On the Beat

Rock Picks, June 12: Unknown Mortal Genius at Cat’s Cradle

Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s new album, “Multi-Love,” establishes Ruban Nielson as a bonafide pop genius. The band plays Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro on Sunday.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s new album, “Multi-Love,” establishes Ruban Nielson as a bonafide pop genius. The band plays Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro on Sunday. Getty Images

In the past, Unknown Mortal Orchestra served up delectable pop music that was pretty much immediately irresistible from the very first listen. And while the group’s new album “Multi-Love” (Jagjaguwar Records) doesn’t exactly qualify as “difficult,” it’s multi-layered enough to take a while to sink in (hence the title). But “Multi-Love” is more than worth the effort, establishing singer/guitarist/bandleader Ruban Nielson as a bonafide pop genius who can weave disparate sonic strands together into a spacey pop pastiche that makes you think and groove at the same time. Unknown Mortal Orchestra plays Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle on Sunday, headlining a great triple-bill with Alex G and Birds of Avalon.

Showtime is 9 p.m. and tickets are $15. See catscradle.com for details.

Other highlights

▪ Raleigh’s N.C. Museum of Art concert series hits the ground running this week with two great young guns, anthemic singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile on Friday and rising Texas guitar ace Gary Clark Jr. on Wednesday.

▪ Speaking of super-cool Texans, Lubbock native Butch Hancock plays a Six String Cafe show Friday at The Cary Theatre.

▪ Craig Finn, the voice and pen behind The Hold Steady, opens for Heartless Bastards Saturday at the Cradle. Oregon psychedelic duo The Helio Sequence plays the Cradle’s Back Room on Sunday.

▪ Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre has the unlikely yet cool pairing of Robert Plant and The Pixies Monday, the same night Morrissey sings songs for lonely hearts at Durham’s Carolina Theatre. Tuesday brings CJ Ramone and Shonnen Knife to Chapel Hill’s Local 506, David Crosby to the Carolina and Toadies to Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre.

▪ Wednesday, classy Americana singer/songwriter Josh Rouse plays Saxapahaw’s Haw River Ballroom, while ex-Carolina Chocolate Drop Dom Flemons is at Duke University’s Music in the Gardens series and Billy Joe Shaver turns Raleigh’s Southland Ballroom into a Texas roadhouse. And satirist “Weird Al” Yankovic parodies everything under the sun at Booth on Thursday, the same night rapper Juicy J is at Raleigh’s Ritz.

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