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CL previews upcoming concerts (Dec. 29-Jan. 1)

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THE CONNELLS Formed in North Carolina in 1984, The Connells quickly evolved into college circuit darlings and remained active though the '90s. The band's instantly hummable jangly pop, oft laden with jazz and rock touches, still rings fresh. Most of its CDs maybe out of print but fret not, all the favorite albums were recently made available digitally through digital vendors. Another long-running Carolinas' band the Blue Dogs will open. $18-$20. Neighborhood Theatre. (Samir Shukla)

BLUE DOGS The boys in the Blue Dogs aren't going to blow you away with their musicianship necessarily, but the band does manage to rollick along rather pleasantly, knowing that mid-tempo doesn't have to mean Hootie. Bobby Houck and Co. do a nice job of consistently evoking the Carolina landscape without resorting to faux country tropes, and the whole thing starts to swing pretty well after a couple cold ones: rhythm and brews, if you will. With The Connells. $18-$20. Neighborhood Theatre. (Timothy C. Davis)

HARVARD This Charlotte-based rock outfit has its hands in the indie rock and post-hardcore jars but there's a pop presence in its music behind the guitars and vocals, which reach for something soulful when they're not an outright falsetto, that's intriguing. Sometimes dark but keenly detailed, it's worth a listen. GRIDS, Brian F. & Blossoms are also on the bill. $3. Snug Harbor. (Mike McCray)


RYAN SARANICH Multi-instrumentalist Saranich (piano, drums, guitar) shines as a solid sax player, as well, channeling old jazz masters, while keeping it contemporary, occasionally funky and oft moody. Wearing many hats — songwriter, producer, composer, teacher, performer, session man — Saranich is on the road plugging his newest release All By Myself. $5, ladies free. Double Door Inn. (Shukla)

THE BALSA GLIDERS The N.C.-based band is currently working on a new album, The Last Debutante, due for release in Spring 2011. Their music, which has gelled over the past decade of performing and recording, is a blend of guitar pop, storytelling lyrics, roots flourishes, and straight forward rock. Their pop-rock is tightly woven and plenty worthy of the N.C.'s Triangle-area's anthemic indie rock history. With the River Kings. $8-$10. Visulite Theatre. (Shukla)


CONCRETE JUMPSUIT Every band can't pull off being purely analog but this Columbia, S.C., quintet is an exception. Blending rock, funk and soul these folks are a jam band in the truest sense. Solid tunes, honest vocals, nothing's over done. But don't think they're entirely no frills — their live sets thrive on improvisation, meaning no two shows are exactly alike. Free. Philosopher's Stone. (McCray)

THE SPONGETONES The name Spongetones sums up these local legends pretty well, methinks. All the members are self-proclaimed sponges for the golden era of pop/rock songwriting (see The Beatles, The Hollies, The Kinks, Badfinger) and manage to blend these lessons into their own (rather incredibly adept) tuneage with laudable results. The "tone" part is obvious to anyone who's seen them: Guitars tend to function more like paintbrushes, changing the mood or the drive of a piece with a simple-enough-seeming stroke. One imagines that playing with each other for more than 25 years doesn't hurt. Looking to start the new year harmoniously? You could do a lot worse. $15. Double Door Inn. (Davis)


34TH & HUDSON BENEFIT SHOW Earlier this month, 34th & Hudson Studios — where Joe Kuhlmann has recorded many local bands — was broken into and robbed of various equipment from amps to guitars. A handful of acts are getting together as a benefit show to help Kuhlmann recoup some of what was taken. With Poprocket, The Spiveys, Matrimony, John Tosco, Justin Tosco, Reeve, Mike Strauss, Transmission Fields, Grown Up Avenger Stuff, Phil Carias, Shana Blake, Brandon Kirkley & The Firecrackers. $5 suggested donation. The Evening Muse. (Jeff Hahne)

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