On the Beat

Rock Picks, May 22: Mac McCaughan at Cat’s Cradle

Mac McCaughan’s new record, “Non-Believers,” is his most keyboard-centric music ever and a veritible tribute to early-’80s new wave. Catch his album-release show Saturday at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.
Mac McCaughan’s new record, “Non-Believers,” is his most keyboard-centric music ever and a veritible tribute to early-’80s new wave. Catch his album-release show Saturday at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.

Mac McCaughan has always been a guitar-first guy, but not on the first solo album he’s ever done under his own name after a quarter-century of making records with Superchunk and as Portastatic. “Non-Believers” (Merge Records) is McCaughan’s most keyboard-centric music ever and a veritable tribute to early-’80s new wave, heavy on overtones of New Order, Modern English and other signifiers of that era. The album-opening “Your Hologram” invokes “an ’82 Honda getting all its tapes stolen outside a party where the tension is real,” and “Only Do” references the 1984 movie “The Karate Kid” (“There is no try, there is only do!”). Dress appropriately for the album-release show, Saturday at the Back Room of Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle. Doors open at 8 p.m., Flesh Wounds open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $12.

See catscradle.com for details.

Other highlights

▪ Friday brings Dave Matthews Band’s semi-annual visitation to Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Amphitheatre.

▪ Lake Street Drive opens this year’s concert series at Raleigh’s N.C. Museum of Art Saturday, the same night Del the Funky Homosapien holds forth at the Cradle and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy presides over a “Film: Acoustic” presentation of the 1999 documentary “American Movie” at Durham’s Carolina Theatre.

▪ Rod Abernethy and various Connells, dB’s, Pressure Boys, Backsliders and others gather together Sunday to play Bob Dylan songs at Kings in Raleigh to mark Dylan’s 74th birthday.

▪ Melt Banana overpowers the Cradle Back Room on Monday. And Thursday’s freebie options include American Tobacco’s Back Porch Music on the Lawn series in Durham with Scythian, and Oak City 7 at Raleigh’s City Plaza with Eagles tribute act On the Border.

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