Contributors: Rick Cornell, Grayson Currin, Kathy Justice, Jack McDonald, Chris Parker, Chris Toenes

Thursday, May 24

Amy Lavere, Hideaway BBQ

Sorry if this comes off sexist, but there’s just something striking about a woman playing the upright bass, as Amy Lavere does. Striking also fits for her sultry vocals and screen-worthy looks (she played Wanda Jackson in Walk the Line and was in Black Snake Moan.) And, speaking of striking, how about this triple whammy for her brand new Anchors & Anvils: a revamped Carla Thomas song, a superb Dylan cover, and knowing production by the legendary Jim Dickinson. $10/ 8:30 p.m. RC

Cursive, These Arms Are Snakes, Cat’s Cradle

Cursive’s moody churn has taken a turn rockward since the departure of cellist Greta Cohn. This is at least the third substantially different incarnation of Cursive, now featuring horns that add a certain skronk edge to their constant post-punk rumble or buttressing the jauntier melodies of their latest, Happy Hollow. The album’s multi-perspective take on religion represents some of frontman Tim Kasher’s best writing. Similarly sired in the shadow of Fugazi, These Arms eschew hooks in favor of malevolent hardcore throb, jagged, slide-rule riffing and spastic tempo changes. With I Was Totally Destroying It. $12-$14/ 9 p.m. CP

Frank Bang’s Secret Stash, Slim’s

This much I know: Frank Bang is a guitar powerhouse who’s moved from a Chicago blues apprenticeship (alongside Otis Rush and Buddy Guy) to a rock ‘n’ roll career. I’ve never seen Bang’s power trio live, but Alex Little, a dedicated show-goer and Raleigh musician, has: “They’re not quite your average bar band. The first that I saw them, Buddy Guy’s bass player was sitting in on that tour. That’s the caliber of band we’re dealing with.” Well put, Alex. The Walkers open. $3/ 10 p.m. RC

Dr. Powerful, Reservoir

The good Doctor hails from bustling rock metropolis Sanford, with former Polvo drummer Eddie Watkins on the skins. They grind through fits of time-changes and melodic pop directness, the shouted lyrics often sporting a political consciousness. They join Northampton, Mass.’s Mitchells and Winston-Salem’s Tommygun, which includes ex-Capsize 7 member Geoff Abell. Free/ 10 p.m. CT

Friday, May 25

Little Howlin’ Wolf, Nightlight

Little Howlin’ Wolf is just one of many performing aliases for James Pobiega, a 6’9″ Polish man who made 32 45rpm records and two LPs while serving as an itinerant street musician in Chicago during the ’70s and ’80s. His story is often only as intriguing as his music, though, with his distorted take on primitive blues growl often blurring the 12-bar stomp into drones and improvised, freely associative spasms. Fascinating stuff for fans of Freedom, Blues and their Ayler/Abner paths. Word is that former Raleigh resident Eric Weddle is putting together a massive Wolf compendium for his Family Vineyard imprint, so it’s best to get acquainted early. With Relay for Death, Boyzone and Kohoutek. $6/ 10 p.m. GC

Martin Sexton, Cat’s Cradle

Martin Sexton is one man with a thousand voices, as his rollicking baritone can grow from a miniscule whisper to a voluminous growl in a matter of seconds, making as many stops in between as necessary. On Sexton’s latest, Seeds, the former Boston Square busker employs his signature vocal slides to people his record with a multitude of personas and instruments. On “Happy,” Sexton’s vocals are an angelic gospel choir backing up his lead, while the rootsy “Marry Me” showcases Sexton’s vocal horns in sputters and harmony hums. To witness the full range of Sexton’s skills and lyrical characters, catch him live. $20-$22/ 9 p.m. KJ

The Whole World Laughing, A New Dawn Fades, Bull City Headquarters

Individually, both Scotty Irving and Dave Cantwell have expanded the horizon of percussion and bass (in Clang Quartet Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan and Benj-o-matic). In The Whole World Laughing, they throw the clatter and rhythmic lurch against the wall, and it sticks. Full bill, with Belles and The Gates of Beauty and Richmond’s A New Dawn Fades. 8 p.m. CT

Regina Hexaphone, Sadlack’s

With luck, the skies will be clear and the sun will be up when Regina Hexaphone plays the first note on Sadlack’s patio. This is music for seeing sunsets, Sara Bell’s voice working with entreating sweetness through 1,000 summer dreams dreamt about lost lovers and times. On their second album, Into Your Sleeping Heart, due later this year as the second release on new Raleigh imprint Superfan, they’re still perfectly textural, coruscating strings and harmonies peaking through slide guitar moans and pensive drums, but they shake off freshman tremors, too: a little louder, a little more punchy, altogether more confident and convincing. With Gerald Duncan. Free/ 7 p.m. GC

The Cogburns, The Cave

With a sleazy mix of Southern grit and fiery punk-rock, the rocket-fueled Atlanta garagers in The Cogburns are r’n’r revivalists. The band’s ethos hinges around rock’s paramount concerns: big guitars, bad women and booze. Combine those with a wild stage presencescissor kicks and mic shakesand you’ll have the epitome of wall-banging, beer-guzzling, post-millennial partying, or The Cogburns. It reaches its apex in each tinny guitar riff and shout-out loud anthem, spewed by lead-singer Glenn Cogburn. 10 p.m. KJ

Saturday, May 26

Beaver Nelson, Solterra Common House (Durham)

Need proof that those calendar pages keep flying off and away? One-time Austin wunderkind Beaver Nelson is now a wonderdad with two kids and six records. On his latest release, Beaver Nelson’s Exciting Opportunity, he continues to combine Texas singer-songwriter writing chops with pop/rock flair. In his musical world, words and melody are co-kings. And you just know his kids rule his real world. See for details. $10/ 8 p.m. RC

L in Japanese, Blend

It’s hard not to admire L in Japanese’s vision and work ethic: Fresh from adventures in developing the European hip-hop underground, he returned to the Triangle and continued his mission of advancing local DIY hip-hop in every way possible, from promoting shows to bringing together local MCs and beatmakers. But you can’t forget his skill as an audio craftsman. His work is full of sophisticated ambience and smartly chopped soul soundscapes. See L bring his show for the Alliance for AIDS fundraiser: guaranteed Saturday night kicks for a cause. JM

Why Are We Building Such a Large Ship, Dead Elephant Bicycle, SOC Rovers, Bull City HeadQuarters

A spooky, creaking brass band with gothic charisma and a score to settle, bandit masks painted on their faces in white greasepaint, Why are We Building Such a Large Ship? could really only come from one place: New Orleans. They’re dropping in twice in our parts, with a Nightlight show alongside Dead Elephant Bicyle (with Embarrasing Fruits and Elefante Elegante) on Thursday, May 24. But here you get another marching band, our own left-field Scene of the Crime Rovers. 9 p.m. CT

Mook, Open Eye Café

This New York quartet blends a lingering late-night cabaret crawl with the blithe insouciance of a teenage carjacker on a joyride. Somewhere between Dresden Dolls and Ben Folds, singer/guitarist Paul Dano dives out, landing with casual aplomb, his confident tenor croon perfectly gilded by understated accompaniment. Lighthearted, not lightweight. 8 p.m. CP

Sunday, May 27

My Dad Is Dead, Local 506

Like a fraternity of Cleveland musicians, current Carolina resident Mark Edwards’ 20-plus year project has seen many come and go (Doug Gillard, John McEntire, Scott Pickering?), but it still chugs on fueled by a catchy blend of cynicism and doubt. Edwards witty, self-effacing lyrics (“We’re not among the lucky and chosen few/ Who never have to work to maintain a friend / And never hang around long enough for the end”) are accompanied by edgy, often jangly college rock that harkens back to MDID’s origins in the late ’80s. You know, when they toured with the Pixies, Throwing Muses and Butthole Surfers. With Uva Ursi and Polyna. $6/ 9 p.m. CP

Jeffrey Dean Foster, Bain Mattox, the Pour House

Jeffrey Dean Foster’s Million Star Hotel has been out for well over a year now, but it continues to gain momentum and converts, befitting the I Am the Cosmos slow burn of its songs. Foster’s music career, beginning with The Right Profile, continues to display the same graceful longevity, with the latest chapter finding him playing in a kindred-spirit duo with Sara “No Relation to Chris, in Spite of the Reference” Bell. Also on the bill is Athens, Ga., writer Bain Mattox, who shares a fondness for Tom Petty with Foster and seems poised for a long, Foster-like run. $5/ 8 p.m. RC

Monday, May 28

Tenderhooks, Beloved Binge, The Cave

There’s nothing at all tender or soft about Tenderhooks’ bait-and-catch. The Knoxville four-piece cuts to the quick of its pop songs with a Southern vitality and exuberance, tight guitar grips and country-rail basslines pushing Ben Oyler’s perfectly wide-eyed voice up with a perfected edge. Their debut, Vidalia, is stuffed with would-be radio anthems (witness the title track), evincing equal parts jangle-pop charm and Delta rock (read: Jim Dickinson) grit. If you like the dB’s, Big Star or even The Shins, Tenderhooks are waiting. Free/ 9 p.m. The band joins hits Raleigh’s The Pour House Tuesday night at 10 p.m. GC