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CL previews upcoming concerts (Jan. 21-24) 

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21

Crowntown Showdown We can't say enough about how great it is to have an opportunity to catch a bunch of acts for a low price all in the same place. This month's performers include 2013 Wolves, Actual Proof, Case Federal, Evelyn Rose, Fox Chase and Mad Tea Party. Each band will play a short set – if you don't like it, it'll be over quick. If you're enjoying it, you'll want to see them again. Thanks to a screening process, the chances are you'll like every last one of 'em! Alley Cat (Jeff Hahne)

Hammell on Trial Looking and acting something like the geeked-up twin brother of Anton LeVey, Hammell is a high-strung sort of guy, partial to a style of thrash-folk that most certainly won't be played at your local Starbucks anytime soon (see songs like "Ann Coulter's Snatch," which, it pains me to say – I'sa card-carrying pinko – might be one of the single stupidest songs ever laid to paper). Dude sweats like a boar and puts on a hell of an energetic show, to be sure, but in a sort of watching-geriatrics-aerobicizing-in-Boca kind of way – much exertion, little grace. Which is a shame, really – he shows a bent toward lyrical substance and has passion to burn. Unfortunately, Hammell's seemingly content to keep lighting the musical equivalent of sparklers. The Evening Muse (Timothy C. Davis)

THURSDAY, JAN. 22

The Gourds For 15 years, The Gourds have wrested humor and poignancy from what they've dubbed "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," attracting a colorful tribe of "cast-offs, esoteric partiers, paranoid pilgrims, hubristic Trotskyite Gnostics, Cartesian alcoholic minimalists, autoerotic constitutionalists and other natural nonconformists." Last year's Noble Creatures was more traditional, tear-in-your-beer fare, but their 10th and latest, Haymaker, is a return to eclectic form: a deep-fried blend of rock, Tex-Mex, Zydeco, Marty Robbins' cowboy twang, bluegrass, gospel, etc., all carrying narratives that live up to the band's "music for the unwashed and well-read" aesthetic. Visulite Theatre (John Schacht)

Keller Williams We're assuming he's dried out from the latest Jam Cruise and is ready to get back to his solo tour in support of the September 2008 release, Live. Sure he uses looping at times, but the guy can also pick the hell out of that guitar. He'll also jump around to play different instruments, pick up different strange objects to create percussion and put together one amazing jam on his own. Neighborhood Theatre (Hahne)

Noble Rust Atlanta-based metal and punk maniacs Noble Rust crank out unholy hooch of screamo vocals, garage-bred punk rock and sludge rock mayhem. Although they're slower and sludgier metal than punk, there's plenty of experimentation added to feedback and throat-lacerating vocals. The trio formed just a few months ago after other bands disintegrated. Out to impress a first date tonight? May wanna go somewhere else. With PPR, Reverser and 2013 Wolves. Milestone (Samir Shukla)

FRIDAY, JAN. 23

Megafaun To little initial fanfare, this Raleigh trio released its captivating debut in 2007; well-deserved word-of-mouth spread, and Bury the Square was picked up by Table of the Elements early last year. The record's six tracks read like a suite more than distinct cuts, running the gamut from textured tape-loop glitches and feedback breakdowns to call-and-response field hollers, piano-and-violin interludes, and delicate banjo-driven folk (Megafaun formed from the ashes of DeYarmond Edison, which also spawned Bon Iver). Like fellow alchemists Akron/Family and Califone (they've shared bills or toured with both), there are few sounds this trio can't pretzel into new and intriguing shapes – but never at the expense of accessibility. Here's hoping there's more in the works. Opening for The Rosebuds. Visulite Theatre (Schacht)

The Duhks The bilingual and soulful singer Sarah Dugas is a fine new addition to the Canadian quintet The Duhks. The band is on the road with their fourth recording Fast Paced World, which combines folk-rock, roots and an Afrobeat underlining that highlights pacing, phrasing and harmony. Call it neo-folk or neo-roots, but The Duhks deliver. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

SATURDAY, JAN. 24

Telepath Must be something in that Philadelphia air. This soulful, the Philly kind, combo lays down an organic, fat-free electronica groove that's one part world music, one part dub, a dash of jazz and plenty drum 'n' bass. The instrumental band makes heads sway with a spacey psychedelic vibe, but they're also pretty darn danceable to boot. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Lunchbox Records 3rd Anniversary/Fucked Up Every town needs a Lunchbox Records. A place where the obscure is as important as the obvious. A place that doesn't hustle you out the door after 20 minutes, knowing that it's completely normal to spend two hours crate-digging for three bargain-bin, $1.99 specials. A place that does its part to hustle in hot-shit bands like the anarchobuddhists Fucked Up, who are as advertised: Yhey A) sound fucked up, B) sonically fuck some shit up and C) cause you to see that, everywhere you look, things are indeed (wait for it!) fucked up. Their latest, Chemistry of Common Life, isn't an easy listen, but it's just as hard to turn off. With Double Negative, Planet Piss and Grids. Milestone (Davis)

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