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Sound Menu

CL's picks for the week's best shows

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THURS/4

STOVALL, AMY PIKE Local alt-country/Americana/whatever band Stovall will be recording this show for a live CD, so make sure you scream real loud. Let's hope those harmonies are tight tonight. If we're lucky, former Redneck Underground diva Pike will do a rare country show, since she spends most of her time in town with the Jazzy Bonaventure Quartet. $7. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- James Kelly

FRI/5

CHRIS KNIGHT, HACKENSAW BOYS Every musical generation has its own share of "new Dylans," and Knight may fit that bill, except he's a much better singer. His brand-new Heart Of Stone CD is another fine collection of gritty tales. Sharing the bill both nights are the always entertaining and rootsy Hackensaw Boys. They'll alternate the opening-closing slots, so take your pick. Repeat show Saturday. $15. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- JK

AIMEE MANN The Magnolia soundtrack success proved to be no fluke, as the ex-'Til Tuesday singer/songwriter has followed up that 2000 career milestone with albums that play to her doe-eyed, introspective pop strengths. Mann's distinctive, fluid voice infuses beauty and sadness into material that confronts matters of the heart with tender resignation mixed with steely resolve. Her subdued stage presence doesn't make for the most galvanizing performance, but the songs and her band are powerful enough to ensure everybody leaves happy. The Submarines also appear. $27.50. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-223-1100. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- Hal Horowitz

SAT/6

ROY AYERS, CHOKLATE, MONICA BLAIRE You know you're destined for greatness when jazz legend Lionel Hampton hands you a pair of mallets at age 5. In the 62 years since, vibraphonist Ayers has made the world a funkier place with such timeless jams as "Running Away" and "Everybody Loves the Sunshine." Two years after releasing her debut, Seattle-based soul singer Choklate is still touring off the album's buzz. Since re-releasing the self-titled joint this June, her rep continues to balloon internationally. Blaire is another one to watch with her energetic mix of MCing and soul slinging. $20. 10 p.m. Sugarhill. 404-658-0068. www.sugarhillatl.com. -- Rodney Carmichael

DR. DOG, DELTA SPIRIT Embraced by both hippie oldsters who might be Relix subscribers and trendy Pitchfork readers, Philly's Dr. Dog takes its gleaming retro Band/Beach Boys influences and injects raw rocking to the pop that drives the band's sound. The quintet has honed its songs through a handful of albums and constant road work, yielding Fate, a new release that fulfills the promise previously glimpsed inconsistently. The openers swim in similar waters, making this a sympathetic and enticing double bill of up-and-comers ready to graduate to the next level commercially. Catch 'em now before they do. $12. 9:30 p.m. The Earl 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- HH

TIFT MERRITT, TEDDY THOMPSON Merritt shifts from clubs to this intimate theater based on the popularity of her recent third album, one that captures her ringing Americana soulful folk yet steers clear of the slick qualities that marred earlier efforts. Her rousing appearance next door at the Five Spot earlier this year was a triumphant return to a city that championed Merritt early on. Combined with Thompson's rootsy pop rock, expect a night of terrific music that comes from the heart but moves the feet. $15. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-223-1100.www.variety-playhouse.com. -- HH

STEEP CANYON RANGERS Versatility was not considered a virtue in Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Bible, but SCR have made it one. They can toe the line and play pure traditional style, or mix it up and take a step into prog-grass if need be. At their best when doing their own material, SCR will be hitting on every cylinder all night long. $15. 8:30 p.m. Red Light Café. 404-8747828. www.redlightcafe.com. -- JK

SUN/7

NORMAN MACKENZIE Although best-known as director of choruses for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Mackenzie is also a highly regarded peer among concert organists. He tackles three grand Romantic works by three French composers -- Eugène Gigout, Charles-Marie Widor, César Franck -- in this 45-minute foray, which also features a German work from the late Baroque era: "Toccata in D Minor," (aka "Dorian," BWV 538) by Johann Sebastian (aka "Big Daddy") Bach. Free. 3:15 p.m. Cathedral of St. Philip. 404-365-1052. www.stphilipscathedral.org. -- Mark Gresham

MON/8

CONNCET 9, JERKAGRAM, QUR'ANOSAURUS HEX The droning and mysterious ensemble Conncet 9 revels in the dark resonance of real-world sounds and textures but manipulates them to take on a much more cluttered and haunting hue than their naturally occurring order. Jerkagram is a noisy and reactionary improv/psych-rock outfit from Connecticut that bashes out aggressive and ramshackle art-rock clusters of rhythm and dirge. Qur'anosaurus Hex opens the show. $5. 9 p.m. Eyedrum. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org. -- Chad Radford

TUES/9

CLAY COOK Seasoned and tempered by longtime experience flying the rougher edges of the public radar, Atlanta singer/songwriter Cook plays a third local concert in as many Tuesdays to introduce his new solo album, The Year I Grew Up, squeezed in between tour gigs as guitarist with the Marshall Tucker Band. The CD's songs, such as "Going Through the Motions" and "Lightning in a Bottle," distill Cook's musings about life in assured acoustic-inspired rock style. $8-$10. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522.www.smithsoldebar.com. -- MG

THE ETTES This female-fronted garage trio recalls the Raveonettes, blending rudimentary '60s girl pop, surf-inspired rave-ups and grimy guitar strut. Singer/guitarist Lindsay "CoCo" Hames' coquettish coo is more Runaways than Holly Golightly, but the sound's pure sinew. Their latest, Look at Life Again Soon, sounds like Jim Diamond mixed it in a Detroit alley, considering the gritty, live sound of their ragged bar blooze rumble. $8. 10 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. 404-870-0575. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- Chris Parker

JOHN WARREN & TED GURCH Two of Atlanta's top classical clarinetists, Warren and Gurch offer up a program showcasing different types and sizes of clarinets in a variety of musical styles. Selections range from the more traditionally romantic sounds of Felix Mendelssohn and Italian film-score composer Nino Rota, to avant-garde tones of "Analogues" by Serbian composer Nikola Resanovic, and the abstract but Latin-inspired "Cinco Bocetos" by Roberto Sierra. Sharon Berenson collaborates as pianist du jour. Free. 8 p.m. Bailey Performance Center, Kennesaw State University. 770-423-6650. www.kennesaw.edu/arts. -- MG

WED/10

THE N.E.C., ALL THE SAINTS This sputtering, hallucinogenic local quartet writhes and worms through noisy psychedelic drone whose throttling melodic hum recalls Spacemen 3. It segues easily from spacey drift to garage-addled roar crossing the spectrum of reverberating rawk with devil-may-care insouciance. In the second week of a month-long residency, the N.E.C. shares the stage with brothers in overdriven amperage, All the Saints, whose moody distortion-drenched crush wavers like a politician considering the polls. $3. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018.www.starbaratlanta.com. -- CP

THE WHIGS, TOKYO POLICE CLUB Athens trio the Whigs slalom through their catchy indie rock like Wile E. Coyote strapped to an Acme rocket, beaming power-pop ebullience and anxious, shifty winsomeness. Their second album, Mission Control, ambles from laconic rock waltzes ("Sleep Sunshine") to jagged dance-punk ("Production City"), reprising a bevy of styles without missing a step. Ontario's Tokyo Police Club plays energetic indie pop keyed by swirling keyboards and punchy, danceable rhythms. The colorful, caffeinated abandon of their new album, Elephant Shell, is as infectious as a room of snotty first graders. $15. 9 p.m. 40 Watt Club, Athens. 706-549-7871. www.40watt.com. -- CP

Bands/performers/venues wishing to be included in Sound Menu's noted-acts boxes may send recordings, press material and schedules two weeks in advance to Creative Loafing c/o Rodney Carmichael, 384 Northyards Blvd., Suite 600, Atlanta, GA 30313, or e-mail information to: rodney.carmichael@creativeloafing.com. To be included in the listings only, e-mail venue and band schedules by Thursday at noon (for the issue that comes out the following Wednesday) to soundboard@creativeloafing.com.

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