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CL previews upcoming shows (April 15-21)

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

The Life and Times Formed in '02 by frontman Allen Epley after his outfit Shiner disintegrated, TLAT converge at a point where sonic moodiness and dissonant jangliness meet and come to life. On its new release Tragic Boogie, the Kansas City trio concocts damn intricate songs with layered guitars, bumpy rhythms and splashes of shoegazer (Slowdive, Ride) ethos. With Radio Taiwan and Siren. Milestone (Samir Shukla)

The Crowntown Showdown Once again, the powers that be have combed the streets for some of the burgeoning talent and put them all together on one bill. It's a great way to see six bands in one night and usually be home before midnight. This month, you can check out Aaron Burdett, Robby Hale, the swinging grooves of The Hot House Hefftones, Jeremy Current, Jocelyn Ellis & The Alpha Theory and the Charlotte return of Joshua Panda and the Murder Ballads (he performed at the first-ever Showdown as a solo act). The Evening Muse (Jeff Hahne)

Belmont Playboys OK, so they're maybe not rockabilly proper. Then again, neither was Social Distortion, and I don't see anyone jumping on Mike Ness' case. 'Round these parts, the Playboys and their various offshoots have become almost a lifestyle choice for those interested in early rock, car culture, tattoos and dark denim. It's no-bullshit stuff, and while the bloodlines might not be the purest ever, the V-twin attitude behind it certainly is. The band hasn't changed a whole lot over the years in the name of "artistic growth," but then again, they don't need to. As part of the Musical Mayhem's Travelin' Rock N Roll Burlesque Review with The Hot Rods, Pretty Things Peep Show. Amos' SouthEnd (Timothy C. Davis)

THURSDAY, APRIL 16

Kevin Gordon East Nashville resident Gordon's essential disc to this point, Down to the Well, was one of the first (indeed, only) records in recent memory to effectively blend the Roots Trilogy (blues, rockabilly and country) and make it sound not only natural but essential. A graduate of the University of Iowa (where he studied poetry at the mega-prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop), Gordon never lost his first love, that of early rock & roll as purveyed by Lewis, Berry, Cochran and Co. Gordon's high-profile supporters do spring up on Well (including Lucinda Williams), but they never overshadow the fact that Gordon is the show (those who've seen him at his infrequent Charlotte gigs know what I'm talking about). Plus, if rock aesthete Keith Richards covers one of your songs, you know you're doing pretty alright all by your lonesome. With The Stereofidelics and Jeffrey Gaines. The Evening Muse (Davis)

FRIDAY, APRIL 17

John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluffs A 1988 study found that drinkers "are more likely to lose their control and self-restraint" when country music is playing, and I think the anthropologists were implying that was somehow a negative. You can put theory into practice when the owner of the best country baritone this side of Don Williams returns to action with members of Patty Hurst Shifter, Fontana, and the New Town Drunks in tow. Howie fronted honky tonk heroes the Two Dollar Pistols until recently, and while the new act's MySpace site lacks for any new audio examples, Howie's said the new songs rock plenty, only in a Flying Burrito Brothers/Mike Nesmith manner this time. Late show at The Evening Muse (John Schacht)

Echo Code CD Release Party The Charlotte-based Echo Code, led by vocalist/guitarist Donnie Honeycutt, can crank the guitars – Sabbath-y hard rock and Alice in Chains sludge – as well as write haunting ballads coaxed by piano and subtle rhythms. The rocking trio, also featuring Thad Nicholson (bass) and Jeff Nunnery (drums), is celebrating the release of their new recording One More Played Out Tragedy this evening. With the Omega Cell and Smack Lily. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

SATURDAY, APRIL 18

Arbouretum There was a moment in the early '70s when the idyllic pagan tropes of Brit-folk turned dark and heavy, and the Black Sabbaths of the world supplanted the Fairport Conventions. This Baltimore quartet led by singer Dave Heumann would have been the perfect bridge between the two, marrying the former's sinister gothic riffs with the latter's more psychedelic dynamics. Heumann gives it all a North American twist, epic guitar leads made of Crazy Horse feedback and Sonic Youth noise. Arbouretum is mostly about texture, though, and works best when the laid-back verses subside into classic stoner rock solos that bridge eras-often by demolishing them. With ex-Sub Poppers Love as Laughter and Ultimate Optimist. Milestone (Schacht)

SUNDAY, APRIL 19

The Foreign Exchange Here's an R&B and hip-hop North Carolina combo that channels crooners like Al Green and adds guest soul-stroked female vocalists while drizzling classic urban soul with touches of hip-hop, trip-hop and sinewy jazz forays. Their instinctive plucking of elements from classic black music and the ability to wrap it all in contemporary R&B works nicely. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

TUESDAY, APRIL 21

Jimmy Buffett Who cares if it's not summer and the weather is a bit chilly at night? Fans of El Grande Parrothead will don their hula skirts, leis, coconut bras and whatever inflatable crap they can find around the yard, throw it in the back of the car and go have a summer fiesta in the parking lot before every show regardless of the season. It's a massive, drunken tailgate – one that I've been happy to avoid for my entire life. So, "Get Drunk and Screw," enjoy your "Cheeseburgers in Paradise," earn your "License to Chill"... Oh, hell. Nothing I say will change your mind about Buffett one way or the other. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Hahne)

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