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Avail -- Last year's Front Porch Stories was pretty much a typical Avail album: a mix of Ramones-style riffing, 70s power-chord stomp, and the odd dose of pop sensibility to frame it in. The Richmond, VA, band has been piling in the van for many years now and has a slew of hardcore friends/fans to prove it. Don't believe me? Their website has a special section devoted to different folks' Avail tattoos. Say what you want, but I'd say that's a pretty good sign the music is moving people. Or perhaps that a lot of their fans are tattoo artists -- one or the other. With Ensign, Seen Enough and Rotten Liberals. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

Bob Log III / Drunk Horse -- Bob Log is a one-man band of maniacal blues and free-for-all rock delivered in a melange of lo-fi coolness. His lyrics lean toward esoteric or the high school locker room (take your pick) and are chewed up and spit out in sync with all available appendages, creating a raucous racket. Drunk Horse are Stooges-inspired rockers giving lessons in dropping psychedelics on garage rock. They're a ripping good band that's not stuck in the past but rake in time-tested riffs and prod them into new arenas. Fat City (Shukla)


Fat Wreck Chords Tour -- Fat Mike, bassist of long running punkers NOFX, has been running one of the coolest labels out of CA, appropriately named Fat Wreck Chords, for quite a spell. This is the sporadic "Fat Tour" with a pile of bands, either on the label or affiliated hooligans, collectively hitting the road. This outing features deliriously old school ska-punks Mad Caddies and melodic hardcore crooners Rise Against. Also along for the ride are Real McKenzies and Flipsides. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Vinyl w/ Mandorico -- At times, there's so much going on musically with the instrumental octet that you'd think p-funk was scrapping on stage with Earth Wind and Fire. Vinyl cranks out worthy originals, though, and keeps the groove going with old funk, Latin vibes and R&B thrown around. Mandorico will start things off with their usual fiesta of Latin-drenched island sounds. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)


Goldenrods / Jennyanykind -- A super-sweet pairing here, featuring the golden smog that is the Goldenrods, as well as Chapel Hill's own roots-trance favorites Jennyanykind. The 'Rods have a whole satchel of new tunes, which rank among the best that lead songwriter Benji Hughes has ever penned. Jennyanykind have two discs of new material, in the form of a record called Peas and Collards. It's a decidedly looser effort than their past couple of releases, but no less hypnotic. Fat City (Davis)

Ware River Club -- Just a damn good rock band here, the kind you don't see a whole lot of anymore. The subject matter is small town gothic, but the music avoids becoming the aural equivalent of Raymond Carver thanks to the Westerbergian snarl the band summons on occasion. If the Replacements and the Jayhawks had a tobacco baby, it'd be Ware River Club. And I mean that as a compliment. The Evening Muse (Davis)


Project/Object -- The country's finest Frank Zappa tribute band, Project/Object have become a rather noteworthy live band in their own right. Featuring the singing and guitar playing of Ike Willis, Zappa's longest running band member and guitar foil in the later years, this show also features ex-Zappa bandmates Napoleon Murphy Brock (vocals, sax) and Don Preston (keys). More than a tribute band, Project/Object continue to explore their own musical universe -- Zappa only provides the map. Visulite Theatre (Davis)

Steve James -- An extraordinary bluesman playing steely, acoustic country blues that have obviously traveled far and wide, James is also a teacher of the blues with some nice instructional videos and conducts workshops at festivals across the country. He makes the guitar cry like classic steel pickers, without the sizzling eggs frying in the background. He ain't too shabby on the mandolin and banjo, either. The Evening Muse (Shukla)


James Mathus & Knock Down Society -- Jimbo Mathus is a veteran with stints in numerous NC outfits including Squirrel Nut Zippers and his ongoing day gig with Countdown Quartet. Mathus and Knockdown Society gather up good time backwaters rock and boogie with more than hints of Southern fried cool. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Pigface -- You may not like the music. You may not like some of the fans. But you'd do well to check out a Pigface show if for nothing more than the complete breakdown of the invisible barriers performers and audiences together help build between them. Drummer and mastermind Martin Atkins keeps things fresh with an ever-changing lineup (often including folks from the audience), set list, and stage set-up. To top it off, the core members of this industrial traveling circus are all vital and seasoned musicians, having done time in some of the biggest bands of the last two decades (Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Public Image Ltd.). Come prepared to bang something, if it's only your head. With My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Zeromancer, and Bile. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

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