Contributors: Grant Britt, Rick Cornell, Grayson Currin, Rich Ivey, Kathy Justice, Robbie Mackey

Wednesday, October 25

Mojave 3, Tim O’ Reagan, Cat’s Cradle

The slow decline of Slowdive originals Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell and Ian McCutcheon in Mojave 3 has been exasperating, and it finds its capitulation in their latest, Puzzles Like You, an overly prepared attempt to explain, “Hey guys, we’re still around” with pop hooks and jangling banality. One of the surprises of the year, though, is Tim O’ Reagan, the eponymous debut from the longtime Jayhawks drummer: Dreamy, wistful and melancholic, it’s an album that manages to be earnest and upfront and thoroughly arranged. If you still want to love McCartney at 64, this is an album to adore for the right reasons. $15/ 9:15 p.m. GC

Thursday, October 26

Jedi Mind Tricks, Cat’s Cradle

Austere aficionados Jedi Mind Tricks front the Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell tour with Babygrande labelmates Outerspace and New York sleazeball R.A. the Rugged Man. Bearing a considerably bleaker approach than North Carolina’s more celebrated hip-hop acts, the tour’s apt blend of heavy and headrocking is greeted by Charlotte’s nigh-auspicious Supastition. $14-$16/ 9:30 p.m. RI

Swearing at Motorists, Dodo Bird, Local 506

Swearing at Motorists’ Dave Doughman (best name for a self-depracating indie rocker ever?) spits songs through fuzzy guitars and clanging cymbals about ex-lovers like blood from the mouth following a new-boyfriend fistfight. Peter & the Wolf only makes me love Smog more, and Hudson Bell aces Built to Spill endearment but misses that band’s infinite levels of finesse and complexity. But Dodo Birdthe bill’s unsigned bandcould be the trigger puller here, big rock ‘n’ roll movement and changes successfully managed with percussion, massive acoustic patterns and slight electronic augmenting. $8/ 9 p.m. GC

Dresden Dolls, The Red Paintings, Lincoln Theatre

Drama geeks and teenage scenesters give big props to emo-pop outfit Panic at the Disco for bringing theatrical decadence onto the stage and out of obscurity. But before it was vogue to paint yourself up like an extra from cabaret, Boston’s unorthodox duo Dresden Dolls were formulating the 1920s piano-style dancehall ditties and goth-punk that all the kiddies are rockin’ out to today. Beautiful and disquieting at the same time, Brian Vigilone’s manic drumming and Amanda Palmer’s deep-throated sassiness splashed out over staccato chords is punk-wave Brechtian-theatre with a psychosomatic spurn. Eclectic alt-rockers The Red Paintings start off the evening. $17.50-$19/ 9 p.m. KJ

Friday, October 27

Mosadi Music CD Release Party, Raleigh Music Hall

The vaunted guest list of Phonte Colemna, Supastition, Yahzarah, Matt Douglas and Omotade on Mosadi Music’s excellent debut, The Window, speaks as much to the ensemble’s talent and promise as to its long-standing incestuous relationship with Carolina musicmakers. Poet and emcee shirlette ammons writes in ultra-hypertextual verse, her cultural allusions and metaphors rich, dynamic and provocative. The all-stars behind herNic Slaton, Chris Boerner, The Apple Juice Kid and Matt McCaughanshift from ambient throbs to feverish pulses with a sanguine energy, funk, jazz, hip-hop and Motown dissoliving together into not-to-be-ignored polycultural solution. 10 p.m. GC

Totimoshi, Caltrop, Wetlands

As relation to Matt Pike goes, Oakland’s Totimoshi is more High on Fire than Sleep, though the three-piece’s variable assault on blistering instrumentals and ragged, trebly solos inching over scabrous, doped guitars certainly calls the originals to mind. Still, frontman Tony Aguilar seems to be more into concision and comprehension than his Bay progenitors. Caltrop, one of the Triangle’s most capably heavy metal bands, need to make a record: Their debut EP grafts Slint shifts to Sleep sprawl to Shellac stiffness in an unimaginably perfect way. Throttlerod opens. Tonight is for the heavy. $8/ 9:30 p.m. GC

Steep Canyon Rangers, Kickin’ Grass, The Pour House

Asheville-based bluegrass outfit Steep Canyon Rangers gathered some well-deserved credibility from the International Bluegrass Music Association when they won the Emerging Artist of the Year award in October. Are they still basking in the glow? Kindred spirits Kickin’ Grass warm up the winners. $6-$8/ 10 p.m. KJ

Saturday, October 28

Oedipus Dick, Raleigh Music Hall

Slightly left-field of loony, Raleigh jazz-funk trio Oedipus Dick make sarcastic commentary about the Chapel Hill street scene (“I could work at Pepper’s but my hair’s too short, my body’s not pierced and I don’t have cool tattoos”). What’s more, they play it all off by pinning it on a crazy dude from Dorothea Dix who gave the band its name and songwriting inspiration. Oh, if every band were so lucky…. 10 p.m. KJ

Alejandro Escovedo, Tres Chicas, Cat’s Cradle

Although No Depression magazine honored him as the genre’s artist of the decade at the end of the ’90s, Alejandro Escovedo transcends alt-country. He’s an alt-maestro who inspires his all-first-chair band to make music that’s rich in dynamics and that alternately broods and celebrates in just the right measure. It’s the sound of the human condition. And Tres Chicas, who contributed a moving version of “Rhapsody” to 2004’s Por Vida, fit perfectly here. $15/9 p.m. RC

Carolina Chocolate Drops, Pittsboro General Store

As the Carolina Chocolate Drops, African-American stringband musicians Rhiannon Giddens on banjo and vocals, fiddler Justin Robinson and guitarist Dom Flemons rejuvenate old-time music. Mentored by Mebane’s Joe Thompson, one of the last African-American stringband fiddlers still plying his trade, the Drops “play it like Joe, but with our own kind of spin on it, ” Giddens says. Free/ 8:30 p.m. GB

Sunday, October 29

Method Man, Cat’s Cradle

Following Wednesday’s heavily Wu-influenced infiltration, the Cat’s Cradle welcomes the real dealsort of. Meth and Inspectah Deck’s latest releases pale in comparison to fellow Shaolin soldier Ghostface Killah’s Fishscale, but the allure truly lies in their legend. Masta Killa, an original Wu-Tang member marooned to incarceration during the recording of the groundbreaking Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and Kaze are worth watching. $25/ 9:30 p.m. RI

Thunderbirds are Now!, The Plastic Constellations, Rescue, Local 506

If you’ll allow a bit of maxim merging: Nowadays, everyone is famous to 15 people for at least 15 minutes. Blame the Internet. Detroit’s ThunderbirdsGod bless their keyboard-punking soulsare a prime example. Just last year, they were a small-scale indie rock success story due to a recent critical uproar, but the recently released Make History was unveiled to cricket chirps earlier this month. Damn the fickle MP3 blogger, and damn his fickle tastes. $8/ 9 p.m. RM

Brian Vander Ark, Rob Watson, The Pour House

Former freshman and ex-The Verve Pipe singer Brian Vander Ark has played solo since his band’s 2002 breakup. His most recent effort, Angel, Put Your Face On, careens from 1996-style modern rock to 1996-style contemporary Christian rock without any spiritual shift. This show ends early to allow for the “psychedelic-electric-blues-groovy-jam rock” of Burning Wagon. For the life of me. $10/ 7 p.m. RI

Unknown Hinson, Hideaway BBQ

He’s the self-proclaimed king of country and western troubadours. To Charlotte’s Unknown Hinson, the current crop of male Nashville crooners are steroid-eatin’ pretty boys with cowboy hats and shaved chests, and the females are anorexic Barbie dolls with fake breasts. “Hell, I’m outta prison, I’m Unknown Hinson,” he brags on “Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Straight From Hell.” Fear him. Enjoy the show. $8-$10/ 7 p.m. GB

Monday, October 30

Tapes ‘n Tapes, Annuals, Local 506

Two semi-success stories of the MP3 blogosphere, Raleigh’s Annuals and Minneapolis’ Tapes ‘n Tapes are bands capable of much more than their debuts (already harked as revelations for the earbuds set) evince: Annuals’ rush headlong into Adam Baker’s vocal catharses but muddy the path with over-involved knobs and dials; still, they’ve managed to write “Brother,” a frontrunner for the indie rock song of 2006. Tapes ‘n Tapes tightened their sloppy delivery after The Loon became a pre-SXSW Pitchfork winner, butseven months after seriousnessthey sound as though they could barely make it through a round of a fistfight with idols (Pixies, Pavement). Perhaps, one day, they will, but who knows what Gorilla vs. Bear will be doing then. $10-$12/ 9 p.m. GC

Dragonship, Cat’s Cradle

Dragonship’s latest release, The Elves Prophecy, is the second volume of its Nordic rock opera. The Chapel Hill quartet returns from a 10-year hiatus to depict a struggle between Nordic gods for the rights to the soul of the human race, chronicling the battle with swirling, ethereal sounds, a marriage of Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues with a Celtic twist. $10/ 8 p.m. GB

Tuesday, October 31

Dexter Romweber and the New Romans, Garmonbozia, Evil Wiener, Local 506

Dex and his band dig into rock’s dark marrow, while the Wiener speaks through a spirit more “Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” than Grand Guignol. It’s Garmonbozia, thougha troupe of Durham players uniting as a Twin Peaks tributethat reminds us how creepy and surreal Angelo Badalamenti’s music for David Lynch really was. $6/ 10 p.m. CT