Contributors: Rick Cornell, Grayson Currin, Rich Ivey, Kathy Justice, Chris Parker

Thursday, January 11

Colossus, Serpents, (Lone) Wolf & Cub, Reservoir

If the Day of Judgment is upon us, Serpents shall provide its apocalyptic soundtrack from atop a fiery mountain of skulls, weed and Sunn cabinets. The Asheville four-piece employs equal worship of Constellation and Neurot bands and the ruler of darkness in its attempts to meld the most haunting, bone-rattling doom/drone hybrid south of the Mason-Dixon. Serpents is joined by formidable Chicago spazzers (Lone) Wolf & Cub and the Triangle’s own heavy metal powerhouse, Colossus. 10 p.m. RI

Scourge of the Sea, Petticoat, Petticoat, Wetlands

These two wistful folk-pop acts call Lexington, Ky., home. Scourge of the Sea is delicate and dreamy with a languid roots pop sound that recalls The Connells on the twee bit. Petticoat, Petticoat carries more of an Americana approach, keyed to Kristin Messina’s dulcet purr and a sense of melody that recognizes the power of directness. Sweater Weather, a big band of pop, opens. $6/ 9 p.m. CP

Friday, January 12

Goner, Fighting Poseidon, Slim’s

Goner recently emerged from Greg Elkins’ Desolation Row Studios with its third LP in hand, and the result is enviable. The Raleigh trio is a better band than they’ve ever been, and they sound like they’re having fun: Chris Dalton’s drumming now flirts with playful, and Greg Eyman wears an increased melodic load well. But, ultimately, it’s Scott Phillips who hits new heights, writing syntactically erudite treatises on the ennui of everyman, where loneliness warrants cosmic metaphors and new year’s resolutions smell like last year’s carnage. Fighting Poseidon tests the opening waters. Free/ 10 p.m. GC

Dexter Romweber (early), Showteens, The Kingsbury Manx (late), The Cave

Two Yep Roc escapees gather underground: Word is that The Kingsbury Manxwho wrote one of the best, most eloquent albums to grace the Yep Roc canon, The Fast Rise and Fall of the South in 2005have made their local-label exit. Silvertone savant Dexter Romweber (7:30 p.m.) severed his ties with the label long ago, turning to Chris Stamey to release his solo Piano last year. Stay tuned. Chapel Hill’s new The Showteens (10 p.m.) recall the late ’80s days Jeff Hart spent leading The Hanks back on Bickett Boulevard: That is, trebly arpeggios twinkle under rustic beatcans and chords, like Byrds in cars, stumbling vaguely east. The Manx headlines. GC

The Physics of Meaning, Kings

If Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch had Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam over for a spot of tea and a brief walk in his lush garden, they’d talk about The Physics of Meaning. As if shot through a skrim, the music has a gauzy shimmer constructed from gossamer thin slices of chamber pop. Electronics burble beneath, expelling not exhaust but exhaustion, the globe warming and the sun dimming somewhere behind it all. CP

Cigar Store Indians, Hooverville, Hideaway BBQ

The New Yorker once referred to the Cigar Store Indians as “a Waffle House cow tippin’, good time.” And while the relevenace of the Waffle House reference is questionable, the New Yorker did get one thing right. The Georgia quartet will turn your frown upside down and show you a good time, with a soul-rocking, hip-shaking mix of rockabilly, country and rock ‘n’ roll. Carrboro’s country enthusiasts Hooverville open up the set. $10-$12/ 9:30 p.m. KJ

The Countdown Quartet, Amra’s

The Quartet is currently at five-size and, by all accounts, they’re digging hard with the new bimonthly stand at Amra’s. Sharp, smooth and snapping, Countdown throws one of the best parties on the right coast. They serve from a fine pot of originals and a big ol’ bucket of covers that run down from the mouth of New Orleans (Preservation Hall, for sure) up to the head of the North (Jimmy Smith). Eat it up. GC

Saturday, January 13

Ahleuchatistas, Bickett Gallery

While Ahleuchatistas’ name sends you shopping for a dictionary, its sound will set you on a hunt for a calculator. The mathy instru-metal trio from Asheville is like a mixnot unlikely, but still staggeringly uniqueof Don Caballero and John Zorn’s Painkiller. Sean Dail, Shane Perlowin and Derek Poteat successfully force each instrument to its timbral limit while tiptoeing through each song’s own schizo swing. They make jazz fans of metalheads, and vice versa. $6/ 8:30 p.m. RI

Ruthie and the Wranglers, Hideaway BBQ

The D.C. area’s Ruthie Logsdon and a revolving door of Wranglers have been cranking out first-rate honky tonk and rockabilly since the late ’80s, leaving a trail of Wammies (courtesy of the Washington Area Music Association) in their wake. Logsdon’s originals are close kin to “Harper Valley PTA,” “Fist City” and the other classics that become hers for a night at a time. $8-$10/ 9:30 p.m. RC

The Vints, Sadlacks

Listen to the self-titled EP from Raleigh acoustic duo The Vints and you might get a little teary-eyed: Their carefully crafted acoustic-balladry teems with images of busted hearts, shredded relationships and blue skies turned gray. It’s a lesson in heartache for sure, with Nick Pyll and Kevin Wing’s gutsy croons and twangy guitars heading up the class. Luckily, there may be enough platlets to stop substantial internal bleeding. Free/ 6:30 p.m. KJ

The Old Ceremony, Local 506

By now, we all realize that Chapel Hill multi-piece The Old Ceremony is named for a Leonard Cohen record. But as is the case with other large-roster bandsyour Tindersticks and Lambchops and the kings and queens of rehearsal-scheduling headaches, The Polyphonic Spreethere’s something, you know, ceremonial when all the layers fall into place and create grand moments of pop and circumstance. The hard-popping Prabir & the Substitutes open. $6/ 10 p.m. RC

Midtown Dickens, Beloved Binge, Eberhardt, Broad Street Café

One of Durham’s two new venues (see page 37), Broad Street Café smartly continues to pull from a regular cast of Bull City bands and incoming nationals. Tonight, three duos: Midtown Dickens is a Broad Street favorite, and their anti-folk whimsy is built on the sort of comfortable nonchalance that can make new digs feel nice. Eberhardt pushes on martial drum clatters and surrounds a resilient electric guitar in scabs of fuzz. Beloved Binge fits nicely between the two. 9 p.m. GC

Sunday, January 14

Scrapomatic, Jonah Smith, The Pour House

Scrapomatic is all about synergy: Mike Mattison’s gritty vocal stomp is the nerve that triggers Paul Olsen’s guitar grandeur. Put the two together and you get a Deep South distillation, ranging from swampy Delta-styled blues to vaudeville jazz with a tiny dollop of scat floating somewhere on its surface. It’s scrappy for sure, but these guys totally make it work. New York singer-songwriter Jonah Smith plays his Rhodes and serenades the 20-something set with songs about figuring it all out (whatever that means). $8/ 7 p.m. KJ

Tuesday, January 16

Glenn Tillbrook, The Pour House

When Glenn Tilllbrookthe musical half of Squeeze’s songwriting teaminaugurated his solo career five years ago, it may have seemed that he was chasing long-departed glory. Though the energy of his live performanceswhich included now legendary pied piper trips out of the bar, audience in towwas apparent, it took 2004’s second album, Transatlantic Ping-Pong, to prove he was a worthy one-man act. Full of clever, humorous songs (“Hot Shaved Asian Teens,” “The Genitalia of a Fool”), it’s as much a triumph as last year’s Ray Davies debut. $15-$18/ 8 p.m. CP

The Tourist, Sibling Project, Nightlight

What’s the difference between light and hard? You can sleep with pop music on. And indeed there’s a woozy, somnambulant feeling to The Tourist that lulls you in its gentle wake. Reminiscent of Pedro the Lion’s tightly focused acoustic vignettes (but prettier), Hunter MacDermut’s croon flutters above like a less flamboyant Rufus Wainwright. The Sibling Project is what it suggests, as Lindsey and Danny Ranck harmonize over thrift-store beats and lo-fi keys for a result somewhere between charming and precious. $5/ 10 p.m. CP

Wednesday, January 17

Benjy Ferree, Erie Choir, Local 506

Like a few dozen indie rock songwriters making waves, D.C. troubador and Domino’s first exclusive American signee Benjy Ferree sounds as though he picked up his open chord swing and took it for a sweaty, studied trot through the South: There’s the primeval stomp of the Delta, the supple syncopations of the soul and a sense of regret and longing that suggests long-simmering nostalgia . His voice sways from a way-back, redolent yelp (“Little at a Time”) to a lock-jaw spit (“Dog Killers!”), suggesting Marc Bolan and Mick Jagger surviving on Van Morrison and Otis Redding. Keep an eye on Ferree. $6/ 10 p.m. GC