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WEDNESDAY 8.21

Dishwalla -- The melodic rockers have swayed back and forth in radioland since hitting on a minor hit back in the 90s with "Counting Blue Cars." They've matured enough to keep constructing hummable pop tunes styled with Radiohead nuances and bits of Bono-inspired, soaring vocals. Granted, it may not be spectacularly original, but in the world of alterna rock screamers, a "singing" band sounds refreshing. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

Eighteen Visions / Hopesfall -- Yeah, the summer is fading away but the all-nite noise fests go on. These two label mates (Trustkill Records) flip flop from melodic intros to strep throat yodels designed to terrify the neighbor's dog. The combos create an almost orchestral feel in a scary way. If you're in the mood for angry, politic-rinsed rock & roll, you're in the right place. Also along for the all-ages ride are Everytime I Die & Norma Jean. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Star Room Boys -- While I'm prone to like any band with "boys" as the last word (I'm thinking of the Clinch Mountain variety more so than the Backstreet kind), I'd like the Star Room Boys even if they were named the Pointer Sisters. A low-fi, low key kind of affair, the band teeters somewhere between Richard Buckner and Son Volt, but with more real country feel than either band. Bands like this make you wish everyone still put out vinyl with every release. They're similar in some aspects to our own Lou Ford, proving that mid-tempo need not be middling. The Evening Muse (Davis)

THURSDAY 8.22

Major Nelson -- Pop music that salutes all the decades of rock while not getting stuck in any one of them. The regrouped, refreshed and pumped up Major Nelson have unleashed five more gems on the hungry populace in the form of their new E.P., Twilight Promises. This gig qualifies as the CD release affair as the band adds another feather in their caps, mining solid gold pop nuggets. Another fine group of popsters deserving more attention, The Ravelers, are also on the bill. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

FRIDAY 8.23

Allman Brothers Band -- Some 30 years later, the ABB is still tryin' to make a living and doin' the best they can. And they're still a damn sight more interesting than Ratdog, funkier than Phil Lesh, and boast a catalogue of work to pull from rivaled by perhaps only the Dead. So what if they have a hotshot guitar player, Derek Trucks, almost a decade younger than I am? Duane Allman was 25 when he died, you'll remember (not that Trucks has anything on ol' SkyDog, mind you). Sure, they're not what they once were, but don't you wish now you'd gone to one of those latter-day Dead shows you passed on? (Heh -- passed on.). Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Davis)

Countdown Quartet -- By naming their last record Party With!, the Countdown Quartet have cemented their agenda for the ages. Groovy horns and popping percussion -- with salutes to soundtracks from the 60s and shades of tropical beats poured over a jazzy, rock groove -- will put a smile on your face. It's a beat that stays twirling around your head long after the hangover is gone. With Mike West. Fat City (Shukla)

The Dead Kings -- On the heels of their last, Murder City Or Bust, the Dead Kings are set to release their new full-length, the interestingly titled For All Those Hot Black Chicks, within a month or so. As dirty and lowdown as the warts on Lemmy Kilminster's nose, this is Ugly Rock. Then again, so was, say, Sabbath. Like ANTiSEEN, the boys drench their Southern rock in hot sauce, causing an endorphin high even if you can't quite remember what it is you're eating. A pretty good down-and-dirty rock show, featuring like-minded pals The Self-Made Monsters and Murdercycle. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

Houston Brothers / Verna Cannon -- The Brothers Houston (nee Faircloth) manage that rarest of beasts with their indie-skewed absinthe rock -- hypnotizing you without putting you to sleep. The Verna Cannon also go easy on the ears, with a softer, more lilting touch than the noir shadings favored by the Houstons. Molly Ledford's Margo Timmins-like phrasing never fails to curtsy its way into your brain, even when the band serves up more raucous fare. The Evening Muse (Davis)

SATURDAY 8.24

The Eskimos -- The Athens band has a new one out, the excellent sophomore offering Something Must Be Transmitted Somehow, that sees them moving ever further away from their Wilco-ish, country rock roots. Then again, so is Jeff Tweedy. Simply one of the best independent releases the Southeast has produced all year -- fat blobs of psychedelia, Dylan circa Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid atmospherics, and hints of everything from Luna to, well, Wilco. Fat City (Davis)

Les Dirt Clods / Patty Hurst Shifter -- The Clods, an equal mix of Keith Richards swagger and polite, country-boy sensitivity, are sort of the Eudora Welty of Charlotte rock -- their music is measured and precise, but stacked like a three-layer cake (damn food references). Raleigh sorta-supergroup Patty Hurst Shifter have a great new straight-ahead rock album out, Beestinger Lullabies, that deserves a listen. Former Whiskeytown drummer Skillet Gilmore mans the skins for the group, and the band also features ex-Glory Fountain drummer (and onetime Ryan Adams doppelganger) Johny Williams on bass. Bullship, who open the show, is the experimental new alias of Jason "Elroy" Michel (Black Plastic), Chris Holston (Random Ged) and Robert McLaughlin (Oddman's Attic, Random Ged). Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Mary Sue Twohy -- A folkie true to the genre. Her voice, though not unique, is sweet and her playing uncluttered with lyrics that are like warm toast, nicely buttered up. She's on the road pushing her recent disc, The Risk Involved. Not much risk this evening, though; just simple and plain acoustic folk music is what's slated. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

WEDNESDAY 8.28

The Flatlanders -- Three mighty pickers and writers from Texas recorded a loose collection of songs back in 1972 which saw the light of day a few years back on CD. Now 30 years later, they've got a proper CD featuring a searing collection of tunes. One has no need to ask why, as the trio consists of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock. If you're familiar with the players, you know they're top solo acts but collectively ooze camaraderie with vocal group harmony and stark honky tonk stories peppered with rockers and lonesome ballads. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

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