Thou w/Cloud Rat, O Paon, Druden; Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th
Baton Rouge-based doomers Thou are among the select metal bands a decidedly non-metal blogosphere has been dedicating a suspicious amount of coverage to lately, perhaps in an attempt to overcompensate for years of under-representation. Indie tastemakers Pitchfork awarded the band's new album, Heathen, a whopping 8.4 (a score usually reserved for, like, shit that gets played in Urban Outfitters), and the record was even premiered on NPR. Some of this probably has to do with the fact that Thou don't really employ a "metal image"—which is pretty extraordinary in a genre where music and aesthetic are often inextricable—but some of it also, hopefully, has to do with the fact that Heathen is GREAT, brimming with real, accessible melody in addition to oppressive grime. Thankfully, none of this big-dog press has gone to the band's head: Thou possess an unwavering allegiance to the all-ages scene and remain one of the busiest and most prolific DIY bands in America.
Circle Takes the Square w/Sloths, the Sky Above and Earth Below; Branx, 320 SE 2nd
Circle Takes the Square's 2004 LP, As the Roots Undo, is considered one of the most influential screamo albums ever released, before the genre collapsed on itself and degenerated into an interminable bad joke. If a great and innovative record weren't enough to cement the group's legacy, the gestation process between Roots and the group's most recent LP, Decompositions, was a whopping eight years, a move that ultimately engendered Chinese Democracy-levels of hype within the punk community (if you'll forgive the vulgar analogy). And Circle Takes the Square's reentry into the punk playing field couldn't have happened at a better time. It coincides perfectly with a renewed interest in classic emotional hardcore—or "skramz," as the zealots like to call it.