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By Divine Right -- This Canadian quartet authored one of this year's more, well, confusing discs, Sweet Confusion, with riff-laden guitar-swagger that would have sounded right at home in 1974. Confusing because leader Jose Contreras drifts between garage-y pop (ala Sloan -- good) and an overwrought blues sound recalling the likes of, say, Steve Marriot's Humble Pie (not so good). The pop elements outweigh the gut-bomb blues, and the band definitely knows a hook when it plays one -- which only makes the other stuff all that more puzzling. My guess? They rock live. The Room (Schacht)

Ras Majuka -- A jazz backdrop gives the art-rock combo Ras Majuka warm tones to forge King Crimson-styled experimental rock. The quartet consists of seasoned local musicians, Lauren Edney (vocalist), Mark Sullivan (bass), Thomas Meadows (percussionist) and John McMillian (guitarist/composer), delving into the possibilities of intermixing musical styles, and the ensuing interplay succeeds. With Farfalla. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

Simplified CD Release -- The release of Act 1 marks a mature and fully realized sound for the Charlotte quartet. No flash and fire here, no arm wrestling with the neck of the guitar to spew heavy riffs, just rock laced with roots sentiments and even some reggae thrown in for a tropical vibe. Visulite Theatre (Shukla)

FRIDAY 10.29
Black Market Radio -- The boys in Black Market Radio have a new record coming out, Coffee And Secondhand Smoke, recorded by Patrick Boyd at Hyperactive Studios and produced by BMR's own Carey Sims. Featuring veteran QC rockers Sims (vocals and guitar), Andy Seets (guitar and vocals), Derek Young (bass and vocals) and Chuck Lee (drums), Black Market Radio sound pretty much black market radio-ready to these ears. Sims has a surprisingly agile voice that manages to recall both Chris Robinson and Paul Rodgers, and the band keep it between the lines with a rock-solid musical and harmonic base -- think Counting Crows, perhaps -- for Sims' soul-searching. Expect the record by mid-November, but expect a few free previews tonight. With Nashville's The Loft. The Evening Muse (Davis)

Dillinger Escape Plan -- John Dillinger, Mr. Public Enemy Number One, ultimately died in a hail of G-man bullets. Seeing the Dillinger Escape Plan play live feels like something similar, albeit without all the nasty blood and guts and doublecrossing by the gal in the red dress. Their new release, Miss Machine, is a swarming maelstrom of intellect, math rock, and absolutely brutal speed-core. After a one-off flirtation with Mike Patton on the amazing Irony Is a Dead Scene EP, Greg Puciato is back manning vocal duties for the band, with very little discernable drop-off in the Strychnine-seized shouter department. I'm probably nearing the end of my window to enjoy such aural violence, but rest assured I'm going to let my ears go out with a bang (or at least a ringing whimper). With Everytime I Die, Zao, Misery Signals, and Whyoming. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

Dynamite Brothers -- The Brothers Dynamite bring their angular funk/punk back to town -- and for the last time in their current incarnation. Mitchell Rothrock's inventive guitar playing determines much of their sound, with drummer Scott Nurkin and bassist Shane Hartman sorting out the complex rhythms and propulsive drive. Hartman, however, is quitting, and the remaining duo plan to take some time off before determining their next move. With Babyshaker and Kung Flude. The Room (Schacht)

Alvin Youngblood Hart's Muscle Theory -- One of the better blues revivalists around, Hart's heroes include Delta bluesmen Charlie Patton, Son House and Skip James, and you can hear their influence in the impeccable guitar playing of the 1997 W.C Handy Award winner for Best New Artist. After releasing the more rock-based Start With the Soul in 2000, Hart returned to his roots with a record of covers and traditionals, Down In the Alley, which also showcased the harrowing, yearning vocals that also separate him from the crowd. He's playing two sets here with bass and drums, so expect a mix of styles. Neighborhood Theatre (Schacht)

Aqualads -- The 'Lads have a new disc set to come out, Surf, Surf, Surf, which might be the best wax distillation yet of the band's traditional, high-energy surf rock sound. The lineup has undergone a few changes over the years, but Jimmy King (bass) and Jeremy DeHart (guitar) have remained standbys for the group, with guitarist C-Bob Nelson doing a fine job of beefing up the reverb-and-tremolo drenched sound. If there's ever been a better straight-up surf band in this state's history, I've yet to hear them. Double Door Inn (Davis)

Hopesfall CD Release -- The Charlotte-based band Hopesfall has a new record out, A Types, which all you crazy kids can pick up at this here show (Sorry, I've been watching too much Letterman. Can someone put Paul Shaffer out of his misery already?). A mix of no-nonsense hardcore laced with big sweeping arcs of icy melody, the record is a fine introduction to the band, who do a fair enough job of translating the rather ambitious release to their live show. Bleeding heart music for those not afraid to be called such a thing. With Codeseven, One Amazin' Kid, and Control Alt Delete. Tremont Music Hall (Davis)

The Silos -- Credit Walter Salas-Humara, leader of the Silos for the better part of two decades, as one of the catalysts of Americana. The Silos have released a batch of strong records since the critical favorite Cuba in '87. The latest, When the Telephone Rings (Dualtone), comes pretty close to that hailed debut. Salas-Humara writes poetic ditties, where the fiddle and steel-pedal whine low and the guitars rock out or sit back and cry along. The Silos weigh in with atmospheric country or let guitars loose with abandon, all depending on the mood of the song. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

SUNDAY 10.31
Sea Ray -- This Brooklyn-based sextet has beguiled listeners with a lush, warm cinematic sound located somewhere between the shimmering fractured guitars of Echo & the Bunnymen and the driving rhythms of the Velvet Underground. With Mike Mitschele, gogo Pilot and John Morris. The Evening Muse (Schacht)

Skinny Puppy -- A Halloween treat from a band for whom pancake makeup and fake blood are de rigueur. The industrial legends may have softened somewhat since 1988's VIVISect VI, their probable high point, but they can still pack 'em in. See our story in this issue. Tremont Music Hall (Schacht)

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