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The To-Do List, Jan. 26-31 

WEDNESDAY 1/26

NO AGE

9 p.m., Revolution. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.

The American punk spirit took a huge hit when New York's legendary CBGB's shut its doors and turned into a high-end John Varvatos boutique in 2008 after much ballyhooing, eulogizing and metaphorizing. All the while, on the West Coast, The Smell in Los Angeles has been keeping the flame alive in its own small way, thriving as an all-ages rock venue and serving as a home base to some of the decade's best experimental punk and avant-garde acts like Health, Pocahaunted and ipso facto valedictorians of the club, No Age. Tapping into national acclaim in 2008 with their celebrated full-length debut, "Nouns," the guitar and drums duo of Randy Randall and Dean Spunt became critical darlings thanks to their art-rock aesthetic and distorted, skate-punk approach. With the 2010 release of their follow-up, "Everything in Between," the band pulled off the rare task of translating freshman success into a reputation as top-tier peddlers of D.I.Y. noise-pop. (In fact, I may be the only music writer in America that's yet to have puckered up to their hineys.) Expect a cacophony of fuzzed-out guitar loops, Monster-style drumming and sheets of off-key yarping. The acclaimed act is supported by Austrian tourmate Rene Hell, a "boundary-pushing" synth experimentalist about as exciting as that description would lead you to believe.

FRIDAY 1/28

ALPHA REV

9 p.m., Stickyz. $7.

Of all the MOR radio rockers currently humming through the airwaves, not many are as musically ambitious as this Austin orchestral-pop act. Alpha Rev may be yet another band whose bare, emotional core was strip-mined from Jeff Buckley's tragic legacy and the minor-key warbling owes a debt to any number of inoffensive "Dawson's Creek" bands, but it sets itself apart, if not in scope, in size. It's a seven-piece band with six vocalists and cello and violin that doesn't sound terribly gimmicky and a high, ethereal tenor in front of the mix (lead vocalist and primary songwriter Casey McPherson) that bites, tastefully, from a "Bends"-era Thom Yorke. Formed in 2005 after the breakup of McPherson's previous, modern rock band, Endochine, Alpha Rev soon found a footing in its fiercely competitive home town, was named the best indie band from Texas by Myspace, signed to the Disney-owned Hollywood Records and became a regular fixture on VH1 with their biggest single, "New Morning." Along the way, the band also provided the soundtrack to MTV's "True Life: I Hate My Plastic Surgery" and contributed music to "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" and "The OCD Project." It may be a ham-handed soundtrack for your next pity party, but at least the band's aiming for grandeur.

KNUCKFEST 2011

Downtown Music Hall. $10-$35.

This weekend, Little Rock is set to play home to hardcore, metal, screamo fans from around the area with Knuckfest 2011, a three-day festival of all things heavy, fast and, God knows, angry. What started in 2005 as a night of hardcore acts from Memphis soon turned into a multi-day showcase by 2007 and since has attracted hordes of carpooling out-of-towners to what must be one of the toughest mosh pits in the country. Expect more than 30 bands including Crankbait, Ashes of Augustine, Zucura, Fallen Empire, A Darkend Era, The Kill Crazies, Wraith, Before There Was Rosalyn, and many, many more. Doors open 6 p.m. Friday, $10; 1 p.m. Saturday, $15; 1 p.m. Sunday, $10. Three-day passes available for $35.

SATURDAY 1/29

ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: 'REFORMATION'

8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $14-$48.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra returns to Robinson Center Music Hall under the direction of Philip Mann for another installment of its "Masterworks" series, this time with cellist Julie Albers as featured soloist. The orchestra will feature the overture from "The School for Scandal," a classic composition from the 1930s and composer Samuel Barber's first piece written for a full orchestra; Sir Edward Elgar's "Cello Concerto," a reserved, aural threnody written in response to World War I, and Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5, "Reformation," a piece originally panned after its 1830 debut but rediscovered and celebrated after the composer's death. The ASO reprises the performance on Sunday at 3 p.m.; same place and price, though students, grades K-12, can go for free if accompanied by a paid adult as part of the Entergy ticket program on Sunday.


MONDAY 1/31

NACHTMYSTIUM

8 p.m., Downtown Music Hall. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.

It means "Encompassing Darkness" in a cobbled-together mix of German and Latin. Now that we've got the whole name thing out of the way, we can say that Nachtmystium is one of the best metal bands in the world. Heck, they're probably the biggest black metal band in America. At least that seems to be the consensus, according to pages upon pages of interviews, profiles and articles about Chicago's flagship psychedelic black metal exports. In the last 10 years, front man Blake Judd and a revolving cast of band mates have proven to be as prolific as they are dark, issuing a relentless stream of LPs, EPs, live recordings and the like. Last summer saw the release of "Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II," a sinister nod to Pink Floyd acclaimed by tastemakers of the metal domain. It's no shock that they'll play with Rwake, Arkansas's greatest contribution to the metal-loving world. But it's not just that: Nachtmystium keyboardist Sanford Parker just wrapped up recording Rwake's latest, tentatively titled "I've Given My Hands to the Devil." Our hometown heroes may be hard, but Nachtmystium isn't for beginners.


PETER WOLF CRIER/RETRIBUTION GOSPEL CHOIR

8:30p.m., Stickyz. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.

Over the last handful of years, Little Rock has become a tour hub for buzzy folk revivalists. We've seen Dawes, Vetiver, Bon Iver and Band of Horses plug in on local stages and, with the locals of The Natives carving out a reputation for themselves by backing both Chris Denny and Luke MacMaster of The Romany Rye, we've seen Little Rock contribute to that in-demand, woodsy sound. Now, Peter Wolf Crier is set to return to town, bringing a little more notoriety since its last visit in October thanks to the success of "Inter-Be," a full-length debut written overnight that earned warm, if not loud, praise and caught the ears of NPR and AOL as well as taste-making music blogs like Stereogum. PWC is joined by Retribution Gospel Choir, a guitar-whipping, anthemic rock trio fronted by Alan Sparhawk of slow-core great Low. The two bands find a sonic middle ground in rural melodics, but are dozens of decibels apart in energy. Retribution Gospel Choir's three veterans of the Duluth music scene make heavy musical epics as rib-rattlingly loud as their tour mates are deliberate. And, to these ears, the elders who open the night are more interesting by a Minnesota mile.

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