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Sound Menu

CL's picks for the week's best shows

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WED/9

THE HISS, DEREK LYNN PLASTIC, KNIFE & THE 4TH WARD DAGGERS Atlanta five-piece the Hiss crafts rousing, big beat rock 'n' roll songs that draw from a penchant for garage rock and surrealism. Knife and the 4th Ward Daggers plays a set of speedy, bratty and tightly wound boy-girl punk tunes. Derek Lynn Plastic opens with a show of paranoid and sneering horror punk and spun-out new wave rock 'n' roll jitters. $7. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. www.starbar.net. -- Chad Radford

THE LEVON HELM BAND Life after the Band hasn't been easy for the group's drummer, mandolinist, vocalist and sole American member. But after beating throat cancer and winning a Grammy for his most recent album, things are looking up. He's never stopped playing though, and now brings the monthly Midnight Ramble sessions he holds at his Woodstock home on the road for a rare Atlanta appearance. Expect plenty of old-timey American folk and blues from the new release along with enough Band nuggets to give the classic rockers who will flock here something to sing along with. $45. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-223-1100. variety-playhouse.com. -- HH

THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT Michael Nyman, best-known for his soundtrack to the film The Piano, composed this chamber opera based upon the case-study essay of the same name by neurologist Oliver Sacks. The semistaged performance by the Opera Institute of Boston University tells the story of a professional singer suffering from "visual agnosia," a neurological condition that causes him to mistake his wife's head for a hat, and progressively forces him to depend upon musical references to cope with everyday life. Free, but requires reservation of tickets. 8 p.m. Cannon Chapel, Emory University. 404-727-5050. www.arts.emory.edu. -- MG

THURS/10

COLIN MELOY The Decemberists' frontman reprises the solo persona as he's done for a few years now between band tours. He describes the shows as being similar in spirit to a "campfire sing-along" on the recently released Colin Meloy Sings Live! As in past appearances, he has recorded a tour-only EP of covers, this time five Sam Cooke songs. Like with the Decemberists, Meloy's songs are lyrically knotty and mannered with a faint fantastical air that's grounded by Meloy's self-effacing charm. $22. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- Chris Parker

JEFF BLACK, TERRI HENDRIX & LLOYD MAINES Singer/songwriters have a tough time making an impact, but when they're good, they're great. Black hasn't broken out like he should, but his work is consistent, captivating and contagious. Texan Hendrix tends to be a bit on the spacey side, but she's a great singer, and with steel player Lloyd Maines (the smarty pants Dixie Chick's dad) on board, this is a must see. $15-$75. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- James Kelly

PAPA MALI The one-time Killer Bee left reggae and returned to his Louisiana roots, but his music retains a languorous, shuffling groove, as it scuttles through Big Easy swing and bluesy swamp boogie. Mali's a wonderfully engaging performer who segues easily from greasy, Delta-soul-soaked rock to psych-tinged blues-funk workouts with a gruff growl and tasteful fretwork flash. Last year he released his second album, Do Your Thing. $12. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- CP

ROBERT CRAY BAND Little has changed in Cray's sound since the soul/bluesman crossed over with 1986's Strong Persuader album. Despite a dozen quality releases since, he plays virtually the same-sized venues and remains the ultimate professional, incapable of putting on a poor show while showing flashes of brilliance in his generally underappreciated guitar work. More recently, he has shifted to topical material and toyed with the occasional offbeat song structure and/or arrangement to mix things up. But he remains a classy and distinctive performer who plays with more passion and intensity than he is given credit for. $28-$30. 8 p.m. Center Stage. 404-885-1365. www.centerstage-atlanta.com. -- Hal Horowitz

FRI/11

DuoATL Flutist Nicole Randall and guitarist Brian Luckett created duoATL in 2005, and have developed a reputation for blending classical and cool in their performances. This concert includes the premiere of Randall's "Mangosteen," The duo also performs music by Astor Piazzolla, Joaquin Rodrigo, Michael Daugherty and Radames Gnattali. $10. 8 p.m. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. 404-872-5338. www.callanwolde.org. -- Mark Gresham

GLOUCESTER CATHEDRAL CHOIR You've seen the Gloucester Cathedral featured in Harry Potter films (nos. 1, 2 and 6), and now Atlantans can hear its 450-year-old choir on tour under the leadership of its new organist/choirmaster, Adrian Partington. Frequently appearing on British radio and television, they have a lovely rendition of "In the Bleak Midwinter" on YouTube, and were featured in the 1995 British film The Choir, based on the novel by Joanna Trollope. $15. 7:30 p.m. Cathedral of St. Philip. 404-365-1052. www.stphilipscathedral.org. -- MG

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