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Comeback Kid : The drummer for this band must have an extra arm as his breathless percussion almost skids off the stage while a melodic howler and rapid-fire six strings take care of the rest. Comeback Kid's newest, Wake the Dead (Victory Records), is overflowing with the chorus of pissed off youngsters egging others on to join in. With Bane, With Honor and Silent Drive. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Descolada : Featuring eerie symphonic violin arrangements like The Rachel's, and distorted guitar and drums like Sonic Youth, this primarily instrumental 4-top from Asheville gracefully challenge the laws of rock tradition. Holding steadfast to their influences : the Pixies, Isis & godspeed you black emperor, to name a few : Descolada evoke both rage and excitement while simultaneously exploring the unconventional use of the violin. All of which induces mind-blowing crescendos both beautiful and tragic. With Almighty Flying Machine, Mourning Calls, Big City Dreams, Small Towns Burn a Little Slower and October Surprise. Milestone. (Lydia Marlon)

Rachael Sage : Like Ani DiFranco (who often gets credit for "discovering" her), Sage is a tireless promoter of her own work, booking her own tours, releasing her own albums, and winning over converts via word of mouth (and catchy records). Her new CD, Ballads and Burlesque, is another helping of her smoky, jazz-inflected cabaret folk, heavy on piano on light on label hype. The Evening Muse (Davis)


Drat : Led by Black Lagoon's Andy Cauble, Aqualad Jimmy King and ex-Crime Scene 13 guitarist Brad Fury, Drat recently laid down all 13 tracks of Sorry...We're Drat at Rob Tavaglione's Catalyst studios in one day, and without the use of clicktracks and comping and other such tweedledeedee. Vocals were overdubbed, but usually only in one live take, and with no pitch-fixing or Pro Tool magic wand-waving. Breakout hit: Cauble's "Erik Estrada". A Ponch in the mouth, if you will. With Semi-Pro. The Room (Davis)

Spottiswoode and His Enemies / Jason Ringenberg : Jonathan Spottiswoode is a songwriter and indie filmmaker, replete with scruffy beard, angular face, and stringy long hair. You'd be forgiven for blurting out "Dear God, not another fucking Vincent Gallo" right about now, but Spottiswoode (as well as his Enemies) have a lot more going on in the songwriting department than Mr. Gee-Ain't-It-Cool-That-I'm-Getting-A-Blowjob-In-A-Movie: equal parts Waitsian found percussion, Langhorne Slim-style gut poetry, and Nick Cave-like gothic yawp. (Davis) / Ringenberg (of the country-punk catalysts Jason & the Scorchers) has been releasing solo country outings, even cutting a children's record a couple years back, since the semi-retirement of the Scorchers in '99. Empire Builders is the new one from Ringenberg and it's a none-too-subtle take on recent American foreign policy adventures. The Evening Muse (Shukla)


NMX 5 : The MoRisen Records-sponsored New Music Extravaganza, in its fifth year, is billed as a showcase for up and coming bands, and this year's bill is stacked. Wadesboro's The Sammies have put a welcome charge into the local scene with a mix of punkish garage rock reminiscent of the MC5 and Mooney Suzuki; Wilmington's Fashion Brigade feature a jagged but danceable attack built on a boatload of guitar delay, calling to mind Joy Division, Wire and Gang of Four; Job's Method brings a welcome degree of melody to their prog-core via reverb-rich guitar riffs, and have recently added a female vocalist to the mix; Raleigh's Iconic play it straight up for the most part, claiming influences from both sides of the pond, from the Buzzcocks and Oasis to the Replacements and Ryan Adams. Visulite Theatre (Schacht)

Sylvie Lewis: The debut record from this British-born, LA-based ingenue, Tangos & Tantrums, adopts a variety of classic-pop poses, from Tin Pan Alley to country noir. A cabaret-like feeling accompanies a full-length romp through its 12 cuts, not unlike the early records of fellow Angelino Eleni Mandell. What Lewis lacks of Mandell's profane sex appeal she makes up for in youthful gusto, however. With Gigi Dover and Bob Sinclair.. The Evening Muse (Schacht)


The Brock McGuire Band : Both Brock and McGuire are former founders and leaders of the renowned band Moving Cloud. Paul Brock (button accordion), Manus McGuire (fiddle) and cohorts play deep, traditional Irish music with a healthy dose of fervor. This show promises to be an evening of passionate and skilled Celtic music for fans of cultural music. Neighborhood Theatre (Shukla)


Second Hand Stories : Steeple "DJ Wiiz Kid" Steve's one man acoustical jam, Second Hand Stories (recently signed to Charlotte's Deep Elm Records) is a project that may surprise some people that have only heard his voice yell "Wylin!" on Wednesday evenings. Lush and organic, the few songs I've heard are more tone poems than pop ditties: elegiac and harmonically resonant, with nary a word out of place or extraneous strum in the lot. Milestone (Davis)


Natalie MacMaster : A native of the remote Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, MacMaster is a traditional Celtic fiddler and songcrafter of some mighty fine songs. See our story in this issue. Spirit Square (Shukla)

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