Let Feedback Ring
Might Let Feedback Ringa monthly free show at Raleigh’s Legendsbe the city’s next great, permanent First Friday addition? Here’s hoping. The talent for this second regular installment, after all, is an exceptional blend of newcomers, veterans and the path between the two. The new and promising Wool crafts evocative indie rock from the saturation of shoegaze guitars and the diffident vocals of New Zealand’s hugely influential Dunedin sound; imagine Real Estate turning that layer of fuzz into blankets. Diffidence isn’t something that Gonerthree grown men with full-time jobs and mortgages and kidsdoesn’t entertain; their piano-led rock seems eternally in search of a little salvation and a very big anthem, both of which they deliver en masse on the new Faking the Wisdom. Whatever Brains headline. During each of the last three years, they’ve managed to release one of the state’s best records, largely because of their stylistic restlessness and adventurousness. An early show in a gay dance club sounds like their ideal scenario for mischief. Friday, Dec. 6, at Legends. Free/7 p.m.
Spider Bags, The Everymen
Just an old-fashioned, incredible rock show: Spider Bags, who sometimes seem to play every week, have been noticeably absent from local stages for the last few months. Their return is welcome, as their no-hesitation, all-upheaval shows are some of the best around. And it’s been more than a year since we’ve heard new Spider Bags material (a compilation of singles notwithstanding), so listen up for a fresh ball of sass or burst of blues. Spider Bags moved to North Carolina from New Jersey, which remains the home of The Everymen, a Boss-loving big band that’s fond of harmonies, horns and bleeding hearts leaking onto sweaty sleeves. Saturday, Dec. 7, at The Cave. $8/10 p.m.
Consistency has never been the hallmark of Duke Coffeehouse, the odd-angled little room on the university’s east campus that hosts a few dozen sporadic shows each year. That unpredictable nature yields wonderful surprises such as this late-semester stop by Maria Minerva, an Estonian producer and singer living in London but releasing music through Los Angeles’ wonderfully warped Not Not Fun empire. In the last three years, Minerva’s music has stepped largely out of its synth-pop cloud, where melodies felt like the liquid fuel of a fog machine, and into an atmosphere more direct and lucid. The same multilayered, mechanized coo that shaped her early output remains, but her tone is more decided now, taking shape in front of beats that click, pop and propel. See Gulls, a new quartet featuring members or veterans of Schooner, Organos and T0W3RS, opens, alongside Fruit. Thursday, Dec. 5, at Duke Coffeehouse. $5/9 p.m.
Though it wasn’t their debut, Baltimore band Arbouretum seemed to arrive on 2007’s Rites of Uncovering, an eight-song guitar wonder that sometimes roared and sometimes wandered through gnarled, blue-collar blues. Over the series of albums and splits that have followed that first Thrill Jockey album, the group has struggled to balance its loves of English folk, spiritual rumination and rock ‘n’ roll exploration. They’ve stumbled over each strain separately, fighting to figure out how three respectively rigid pieces fit. This year’s Coming Out of the Fog might be the closest they’ve come yet, with a title track that feels like John Cale in all his elegance and a browbeating that does the name “World Split Open” justice. In this instance, the destination seems better than the journey. Solar Halos open with fleet doom metal that’s paradoxically ascendant, and Monsonia makes a rare appearance, too. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Nightlight. $7–$9/9:30 p.m.
Led by the saxophone-playing son of Ethiopian refugees, Boston’s Debo Band is certainly reverent to the shape-shifting soul-jazz-rock legacy of Addis Ababa and the indigenous traditions that helped shape it. Danny Mekkonen, that leader on tenor sax, studies it, and the band has made multiple collective trips to Africa both to perform and to learn. But there’s a certain carefree quality to this hendectet, too, a decisive indecision about the best way to revivify decades-old music for audiences largely connected to it only through the thiopiques CD series. With accordion and dual violins, they add a Romany stomp-and-swivel. With a velvet-voiced singer, they add soul approachability, even in a foreign tongue. And with 11 members, they add the opportunity for this music to get free, to unfurl into unforeseen solos and shrieks. These elements push Debo Band past anachronism and into their own polyglot present. Friday, Dec. 6, at Motorco. $10–$24/9 p.m.
Southern Culture on the Skids, The Woolly Bushmen
After this show ends, you’ll have exactly a week to enter the Southern Culture on the Skids karaoke contest. More than another gimmick for the ever-playful Dixieland disciples, their singing competition coincides with the release of a re-recorded version of Ditch Diggin‘, the last album SCOTS made before making the ditch-jump to Geffen Records in the mid-’90s. Use this gig to observe and rehearse your Rick Miller technique, and then win yourself a Southern Culture ukulele. Worry less about singing along with great Orlando trio The Woolly Bushmen, an organ-abetted blast of primitive garage rock that’s shouted and played as though they manufactured and boxed all the Nuggets themselves. Demented and addictive, The Woolly Bushmen might just remind you of SCOTS’ long-gone Sleazefest. Dexter Romweber, who played that very first Sleazefest in 1994, takes the bill’s middle with his Duo. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Cat’s Cradle. $13–$15/9 p.m.
Laura Reed used to lead the meandering Deep Pocket, an Asheville jam band that shuffled through grooves and wrapped positive refrains in horns and keys. Reed’s voicea soaring soul tone, with a hint of rasp at the edgesdeserved the attention it’s finally beginning to get. Reed has since moved to Nashville, found her Svengali and started working with a producer whose credits include India.Arie. Her new single, “Wake Up,” is a cool shock of verve, backing her ostensibly renewable optimism with a Motown chart that might suit Bruno Mars. Hell, she’s even cut her dreadlocks. Nth Powera soul-and-funk supergroup, as such things gojoins. Saturday, Dec. 7, at The Pour House. $10–$12/10 p.m.
The voice of Humble Tripe leader Shawn Luby is tender and slight, with emotional faultlines tracing upward in every falsetto rise. It’s wonderful, but it’s the sort of instrument that tends to go missing in nightclubs and bars. On this year’s The Giving, his backing ensemble has blossomed into a full band that, instead of crowding out his tone, lifts it up and spins it around, an effect not unlike the practical magic of the acrobat he takes as a metaphor during one of the record’s best moments. With Katharine Whalen. Thursday, Dec. 5, at The Kraken. Free/9 p.m.
Ever So Android
Seattle duo Ever So Android pits the assailant vocals of Hope Simpson against the guitars, electronics and programmed drums of Drew Murray. Simpson sings a little like a Shirley Manson acolyte battling for a spot on Christina Aguilera’s squad on The Voice, making for a strange foil to Murray’s brittle textures. She’s a would-be pop star trapped in post-industrial sound, a juxtaposition that supplies these songs with enough frisson to overpower their faults. Monday, Dec. 9, at Slim’s. $5/9 p.m.
Deep South Christmas Party
Though this is the Christmas party for area management and production company Deep South Entertainment, this bill makes little room for big men with white beards and red suits. Instead, the talent offers bracing, polished, radio-ready rock surges, from the restless anthems of I Was Totally Destroying It to the sturdy, falsetto-topped melodrama of The Roman Spring. Greensboro’s emo-charged Unifier open, alongside Vinny Vegas, a Baltimore art-rock band that smolders until it flashes out into flames. Friday, Dec. 6, at Deep South the Bar. $7–$10/8:30 p.m.
The Barefoot Movement
From Johnson City, Tenn., The Barefoot Movement makes competent and comfortable modern folk music, with fiddle, bass, mandolin and guitar supporting lively co-ed harmonies. But going out of your way to see the young players of The Barefoot Movement would be like driving two miles to buy eggs when you’ve got high-quality hens in your own backyard. From Mipso to Mandolin Orange, Chatham County Line to Steep Canyon Rangers, your own town currently does it better. With Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman. Sunday, Dec. 8, at Casbah. $8–$10/7 p.m.
If you’re an R.E.M. obsessive, the lede here is that Mike Mills is backing songwriter Joseph Arthur on this tour. And Bill Dobrow, who will be playing drums, is a good one, too. Otherwise, Arthur is a self-serious, droll singer whose albums are overstuffed with balderdash delivered as wisdom. His latest, the vaguely autobiographical and hilariously named The Ballad of Boogie Christ, is full of revelations you’ve likely already considered. Dylan LeBlanc opens. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Cat’s Cradle Back Room. $15/8 p.m.