Wednesday, February 22

The Czars, Cole Guerra, Early Morning Swim, Local 506

Mojo calls the work of Denver’s Czars “songs to break your heart and feel good about it.” You could say the same for the moody-pop gems of Cole Guerra and the evocative swirl of Durham acoustic quintet Early Morning Swim. So depending on just how good you want to feel, you might want to encase your heart in some bubble wrap. $7/10 p.m. –RC

Thursday, February 23

Boxbomb, Capulets, Big City Reverie, The Pour House

Used to be hip to hold down barstools in New York dives. Now it’s cool to cut class at your British high school. Raleigh’s Capulets gotta be stoked about that, considering their brand of wirey guitar rock calls to mind both The Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes. $5-8/10 p.m. –RM

A Rooster For The Masses, Can Joann, The Library

Blue-collar bands with blue-blooded pop pedigrees are few and far between. But the boys in Can Joann and A Rooster for the Masses happen to be some of the hardest working musicians in the Triangle, and some of its best songwriters, too. –RM

Kaiser Cartel, Regina Hexaphone, Open Eye Cafe

Brooklyn outfit Kaiser Cartel have a kitchen-sink approach to their music, keeping things simple and song-based. Chapel Hill’s Regina Hexaphone always exude mood as much as melody, with a rich, palpable warmth in there. 8 p.m. –CT

Man Alive, Thin Dark Line,
The Brewery

They may hail from Jerusalem, but you might have difficulty telling Man Alive from a standard-issue Cali-punk act. Indeed, the songs are well stocked with hooks and bouncy rhythms (though lacking in grit). Baltimore quintet TDL is more in the vein of a Drive Thru Records band, with a lilting croon over the swooning emo minor chords. Both are good acts, if rather predictable. –CP

Friday, February 24

Goner, Spader, Bernard Bozwell & The Bohemians , Kings

Here’s the obligatory Gang of Four reference: Mike Dillon’s rawboned guitar lines and Justin May’s herk-n-jerk bass work leave a Gang-shaped smooch on the cheek of first-time listeners. But to write Spader’s leering dance punk off as blind homage slights the potency of their freewheeling and brilliantly fun songs. A Pox debut is due later this year. Get excited now. –RM

David Childers & the Modern Don Juans, Tir Na Nog

Childers’ latest, Jailhouse Religion, kicked out its jams in stores on Feb. 21, and it should be a breakthrough. Childers’ magneto blue-collar poetry tickles the ear and the fancy, while his Modern Don Juans–chug-a-lug, boot-kickin’, mainline country–taps on your ear drum like a train storming down the tracks. Love hurts, ya’ know? 10:30 p.m. –GC

The Two Dollar Pistols, Randy Whitt & the Grits, The Chasers, Local 506

Just back from a tour in Holland, the Two Dollar Pistols headline this honky-tonking triple bill. Joining them are Chapel Hill’s Randy Whitt & the Grits and the Chasers out of Athens, Ga., the latter with a sound that centers on John Neff, whose pedal steel has graced recordings by the Drive-By Truckers, the Star Room Boys and aforementioned Dutch darlings the Pistols. $6/10 p.m. –RC

Saturday, February 25

CX-1, Menage, The Pour House

CX-1 is not so much the result of a bust-up as it is a reunion. Snake Oil Medicine Show’s the Pond Brothers–Andy on banjo, George on guitar and drummer Billy Seawell–hooked up with Acoustic Syndicate bassist Jay Sanders, who was an original Snake Oiler before becoming a Syndicate man. It’s newgrass-reggae-jazz-funk-fusion with a good dollop of hokum on top, acoustic experimentation into the outer spaces of bluegrass. $6-8/10 p.m. –GB

The Cartridge Family, Viva La Venus, New Town Drunks, Kings

This show should come with a Surgeon General’s warning. New Town Drunks are either way too into irony or they know something about inebriation, and–judging from their contagious stage show and wide-open, co-ed rock spree–it’s the later. The Cartridge Family will raise a glass, too, helping you to remember why Rod Stewart was only cool when he wore his Faces and why Jim Dickinson’s records are groovy. Call a cab. 10 p.m. –GC

Big Pretty & the Red Rockets,
Count K, Local 506

Accordion, electric cello and Bob Marley covers? It’s safe to say BP&RR are the most unusual new Chapel Hill band, as they seek to mix reggae, hip hop, country and rock into something they call “bi-polar rootz rock.” Don’t miss Count K, either. Athens’ Flagpole genuflected heavily over their debut, which combines the fragile beauty of Jeff Buckley with a vaguely disquieting rock undercurrent and epic sweep that recalls Radiohead. $6/10 p.m. –CP

Reno Garage, The Cave

He used to play with former Nighthawk guitarist Danny Morris, but David Moore doesn’t sing the blues in his new band Reno Garage. Accompanied by wife Michelle and guitarist Michael Lynch, Moore’s sound is a rockier Burrito Brothers, even sounding like a Spanish Buddy Holly on one of his original tunes, “Comet.” Moore’s rocky roots are a true alternative for those who like a side of smooth Americana harmony served up with a stiff backbeat. Free/7:30 p.m. –GB

Nantucket, Machine Gun,
Lincoln Theatre

Rock ‘n’ roll will never die, so long as it lives in the hearts of those old enough to remember when they were cool, and still scores reunion gigs almost 30 years later. These North Cackalacky arena rockers toured with AC/DC and KISS, which should be worth something, I guess. Don’t miss “the MC5 of free electric jazz,” Machine Gun, who released a couple albums 15 or so years ago and played with legendary guitarist Sonny Sharrock. $13-15/9 p.m. –CP

Sunday, February 26

Belong, Nightlight

It’s been more than a decade since slow-building windstorms of distortion ruled rock. Though they’ve been compared to My Bloody Valentine because of their extensive use of wavering breakers of distortion, the slo-mo ambience and broad, barren vistas of sound (Sigur Rós, anyone?) bring these Big Easy instrumentalists more in line with early ’90s slowcore acts such as Galaxie 500, early Idaho and Spain. $6/10 p.m. –CP

Strike Anywhere, Cat’s Cradle

I wasn’t too enthused to see Richmond’s Strike Anywhere on Warped Tour last summer, and boy was I wrong. Spawned from the spirit of Fugazi and raised on hardcore, Strike Anywhere explode on stage. Many hearing the word “hardcore” will shy away, and that’s a shame because they’re surprisingly catchy. But you really need to see them perform (like a runaway train) to truly understand how great they are. $8-10/7:30 p.m. –CP

Monday, February 27

.45 Grave, Local 506

Break out the white makeup and blood red lipstick, because L.A.’s O.G. (original goth) quartet is back, more than 20 years after the fact. Their dark, gloomy, ’83 debut set them as a West Coast answer to Lords of the New Church, with a decidedly punk edge and a sense of humor lacking in many of their peers.
$8-10/10 p.m. –CP

Tuesday, February 28

Of Montreal, Tuesday, Cat’s Cradle

Singer/guitarist Kevin Barnes brings a wonderful sense of adventure to his psychedelic-flavored pop. Following in a long line of Beatles imitators, Barnes’ latest, The Sunlandic Twins, feels especially indebted to Jeff Lynne with rich electronic swirls embellishing fiendishly catchy songs. It’s practically a narcotic–spin it three times and I defy you to sell it back. $10-12/9:30 p.m. –CP

Schooner, Eagle Seagull, Nightlight

Schooner has been on what sounds like a path to indie pop prominence since the release of its 2004 EP You Forget About Your Heart. Writer Reid Johnson seems to have opened up his songbook for import and export, peeling ideas away from different traditions and delivering exciting new deals. The results are pop with the heft of an atmosphere, and it’s easy to find your own space for floating. $5/10 p.m. –GC