Mittens on Strings, Bellafea, Hotel Brotherhood Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Sept. 5, 10 p.m. 2008

Chapel Hill trio Bellafea established a reputation as devotees of 90s alternative with the 2004 EP Family Tree, which took the familiar loud-soft-loud song structure and introduced the occasional awkward transition, thus unintentionally adding to the group’s diffident charm. On Cavalcade (Southern), their long-in-coming debut full-length, they’ve dramatically improved on that formula, banishing the whiffs of tentativeness from the EP. The opening cut, “Depart (I Never Knew You),” is a cathartic, furious howl from singer-guitarist Heather McEntire that’s given Miltonian gravitas by guest singer John Darnielle. The rest is anti­climactic by comparison, but still raucous and self-assured. —Monica Kendrick

Price: $8

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