About a year ago, the Critters were a buzzy four-piece making throwback Detroit garage with glints of the Cars out of Asheville, and then they got a ceaseand-desist from a ‘60s pop group of the same name. They quickly rebooted as the Tills, and this past Tuesday, Winston- Salem’s Phuzz Records consecrated their new identity with the release of their debut EP, Howlin’. It’s six tracks of impetuous, Mitch Easter-produced psych and garage, sonically favoring like a fuzzedup MC5, but the songwriting professes a more lighthearted, almost manic tenor derived from its waggish frontman, Harry Harrison. Howlin’ comes on sweet, red 7” wax, and can be previewed and purchased at tillsnc.bandcamp.com The long, agonizing wait is almost over for the three or four Alien Ant Farm fans; their first album in eight years is nearly ready, and they’ll play it at Ziggy’s on Wednesday. On Friday, Horizontal Hold channel Bikini Kill and all the Pixies songs on which Kim Deal sang lead, and they’re sharing a bill with Jews and Catholics and the Kneads at the Garage.
Anyone see Austin Mahone arrive at the VMAs on a party bus with a full marching band? Neither did I. Beiber 2.0 is at the White Oak Amphitheatre. Norfolk songwriter Ian Randall Thornton brings his hushed melodies to Turntable with Dylan Jane, while it’s noisier by several degrees of order at the Blind Tiger with MoodSwing, darklove, Low End Co., Mr. Daywalker and Kyle Partin providing the bass, and the free pizza. There’s metal on both floors of Ziggy’s, with Old Scratch, MindJakked, EXDEVILS and Nightmare Sonata upstairs, and a tribute to the Big Four in the big room.
Saturday night, bring your Shmoney Dance to Club Inferno for the Greensboro debut of Vine sensation Bobby Shmurda (pronounced Trinidad James). WhoDat kicks off for the third year at Doodad Farm, and the lineup that includes the Bronzed Chorus, Mipso, Quilla and members of Kooley High, among many others, is a big step forward. Righteous Babe hasn’t come calling on Laila Nur yet, but maybe they will after they hear her debut record with the Love Riot, which drops on Saturday at the Blind Tiger. It’s the Blue Devils at the Demon Deacons on football Saturday, as the Ciompi Quartet present Dvorak’s American at Wait Chapel. The Mighty Eliminators were an unstoppable funk unit in the ‘70s, and they bring it back one more time for Summer on Trade, while DJ Baby re-releases his 2013 record Before the Album at Jomo’s. On Sunday, emo Cali rapper Phora visits Greene Street Club. !