IN THE JUKEBOX 

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Moonless Moth
The Beauty in the Flaw
(independent)

Just a few years ago, they were posing with roses in their mouths and rambling on poetically about the majesty of rock and chalices and dragons and demons and wizards and stuff (well, maybe not quite all that, but pretty close to something that resembled Rush, circa 1975). This year, as demonstrated on the band's first "proper album," The Beauty in the Flaw, local rock quartet Moonless Moth are a new band -- leaner, meaner, tighter, and more assured and striking. On the grunge-inspired anthems "Mr. Man" and "Inferiority Complex" (which have received airplay on 98X's Local Noise this season), lead singer and guitarist David Adams switches between a hoary holler and a raspy groan ... pained, anguished, and convincing. Recorded with local engineer Mitchell Webb over the last year, the album is polished and cohesive, despite a few meandering moments and clichés. Think Nirvana's Bleach meets Zak Wylde's Black Label Society. Oof. --T. Ballard Lesemann

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Moonless Moth play at the Oasis Bar & Grill (788 Folly Rd., 225-2522 ) on Fri. March 2.

Fifth House
Place
(independent)

Asheville's Fifth House have persevered for years, frequently driving down I-26 for the random Tuesday night gig. The opening track of Place, "I Can Feel It Coming On," kicks off with a wah-laden guitar riff and the first of many repeated "I can feel it coming on" from guitarist/songwriter Corey Bullman. Throughout the 10 tracks that follow, the heavily-produced album continues its decent but never spectacular revisiting of early-'90s style jam-rock. Organist Kevin Scala shows off hints of talent in tracks like the Los Lonely Boys-esque "Phase Shift," but, as a whole, it's somewhat boring, overly feel-goody pop/funk. "Good Times" features guitar and organ effects a la "My First Sony," and elicits a good laugh when they bust out some white boy rapping. Lyrics like "Darkness falls when the sun goes down/Chills are washing over me/Facing this reality" in album closer "Sky to Fall" pretty much sum it up. --Stratton Lawrence

Fifth House play at the Roadhouse (123 W. Ashley Ave., 588-2365) on Thurs. March 15 and at the James Island Kickin' Chicken (1175 Folly Road, 225-6996) on Fri. March 26.


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