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The guide to the week's concerts 

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This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: The Twilight Sad, Brakesbrakesbrakes, Sharon Van Etten, Wooden Birds, Steve Summers, KINOEYE, The Love Language, Inflowential, The Iguanas, Eugene Chadbourne, Dysrhythmia, Hex Machine

VS.: A Place To Bury Strangers vs. Carbon Leaf

VS.: 3 Inches of Blood vs. Valient Thorr



On its second LP, this month's Forget the Night Ahead, Scottish quartet The Twilight Sad peels back the sheets of reverb-lifted guitar distortion so prominent on its excellent 2007 debut, putting the dark-heart poetics and concomitant sneer of James Graham in a brighter spotlight. The move works to varying degrees of success, lessening some of the band's arch, anthem-building tendencies while letting you get a bit closer to the subject matter itself. Meanwhile, Brighton's Brakesbrakesbrakes (a band whose music makes the ridiculous name worth the wince) add a refreshing pop vigor to their feelings. At their best, they suggest Nada Surf covering The Clash on caffeine pills. We Were Promised Jetpacks, more Scots also on Fat Cat Records, open. $10/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge Wooden Birds
  • Wooden Birds


Impressions of New York singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten form quickly and slip away even quicker, like ghosts you'd hoped to touch but never will. The 11 songs of her exquisite debut, Because I Was In Love, sit at several thresholds simultaneously, suggesting but a simple folksinger with their homespun elegance but offering hints of the emotional acuity of Cat Power with the wispy ends of her words. To wit, her anthem, "For You," quietly tucks an air of desperation beneath devotion and dreams, lending subversive ambiguity to a tune you'd likely consider for your mixtapes. Austin's Wooden Birds, led by longtime American Analog Set frontman Andrew Kenny, can claim one of the year's best slow wonders with their debut, Magnolia. Coed harmonies glow like kindling, suggesting Low rightfully finding a home among Iron & Wine fans. Toronto's Great Lake Swimmers headline tonight's show: Their slow songs float hazy images above stately acoustics but have, thus far, failed to capture a sizable American audience. $12-$15/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Two things you need to know about this dance shindig and night of thoughtful electronic music. Number one: It's the last FrequeNC monthly party at Nightlight, and they've been doing it well there for three years now. Two: They've gathered a special cadre from the label's roster for this blowout. Steve Summers is the acid house nom de plume of Jason Letkiewicz, whose Rhythm Based Lovers project on FrequeNC was a smash. He's also half of the duo Manhunter on Ghostly International (home to Matthew Dear, et al.). Durham's Zeke Graves (aka DATAHATA) made waves among European house heads with his deep house vibe as KINOEYE. Beautiful Swimmers is Ari Goldman (also in Manhunter) and Andrew Field-Pickering of Food for Animals, both primo DJs who know their way around a fader. Basically, here are some of the world's best in their respective nooks and crannies of techno, disco and house music, no joshing, and the label putting out the music—and this dance party—calls your backyard home. $6/ 10 p.m. —Chris Toenes


Tonight's show is billed as Hear Here: The Finale, an allusion to Hear Here, the recent, and stellar, local compilation released two months ago by Annuals-run imprint Terpsikhore. It's the disc's second and, presumably, last release show. But the 17 potent tracks don't suggest anything of the end as much as they do the area's teeming and diverse current scene. Look no further than tonight's bill for the evidence: The Love Language blisses its garage-pop with soul-brother moans and keyboards; Colossus sacrifices riffs for glorious tales of gods, beasts and wizards; Inflowential exercises its flow over a horn-abetted live band; and new duo Motor Skills vacillates between wiry post-punk disco and witty hipster-hop about the joys of tickling and the burden of bills. $7/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge 09.30mushearignaid_iguanas.gif


Mid-tempo rock with feel-good jangly guitar is like taking a drive to nowhere on a nice day: Just saying you took a drive isn't sufficient in describing the warm seat, open road and escape from life. The funky '70s grooves and Mexican conjunto influences complicate and complete The Iguanas' sound, adding warmth to the trip. Together since 1989, the quartet made a move to Yep Roc Records for its past two albums. Inspiration for 2008's If You Should Ever Fall on Hard Times came from the New Orleans quartet's experience with Hurricane Katrina. Continuing the cozy roots-rock blend The Iguanas have established, the songs mix Spanish and English, accordion and saxophone, in just the right way. $18-20/ 8:30 p.m. —Andrew Ritchey


It would be simple enough to refer you to a rare local gig by North Carolina improvisational legend Eugene Chadbourne via a list of his high-profile collaborations over the past three decades. After all, how readily can you dismiss a guy who's worked with Han Bennink, Camper Van Beethoven, Henry Kaiser, John Zorn, Derek Bailey and Fred Frith? Still, although he mines rich legacies of jazz and folk in his music, the past has rarely felt central to the instrument-inventing, politician-upbraiding Chadbourne. He released a pair of solo LPs in 1975 and 1976 that, so many years later, still feel like space music. This show will be broadcast live through its presenter, online radio station $10/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin


July's Psychic Maps has been hailed as Dysrhythmia's most accessible album to date, but that's just publicist-speak for enticing those for whom Dysrhythmia's knotty, tangled instro-metal has long been too cerebral. Granted, the trio is exciting and engaging, but it's exciting and engaging because it's not easy. Dissonant notes lunge from all sides, even as the melody reaches for something refined enough to be pretty. It's accessible only because Dysrhythmia doesn't let its technicality render the songs sterile. These are meaty, swarming beasts, and they come out to play. Richmond' s Hex Machine delivers a thicker, more humid but no less fleet-footed sound to the support slot. $10/ 8 p.m. —Bryan Reed


click to enlarge 09.30mushearingaid_aptbs.gif


From: Brooklyn
Since: 2003
Claim to fame: Calling itself "New York's loudest band"

Spewing sheets of guitar noise from frontman Oliver Ackermann's custom effects pedals, APTBS made waves in 2007 with a self-titled debut full of noisy, industrial-tinged neo-shoegaze. Without their noisy veneer, though, those songs curdle like whole milk in the sun. That is, the sound came at the expense of tunes. Phrases repeated to the point of flavorless predictability and left even the trio's most promising riffs treading limply. Here, volume revealed nothing, but only obscured weakness behind an onslaught of buzz. With their sophomore LP on the way (only three years later), we can't help but wonder if the songs will resonate longer than the morning-after tinnitus this time. At LOCAL 506. $8/ 9 p.m.


click to enlarge 09.30mushearingaid_vs_carbo.gif


From: Richmond, Va.
Since: 1992
Claim to fame: Not being very loud at all, really, but having a mandolin

Winning over the college crowd with their even-tempered, vaguely roots- and Celtic-influenced pop was only inevitable for Carbon Leaf. The Virginia quintet creates its own shade of beige by blending hues from sensitive-guy rock touchstones like Dave Matthews and R.E.M. and filling in the blanks with Carter Gravatt's mandolin whenever the band needs a Guinness-not-Bud Light differentiator. But its polite blandness hasn't stopped Carbon Leaf from finding success over an eight-album career. It's very chill music, bro. This is a band you could bring home to Mom, rock music you can settle for. And while you're at home, you might as well stay there. Mom makes a great potato soup. At CAT'S CRADLE. $17-$20/ 8:30 p.m. —Bryan Reed


click to enlarge PHOTO BY OMER CEEDELL
  • Photo by Omer Ceedell


From: Vancouver, BC
Since: 1999
Claim to fame: The Halford-esque tenor screech of frontman/sole original member Cam Pipes

You say tomato, I say tomatoe, but it's a New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) revival however you spell it. Both these acts favor Iron Maiden's galloping riffs, with a bit of thrash infusing the flash of incendiary technique. It's a feral, hard-shredding sound ideal for the shaking of shaggy coifs, though 3 Inches' fantastical medieval preoccupations don't reward a lot of lyrical scrutiny. Their fourth album, Here Waits Thy Doom, rages with crisp, racing precision, though their aggression doesn't add up to much more than a lot of sword-swinging Conan action. And that's fine—if that's all you require. With Children, Mantic Ritual and Praetorius. At VOLUME 11 TAVERN. $15/ 8:30 p.m.


click to enlarge 09.30mushearingaid_vs_valie.gif


From: Chapel Hill, NC
Since: 2001
Claim to fame: Looking like Marshall Tucker while playing NWOBHM like the MC5

There's more than muscle to meet the eye. Valient Thorr's namesake singer channels crowd energy like a grizzled, acid-soaked oracle, leaping into the frothing fray and gathering them around him like kindergarteners. Watching long-maned lead guitarist Eidan go off, it's hard to tell if he's playing the guitar or it's playing him. They're one creature. Thorr possesses a bottom-end boogie that many shimmying revivalist peers lack. But what elevates them to the very top of the metal heap is Valient's florid, metaphor-draped lyrical rhetoric. It's hard to defeat an act that blows your mind while it's ripping your face off. With Early Man, White Tiger and Bed of Roses. At THE POUR HOUSE. $10/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker

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