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The guide to the week's concerts 

This week's guide contains:

YES, PLEASE: North Elementary, Bronzed Chorus, Some Army, Kooley High, Halo, Sixth Sun, Devin The Dude, Slim's 13th Birthday, !!!, Shabazz Palaces, The Judas Horse, Hoots & Hellmouth, Cheyenne Marie Mize

VS.: Margot & the Nuclear So and So's vs. Megafaun and Field Report

VS.: Peelander-Z vs. Spider Bags and Terry Malts



Finally, The Bronzed Chorus isn't the odd band out. Especially in the past few years, this Greensboro instrumental duo's output has moved away from high-octane rollick and toward synth-heavy pop complexity. That pairs nicely with North Elementary's thick instrumentation and liberal genre-fusing—a good starting point may be to imagine a power pop incarnation of Wilco, though that hardly touches at the intended overall complexity. Some Army's songs are sprawling, spacious things that bear impressive emotional weight. With a tantalizing 10 minutes of music on its January 7-inch, Some Army anticipates releasing an LP this year or so. Let's hope it's soon. Free/10 p.m. —Corbie Hill


Contrary to rumors and despite her limited lyrical contribution to Kooley High's last album,David Thompson, Rapsody is still a member of the Raleigh hip-hop group. While she's been busy securing her solo career under 9thWonder's wise wing, Charlie Smarts and Tab-One picked up the rhyming slack. That and producer Sinopsis' solo voyage into N.C.'s beat-making hierarchy shows that, even when disassembled, this is still a healthy team. On the other hand, Rapsody's Jamla Records labelmate Halo still struggles to erupt into the feared emcee he's always claimed to be, despite the improvements of the influential company he keeps. For him, there's still soil to till in the same sound garden where Kooley High continues to blossom. Durham vet J. Gunn and Durham newbies Wreck-N-Crew help round out this bill.$10/10 p.m. —Eric Tullis


Sixth Sun is a Raleigh-based environmental non-profit focused on empowering communities to secure their own food and energy. It makes sense, then, that the organization's first annual benefit concert would consist entirely of locally sourced talent. Luego headlines the six-band bill, with catchy folk-rock that swings from the radio-ready craftsmanship of Fleetwood Mac to the loose, road-worn vibes of The Band. Gray Young sits in the penultimate slot, their huge and cathartic post-rock a natural match for the cavernous room. Opener Baobab's insular, intricate folk experiments promise some left-of-field spice in the lineup, which also features The Big Picture and Jessica Long and The New Kind. $15/8 p.m. —Jordan Lawrence


On the yet-to-be-released movie and accompanying soundtrack of Mac & Devin Go to High School, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa portray themselves as two pothead students indulging in Cheech & Chong-like tomfoolery. Houston rapper Devin the Dude could have taken issue with them using his namesake, since he's well-known for being one of hip-hop's most notorious career stoners. Naturally, Devin was too busy filming his own low-brow weed movie, Hillbilly Highway. Between bong hits and the big screen though, Devin and his Coughee Brothaz crew stay true to form—always taking their ribald reefer rap to harmless extremes. Why else would Devin name this tour "Seriously Tripping"?$13–$15/9:30 p.m. —Eric Tullis


While plenty of people bemoan the approach of their birthday, bummed that the calendar's predictable flip will take away yet another year of their youth, the downtown Raleigh dive Slim's has the blessed habit of partying as though it would prefer at least two birthdays per year. This year, to celebrate the teenage status of 13, Slim's will throw a three-night party, beginning with a garage-rock bash on Friday (with The Royal Nites and Last Year's Men) before spiraling into a glam-meets-gruff throwdown on Saturday with the theatric Left Outlet, the barreling Bleeding Hearts and the very tough Dead Rabbits. Don't get too twisted, though: Sunday night, the Slim's Prom invites you to slow down, take a spin and have a swill or seven of the certainly spiked punch. For details on the festivities, see —Grayson Currin

click to enlarge Shabazz Palaces - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BAND


Three exclamation marks signify attention and indulgence. This is exactly what !!! use to entrance their listeners with polyrhythmic party tunes, fitting for an eight-piece experimental collective that formed in Sacramento back in 1996 after an all-nighter of dancing. On last year's Black Up by Shabazz Palaces, chirps and crackles simmer over heaving echoes and dense synths. The sparse "Recollections of the Wraith" samples an oozing female vocal and features a velvety bass that clouds up like a distant exploding bomb. Almost quietly, rapper Ishmael Butler urges, "Clear some space out so we can space out." $16/7 p.m. —Ashleigh Phillips


Members of percussion-less dark folk trio The Judas Horse have been playing in Asheville projects for years, from Serpents' Swans-loving hard-doom atmospheres and Descolada's reckless genre bends to U.S. Christmas' long-form backwoods psychedelia. With so many heavy acts in its ancestry, The Judas Horse almost can't help its darkness. Yet the band takes a more inward focus, like the middle ground between Tori Amos' emo-classical bombast and Dead Can Dance's ghost folk, or maybe a more prog-prone Belle and Sebastian. Blag'ard drummer Adam Brinson, a father of two whose solo material tends toward optimistic celebrations of family life, opens. Also, Curtains. $5/9 p.m. —Corbie Hill

click to enlarge Cheyenne Marie Mize - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST


Philadelphia's Hoots and Hellmouth's second full length, Salt, explores rock's roots. The Americana quintet plucks, strums and stomps with a bluesy squalor on "Lay Low." And "Being Borned Again" features a call-and-response chorus reminiscent of a gospel choir. There's even a soul clap. With her latest release, We Don't Need, Louisville enchantress Cheyenne Marie Mize attempts to make her own alternative genre. On the sexy and infectious "Wishing Well," Mize pounds out and professes "Can't get enough of your anytime loving" over a messy jangle of percussion. Pittsburgh trio Donora opens. $10/8:30 p.m. —Ashleigh Phillips



From: Indianapolis
Since: 2005
Claim to fame: Losing their edge to keep up with the kids

Once upon a time, this sex-/septet made the sort of quaint lyrical clamor that one would expect from a group that named itself after one of Wes Anderson's not-so-royal Tenenbaums. As the group moves further from their debut, however, the "chamber pop" label that once seemed tailor-made for them has had trouble sticking. There are still elements of that semi-baroque sound in 2010's Buzzard and this year's Rot Gut, Domestic, and it's not like Margot's so-and-sos make bad music. Still, it's hard to not be disappointed in a band's development when the only thing separating them from the rest of the radio-friendly indie rock pack is their exceptionally awkward name. At LOCAL 506. $12/9 p.m.



From: Durham; Wisconsin
Since: 2008; 2012
Claim to fame: Proving the DeYarmond Edison tree still bears fresh fruit

At this point, any fair readers who need to be acquainted with the wondrous multi-harmonic folk/country/rock/jam/experimental stylings of Megafaun only have themselves to blame. However, those who know about DeYarmond Edison—the group that once contained 3/4 of Megafaun, as well as that Bon Iver fellow—might not realize the fifth member is ready to make his own musical splash. Based on what little music he's made public, Chris Porterfield's Field Report seems like a more grounded, but no less beautiful, take on the music his former bandmates have made post-Edison. Add in the possibilities of some Faun-and-Field collaborations, and it's clear this show runs away with the night's victory. At HAW RIVER BALLROOM. $15/8 p.m. —David Raposa



From: New York City
Since: 1998
Claim to fame: First live-action cartoon band

If you crossed the Ramones, '70s children show The Banana Splits and cheesy Japanese monster flicks, you'd have the basis for peerless performers Peelander-Z. Their high-energy music and shows possess childlike wonder—the kind that leads to jumping off the roof or taking Dad's car for a joyride. They dress in jumpsuits like Power Rangers and behave with an abandon reminiscent of sugar-addled 5-year-olds indulging all manner of stage antics including piggyback rides and human bowling. It's an astounding spectacle recommended to any newcomers. Sadly, spirited as their chunky, hard-charging punk-pop is, it's significantly less inventive than the stage show. With One-Eyed Doll. At MOTORCO. $10/8 p.m.



From: Chapel Hill
Since: 2005
Claim to fame: Dirty, shambling roots pop

The brainchild of Dan McGee and Gregg Levy—New Jersey lads who've been making music together for more than 15 years—Spider Bags' breakout 2009 second release,Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World, earned rave reviews. Its boozy swagger stinks of whiskey, dank punk dives and grimy pizza box-littered floors. They're fueled by carefree abandon, channeled into rollicking, ramshackle songs whose joints creak and shimmy, leaking sticky melodies like pheromones. They spent last year recording the follow-up, which could solidify them as a national act. That anticipation and a chance to preview the new material give Spider Bags the nod over the exciting but predictable chaos of Peelander-Z. With Terry Malts, Gross Ghost. At THE PINHOOK. $7/9 p.m. —Chris Parker


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