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The Scottish songwriter King Creosote, née Kenny Anderson, sings in a stirring, penetrative brogue, but for some reason he’s most at home when other voices crowd the sonic landscape. His most beautiful song, “So Forlorn,” from the 2003 album Kenny and Beth’s Musakal Boat Rides, has a prominent sample of a yodel-like moan, a disorienting embellishment in a hard-journeyed song about isolation. Diamond Mine, his latest album and a collaboration with London electronica producer Jon Hopkins, is a brittle symphony of voices. Anderson provided the song skeletons, Hopkins the found sounds, and they patched it together musique concréte style. The songs, mostly simple folk tunes about living and aging in Anderson’s region of Fife, grow elegantly out of field-recorded slices of village life—and the effect is never gimmicky. You might even get away with talking at this show. At 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jammin’ Java 227 Maple Ave. E, Vienna. $12-$15.
Remember when Cass McCombs played erudite mope rock and opened for The Shins? No longer: His latest and best album, Wit’s End, is still erudite and mopey, sure, but it’s also glazed over in the vein of the spacier songs on The Band’s 1968 debut—-you know, the ones that managed to be down-home and spacey at the same time. At 8 p.m. Friday with Lower Dens at the Black Cat. $12.
A solid, very noisy show at St. Stephens: SVI, Screen Vinyl Image, Last Tide, and Dead Leaf Echo. 7 p.m. $5.
Gnarly guitar sounds are expected from a guy who makes his own amplifiers. But good songwriting, too? As it turns out, Ben Verellen, who owns Verellen Amps and fronts Seattle power trio Helms Alee, is not only a master of speaker cones and distortion tones. The ex-Harkonen guitarist also happens to be a font of musical ideas, proof of which can be found on Helms Alee’s second full-length, Weatherhead. The new album, a restless testament to the trio’s affection for moody folk rock and burly alt-metal, is brimming with stop-start changes. Just when you think you’ve got Weatherhead figured out, Helms Alee will hit you with a hip-hop satire (“8/16”), or make a quick sketch of Spain (“Anemone of the Wound”), or do something few hard rock acts would dare: sing a cappella (“Revel!”). (Brent Burton) Read more. At 10 p.m. Saturday with Big Business and Torche at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel. $13-$15.
Competing local indie rock on Saturday: Imperial China at Comet Ping Pong, Deleted Scenes at Black Cat. Bot h bands have new albums coming up on Sockets Records. Both records are increasingly ditching guitar histrionics for cosmos-gazing ambience.
Lil Wayne comes to town for the second time this year. I haven’t seen much love for Weezy’s new mixtape, Sorry 4 the Wait—-ad allusion to the fact that his upcoming full-length has been delayed, again, for the umpteenth time. This will probably include any unfortunate mini-set of Weezy’s rock songs, but it will also be a total spectacle, in spite of Wayne’s numerous 2011 hiccups. At 7 p.m. Saturday with Rick Ross, Keri Hilson, and Far East Movement at Jiffy Lube Live. Expensive, but every radio station in town seems to be giving away tickets.
Sunday’s best bet is EMA—-aka Erika Anderson, the former GOWNS singer whose new solo album, Past Life Martyred Saint, has more swagger and a lot more heart than your typical lo-fi record, plus this perfect lyric: “Fuck California. You made me boring.” With Helado Negro and Hays Holladay (of locals Bluebrain). At 8:30 p.m. Sunday at Red Palace. $8-$10.
DJ Nights: Taking the Piss Friday at Marx Cafe, Right Round Friday at Black Cat, Kids in America: New Wave Dance Party Friday at Dahlak, Bliss Saturday at U Street Music Hall.
Former Kids in the Hall dude Dave Foley is selling his stand-up to fund his alimony payments. Four shows Friday and Saturday at the Arlington Drafthouse.
Tricia Olszewski gets behind Harry Potter. It’s worth you’re time, assuming you’ve already invested $70-plus in seeing the last seven installments.
Ben Freed‘s rep film picks: Spaceballs Friday at Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival, Sleepless Night Stories at the National Gallery of Art.
Fringe, obviously. And remountings: The Importance of Being Earnest at Scena, and Oklahoma at Arena Stage.