Weekly Picks from Music Board, 8/6

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From this week’s Music Board:

INDIE/AMERICANA | Bon Iver, Wilco

Thurs. Aug. 7, North Charleston Performing Arts Center, $30

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Since forming in Chicago over 12 years ago, the innovative and unpredictable band never put business in front of creativity. Frontman and main songwriter Jeff Tweedy repeatedly set his musical goals with sound, mood, and heart in mind. The story began where the seminal alt-country/rock trio Uncle Tupelo left off. Tweedy was the bassist and co-leader of the rootsy, St. Louis-based band in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Uncle Tupelo played an aggressive and twangy mix of country-rock and melodic post-punk (the term “No Depression” was borrowed from the title of their debut album). When they broke up in 1993, Tweedy hooked up with drummer Ken Coomber, bassist John Stirratt, and string player Max Johnstone to form Wilco, releasing a critically acclaimed debut in 1995 titled A.M. The current Wilco lineup includes Tweedy on lead vocals and guitar, Stirratt on bass and vocals, Glenn Kotche on drum kit and percussion, Nels Cline (of the Geraldine Fibbers, Mike Watt) on guitar, Mikael Jorgensen on keys and effects, and Pat Sansone on keys, guitar, and various other instruments. Their latest album, Sky Blue Sky, received a Grammy Award nomination last year for Best Rock Album.

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Tweedy and the gang will share the spotlight with Wisconsin-based neo-soul/rock artist Bob Iver. Carving itself out of a cold solitude, like embers glowing in a darkening fireplace, Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago is the product of the winter one-time North Carolina resident Justin Vernon (pictured) spent alone in his home state of Wisconsin. And on the album, too, Vernon is alone. It’s his thrumming acoustic guitar, his spare percussion, his E-bowed electric guitar as brittle as ice on a windowsill, and his pained falsetto that coalesce to create a mesmerizing and affecting work. Only on two tracks — “For Emma” and “Flume” — do other musicians appear, and even then only peripherally. Live, flanked by two sidemen, Vernon brings to his songs the same sense of earnestness and intimacy that makes For Emma so great. Usually seated, Vernon gives little by way of introduction: a friendly hello, an honest “thanks.” Instead, he lets the songs speak as if they’re the only things strong enough to. Rarely is such a quiet performance so thrilling. —T. Ballard Lesemann/Bryan Reed THURSDAY

(photos by Frank Ockenfels and Sarah Cass) 

ROCK | The Heavy Sandwich

Fri. Aug. 8, The Kickin’ Chicken (downtown), Free

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Hailing from Rock Hill, The Heavy Sandwich stacks rock, blues, improv, pop, funk, and R&B between its five slices, er, members. Having released their debut album, Songs About Stuff Sometimes, in June, The Heavy Sandwich — guitarists Matt Thomasson and Stuart Sealy, drummer Adam Scull, and bassist Ashley Peeples (pictured) — has evolved from their original conception as a purely live band two years ago. When their in-the-moment shows started attracting a following, despite playing under a different name each time, the guys decided it was time to record and bring their special recipe to the rest of the Southeast. Acoustic and electric, jammy and funky, the album offers a full menu for every taste. With the multi-layers of instruments, sounds, and genres, its enough to leave even Dagwood Bumstead unloosening his belt in satisfaction. You’ll leave full, and not just because the show is at the Kickin’ Chicken. —Susan Cohen FRIDAY

ACOUSTIC POP | Joel Hamilton

w/ Steven Fiore, Fri. Aug. 8, The Village Tavern, $6

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Known best as the tall-standing frontman for Charleston alt-rock band The Working Title — a diligent group who toured and recorded like crazy over the last five years — Joel Hamilton officially debuts as a solo act on disc this week with the release of a six-song, self-produced EP titled Officina. The melodic singer/guitarist spent much of July touring the Southeast as a solo act, playing new compositions and older Working Title fan faves. He headlines a CD release party at the Village Tavern armed with an array of acoustic string and percussion instruments. Sonically and philosophically, Officina picks up where The Working Title’s recently released acoustic EP Heart left off, delving into personal life experiences (highs and lows) within a tinkery modern folk-rock style. Local singer/songwriter Steve Fiore opens. —T. Ballard Lesemann FRIDAY

ACOUSTIC ROCK | Donnie Diesel & Eric Bruce

Mon. Aug. 11, Wet Willie’s, Free

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Over the last five years, singer/guitarist Eric Bruce has made his mark as a solid bar room performer, jamming with local rock cover band TrickKnee and booking himself as a solid solo act. Singer/guitarist Donnie Polk (a.k.a. “Donnie Diesel”) is locally famous as one half of acoustic rock duo The Diesel Brothers. He also plays electric bass and writes his own honky-tonk/country tunes on the side. Over the summer, Bruce and Polk earned a following performing weekly as a duo at Wet Willie’s (209 East Bay Street, 843-853-5650) and other downtown spots with sets of classic and modern rock, country, pop, and R&B. “We do various covers, from Prince to Cash,” says Polk. “We may even throw in some Tenacious D for good measure.” —T. Ballard Lesemann MONDAY

(photo by Leslie McKellar) 

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