This is a mini-jamboree of freak folk, featuring a fine pair of North Carolina-based bands. Bowerbirds play sparse, entrancing acoustic music that's a crucial blend of folk, country, and indie pop, seemingly as creaky as an old shack buried in the woods but savvy to a more sophisticated aesthetic. Principals Phil Moore and Beth Tacular weave fractured harmonies that seem as ancient as the hills, if the hills had recently been alive with the sounds of John Doe and Exene Cervenka. On their quirky, spookily atmospheric new album, Upper Air, they ruminate about love and other human conundrums. The group is rounded out by fiddler Mark Paulson and drummer Matt Damrod, while Megafaun's Brad Cook will sit in on upright bass. Cook, his brother Phil, and Joe Westerlund—all natives of Eau Claire—formed Megafaun after the demise of their former band, DeYarmond Edison, which also featured fellow Wisconsinite Justin Vernon, better known as Bon Iver. The trio plays a singular kind of avant-jug-band music, blending backwoods folk with elements of experimental noise and jazz, banjos, and sing-alongs smack up against pre- or post- (take your pick) industrial stomp. Their new album, Gather, Form & Fly, self-recorded in kitchens and basements but mixed with the help of the estimable Chris Stamey, is due out the day of the show. With the Wars of 1812. 18+.
Tue., July 21, 8 p.m., 2009