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Wild Sweet Orange – “We Have Cause to Be Uneasy”

(Canvasback Music) ****

Wild Sweet Orange plays Neighborhood Theatre at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2. $12-$15. 704-358-9298.

This indie buzz band combines the gentleness of Death Cab for Cutie, the power of Silversun Pickups and vocals that echo a young Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins).

Opening with the voyeuristic verses of the intimately detailed “Ten Dead Dogs” then skipping to the climaxing rock of “Tilt,” the Birmingham foursome create a collection that slowly gets under your skin. Singer-songwriter Preston Lovinggood pens aching reflections on love and small-town life that conjure images of calm city streets, music stores, drunken parents, and lonely apartments.

He infuses these portraits with subtle musical references to his Southern upbringing, switching from a plucky banjo shuffle to jangle-blues guitar that would sound comfortable emanating from Athens, Ga., circa 1987. It's the kind of album you let stew.

The Duhks – “Fast Paced World”

(Sugar Hill Records) ***1/2

The Duhks return to Neighborhood Theatre at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18. $15. 704-358-9298. “Fast Paced Worlds” hits stores Tuesday.

With former lead vocalist Jessee Havey, Canadian acoustic quintet the Duhks had an edgy frontperson whose sleeve tattoos and cropped hair were as eye-grabbing as her soul singing was ear-grabbing. Both voice and look were uncharacteristic in newgrass.

In new vocalist Sarah Dugas, the Duhks found a singer on par with Havey who is also an impressive songwriter. Dugas contributes four originals and a song she co-wrote with fiddler Tania Elizabeth, adding topical lyrics and even more diversity to the band's already eclectic mix of progressive acoustic, Celtic, bluegrass, and world beat.

With lively instrumentals, great pop-tinged stompers (like “95 South” and the title song), and the soul singing fans expect, the Duhks continue to establish themselves as one of today's hottest new acoustic acts.

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