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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Fan Modine, Peter Holsapple, Aardvark and Z-Pocket, Auxes, Bats & Mice, Jolie Holland, David Dondero, Southern Culture on the Skids, The Moaners, Rational Animals, Brain F≠, Whatever Brains, Mutant League, The Young Volcanos, Gillian Welch

VS: Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun vs. The Loners

INTRODUCING: Lilac Shadows


click to enlarge Fan Modine - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

07.28 FAN MODINE @ LOCAL 506

Fan Modine's Gratitude for the Shipper is a very twee affair, though it doesn't sacrifice depth for lightness. With two-dozen local musicians listed in the credits and orchestral arrangements on some tracks, this Gordon Zacharias-led project suggests Okkervil River trading their acoustics for synths. In fact, Gratitude makes a fine companion piece to Okkervil's The Stand Ins. "Meet Me at the End of the Line" bounces optimistically along, contrasting urban bustle with the basic pleasures of a rainy day at the beach. Though many bands pull the happy music/dark lyrics disconnect, Fan Modine's approach is literate and sarcastic. With Aminal and Wages. $7/ 9 p.m. —Corbie Hill


With a name like Aardvark and Z-Pocket, it's a fair bet something extraordinary will happen when this band hits the stage. It's just hard to say whether that surprise will be wild arrangements, strange instruments or lyrical flights of fancy, since only one person on earth knows for certain. That person, one Daniel Michalak, is best known for his experimental folk outfit Bombadil. Having recently decided to stretch his creativity with this new band, Michalak is hesitant to promise much by way of description. "The show itself will probably be aesthetically cacophonous, as I have almost never played by myself live," he says. " I am trying to find a friend to help whistle or play piano." If nothing else, perhaps he could rope his co-star for the night, the legendary Peter Holsapple, into humming a bar or two. Just don't call him Pete. 9 p.m. —Ashley Melzer

07.29 AUXES, BATS & MICE @ LOCAL 506

Dave Laney, an ex-pat of both the Triangle and the States, returns from Germany for a rare date with the essential post-punk of Auxes. The latest record, Ichkannnichtmehr, is currently unavailable in this country, but his earlier, easier-to-pronounce offerings feature some of the Triangle's most technical players—including alums of Milemarker, Caltrop and Fin Fang Foom. Maple Stave and Bats & Mice offer differing degrees of gravel and math while sharing Auxes' intellectual charge. Also aboard is Carrboro's most recent sci-fi metal band, which, depending on the gig, performs as Swordmasters of Ginaz or Battlestar Cackalactica. Come out; nerd out. $8/ 9:30 p.m. —Corbie Hill


Jolie Holland continues to move away from her Americana roots on her latest, Pint of Blood. Her voice is still a smoking, quavering payload of emotion, but the accompaniment features more prickly guitars and electric accompaniment. The band still tends to move at folksy, ambling tempos, but overall, Holland's fashioned a moody, more idiosyncratic sound on her last few albums. It's a similar trajectory to Neko Case, who broke out of a similar stylistic ghetto to showcase skills beyond the power of her voice. Opener David Dondero's a gifted songwriter. His ragged, windblown spirit and witty wordplay illuminate a sharp mind and ample heart. $12–$14/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker

click to enlarge Southern Culture on the Skids - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND


Beyond the legendary live-show tales of flying nanner puddin' and fried chicken that always follow Southern Culture on the Skids, there resides a simple fundamental notion: These folks are just really good at what they do. Guitarist Rick Miller, bassist Mary Huff and drummer Dave Hartman are well-versed and versatile musicians; their off-the-wall entertainment wouldn't fly without that bedrock. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more suitable opening act for SCOTS than the Moaners, the duo of guitarist Melissa Swingle and drummer Laura King. What we have here is an exemplary evening of old-school Carolina garage-country-surf-rockabilly trash, twang and thunder. $15–$18/ 9 p.m. —Peter Blackstock


Coming from the alarmingly fertile punk scene of Rochester, N.Y. (dubbed Rotcore, after a stacked local cassette compilation), Rational Animals are a composite of Rollins-era Black Flag, classic rock via Harvey Milk and seething Touch & Go noise rock. They're burly and bruising, but that's a constant tonight. This bill's voyages toward pop extend only as far as Charlotte's Brain F≠, whose garagecore avalanche is best captured by the brand new Sleep Rough LP, a certainty for this year's best-of-N.C. short lists. Locals Stripmines deliver a stellar bludgeoning after Wasted Effort opens. $7–$9/ 9 p.m. —Bryan C. Reed


The self-titled debut LP released by Raleigh's Whatever Brains a few weeks back delivers on the loads of promise they've offered with a few years of singles and limited-run CD-Rs and cassettes. Aggressive and noisy but refined and contagious, this five-piece continues to try and nail new looks, from outlandish disco mutations to menacing pop blasts. Greensboro's Mutant League and Raleigh's The Young Volcanoes open the band's first trip back home since their triumphant CD release party. $5/ 9 p.m. —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge Gillian Welch - COURTESY OF THE BAND


You've no doubt heard mention of songwriters who could read the phone book and sound compelling. Gillian Welch takes it one step further; she could make albums with lyrics cobbled from medical charts, technical manuals and lorem ipsum placeholder text and silence a room. That she's backed by the graceful pluck of Dave Rawlings' small guitar and his warm harmonies doesn't hurt, and that she's one of the best songwriters currently working in the land starts to make the case for her as one of music's most essential performers. Her latest, The Harrow & The Harvest, is her first album in eight years and her most stunning since 2001's Time (The Revelator). Full of the mournful character studies that have become her specialty, but mixed with the spry little tunes that have given her best work a bit of relief, Harvest is a perfect collection from a songwriter that's been missed. $17–$35/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin



From: Atlanta
Since: 2009
Claim to fame: Noisy, dance-infused rock

This coed quartet's driving electro-rock slashes and struts with spiky guitar punctuation; they split the difference between fire-starting electroclash and neo-romantic British rock, like the Editors enjoying the Rapture over Elastica's renewed body. Frontwoman Lauren Gibson's careening vocals key the proceedings, leading the listener on an emotive ride that bleeds with energy. At their best, they fashion vibrant rhythms amid creamy textures, all surrounded by shrieking guitars and synthetic rumble. At its worst, they sound like an inferior version of My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult. That leaves precious little room for error. With I Was Totally Destroying It. At DEEP SOUTH THE BAR. $5/ 10 p.m.



From: Raleigh
Since: Early '00s
Claim to fame: Rebellious garage rock duo

Rock's not really a vehicle built for big thoughts or complicated emotions, and the same generally holds for the music. Straightforward and to the point will win the day quicker than quirky or convoluted, if only because of the unmediated communication of a chunky riff and driving rhythm. This is the area the Loners inhabit; their "Teen Rebel" is a scabrous throb, a musical manifestation of restless impetuousness. Heavy on groove, The Loners' grimy allure is based in foot-stomping thunder and swashbuckling bluster. You may not know their intent, but it's obvious enough to stand clear or be crushed like Tomorrow The Moon. With Soundsystem 13. At SLIM'S. $4/ 7:30pm. —Chris Parker



Graduating from college is a time for adaptation. For most, it means buckling down to the 9-to-5 grind. For Carrboro's Sam Logan, it's meant re-molding the bright hooks of his college-band past to the darker sounds of his musical present.

Until this spring, Logan was a leader for the Fab Four-enthused Huguenots, who started as a standout UNC-student act and ended as a rock-solid group of pop revivalists. Last summer, Logan began demoing new songs. Finding them too murky for his clean-cut band, he filed them away, eventually posting them to the music website Bandcamp as Lilac Shadows. The new tunes retain Logan's classically catchy melodies, but repackage them with crushing riffs and a haze of blackened fuzz. Nodding to shoegaze but percolating with garage-pop tenacity, they're both cerebral and kinetic.

"I've always been a slave to melody," he says. "Luckily, I've been able to take that and coat it in something that makes it a little less shiny, just dirty it up a bit."

Having played out for a few months with a crew of Carrboro specialists, Logan plans to begin recording a proper LP in September. Out of school with a set of sophisticated songs, he's ready to put his new outfit to work. —Jordan Lawrence

Lilac Shadows play Tir na nOg's Local Beer Local Band night Thursday alongside Nests. The free show starts at 10 p.m.

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