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CL previews upcoming shows

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WEDNESDAY, DEC. 12

Sunshone Still The Columbia-based songwriter – aka, Chris Smith – delivers a 17-song concept album/character study of frontiersman Kit Carson, and it's no stretch calling it marvelous. Ten Cent American Novels will be lumped into the alt-country bin, but as a horde of guest musicians attests, there's much more going on here. Smith's tight, sparse narratives about Carson's life – a conflicted character at the knife-tip of Manifest Destiny – are infused with a cinematic high-and-lonesome feel or frontier town swagger. He sings like Nick Drake, and has assembled a Sufjan Stevens-like band – horns, reeds, strings – that pushes the narrow borders of twang into new territories. With Jerry Chapman. Evening Muse (Schacht)

Hammer No More the Fingers This Durham trio successfully channels the energy and song structures of early '90s indie rock – think Pixies, Pavement and Polvo, and you're in the general neighborhood. It's unabashedly retro, but the songs are way too catchy and fun to be dismissed as mere nostalgia or tribute-like, and suggest instead that there's still plenty of fertile up-tempo, off-kilter indie rock ground to till. With locals White Dwarf. Snug Harbor (Schacht)

THURSDAY, DEC. 13

This Waking Moment This combo, a fairly recent addition to the Charlotte pop-rock scene, sounds as if they've been plugging away for years. The songcraft, capped with dual guitars and emotive vocals, is dissonant yet melodic and imbued with indie aesthetics. The quintet writes with conviction and feeling that doesn't sound forced. With As Long as Today and The Lights, Fluorescent. Visulite (Shukla)

Spottiswoode and His Enemies Jonathan Spottiswoode is a songwriter and indie filmmaker, replete with scruffy beard, angular face, and stringy long hair. You'd be forgiven for blurting out "Dear God, not another fucking Vincent Gallo" right about now, but Spottiswoode (as well as his Enemies) have a lot more going on in the songwriting department than Mr. Getting-A-Blowjob-In-A-Movie-Makes You Art-y: equal parts Waitsian found percussion, gutbucket blues poetry, and Nick Cave-like gothic yawp. With Spouse. (Not his spouse, mind you.) The Evening Muse (Davis)

FRIDAY, DEC. 14

Danielle Howle & Friends Whether solo, or with bands Lay Quiet Awhile and The Tantrums, S.C.'s Danielle Howle does just that – howl – with an originality and verve not seen very often with acoustic singer-songwriter types. Able to rise from a mannered croon to an aching wail at the drop of a G-chord, Howle's back catalog includes records on the Southern, Daemon, and Kill Rock Stars labels. Her sugary/strong, PJ Harvey-in-PJs sound would seem to be tailor-made for a wider audience. That is, were there more suits with the guts to sign Southern female songwriters not named the Indigo Girls. With the like-minded "Moanin'" Michelle Malone and Y-O-U. The Evening Muse (Davis)

FRIDAY, DEC. 14

Hardcore Metalfest It's not known who exactly will be playing this event, but it's a safe bet that it's gonna be loud, heavy and more than one person will be wearing something black. It's the first of what hopes to become an annual event for area metal bands. So, get your devil horns ready and practice your head thrashing. Tremont Music Hall (Hahne)

Memphis the Band It's garage rock that was thrown into a blender with country and a splash of blues and punk. The Chapel Hill-based quintet play foot-stomping music that's infused with soul and the female backing and harmony vocals give it an added twist. Sounds like another quality indie act from one of North Carolina's most stable music breeding grounds. Puckett's (Hahne)

TUESDAY, DEC. 18

Street Dogs Boston's Street Dogs, fronted by ex-Dropkick Murphys' vocalist Mike McColgan, mix Irish-folk and rat-a-tat punk anthems. It's OK to peg them as harder-edged Pogues, but the lads have risen from various streetwise punk outfits from Beantown and carve out an oft-political and wholly original barrage. The rapid boil songs are further fermented in the dives and pubs of tough neighborhoods. Also on the bill: Darkbuster, Everybody Out, and Trouble Walkers. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

The Masonboro Boys Charlotte's The Masonboro Boys meld old-style country with folk, Americana and bluegrass instrumentals. The quintet's rotating stock of tearjerkers, taut dance numbers and bluegrass sing-a-longs are at least a couple of rungs above most stuff coming out of Nashville. The Carolina Live Music Society will present this gig where the boys prove you don't need to head to Music City for some downhome country music. Josh Klemons will open. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

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