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The guide to the week's concerts 

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Springhouse/ Magnetic Morning, The Club is Open, Transportation/ Chrome Plated Apostles, Tracy Grammer, Awesome Color/ Rongo Rongo, Richard Bacchus/ GST Cardinals, Pierced Arrows/ Dirty Little Heaters, Tenderhooks

EH, WHATEVER: A Place to Bury Strangers/ Sian Alice Group, Cold War Kids

VS.: Ray LaMontagne vs. Robert Earl Keen

VS.: Jerry Douglas vs. Jessica Lea Mayfield

INTRODUCING: Duke Coffeehouse re-opens



Springhouse's blurry soft-focus pop swirls like soft-serve, its creamy texture buoyed by ringing Britpop guitars swathed in melodic flurries of atmosphere. Coming up in the late '80s and early '90s, the band's dreamy cast had more in common with cross-atlantic acts like Mojave 3, Lush and The Chameleons. The band recently released From Now to OK, which closes a 15-year recording hiatus and presents a graceful timelessness in tracks like the rushing jangle-pop of "Moving Van" and the lingering melancholy swells of "No More Yesterday." Drummer Jack Rabid also publishes biannual music mag nonpareil The Big Takeover. Magnetic Morning combines members of Interpol and Swervedriver. $8-$10/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker


In this latest installment of Cat's Cradle's Wootini-sponsored local music showcase, The Club is Open, the definition of "local" gets stretched. Max Indian, led by singer/songwriter Carter Gaj, represents Chapel Hill with AM Gold flair and a tight set, built on a foundation of honey-thick melodies and carefree charisma. The outfit's breezy Americana walks the line between Charleston resident Cary Ann Hearst's sinner's blues concoction—a blend of down-home country gospel and Wanda Jackson attitude—and the slow, shuffling, Hotel Lights-ish pop of Justin Williams, he of Charlotte's late Young Sons. Solo, Williams offers a gentle, steady strum and an upper-register croon. Free/ 9 p.m. —Bryan Reed


Former Pipe wielder and Bad Check Clifton Lee Mann hauls his Chrome Plated Apostles out of the garage for another turn at rough rock glory. Mann's Demon Beach Records was the first label to give us a shot at Transportation's gliding pop glory back in the day; good for us, the Chapel Hill trio finally made an LP, and it's all old FM glory, soft-rocking through the grooves, at least until it's not. $3/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin


After losing her musical partner on the road to a heart attack in 2002, singer/songwriter Tracy Grammer chose to continue touring and recording her and Dave Carter's acoustic Americana, in his honor. On her latest, Book of Sparrows, the melancholy subjects sound deceptively upbeat as her steady, careful voice guides you through her gloomy narratives. In "Travis John," she gently strums an acoustic guitar and sings about a boy's lost innocence and his demise "under a foreign sky." Opener Jonathan Byrd's inspiration from his father's vinyl bluegrass collection is overshadowed by his spare instrumentation and prominent vocals $15/ 8:30 p.m. —Elizabeth Lilly

click to enlarge Awesome Color
  • Awesome Color


Noisy, propulsive bar-punk that boogies, power-shifts and pedal-pumps its way into your heart, Brooklyn-by-way-of Michigan trio Awesome Color kicks up a garage-psych shitstorm bearing the DNA of their forebears—Mitch Ryder, Mule and The Dirtbombs. Its second album, Electric Aborigines, blends garage-soul and blues-psych with the amps turned to 11, leaving a nasty resin that looks like Jon Spencer and smells like The Simpsons' bus-driving palindrome, Otto. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Parker


GST (God Save The) Cardinals brings youthful pub rock to Slim's from across the pond. The UK five-piece comes off a little bit like The Strokes, a little bit like The Faces and maybe even a little too young to order a whiskey sour in the States. The boys are met by Raleigh's premier punk-tinged bar rockers, Richard Bacchus and the Luckiest Girls. 11 p.m. Also catch the Cardinals at Local 506 Wednesday, Oct. 15 with The Sea. —Rich Ivey

click to enlarge Pierced Arrows
  • Pierced Arrows


Fred and Toody Cole have delivered on the promise of rock's rough spirit longer than most folks can remember. The duo once at the core of Dead Moon and now risen from its ashes in new project Pierced Arrows locates the loci of soulful singing and stripped-bare bootstrap leather rock. Pierced Arrows' oeuvre teeters between third-rail burners and desperate ballads; in other words, prime Cole territory explored with a renewed vigor since the demise of Dead Moon. Chapel Hill's formidable Dirty Little Heaters open. House DJs Spacelab Soundsystem spin. $8-$10/ 9:30 p.m. —Chris Toenes

click to enlarge 10.15mushearingaid_yes_tend.gif


New Ways to Butcher English, the latest from Knoxville, Tenn.'s quartet Tenderhooks, lifts the band's constant spry melodies perfectly, pairing quick-take pop numbers against slow-motion, arching reveries. With The Future Kings of Nowhere. Free/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin



OMG! It's the self-proclaimed "loudest band in New York." Yeah, no one bothers arguing with A Place To Bury Strangers over its pet point. But if you want anything other than a gust of recycled, volume-for-the-sake-of-volume shoegaze in your face, skip this. Not ballsy enough to dive head first into full-bore chaos, Oliver Ackermann pushes his amps to the brink and tilts a riff into the red, beating listeners over the head with his simple ideas until they're convinced they've seen something transcendent. Sian Alice Group, on the other hand, isn't afraid of a bit of quiet with their storm. Also, Atlanta's slightly tepid Touch & Go signees All the Saints. $10-$12/ 9 p.m. —Robbie Mackey

click to enlarge 10.15mushearingaid_yes_cold.gif


California's Cold War Kids is another element of that swelling population of bands straddling the precipice between mainstream and indie audiences. Vying for the favor of both through poorly penned, vaguely familiar songs (hello, late night television) with slight production quirks (hello, indie rock blogosphere), Cold War Kids delights in lyrical vagaries that ultimately play as empty and song structures that generally topple into themselves. Sorry if you missed that excellent gig from The Walkmen (rich man's Cold War Kids) a few weeks back, but I hear The Fray (radio fan's Cold War Kids) is wrapping up its sophomore record really soon. With A.A. Bondy. $15-$17/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin



From: New England
Since: 1999
Claim to fame: Smitten crowds

Rumor has it that you can hear a pin drop at a Ray LaMontagne show. Members of the crowd hang respectfully silent on his every word except when, on occasion, a female fan surrenders to the impulse to cry out. LaMontagne's hushed but raspy old-soul delivery and delicate melodies are such that they seek quiet, so that first part makes sense. But, as a reluctant American(a) idol, he's probably a bit puzzled by the adoration, possibly even by the stacks of Van Morrison, Nick Drake and one-man Band name-drops that have formed in his gentle wake. At MEYMANDI CONCERT HALL. $27-$31/ 8 p.m.



From: Houston and Kerrville, Texas
Since: 1984
Claim to fame: Sing-along crowds

Firsthand experience says you wouldn't be able to hear a bag of cymbals drop at a Robert Earl Keen show. His tends to be a fired-up crowd, no more hesitant to let you know just how fired up than they are to let the Texas troubadour know what they want to hear. But, hell, you can hardly blame them for singing along: The songs in Keen's bottomless duffel feel built for it. From "The Front Porch Song" and "Corpus Christi Bay" to "Gringo Honeymoon" and a certain seasonal favorite, the party never ends. With Sons of Bill at the CAROLINA THEATRE IN GREENSBORO (sponsored by the Lincoln Theatre, where Keen performs Nov. 16). $17.50-$26.50/ 8 p.m. —Rick Cornell

Saturday, October 18

click to enlarge 10.15mushearingaid_vs_jerry.gif


From: Columbus, Ohio
Since: Mid '70s
Claim to fam: Perhaps the finest dobro player alive: three-time CMA Musician of the Year ('02, '05, '07), and 12-time Grammy Award winner

While Douglas is foremost a bluegrass musician, he's flirted with country, blues, folk and pop across his dozen solo releases. A member of Union Station and an in-demand session hand, Douglas covers plenty of ground, going from the smoky, avant jazz slink of the Bill Frisell-penned "Lookout for Hope" to the delicate drift of the sax line of Weather Report cover "A Remark You Made," where his strings take the sax line. Douglas' skill, versatility and evocative voicing are why the devil sticks to the fiddle. At CAT'S CRADLE. $25-$28/ 8 p.m.


click to enlarge 10.15mushearingaid_vs_mayfi.gif


From: Kent, Ohio
Since: 2004
Claim to fame: Appeared on the Danger Mouse-produced Black Keys album, Attack & Release

Though it may be unfair to match this willowy teen's ache against an artist three decades her senior, it's fair because she so easily annihilates anyone her own age. Mayfield's plaintive, soulful croon wavers mournfully, reminiscent of Beth Orton if she'd taken up residence in haunted backwoods blues. The old-timey waltzes of her 2005 White Lies EP give way to more fully fleshed tracks on her debut LP, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, that while still minimalist, reverberate with the rich textures of Dan Auerbach's (Black Keys) production. The album's suffused with sentiments of loss, hope and longing simply expressed but resonating with their own eternal universality. At LOCAL 506 with Paleface. $8/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker



Modest renovations have delayed this year's opening of Duke Coffeehouse, which has sporadically served as an eclectic auxiliary venue for music in the Triangle for the last two decades. But with several new murals, additional pieces of furniture and a relocated soundbooth, the Coffeehouse will open this weekend with a five-band bill focused on local acts: The orchestral grandeur of Lost in the Trees returns from a national tour, sharing the stage with the guitar-sharp pop of Bull City, The Beast, Down River and T-Rox.

Jen Fuh, a Duke junior studying environmental science, says to expect more modest, balanced bookings from the Coffeehouse this year, which ran its talent-buying fund dry early into the school's second semester last year. This grand-opening local bill is representative of Fuh's booking aims for the year at large, but national talent is already starting to line the docket as well: Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg plays solo Oct. 25, followed by Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart Nov. 1. For more information, see —Grayson Currin


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