil plays the perfect waiting room music for hell. Its ominous swamp stomp of drugged-out blues and garage rock seeps through graveyard harmonium minors, serpentine bass grooves and lounge jazz drum attacks. The NYC trio is as volatile as it is arousing, and Ray belts each song like a liquored-up Billie Holiday rifling through a well-stocked medicine cabinet. This ought to be fun. —RI

Tuesday, June 26

B.B. King, Memorial Auditorium

Even now, as an octogenarian, B.B. King remains a stirring performer. Arguably the greatest blues singer and guitarist of our time, King has not only given us such classics as "Paying the Cost to Be the Boss," "How Blue Can You Get?" and his 1970 smash cover of Roy Hawkins' "The Thrill Is Gone," but his signature trilling runs and the bent note solos have become standards in the guitar lexicon. Long live the King, especially outside of the context of his touring blues fests from earlier this decade. $42-$67/ 8 p.m. —CP

Wednesday, June 27

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Local 506

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone is a dismal exercise in male fragility filtered through a Casiotone SK-1 keyboard. Lifting lines from Smiths singles and pre-programmed beats from toy pianos, 29-year-old Owen Ashworth has built a name for himself in the world of lo-fi bedroom pop over the past decade. With each album, he expands upon the original idea—Answering Machine Music—to create a style that, at best, recalls the heydays of Magnetic Fields and, at worst, evokes the high school cheese of The Postal Service. With The Donkeys and Wild Sweet Orange. $8/ 9 p.m. —RI


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Don't forget about Terra Cotta Army playing at Cat's Cradle on Monday, July 16th!! That band is awesome!! By far, …

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i think you're wrong about dirty on purpose. they're fucking great and know how to be soft and how to …

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