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Wednesday, Aug. 8

Portugal. The Man Yes, the band name -- which does include a period -- is too precious by half. Good for them, then, that lead man John Gourley, an Alaska native, intrigues with his high-pitched, abstract/imagistic vocals (think Joan of Arc if they were more straightforward ... and also less pretentious) icy synths, beartrap beats and is wise enough to toss in just enough barbwire guitar to tie it all together. With PlayRadioPlay!, The Photo Atlas and The Only Children. Goddamn, but band names are starting to run dry. Tremont Music Hall (Davis) 

Thursday, Aug. 9

Adema Numerous line-up changes, currently on their third vocalist and label changes haven't deterred Bakersfield, Cali alterna hard-rockers Adema. No new musical turf is broken here folks, but the quintet is always on the lookout for a good riffs-laden metal classic with industrial leanings. They are touring in support of the newest recording, Kill the Headlights, which is slated to hit the streets later this month. With Luna's Lament, Black Ritual and Steel Standing. Amos' Southend (Shukla)

Friday, Aug. 10

Bonerama New Orleans' Bonerama are a mighty funky brass band. Yeah, brass bands from the Crescent City are dime-a-dozen, you say. Hold on. These cats know how to rock, with five trombones no less, while keeping the New Orleans brass traditions intact. If the horns-fueled cover of Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean" off the new disc Bringing It Home is any indication of their prowess, then don't forget the boogie shoes. With GB Leighton. Visulite (Shukla)

Drive-By Truckers The ragged, yet evocative Southern rock of the Drive-By Truckers is a loving take on life and music of Dixie. Gritty and countrified, while never forgetting they're a rock band, the N.C. combo has been burning down the highways and byways of Americana for about a decade. Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley's songs are tempered with a craftsman's subtle touches. Opening for The Allman Brothers Band. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (Shukla)

David Lamotte Simple storytelling is the forte of folk-tinged acoustic singer and songwriter Lamotte. But don't let that turn you off. Lamotte's funky guitar tuning and phrasing are anything but ordinary. His smart lyrics are imbued with an obvious sense of musical honesty. He plucks his guitar into rock-induced hum-alongs that seem custom-made for the everyman. With Karl Ruch. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

Mae Multisensory Aesthetic Experience, more lovingly known as Norfolk's Mae, write of youthful trials and tribulations documented with edgy pop-rock. Their newest recording, Singularity, is stocked with sullen piano ballads as well as emo-caressed rockers where melodicism and harmony aren't relegated to the back burners. It's all polished to a sparkle and ready for radio airwaves. Also on the bill: As Tall As Lions and Dear & the Headlights. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

Caltrop A favorite of none other than certified madman Julian Cope (who praises the record's "singular fucking excellence" and opines -- as only he can -- "that these gentlemen unfold into areas only the most confident of motherfuckers dare take their shit"), Caltrop are equal parts avant/noise, doom/sludge a la Sleep or Earth, and Neal Cassady on a benzedrine high. Which is to say, louder than love, heavier than the sun, and hard-driving in every sense of the word -- even if the destination's usually not immediately clear. Keep your ears peeled for more, as the band just got done recording with Brian Paulson. With Sled and Backwoods Payback. The Milestone (Davis)

Saturday, Aug. 11

Cracker Cracker catches a lot of shit from the uber-hip, basically for not being Camper Van Beethoven. But the differences between the two bands' best work are fewer than their similarities. David Lowery still pens smart, irony-rich narratives -- last year's excellent Greenland may be their best since '93's Kerosene Hat -- and flavors them with Middle Eastern accents, circus calliopes and vintage twang that puts most "alt-country" acts to shame. Now in their 15th year, Cracker live is a well-oiled and pot-cured rock show. With Leisure McCorkle. Visulite (Schacht)

Doug Gillard/A Decent Animal The locally-based Gillard is a master axe-man with an uncanny ear for just the right hook in just the right place -- hardly surprising attributes given that he was Robert Pollard's (stage) left-hand man during Guided By Voices' triumphant final years. Now at work on his solo follow-up to 2004's Salamander, Gillard's backing band -- both on the road and in the studio -- is the veteran-rich local outfit, the Fence Lions. A Decent Animal has some pretty decent friends, including big-buzz act and fellow South Carolinians Band of Horses. The Animal plays a quieter, more experimental blend, mixing chamber rock and laptop elements in with the psychedelic folk. With Asheville's Tonberry. Snug Harbor. (Schacht)

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