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The Noises 10 – “The Hammer

The Anvil The Stirrup”

(The Noises 10) ***1/2

This long-running Charlotte outfit celebrates the release of its latest disc at Visulite Theatre at 9 p.m. Saturday. $8-$10. 704-358-9200.

Jive Records reportedly passed on the material that the pop-rock quartet recorded in Los Angeles with producer Eric Valentine (All American Rejects, Maroon 5), who produced five of these 16 tracks.

Listening to the crackling hooks of songs like the Coldplay-on-steroids “Make You Mine” and “Our Lady Love,” I wondered what Jive was thinking. The latter mixes choppy, anthemic guitar riffs with ethereal key blasts. Singer Jason Scavone's range seamlessly shifts from Adam Levine-style high notes to the sultry low-end swell of James' Tim Booth.

There's epic pop, bluesy Kings of Leon-like rock, and the direction turns quietly moving as the disc closes with the loose, intimate finale “Stuck in the Backseat” – a nod to the band's struggle to catch a big break in the music industry.

The Stellas – “Cry Baby Cry”

(The Stellas) ***1/2

The Stellas celebrate its CD release at Evening Muse at 10:30 p.m. Saturday. $5-$7. 704-376-3737.

On its debut EP, the Charlotte foursome cherry-picks elements from great influences and smashes them into crisp rock songs.

The opener, “Burnout,” broods with elastic basslines, fidgety drums, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's attitude amid a Bravery-esque groove. The title track is a Weezer-ish anthem with Beatles-influenced singing. “I'm on the Outside” marries a Garbage-like hook with a whiny They Might Be Giants-like chorus.

And despite Brit-pop-fueled choruses that are not the least bit grunge-y, the Stellas cop Nirvana startlingly well in “In Stereo,” with their deadpan delivery, sizzling riffs and mid-verse group vocals.

To top it all off, the distraught, mascara-smeared prom attendant makes for what may be the best local-album cover this year.

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