Wednesday, May 24

Cities, Alvarez Painting, An Epic at Best, Nightlight

Three bands abiding by one ’90s college aphorism: For emotional weight, don’t just sing, howl. The more riveting moments on Cities’ self-titled debut come when the guitars lose their way and Josh Nowlan’s voice staples itself somewhere between an unapologetic lullaby and a frightening falsetto, all manic and lost. Likewise, Alvarez Painting reaches for the epic sweep of Cursive and the ricocheting guitar-and-drum, rhythmically complex amorphisms of vintage Built to Spill, building big songs on simple, distorted chords. Georgia’s An Epic at Best splits the differences and broods atop its guitar-heavy nest. $5/9 p.m. –GC

Thursday, May 25

The Ike Reilly Assassination, LUCE, Local 506

It’s fitting that Ike Reilly comes from a place named Libertyville, Ill.: He seems to find great freedom in words. “Girl don’t like the fader in me, the invader in me, the penetrator in me/ the not quite fade awayer in me, the ‘I will see you later’ in me,” he sings on last year’s edgy and excellent Junkie Faithful, backed by something too evasive to be roots rock and making a strong case for the resurrection of the “New Dylans” list. LUCE, and its Counting Crows/ Train lineage, opens. $6-8/8:30 p.m. –RC

David Wilcox, The Artscenter

Just as we’re lamenting the end of this year’s American Roots Series, there comes an encore show with David Wilcox, once of Asheville and now, apparently, of the nation’s highways as he, his wife and their son observe America through the windows of a bio-diesel truck. The miles and the sights are no doubt perfect fodder for acoustic hero Wilcox’s insight-rich folk songs. $20-22/8 p.m. –RC

Friday, May 26

Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan, Hi-Red Center, Kings

Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan’s music is pure, unadulterated frenetic energy, knee-jerk spasms directed at crowds through blasts of bass and saxophone, splintering guitar atonality and drums that never stop running 90 miles a minute. They share that spasmodic hustle with Brooklyn’s Hi-Red Center, who trade CG&J’s constant plunk for acerbic vocal montones and drive-fast/ slam-breaks/ go-again sparks. Should be twisted. 10 p.m. –GC

Tourist, Charles Latham, Nighlight

Cary’s Tourist–or, Hunter MacDermut and his many musical instruments–specialize in sleepily mumbled indie pop. On “Dead Ringer,” MacDermut’s voice (itself a dead ringer for mopey Canadian string tickler Hayden Desser) soars unsurely, but with clear and noble purpose. Playful, rainy-day melodies, piano pounds and strummy guitars are his tools; perfectly quaint songs that stick to the ribs are his product. Charles Latham Esq., whose wily folk is a bit more fractured than MacDermut’s, opens. $5/9:30pm –RM

Terry Anderson & The Olympic Ass Kickin’ Team, Tir Na Nog

Is Terry Anderson Irish? I’m not quite sure of Anderson’s genetic lineage, but his narrative lineage as espoused through his loud, jocular songwriting with the Olympic Ass Kickin’ Team suggests a dude that could drink alongside the most stout Irishman and wake up in the morning to tell the tales, drinking, affronting and laughing all the way. Big rock with a singing drummer means big kicks with a Raleigh treasure. Free/10:30 p.m. –GC

Jule Brown, Bynum General Store

As alter ego Jule Brown, former Jennyanykind drummer/ songwriter Mark Holland put out three albums of country flavored rock/ folk. But there’s more to Holland/ Brown than that. Tracking influences from Jesus to George Jones and Public Enemy, Holland-as-Brown with a five-piece band will release a new collection of originals, Smoke and Mirrors,in September. Holland promises a mixed bag of sounds including rock ‘n’ roll and roots music along with blues and a touch of surrealism.
$3-7/7:30 p.m. –GB

Saturday, May 27

Goner, Slim’s

It’s a safe bet that Caitlin Cary’s soaring cover of “Battleground Park” on the recent Songs for Sixty-Five Roses compilation served as some folks’ introduction to Raleigh indie-hard-poppers Goner. Your savvy late-comers then sped directly to 2002’s sublimely melodic Dollar Movie, which examines our love-hate relationship with the not-so-distant past, and then on to How Good We Had It, which turns up the volume while darkening the mood. These guys are really, really good. Free/10 p.m. –RC

Sunday, May 28

The Wusses, Shipwrecker, Local 506

Yacht Rock, some call it. It’s a damned fire hazard of polyester and handlebars, if you ask me. Sunset jams set to a pina colada tempo and dirt brown wallpaper. Irony eats its own tail. Where are Captain and Tennille? Does no one care? The ghost of Jeff “The Skunk” Baxter moans. Oh wait, he’s not dead. Shipwrecker opens. $6. –CT

Tuesday, May 30

Valient Thorr, Black Skies, Future Islands, Cat’s Cradle

Our favorite face-frying Venusians, Valient Thorr hails from the brightest planet in the galaxy, taking up temporary respite in the Triangle when not busting Earthlings up on tour. Ostensibly, MC5, The Minutemen and mescaline are big stars outside of the Earth’s gravitational pull, as VT blows up in your face like a drugged-out vintage rock bomb. Black Skies reign with thundering classic rock, and Future Islands are Art Lord ex-pats, losing the Art Lord gimmicks. $8/8 p.m. –GC