Carpenters, whales, cocaine busters

I ran this week’s Soundscraper selections by a friend living in a much cooler city, and he had to admit it—Las Vegas is a great live-music town with lots of cool, diverse and underground choices. It’s what this column is all about! Check it:

Dead Winter Carpenters are slated to construct a sonic domicile at the Brass Lounge (425 Fremont St.) at 9 p.m. Oct. 7. This Americana quintet hails from Lake Tahoe and sounds like Alison Krauss after pounding whiskey shots and cans of Red Bull. In other words, it’s roots-rock with an energetic pulse. Consider their funky-folk-country-shuffle jam “Sun Don’t Shine,” which shines a spotlight on talented musicians who also deliver tight harmony vocals, something you don’t hear much anymore outside of an Eagles concert. Fiery fiddling and pumping upright bass are other aspects of this band that I can’t praise enough. They also accomplish jaw-dropping live renditions of women’s traditional blues songs such as “I Know You Rider.” I’d better see all my hippie-jamband-Deadhead friends at this show or else I’m going to confiscate your water pipes. Sandal up, brothers and sisters!

I’ve mentioned first-rate epic stoner-metal band The Sword a few times in this column, and yes the band is playing House of Blues that same night (8 p.m. Oct. 7) with Kyuss Lives! (essentially Kyuss minus its creative source, Josh Homme). But they’re also on a bill with my new favorite heavy-rock outfit, MonstrO, an Atlanta quartet that takes its name from the horrible whale that swallows Pinocchio in the Disney film. Indeed, I’ve been basking in the majesty that is MonstrO’s self-titled debut album out now on Vagrant Records. Songs such as the body-slamming-bad-guys-in-a-vintage-’80s-action-movie “Stallone,” chock-full of armor-piercing riffs and sweepingly melodic vocals, make me want to stream Cliffhanger via Netflix (especially when singer Charlie Suarez fires off the line “Fall through the ropes and it’s over!”) Honestly, though, MonstrO isn’t the least bit cheesy; this band is about delivering serious psyche-inflected hard rock with a fun shoegaze swagger.

This week’s Best Band Name Award goes to Coke Bust, a D.C.-based straightedge hard-core punk band that doesn’t mince riffs. This lacerating quintet is set to sting the Aruba’s Thunderbird Lounge (1215 Las Vegas Blvd. South) at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 with a slew of grind, noise and thrash bands (Life of Refusal, Nests, Seeds of Rape and more). Right now, I just can’t keep myself from snorting a long, sinister line of YouTubed tracks such as “Forced to Live,” “New Blood” and “Countdown to Death.” Believe it or not, hipsters have been sneaking into the neo-straightedge scene as of late, but somehow I don’t think Coke Bust will manage to float their retro-fetish boat. I mean, this band is absolutely feral, OK? Fans of aggressive music will not want to skip this show—it’s sinus-clearing made easy.

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In the pantheon of tastelessness designed to make you laugh at diarrhea, menstruation, masturbation, yeast infections, fellatio and worse, you can now add a stupid horror called 50/50. Artificial, irresponsible, filthy and forgettable, it knocks itself cross-eyed trying to make you roar with laughter at chemotherapy, with the nauseating Seth Rogen milking most of the yuks. But a stoner comedy about cancer? I don’t think so.