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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Jucifer, Cannabis Corpse, Tift Merritt & Simone Dinnerstein, Carlitta Durand, The Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet, James Cotton, Clang Quartet, Mandolin Orange, Marshall Chapman, Small Ponds, Filthybird

VS.: Tom Maxwell vs. Phil Lee



Meet any or all of these requirements, and you're a Jucifer fan in the making: You like your rock 'n' roll hard and heavy. You have a thing for husband-and-wife drum-and-guitar duos. You enjoy vocalists like Amber Valentine, who can effortlessly switch between menacing coos and hellacious growls without missing a strum. You can hang with a group that follows up a wide-ranging concept album about the life of Marie Antoinette (2008's L'Autrechienne) with a merciless no-frills record that's positively black-metal-esque (2010's Throned in Blood). You know what's good for you. With Parasite Drag and Casualty. $10/ 9 p.m. —David Raposa

click to enlarge Cannabis Corpse - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND


Cannabis Corpse's first album, Blunted at Birth, featured such weed-grinding hits as "Staring Through My Eyes That Are Red" and "Force Fed Shitty Grass." Tube of the Resinated, from 2008, included "Disposal of the Baggy" and "Sentenced to Burn One." Rest assured, then, that these Virginia bros not only have their wits in order, but also their understanding of the Cannibal Corpse discography ("Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead" and "Force Fed Broken Glass" were the namesake ditties). Also be assured that they meet muster when it comes to growling, relentless death metal; with chiseled guitars and drums that pour forth like smoke, they'll deliver a pure fix. With Inter Arma, Salvacion, Mutant Supremacy and Drug Lord. $8–$10/ 10 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge Tift Merritt - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST


Despite her major-label stint, New York address and late-night television appearances, a chunk of the Triangle will always consider Tift Merritt the local country-teasing songwriter with the warm voice—the one at Humble Pie, or The Cave, or moonlighting with Two Dollar Pistols. And at first glance, classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein—born in New York, the daughter of a painter, with a new collection of Bach works due on Sony this month—might seem to have nothing in common with the area's favorite chanteuse. But she raised money to self-fund her breakthrough recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations, offering evidence of her DIY mettle even from the classical realm. What's more, she plays with the same radiance and delicacy that makes Merritt's songs so notable. This is the world premiere of their new collaboration, Night. Merritt and Dinnerstein host a free listening session at The Pinhook on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., followed by open lectures and master classes by both on Thursday. For details on those events, visit $5–$38/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin


Carlitta Durand's elfin vocals have been wafting their way across the local scene's soul music stratosphere for a while. Her dues have been paid, and now our songbird's next hopeful step is to embark on a journey onto a larger stage of R&B popularity. Durand's schmaltzy love-jonesing—best captured on her recent Nostalgic Nights EP—is voluminous enough to encompass romance and retreat, love and longing. Whether in front of a largely hip-hop crowd or her own following, she's figured out how to transform untamed spaces into her own grand opera house, wherein the real tragedy is that the entire world isn't listening. With Goodbye Providence, Quiana Zenobia and J Timber. $6–$8/ 9 p.m. —Eric Tullis

click to enlarge The Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND


With a handful of exceptions, like Ian McLagan and Bernie Worrell, keyboardists aren't revered as rock stars. Terry Adams is another exception: A founding member of NRBQ, Adams' playful charm and jaw-dropping virtuosity helped make them one of the country's finest bar bands. Though initially inspired by Thelonious Monk, Adams' oeuvre is nothing if not eclectic. Boogie, soul, rag, garage, rock, jazz and exotica all pass through, united by Adams' sly irreverence, genre-splicing inventiveness and energetic, foot-tapping melodies. He released Crazy 8s with his new Rock & Roll Quartet last summer. A new album's due this year, Adams' seventh since NRBQ's breakup. With Bobby Houck. $15/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker



James Cotton is a living blues legend—one of the last who can claim a childhood growing up in the Mississippi cotton fields, in fact. Learning harmonica under the tutelage of Sonny Boy Williamson II, Cotton went on to spend the early part of his career playing with Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. When rock rose to prominence, he even toured with Janis Joplin. Cotton alternates rhythmic, chordal stabs with flutters of restless notes. Earning a Grammy in 1996, he's nominated for another Best Traditional Blues Album with last year's release, Giant. Joining Cotton is the local Tad Walters Trio. $25/ 8 p.m.—Andrew Ritchey


Clang Quartet isn't something you'd think could last 14 years. Scotty Irving, who started the solo project to express his Christian faith in music, combines abrasive noise, interpretive dance, elaborate costumes and tribal drumming into a religious performance piece that's both unsettling and enthralling. The feedback blares as Irving shakes and writhes like a preacher on a primitive pulpit. It's an oddity with surprising staying power. Nearly halfway through his second decade, Irving marks the occasion alongside the chaotic art rock of Cantwell, Gomez and Jordan and a host of noise artists. 9 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence


Soft-spoken folk quartet Mandolin Orange began recording its second full-length album late last year with producers-turned-rhythm section Jeff Crawford and James Wallace. Debuting new songs in duo form last week, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz wrapped their sweet harmonies around delicate, graceful arrangements of fiddle, guitar and mandolin. They continue to charm with deceptively simple folk tunes that seem as if they should be crackling out of an ancient tube radio. Marlin also wields the mandolin in Chapel Hill trio Sinful Savage Tigers, whose freewheeling Americana sing-alongs burst with infectious energy. Alex Hall of Wilmington's Big Al Hall & The Marching Rams opens with spirited string-band traditionals and folk originals that nod toward John Hartford. $7-9/ 9:30 p.m. —Spencer Griffith

click to enlarge Marshall Chapman - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND


Did you see Country Strong? No? Well, Marshall Chapman was singled out in an otherwise scathing New York Times review for her "small, vivid" part as Gwyneth Paltrow's road manager. Chapman, the reviewer noted, "is going strong at 62 with songs in which a woman can run 'on a tank full of burning desire' and not just despair." Chapman is a songwriter's songwriter, but she is also a journalist: Her latest book, They Came to Nashville, a volume of interviews and adventures with the likes of Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Emmylou Harris, is now out in bookstores. She's also collaborated with local literary lights Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle on a musical, Good Ol' Girls, and her songs have been covered by Jimmy Buffet, John Hiatt, Wynonna and Joe Cocker. She'll be playing tonight in Durham at a house concert, and you'll want to head down to Fearrington Village tomorrow at 2 p.m. to hear her discuss her book at McIntyre's. For information on the concert, visit —David Fellerath


Both led by strong male and female counterparts, Small Ponds and Filthybird make some of the most elegant music around. Small Ponds have a pedigree that's equal parts alt-country and chamber pop, thanks to Matt Douglas' fine work in The Proclivities and Caitlin Cary's roles in Whiskeytown and Tres Chicas. Fittingly, their songs are sumptuous, warm distillations of both writers' strengths. Meanwhile, Filthybird pulls pieces from Joni Mitchell, post-punk, new wave, honky-tonk and sound art into a beautiful patchwork. Their second LP, last year's Songs for Other People, shined softly, with textures and melodies that felt both ancient and alien. With Mollybond. $8–$10/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin



From: Chapel Hill
Since: Early '90s
Claim to fame: Without him there'd be no "Hell"

You can imagine former Squirrel Nut Zipper Tom Maxwell barnstorming the country 80 years ago, leaving a trail of dancehalls and sawdust saloons reeling with an intrepid mix of swing, twang and soul. While nostalgic flair is Maxwell's money move, he distinguishes himself from the legions of backward-glancing pretenders with a playful, carefree air and lighthearted energy that dissipates like cream in coffee. Though the music's obviously his calling card, his lyrics are pretty good as well, buoyed by crisp wit. Maxwell suggests an old black-and-white movie whose elements shine more brightly than his modern counterparts. With the Tin Pan Band. At THE PINHOOK. $5/ 9 p.m.



From: Nashville
Since: Early '70s
Claim to fame: Wry wit and clever self-deprecation

A chronic ne'er-do-well, Phil Lee had his opportunities at fame while crossing paths with Neil Young, Jack Nitzsche and Fairport Convention. A squirrely looking fella with a lithe tenor worn bare by life, Lee's the type who'll foul away a thousand chances before dumping a seeing-eye single into left-center. The former Triangle resident works the stretch between ambling country-folk and stomping rockabilly with assurance, while his stories glimmer with the coy humor of an aging codger who's seen it all. He may not look like much, but his mettle's more durable and timeless than Tom Maxwell's glance back. With Tom Mason and Eric Brace. At BERKELEY CAFE. $10/ 8 p.m. —Chris Parker


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