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Sound Menu

CL's picks for the week's best shows

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WED/21

ELANA JAMES & THE HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN, PLANET RIDERS DUO The Hot Club of Cowtown was one of the (cough) hottest of the late great Hightone label's roster. They parted ways for a while and fiddler James made a great solo record. Now they're working together again, and all is right in the world. Gypsy jazz and Western swing never sounded so good. The pop-rocking Planet Riders (duet) opens. $10-$50. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- James Kelly

MAMMALS, BOBBY & THE SOFT SPOTS, MACK MESSIAH, VIETKANGOL Austell's Mammals are a ramshackle three-piece that plays bare-knuckle garage rock. The group approaches the music with a pure and primitive drive that's concerned with nothing more than churning out gruff and good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll songs. Kenny Crucial's group Mack Messiah, Atlanta garage-rock degenerates Bobby & the Soft Spots and local newcomers Vietkangol also perform. $5. 9 p.m. The Drunken Unicorn. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- Chad Radford

THURS/22

ABIGAIL WASHBURN & THE SPARROW QUARTET FEATURING BELA FLECK Frontwoman and banjoist Washburn has been doing a cultural exchange program with China for a few years, and the Sparrows are an outgrowth of that work. Featuring Ben Sollee on cello and Casey Driessen on fiddle, their repertoire leans a tad more toward classical than bluegrass. It's a unique combination to say the least. $20-$22.50. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- JK

ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA List, list, O, list! Nicholas McGegan guest conducts the ASO in music inspired by Shakespeare's plays: Diverse overtures from "Beatrice and Benedict" by Hector Berlioz, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Felix Mendelssohn, and "Kiss Me, Kate" by Cole Porter are among the various offerings reflecting the Bard's nearly universal appeal. Guest performers are soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird and troupe members of Georgia Shakespeare Theatre. Program repeats Fri., May 23, and Sat., May 24. $18-$70. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center. 404-733-5000. www.stlantasymphony.org. -- Mark Gresham

BELL X1 Damien Rice's old band Juniper changed its name when he left for solo fame, promoting drummer Paul Noonan to lead vocalist and taking its new moniker from the plane that broke the sound barrier. The results were major stardom in Bell X1's Ireland home -- second only to U2, boasts the press release -- and now an attempt to get Americans on board by touring behind a debut U.S. release, already three years old. The group's expansive palette and arena sound bolsters overarching lyrics sung in Noonan's dusky, pleading voice, often similar to that of David Byrne. $12. 9 p.m. The Loft. 404-885-1365. www.theloftatl.com. -- Hal Horowitz

KATE WALSH, BRANDI SHEARER, QUINCY COLEMAN Celebrate unplugged girl power with this touring package of three talented rising female folksingers for the price of one. All navigate the changing musical waters with indie, in some cases self-released albums that successfully balance commercial instincts with artistic integrity. Coleman's upbeat, jazzy pop stands out, but Walsh's "Grey's Anatomy"-approved introspective noodlings and Shearer's sultry delivery both show potential to elevate their somewhat colorless material in concert. Onstage collaborations are likely, which further enhances this bill's prospects. $12. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- HH

FRI/23

CHARLIE LOUVIN, ASHLEY MONROE Louvin is a country legend, whose duets with his late brother, Ira, inspired folks like the Everly Brothers and Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris. After Ira's premature passing, Charlie forged a respectable solo career, and at 80-plus years old he is still able to hit those high harmonies. Opener Ashley Monroe writes tunes for hot new country artists. $20-$100. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- JK

THE ROOTS They've never locked down commercial success -- despite the acclaim heaped on 1999's Everything Falls Apart -- but no hip-hop group has sustained their creativity for as long. In the dog years of rap, the Roots' two-plus decades make them Methuselah. Even the Wu Tang Clan hasn't forged a catalog as consistently entertaining. Their jazzy, conscious style is backed by a live band -- helping spark another hip-hop trend -- keyed to versatile drummer ?uestlove. Their 10th and latest album, Rising Down, is as canny and politically relevant as any album they've released to date. $45-$100. 8 p.m. Fox Theatre. 404-881-2100. www.foxtheatre.org. -- Chris Parker

SHE WANTS REVENGE, BE YOUR OWN PET As the go-to glossy publication for the female post-tween bling-obsessed age bracket, Nylon magazine -- under whose banner this tour resides -- isn't exactly a bellwether for edgy musical tastes. Similarly, neither L.A.'s She Wants Revenge's brooding retro cool, which rips pages from the '80s diaries of Joy Division, Depeche Mode and David Bowie, nor Be Your Own Pet's female-fronted, zippy garage pop-punk are rewriting music history with their derivative approaches. Call it comfort food for a generation that missed this music the first time and hope the twentysomethings get inspired to research their sources. Switches and the Virgins warm things up. $18-$20. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-223-1100.variety-playhouse.com. -- HH

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