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Rock Picks

June 27, 2008

By Staff WriterComment on this story, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.

Jun. 27–Singer-songwriter Joshua James’ music doesn’t sound made so much as conjured, although even that word implies more calculation than seems to be involved. “The Sun Is Always Brighter” (Intelligent Noise Records) feels as if it just spontaneously manifested itself, setting James’ dry, plain-spoken croon over breezy pub-rock arrangements that sound as natural as wind whipping across a dark landscape in James’ native Nebraska. He brings it to Chapel Hill’s Local 506 Tuesday.

After going in and out of print over the past year, Bowerbirds’ “Hymns for a Dark Horse” (Dead Oceans Records) is finally back in circulation in an expanded edition with two extra songs. The bonus tracks are nice, although the spectral old-world folk of “Hymns” was always so darn near perfect that adding anything seems unnecessary. Nice to have, though. Bowerbirds play Sunday in Durham as part of Duke University’s Music in the Gardens outdoor series.

Tonight: Drunk Stuntmen rock you hard and make you like it at Raleigh’s Berkeley Cafe; superior guitarist Cyril Lance plays Carrboro ArtsCenter, a show billed as “Songs of Freedom and Hope”; Dexter Romweber plays Local 506 with his New Romans big band; and bluesman Mel Melton’s Wicked Mojo kicks off a two-night stand at Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse in Durham.

Furthermore: The great Iris DeMent sings Saturday at Cat’s Cradle; Blind Melon, a band that called the Triangle home in its early-’90s pre-platinum days, co-headlines the third Downtown Raleigh Live show of 2008 with Carbon Leaf; the venerable electronic duo Silver Apples play Local 506 Sunday; Dave Matthews Band’s annual Walnut Creek appearance happens Wednesday, the same night Burning Brides rock the Brewery; and Black Angels spin spells Thursday at Local 506.

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