At the core of the ROSEBUDS' magical pop confections lies the musings of husband-and-wife duo Ivan Howard (vocals/guitars) and Kelly Crisp (keyboards). With their fourth full-length, Life Like (Merge), the Raleigh, N.C., couple churns out wistful tunes that are tailor-made for crooning on a starry night, and blur the lines between murky emotions and bittersweet tragedy. Like the Southern answer to Mates of State, Belle & Sebastian and Arcade Fire, the characters in their songs seem plucked from the pages of some obscure but pretty book of fairy tales. For their show Mon., DEC. 1, Raleigh's the Love Language and Atlanta's the Preakness also perform. $10. 9 p.m. The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Road. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.