You’ve got to hand it to Ruban Nielson, above, frontman of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who is a fine singer and excellent pop songsmith – but most of all a killer guitarist with a less-is-more style that manages to be both spare and evocatively distinctive. In song after song on “II” (Jagjaguwar Records), it takes about two notes of Nielson’s melodious low-fidelity clang for him to become recognizable, and that’s before the hooks and his falsetto kick in. Unknown Mortal Orchestral plays Sunday at Cat’s Cradle on a bill with Jackson Scott, a young Asheville singer-songwriter with a fascinating primitive streak touring behind his impressive debut album “Melbourne” (Fat Possum Records). Showtime is 9 p.m. and tickets are $12-$14. See catscradle.com.
• Friday brings Brooklyn Americana band Yarn down to play Raleigh’s Southland Ballroom with Jack The Radio, and bluesman Scott H. Biram to Raleigh's Pour House; Black Rebel Motorcycle Club rolls into the Cradle on Saturday, the same night the wonderful singer-songwriter Mindy Smith is at Southland and Rockabilly wildman Unknown Hinson plays Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre. Don Dixon and Marti Jones play Sunday at Saxapahaw's Haw River Ballroom, which has Aimee Mann on Wednesday; and Fuzz, latest project of the brilliant San Francisco psychedelic rocker Ty Segall, plays Kings on Thursday.