Talbot Tagora has a CD release party tonight at the Vera Project for their first Hardly Art release, Lessons in the Woods or a City, which dropped last Tuesday. It's a noisy, messy amalgam of songs more concerned with conveying an idea or a mood, as the vocals are almost completely indecipherable. If the conceptual aspect did not succeed, the songs would not succeed; fortunately, this is not the case. But the band hasn't abandoned melody, and the guitar riffs and thudding percussion are appealing on a visceral level. For a taste, listen to "Ichthus Hop." Talbot Tagora plays with Abe Vigoda, Eric Ostrowski and Telepathic Liberation Army at 7:30 p.m.; the show costs $10 and is all ages. Beforehand, Talbot Tagora will play a free in-store at Wall of Sound at 6 p.m.
Bowerbirds, Megafaun at the Triple Door, 8 p.m., $12
Signed to the taste-making imprint Dead Oceans and touted with much enthusiasm by the Mountain Goats' John Darnielle, the North Carolina trio Bowerbirds recently answered those early acts of faith with a striking second album, Upper Air. Much in the vein of its sleeper 2007 debut, Hymns for a Dark Horse, the new outing is a pristine collection of drowsy, shadowy folk-pop, lovingly delivered and exquisitely worded. Songwriter Phil Moore's singing voice is nearly identical to that of the Rosebuds' Ivan Howard, which makes some sense since both bands hail from Raleigh. Comparisons end there, however. Completed by accordionist Beth Tacular and pianist/violinist Mark Paulson, who share stripped-down percussion duties, Bowerbirds sound familiar, but not quite like any other band. Even when the songs are draped in stately layers, there is a fragile serenity and acute closeness that makes feel as if they're right there, snuggled up against us. DOUG WALLEN
Ditty Bops, Firs of Prey at the Tractor Tavern, 8:30 p.m., $20
Think of the Ditty Bops as the house band for a hipster-idealized version of A Prairie Home Companion. With their blend of, pardon the phrase, "old timey" music, youthful verve, and pseudo tounge-in-cheek kitsch, the duo of Abby DeWald and Amanda Barret is perfect for audiences simultaneously in love with the romance of yesteryear, and the freedom and fancifulness of childhood. Listening to the Ditty Bops is a bit like being 80 and eight at the same time. Borrowing from early vocal jazz, ragtime, bluegrass and Western Swing, the band focuses on tight harmonies and lively arrangements, with lyrical motifs that further solidify the old/young character of the music, tackling complex and very adult themes with a firm sense of whimsy--a word which may describe the band better than any more bombastic elaboration. Further encouraging the carnival feel, DeWald and Barret frequently incorporate elements of theatrical burlesque into their live performances, with puppets, elaborate costumes and props frequenting the stage. Formerly with Warner (one can imagine the Bops hosting a cartoon hoedown with Yacko, Wacko and Dot), the band is now independent and delving into the world of art and literature, with a bit of a capricious twist. NICHOLAS HALL