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The guide to the week's concerts 

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: J-Live, John Howie Jr., Claire Holley, Screaming Females/ Curtains of Night, Schooner/ Hundred Air, The Two Man Gentlemen Band, Sonny Landreth, Mudhoney

EH, WHATEVER: Disco Biscuits

VS.: The New Frontiers vs. Swervedriver

INTRODUCING: The Water Callers

SONG OF THE WEEK: Hayden's "More Than Alive"


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J-Live is the universe's only emcee to stand onstage behind two turntables and—for the length of an entire song—rap to a beat he made on the spot by "beat-juggling" two records. He's also the only emcee to use the word "capaciously" in a song. What else would you expect from a former middle school English teacher, some silly song with a dance to go with it? Tonight probably wouldn't be a good time to play hookie. Look for songs from J's new BBE release, Then What Happened? With Tyler Hipnosis and L in Japanese. $8-$10/ 9 p.m.—Eric Tullis


This outing will provide insight into John Howie Jr.'s intentions in a post-Two Dollar Pistols Triangle. Here, he teams up with Cadillac Stepback, Fontana member and Independent designer Nathan Golub for an installment of The Cave's Song Slingers Showcase. With Howie's musical interests and the series' mission statement of mixing things up, the union could mean anything up to and including a Stranglers song given a country-soul arrangement for two acoustic guitars. 7:30 p.m.—Rick Cornell


"But when the storms return, come visit me," sings Claire Holley on her new, knowingly titled Hush. With moments recalling '70s Jackson Browne and '00s Kathleen Edwards, the record caresses some 30 years of folk-rock. The Mississippi-born, now-L.A.-based Holley lived in the area when she recorded the striking gospel collection Sanctuary in 1999. Now she returns for this CD release celebration. Jason Harrod opens. $6-$8/ 7:30 p.m.—Rick Cornell


Find a more badass bill in the state this week, and I'll send you earplugs made of disbelief: The Curtains of Night are Lauren Fitzpatrick and Nora Rogers, a blistering Chapel Hill duo that binds blues and math rock together with strong metal wiring—like the kind of wiring that's heavy enough to build a suspension bridge or hold the most hostile hesher in place. Screaming Females is Marissa Paternoster—a female David Byrne/ Tom Verlaine hybrid, if you will—surrounded by a two-dude rhythm section that handles her sinuous guitar playing and howl-'em-down vocals like after-school garage rock. With New York's Cheeky. 10 p.m.—Grayson Currin


If Chapel Hill bands Schooner and Hundred Air work for similar tastes (those of indie pop glory), they don't work for similar moods. Schooner's shadowy pop seeps darkness into cheery melodies, washing both behind reverb-and-keys haze. Hundred Air keeps a contented bounce in its strums and in frontman Adam Price's encouraging tenor. Point, counterpoint, all good. 10 p.m.—Bryan Reed


The Two Man Gentlemen Band offers banjo, bass and a boisterous performance of vaudeville music. With songs like "I've Been Drinkin'," "Heavy Petting" and "When Your Lips are Playing my Kazoo," the duo knows how to have fun with an appropriated style; the gents are cheeky enough to be charming. $8/ 7 p.m.—Andrew Ritchey

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Slide guitar miracle-worker Sonny Landreth (the King of Slydeco) and harmonica hero Roy "Mel" Melton (the Zydeco Chef) go way back. The former moved to Lafayette, La., from Mississippi while the latter emigrated from North Carolina. Their initial bonding took place on stage with Clifton Chenier. That shared history will bring Landreth to Mel's cozy joint in Durham for his brand new From the Reach, on which Landreth takes turns slacking jaws with the likes of Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler. The playing will be spicy, as will the pan-fried oysters with hot lemon garlic sauce. $30/ 4 & 7 p.m.—Rick Cornell


Last month's release of The Lucky Ones celebrated 20 years of unflinching, blistering existence for the Seattle band. When the shreds of flannel settled around that whole scene near the crack of the '90s, major, lucrative careers had been launched. Mudhoney, though, was still this sort of hot, molten core that never got the big bucks. The band was always tougher (and singer Mark Arm more Iggycool) than anybody else. "Grunge" came and went like a bad wet dream, and Mudhoney still stood there, staring back. Mudhoney's never flamed out, either: The Lucky Ones is as great a rock record as anyone's likely to hear this year, released on the same day the flagship label of those days, Sub Pop, issued a deluxe version of Mudhoney's signature record, Superfuzz Bigmuff. Get bent again, starting early with their tourmates and our disciples, Birds of Avalon. $15/ 9:30 p.m.—Chris Toenes

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In these recessionary winds, only the rich can afford a show like this. It's not the cost that's necessarily prohibitive: In fact, this four-band, outside-and-inside bill starts at 5 p.m. and will run past midnight (if you include the indoor after party), so $20 is quite the deal. Or only until you include the money you'll waste by draining your time with The Disco Biscuits, since time is money and all. This Philadelphia band's umpteen-minute cycles go through nothing to get absolutely nowhere, retreading worn jam wheels with under-accomplished classical and jazz references. The only catharsis you'll find is possibly in the form of a swirl dance, and their improvisations—boring rhythms, tired guitar lines, electronic atmospherics that are unintentionally humorous—are all borrowed, if not mostly broken, tropes. By the way, Toubab Krewe, who plays at 5 p.m. outside, is completely worth your attention. Just look for their next headlining set.—Grayson Currin


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From: Dallas, Texas
Since: 2006 (originally named Stellamaris)
Claim to fame: February full-length debut, Mending, on The Militia Group

Everyone's standing on the shoulder of giants, so it's not about what you use. It's about how you carry it. This Dallas quintet's atmospheric mien wanders from the twinkle of finger-picked acoustic to the high drama of choirs and piano chords. The interplay of its loping rustics and atmospheric shimmer coalesces in frontman Nathan Pettijohn's slightly reedy croon, which wavers from earnest and dusty to airy and sanguine. And guess what? The lonely, rolling peals of reverb guitar it surfs on "Black Lungs" tip the hat to the supple power of lower amperage shoegaze antecedents—like Swervedriver, tonight's champs. At LOCAL 506 with Denison Witmer. $7-$8/ 9 p.m.


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From: Oxford, England
Since: 1979 (with a nine-year hiatus)
Claim to fame: Early '90s dream pop pioneer (ask The New Frontiers)

More supple and muscular than most of its British peers, Swervedriver wasn't simply a bunch of blissed-out riff merchants trafficking in directionless drone. It retains plenty of rock swagger amidst the spiraling nodes of distortion, thanks to an acid-psych guitar rumble cut with speed and chased with melody. Label troubles fueled the band's implosion, as two fine early '90s albums were followed by two that received scant attention in the U.S. Frontman Adam Franklin forged ahead with the sparser, experimental Toshack Highway and a solo album last year before announcing this reunion tour last fall. As underappreciated sonic titans go, these guys are a knockout. At CAT'S CRADLE with The Nein and Terra Diablo. $15-$17/ 9:15 p.m.—Chris Parker

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When former Duke students Jason Fagg and Bart Matthews met four years ago, neither thought the other was in a position to be in a band. Fagg didn't know Matthews, a Duke theater student, played music, and Matthews knew Fagg was busy with other bands, including International Orange and The Ugglians. But, accompanied by an acoustic guitar, they sang old songs together at a mutual friend's party, and they liked the sound their voices made together: "He was like, 'Do you wanna play with me?'" Fagg remembers. "And I was like, 'Eh, maybe.'"

Fagg and Matthews, now named The Water Callers, both share upbringings on church music, so their earliest sets combined acoustic arrangements of old hymns and irreverent, folk-but-funny originals. The band's debut LP, recorded on the cheap and the quick as a demo, captured more of the former, but the band's second LP, Springboard, puts the irreverence on full display. A lustful little one called "Hold Out" falls just before a song where they pray for a woman called "Caroline" to reciprocate in affection. The Watercallers releases Springboard tonight with Sweet By & By. $5/ 8:30 p.m.—Grayson Currin


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