While the Swans have never put out a record that comes anywhere near the pulverizing fury of their live show, the current two-disc album “To Be Kind” (Young God Records) is probably as close as they’ll ever come. “To Be Kind” is not an easy listen, nor is it easy to describe – a synapse-flaying collection of 10 tracks that one doesn’t hear so much as feel at a subconscious level. If one were to attempt to replicate the thoughts of a person at the moment of death as highly aggressive music, it might come out something like this. All of which is to say that “To Be Kind” is amazing stuff that’s not for everyone, but you’ll be better for the experience. The Swans, led by Michael Gira, play Friday at Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $20. See catscradle.com for details.
▪ On Friday, Lise Uyanik’s Mobile City Band plays next door to the Swans at Carrboro ArtsCenter, Wilkesboro classical-grass Kruger Brothers play a rare nightclub show at Chapel Hill’s Local 506, New Orleans’ Dirty Dozen Brass Band funks up Raleigh’s Southland Ballroom, Yarn is at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre and Lost in the Trees’ Ari Picker opens a two-night run at Duke University’s Nelson Music Room – premiering “Lion and the Lamb,” a piece inspired by poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Book of Hours.”
▪ Sunday, Patty Hurst Shifter plays its first show in many moons at Slim’s in Raleigh. Monday brings a pair of noted singer-songwriters to the Triangle, Martin Sexton at Durham’s Carolina Theatre and Mat Kearney at The Ritz in Raleigh.
▪ John Mellencamp is back Tuesday to play Durham Performing Arts Center with Carlene Carter, and Rhiannon Giddens unveils her highly anticipated new album, “Tomorrow Is My Turn” (Nonesuch Records), Thursday at the Carolina.