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WEDNESDAY 5.15

Dixie Witch -- The kind of band those guys on stonerrock.com get their bongs in a wad over, Dixie Witch is a Texas-based power trio. And I do mean power trio: double bass drums, triple-pickup Les Pauls, and sac-rattling bass. Drummer/vocalist Trinidad Leal controls the show from behind the kit -- no mean feat, considering the relative intricacy of his playing. Heavy blooze is the key here, with nods to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and 13th Floor Elevators. With Immortal Lee County Killers. Fat City (Davis)

Malcolm Holcombe / Valorie Miller -- Enigmatic Holcombe's voice is a scratchy approximation of Tom Waits, and his songs aren't that far removed from ol' Tommy the Cat, either. Holcombe plays a sort of Southern gothic version of the diner blues here, and the result is no less authentic. Holcombe was signed to Geffen for awhile, but the suits there thought he was a liability and dropped him. Lucky him, as he released the canned A Hundred Lies on Hip-O Records, where it has sold steadily (if slowly) ever since. Miller's an amazing singer in her own right -- with any luck, they won't be making the trip from Asheville in a late-model car for much longer. The Evening Muse (Davis)

The Noise -- Nice, muscular James-Gang-if-they-went-punk stuff here, courtesy of local fixture Bruce Hazel, who does a nice job of channeling his angst into a sort of wry, Elvis Costello-type commentary. Eschewing for the most part any semblance of country ('cept for the odd, twangy lead), Hazel and Co. still sound pretty damn pissed off on record -- the first two songs on the demo I received concern kicking someone's ass. Seeing as Hazel clocks in at well over 6 feet tall, I'm sure as hell not going to say anything bad about it -- not that I would anyway. This is rough-hewn, but damn good new stuff, joining Semi-Pro, The Talk and Black Lagoon as purveyors of the new sound of Charlotte -- plain 'ol rawk for the sake of... er... rawking. With Men of Leisure. Double Door Inn (Davis)

THURSDAY 5.16

Jeff Black / Vaughan Penn -- Black is a seasoned guitarist and songwriter who would qualify as a country-folk troubadour, and he creates music just left of the pop spectrum. An established player who has traded licks with a stack of country and Americana artists, Black's own persona of deeply felt roots music deems repeat listens. Vaughan Penn's guitar pop, with a distinctive voice, is radio ready and has enough twists and turns to stay interesting. Her tunes have a sing-along feel and generally deliver the goods live. Rick Spreitzer is also on the bill. The Evening Muse (Shukla)

Ultrababyfat -- Georgia's Ultrababyfat released a defiantly rocking, back to an indie label record, 8 Balls in Reverse (Orange Recordings), last year after another "been on a major label and moving on" rock & roll story. The disc is full of butt-whooping rawk laced with punk abandon, an ear toward melodic riffs and tight songwriting. The trio of gals in the quartet pack a mean wallop and the band is currently touring the country opening for David Cross. Tremont Music Hall (Shukla)

FRIDAY 5.17

Walter Egan / Goldenrods / Les Dirt Clods -- Known best for the song "Magnet and Steel (used most recently in the movie Boogie Nights), Walter Egan's career highlights are many. Early on, Emmylou Harris covered Walter's "Hearts on Fire" with Gram Parsons on the seminal Grievous Angel. Offered Andrew Gold's spot in Linda Ronstadt's band (Gold would be the fellow that released the lovably generic song "Lonely Boy" way back when), he soon launched a semi-successful solo career. Best known of these was Not Shy, which had pals Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks all over it. Since then, Walter's recorded several solo albums that showcase a more eclectic vibe, and has since begun playing and recording with an outfit called The Brooklyn Cowboys (they played Puckett's a few weeks back). Les Dirt Clods and The Goldenrods will open for Egan, and don't be surprised if they do a better job at nailing that indescribable sunlight-and-sadness vibe than Egan himself. Puckett's Farm Equipment (Davis)

Planet of the Drums Tour -- A stellar collection of the top drum 'n' bass artists in America, the POTD Tour features the Orlando, Florida-based AK1200. Known for his stellar mix CDs on the Moonshine label, his popular appeal has been further bolstered by his remixes of folks like Crystal Method, A Tribe Called Quest and Dub Pistols. Appearing with AK1200 as part of the POTD crew is the red-hot Dieselboy and up-and-comer Dara. Mythos (Davis)

James Talley -- Considered one of the forerunners of the whole Y'allternative/Americana/Country and Westerberg movement, Talley really is one of those folks who deserves the overused descriptive of being "An American Original." On his new album Touchstones, Talley mines from his first four woefully underavailable albums, re-recording overlooked classics like "W. Lee O'Daniel and the Light Crust Dough Boys" and "Richland, Washington," a stunning Woody Guthrie-like lament of a town that still exists, though the memories are mostly lost. Joe Ely and others guest on the album, but there's never any mistaking whose show it is. Earnest in the truest sense of the word, Talley commands respect by not drawing attention to himself, but rather by allowing his songs to draw you into their vacuum, and, as such, filling your own. With David Childers, soon to release his new disc Blessed in an Unusual Way. Neighborhood Theatre (Davis)

Walter Trout -- Trout and his posse, the Radicals, somehow make blues sound bigger and larger than life with steely riffs, "lived that life" vocals and a rhythm section doing double time on the receiving end. It makes for one of the better outfits haunting the land of the blues. The band is on the road plugging their upcoming record, Life In the Jungle. Double Door Inn (Shukla)

SATURDAY 5.18

Loafer's Glory Reunion Loafer's Glory, the once and future kings of Western North Carolina cosmic country, are back after a 20-year or so absence. Similar to various brother acts (Allmans, Burritos), the band mixed country with Western Swing and double-necked, Jimmy Page-style guitars, creating a moonshine-warm taste that still ought to satisfy despite the years. In addition, the band is re-releasing their original group effort, Hotel California, which was originally recorded and sold at shows as an 8-track tape. Thanks to some sonic work by local producer/mixer Mark Williams, the band now lives to raise hell again, 21st Century style. Puckett's Farm Equipment. Also, 2pm tomorrow at the Double Door for a special early show. (Davis)Fat Tortoise Butcher / Meat Rocket -- It's a hardcore Saturday night. FTB crank out tongue-in-cheek lyrical blurbs wrapped up by guitar/drums/bass barrage. It's part metal, part punk and packed with plenty of Southern hooch. Meat Rocket grind distorted vocals with an epic metal-core broth. The throaty gurgling does a slow motion pounding over flailing guitars while loops of borrowed sounds of TV and radio broadcasts fill in the blanks. Single Bullet Theory rounds out the show. A reliably loud triple bill for a hard Saturday night. Fat City (Shukla)

TUESDAY 5.21

Hayseed Dixie -- One of the wackiest and funniest cover records ever recorded is Hayseed Dixie doing AC/DC tunes, released last year, titled A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC (Dualtone). Ever hear "Hell's Bells" with mandolin, fiddle and banjo? Didn't think so. Now the bluegrass outfit is back with another over-the-top collection of songs covering The Cars, Aerosmith, et al, and it sounds mighty good. Purists will cringe, but keep an open ear and a smile on your face when they pull out all the tricks to do rock tunes bluegrass style. Amos' Southend (Shukla) *

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