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THURSDAY 1.22

Copeland / The Working Title -- Copeland won the attention of Central Florida's fertile music scene with their ambient indie-rock anthems, and are touring on the back of their '03 release, Beneath the Medicine Tree. Their website suggests that fans of Coldplay, Jimmy Eat World, and Toad the Wet Sprocket should dig their sound. The Working Title are a Universal-label band complete with street teams and iTunes-exclusives who can easily be lumped into the "alt-rock" category without anyone getting hurt. Neighborhood Theatre (Schacht)

FRIDAY 1.23

Brett Johnson / Matt Bolick -- Dallas, TX, native Johnson cites as influences Soft Cell, The Artist Formerly Known As (back when he was just) Prince, Human League, Kraftwerk and Stevie Wonder in his DJ mix of groove and techno. He's engineered and produced discs by Mark Farina, Chester Baldwin and Kenny Hawkes, among others. With local DJs Matt Bolick, and Suspence & Brackenfern. Liquid Lounge (Schacht)

Don Dixon, Jamie Hoover, Robert Crenshaw -- A boffo night of great pop songwriting here, featuring the criminally underrated Robert Crenshaw (brother of Marshall), musician/producer Don Dixon, and our own combo rocker/recorder Jamie Hoover, who seems to have had his hands on at least half of the really good music to have come out of this city in the last 20 years. Word has it that this is going to be one of those "songwriters in the round" events, with each artist trading off songs and playing accompaniment on each other's stuff. The Evening Muse (Davis)

Dynamite Brothers / Dragstrip Syndicate -- The garage/blues trio The Dynamite Brothers have an excellent new one out, Clap Along With The Dynamite Brothers, that's a must-buy for NC music fans or anybody else who owns a couple of Count Five records. Full of hot rod harmonies, burnout riffs, and smoky choruses that simultaneously conjure up images of Iggy Pop and "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, it's a record that keeps the pedal to the metal from song one. (Davis)/ Shake some action with Richmond, VA's Dragstrip Syndicate, a band wielding three guitars (count 'em) while keeping the soul of 60s and 70s rock alive -- without any "tribute" leanings. They come out with guitars screeching on the first note and don't let up as the rhythm section burns with garage rock fury. MC5, the Stooges, and even Mudhoney come to mind as Dragstrip Syndicate's fuzzed-out guitars set out to revitalize the lost art of Rock & Roll. Also playing this evening are The Weather. The Room (Shukla)

Punos -- These youngsters from Goldsboro, NC, are generally effective as their songs progress down the hardcore and scream-o route, maintaining a melodic underpinning so the tune doesn't fade out. This gig is a CD release party for a new batch of pummeling tunes. The Manhattan Project, Malebogia and others are also slated to play. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

World Leader Pretend -- Yes, they're named after an REM song, which is either really clever or really lousy marketing, depending on what it is you're actually trying to accomplish (try a google search, for instance). There is a bit of that Peter Buck jangle on their debut disc, Fit For Faded, but there's also a healthy amount of Brit-pop in the mix, too, via Travis and Coldplay (or Radiohead-lite, if you prefer). Keith Ferguson's vocals are harder to pin down, bouncing around somewhere between Thom Yorke's and Mikey Stipe's. The buzz is good, overall, and you've certainly heard a lot worse. The Mark Mathis band opens. Neighborhood Theatre (Schacht)

SATURDAY 1.24

The Houston Brothers -- After releasing their self-titled CD earlier this year, the laid-back Houston Brothers took a cue from Emeril Lagasse and kicked it up a notch, adding drummer Shawn Lynch to the equation and starting to rock out -- almost head-bang, even -- on occasion. Justin Faircloth, the father of Charlotte indie-croon, paints remarkable little word-pictures here, the languid music providing the perfect score to the band's three-minute passion plays in miniature. With Jennyanykind, no slouches themselves, and sort of a Carrboro version of the same thing. The Room (Davis)

Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys -- It's the lifelong passion of gospel, the road-weary tales of a folksy, country crooner and practically a history book filled with robust bluegrass, all rolled into one. The name is Ralph Stanley and the American music legend still inspires awe with his gentle playing and singing. Stanley is one of the last remaining troubadours of the old school still able to bring down the house. This is an early (6pm) show. Adrienne Young opens. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)

TUESDAY 1.27

Supastition, The Others, and Figga 4 -- One runs the risk of sounding a little square/white/liberal when calling a hip hop show conscious, but that's what you'll get here. Which is not to say that they won't rip it up, you understand. Supastition, CL's hip hop artist of the year, brings his locally grown, major league flow to the intimate confines of the Muse tonight, joining up with his pals in The Others (featuring members of the old Katsckills Project) and Figga 4, one of the more underrated (and older) underground/independent hip hop acts around. All the artists here seem to have one foot in the past and one in the future, which makes the here and now sound pretty damn tight as a result. The Evening Muse (Davis)

WEDNESDAY 1.28

Cary Hudson -- Without bemoaning the demise of Blue Mountain, a wonderful "just under the radar" Americana band, Hudson marches on with his mastery over guitars and wordplay. He can wield the beast, acoustic or electric, with ease and brings the weight of southern American music into the greater fold, occasionally with a trio, other times just by his lonesome. With Chad Edwards of the late Lou Ford. The Room (Shukla)

Paul Geremia -- It's obvious after a while that Geremia is not just another guitarist plucking away on acoustic blues, but rather a road-proven musician with an encyclopedic knowledge and love of early blues and jazz. He does it as well as any old school master of the genre, taking cues from, and tipping hats to, Ray Charles, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Thelonius Monk and others. He's been at it for more than three decades and shows effortless proficiency finger-picking six or 12-string guitars, or playing harmonica and piano. Also on the bill are Billy Joe Murphy, Patchouli and Dean Fields. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

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