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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: Chris Knight, Melt-Banana, Crystal Antlers, Old Bricks, Free Electric State, Greg Humphreys, Sally Spring, Javelin, Bill Frisell, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, The Beets, Girl in a Coma

VS.: Skoal Kodiak vs. Cloud Nothings


INTRODUCING: Animal Alphabet



It's hard to tell just where Chris Knight fits into the Nashville business plan these days. After nabbing a major-label deal in the late '90s with an impressive batch of demos, the Kentucky native spent most of the 2000s drifting from one indie to another. Most of his output has leaned toward muscular twang, but it's telling that two of his past three releases (The Trailer Tapes and Trailer II) have been archival collections of those same early acoustic demos that got him noticed in the first place. The more Knight's recordings spotlight his songwriting, the better. $15/ 8 p.m. —Peter Blackstock


To paraphrase a well-worn marketing slogan (at least of punk and grind bands, and maybe a few household cleaners), Melt-Banana accomplishes more in 90 seconds than most bands accomplish over an entire career. This Japanese experimental noise collective and rock group is entering its 20th year, with almost as many albums under its belt, but still as frenetic and feisty as ever. If you want to fault them for anything, bag on their release schedule; it's been nearly five years since Melt-Banana's last studio LP. Hopefully, this latest visit stateside will feature a new batch of spastic soon-to-be classics. With Remora. $10–$12/ 9:30 p.m. —David Raposa


Crystal Antlers inhabit a wild, woolly world. They create an atmosphere of buzzing electronics, acrid guitars, twinkling keyboards and a backbeat that melds itself to the mood, be it a dreamy tribal thrum or thundering punk-prog cacophony. The band followed their much-buzzed 2009 debut, Tentacles, in July with Two-Way Mirror. It's somewhat more focused, though it may be hard to tell given that the eccentric arrangements come enveloped in a fuzzy wash of sound. The biggest advance is in frontman Johnny Bell's vocals, which have become more tuneful and varied with time. The meandering folk haze of Old Bricks and the churning blasts of Free Electric State provide complementary sonic bookends in the opening slots. $8–$10/ 10 p.m. —Chris Parker


Greg Humphreys is arguably the Triangle's most versatile musician. Consider his history: He rode the '80s jangle pop Southern renaissance with Dillon Fence, started a throwback soul/ funk band in the '90s as Hobex and lately he's launched a solo career of parched country, '70s Laurel Canyon folk and jazzy soft rock. In September, he released his third disc, People You May Know, which mines a slightly jazzier vein than last year's Realign Your Mind, driven by Humphreys' nimble, soothing croon. Sally Spring's earthy tone gives her loping country-folk a certain regality, like an embossed storybook or a backwoods opera. With Ted Lyons. 8 p.m. —Chris Parker


Brooklyn's Javelin is a hybrid of damn near everything danceable—some loud slaps from early rap, the in-the-red hiss of electro, surges of glitched-out IDM, even the cathartic thump of classic house. They're serious crate-diggers, too, so part of the joy is realizing you're hearing shards of forgotten LPs refashioned into bugged-out party music. Consider them the Avalanches with ADD and maybe a geeked-up version of the Go Team!, or look at this way: They're frequent touring partners with Future Islands, because they're one of the few groups who can give those spazzes a run for their money. With Organos. $10–$12/ 10 p.m. —Brandon Soderberg


The guitarist Bill Frisell is one of modern music's most eloquent stylists. A master of tone and a wizard of versatility, Frisell shifts restlessly and fluidly from improvisational risk and steadfast sideman work to elegant scores and ambitious multimedia projects. Tonight at Duke, he continues with one of the latter, playing a show called The Great Flood, which couples surreal film from the 1927 overflow of the Mississippi River with a remarkable backing trio. Here's one of the greats, always at work. $5–$34/ 8 p.m. —Grayson Currin


The merry men of Holy Ghost Tent Revival should please fans of unbridled enthusiasm and horns alike. That's bound to be a pretty generous Venn diagram in itself, but take into account the intrepid banjo flecks, ragtime piano stunts and stomped beats, and you're talking a whole world of ears sure to fit into their key demographic (read: wild American music fans). The Revival's catch-all jams are a good fit for this pair of openers: First, there are the folk-minded, sprawl-oriented melodies of Raleigh's Tin Can Sailor and the power-pop bent of Wilmington country rockers Onward, Soldiers. $8–$10/ 10 p.m. —Ashley Melzer


For many lo-fi acts, the fine line between charming and cloying doubles as a trip wire. The Crayola-colored cover art that adorns The Beets' albums might paint them as being on the wrong side of that line, but a quick listen to their music reveals that this Brooklyn combo possesses skills and smarts that belie their amateurish persona. On their second full-length this year, Let The Poison Out, the group offers up a collection of shambling (and yes, charming) pop tunes that are as notable for their casual confidence as they are for their melodies. With Olympia, Wash.'s Christmas. $5/ 9 p.m. —David Raposa

11.08 GIRL IN A COMA @ LOCAL 506

With punk, pop and a little '70s rock boogie, San Antonio's Girl in a Coma forges a vibrant, hooky sound. They formed around the millennium when BFFs Jenn Alva and Phanie Diaz discovered that Phanie's little sister, Nina, could not only play guitar but also sing. Eight years their junior, she's the real deal—a fine player with a smoky croon, as comfortable with riot grrrl fire as breathy indie pop or even sultry crooning. These diverse impulses fuel their latest, Exits & All the Rest. It ranges from blustery garage rock and glam-punk to surf rock and indie pop. With The Coathangers and Brothers of Brazil. $10/ 9 p.m. —Chris Parker



From: Minneapolis
Since: 2005
Claim to fame: A fun dip, indeed

Skoal Kodiak might seem like the name of the best backwoods bar band that's never been, or a Parker-and-Stone parody of some nationalistic modern country outfit. But the trio twists unsuspected paths through dance music, slicing the hall of reggae and the ways of Talking Heads with interests in squelch and distortion so strong that they make the idea of post-punk noise seem staid and dated. Like a lysergic Mi Ami or !!! letting go of the wheel, Skoal Kodiak reshapes rhythms into spiral stairwells and reassembles bits of melody into a claustrophobic kaleidoscope. The band's new Load Records offering, Kryptonym Bodliak, is a messy adventure worth taking. With Clang Quartet and Goldmouth. At NIGHTLIGHT. $5/ 9:30 p.m.



From: Cleveland, Ohio
Since: 2009
Claim to fame: Another young, prolific Dylan

Dylan Baldi is barely out of his teenage years, but in only three years he's amassed a discography that includes two LPs, the better part of a dozen singles and a few compilation appearances. He plays everything himself and, for the most part, produces his own music. Part of the pace can be explained through the simplicity of Baldi's music—quick pop-punk races that split the difference between The Feelies and Weezer, yelped with a juvenile's spirit and performed with an adult's conviction. His self-titled second album doesn't pack the same sort of indelible singles as the first ("Can't Stay Awake" is still hard to put to sleep), but Baldi still races with the best of his young, cassette-friendly peers. At LOCAL 506. $8–$10/ 9:30 p.m. —Grayson Currin


click to enlarge Parklife - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND


Once one of the busiest bands in the Triangle, Raleigh's Parklife put on the brakes in 2007, when the musical aspirations of the final (and longest-lasting) iteration of the group fell victim to the expected external pressures, like families, careers and relocation. The trio's members—lead vocalist/ bassist Rob Clay, guitarist/ vocalist Sam Clowney and drummer Jason Bone—stayed active in the interim with session work and as members of cover bands like Pocketful of Strange and the recently reunited Chapel Hill '90s alt-rockers The Veldt.

Clowney credits encouragement from Deep South's Amy Cox for this Parklife reunion. He expects there will be more shows to come but admits that time has tempered the band's perspective on breaking big. "We're not still trying to set the world on fire," Clowney says. He's enjoyed rehearsing new material and shaking the rust off old Parklife tunes, which evolved over the band's five-year run from Britpop influences (they're named for a Blur album, after all) to prog-inflected arena rock that sounds as big as the band's former ambitions. With Chris Groch and Detective Miles. $5/ 10 p.m. —Spencer Griffith



Animal Alphabet started in a coffee shop. That's not exactly a new origin story, but it's an interesting, telling point when considered alongside the surprising lack of recognition the band has received to this point. They take moody alternative rock—largely in the mode of early Radiohead—and strip it down to chamber pop sensibilities. Minimal electric guitar prickles through, washed over with brooding cello. It's expansive but also reserved, gaining a sense of size with layering parts. It's challenging but accessible, but like the soundtracks in most espresso shacks, it's been largely ignored.

In this case, the coffee shop was the Daily Grind on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus. Singer/ guitarist Simon McGorman and cellist Emma Dunlap-Grube met while working there; they decided to jam on some of McGorman's songs. After about a year they decided to stretch their sound, bringing on bassist Catherine Steele and drummer Marc Allen. They released the Adult Teeth EP last year for free download, and they hope to record a full-length soon.

"The way we work is kind of similar to a chamber group," McGorman says. "I hope that we feature all the instruments equally and kind of trade off focuses from time to time within the song." With Shenandoah and Prypyat. $5/ 9:30 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence


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