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CL's picks for the week's best shows 

WED/29

SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS, BACKYARD TIRE FIRE The Zippers opened the door to another era of music, and exposed hypnotized and over-sedated grunge fans to the classic jump blues and boogie woogie sounds of the '20s and '30s. A long hiatus comes to an end, and they are swinging and jiving once again with most of the original members. Backyard Tire Fire opens. $22.50-$25. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- James Kelly

THURS/30

CARBONAS, MUNICIPAL WASTE, BUKKAKE BOYS Carbonas are the reigning kings of the local punk rock scene. The group plays fast, razor-sharp, classic amphetamine dirges that strike with stark, fast energy. Richmond, Va., thrash monsters Municipal Waste unleash chugga-chugga speed metal that could have been lifted straight out of a Santa Cruz, Calif., skate video circa 1987. Atlanta's Bukkake Boys wax nostalgic by cranking out a classic hardcore sound that, when played out in the here and now, is more refreshing than ever. $10. 7 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- Chad Radford

JASPECTS, RAHBI, IYANA Could CL's favorite jazz band, Jaspects, be calling it quits? The six-man group has been promoting its Halloween show as a possible last fling with a reconfigured lineup, the Spects, to take its place. Hopefully, that's little more than a marketing ploy -- as if they need one. We do know that the group plans to release a new single at the show, though the band hadn't decided by press time which song out of six new tracks would make the cut. Expect something radically different from the Jaspects' three album catalog. R&B wildman Rahbi and petite MC Iyana open. $10-$15. 9 p.m. Sugarhill. 404-658-0068. www.sugarhillatl.com. -- Rodney Carmichael

MATTHEW SWEET The singer/songwriter's local ties to Athens' Oh-OK, and to a lesser extent Shawn Mullins via the short-lived Thorns make it a homecoming of sorts. Sweet's touring behind a fine new set that captures the ragged power pop he's best known for. His yin-yang of lovely chiming melodies ruffled by scraggly, pointed, occasionally psychedelic guitar and minor key intrusions is in fine form and his ever youthful vocals have seldom sounded better. The predominantly female Bridges, who seem like a more commercially palatable Bangles, also appear. $20. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-223-1100. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- Hal Horowitz

SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS America's favorite eight-piece chicken box eatin', dirt track lovin', double-wide livin' trio returns to deliver another greasy meal full of trashy, low-brow, high-energy swamp rock, countrypolitan and garage pop. By now you're either on the SCOTS bus or you have decided to take a higher-class form of transportation, but for longtime fans every show over the past 17 years is a ruckus-raising hoot that never seems phoned in, no matter how many times you've heard these songs. Repeat show Friday. $15. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- HH

FRI/31

COLLECTIVE EFFORTS, SUN TOUCHER, CAPTAIN MUDFISH Atlanta hip-hop trio Collective Efforts' recently released EP, Time for Hope, is a proper shot in the arm for those seeking vaccination from Atlanta's brain-gorging, zombie rap of the moment. Perhaps that's why costumes are optional at this Halloween jam. Instead, CE and dubtronica group Sun Toucher will provide aural treats. Producer/DJ Captain Mudfish opens. $10. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522 www.smithsoldebar.com. -- RC

DEERHUNTER, PYLON, JAY REATARD, TIMES NEW VIKING Jay Reatard's a garage-punk madman maintaining a prolific release schedule focused on 7-inches of late. Inspired by Memphis, Tenn., punk legends the Oblivians, Reatard makes grimy, lo-fi garage arrayed in simple, foot-tapping hooks. Like a street corner poet, it's revelatory to realize that beneath his scruffy exterior lies enormous talent. He's supporting a collection of singles released this year on Matador. The ragged crunch of fellow opener Times New Viking pays homage to the fuzzed-out rumble of Dinosaur and the noise pop of the Swirlies with a wavering feedback-heavy lilt. Local faves Deerhunter and a reunited Pylon headline. $16-$18. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404 524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- Chris Parker

NOOT D'NOOT, JUDI CHICAGO, ILE TAMBOR, COZY AND RICO If there was a costume competition among the members of every band playing in Atlanta on Halloween, it would be safe to say the daft-dance/electro duo Judi Chicago and large ensemble funk explorers Noot d'Noot would come out on the tip-top. Though that's only if JC can keep its shirts on long enough to be judged. Nevertheless, would you really trust a night of mischief, excess and skimpy nurse outfits with anyone else? $7. 8 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- Scott Irvine

SAT/1

DAR WILLIAMS, LUKE BRINDLEY A rare club performance from the rootsy chanteuse is the best way to experience her husky voice -- somewhat similar to the U.K.'s Sandy Denny -- and introspective yet universally pertinent lyrics generally concerning matters of the heart. She's supporting a terrific new album, her eighth, of shimmering, chiming melodies and sharp, always intelligent lyrics that neatly balance her pop and folk impulses. Despite the disc's elaborate production, Williams is at her finest in concert, where her engaging stories and endearing personality can connect directly with listeners. $25. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- HH

ENSEMBLE SIRIUS Australian keyboardist Michael Fowler and Atlanta percussionist Stuart Gerber perform music by German avant-gardist Karlheinz Stockhausen, who died last December. The performance includes five selections from Tierkreis (Zodiac), Kontakte (Contacts). Of particular note is the theatrical Himmels-Tür (Heaven's Door), written for Gerber in 2005, performed on a specially constructed wooden double door. Pop-culture trivia: Stockhausen's face is on the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's album. Free. 8 p.m. Performing Arts Studio, Emory University. 404-727-5050. www.arts.emory.edu. -- Mark Gresham

GARY ALLAN Following in his father's footsteps, Allan played honky-tonks throughout his teens and 20s until a wealthy couple to whom he'd sold a car gave him $12,000 to go to Nashville and make his dream come true. A new traditionalist, Allan's style recalls Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, and he made good on his first opportunity scoring a top 10 hit (Waylon Jennings' "Her Man"). He had success, but it took the tragedy of his wife's suicide to produce Allan's best work, 2005's heartbreaking Tough All Over and last year's Living Hard. $18-$38. 7:30 p.m. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. 404-249-6400. www.vzwamp.com. -- CP

GUY CLARK Clark is one of the true legends of the Texas singer/songwriter crowd, and over the last four decades he has consistently put out great music that tells simply amazing stories. He's slowed down a bit recently because of health reasons and a side occupation as a guitar builder, but he is still as entertaining as ever. $20-$22.50. 7 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- JK

THE HOLD STEADY, DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS Arguably the two best rock acts in the underground today, each coming off a soulful, more keyboard-driven album. For the DBTs' latest, Brighter Than Creation's Dark keyboardist Spencer Oldham offers a taste of the Muscle Shoals, Ala., sound that Oldham and singer/guitarist Patterson Hood's dad helped create in the '60s, bringing unseen texture and depth to their oft downcast but always rawking tunes. The Hold Steady's latest, Stay Positive, dials back the guitars a touch as frontman/troubadour Craig Finn's stories of decadent, dissolute youth take a darker turn. $30. 7:30 p.m. Tabernacle. 404-659-9022. www.livenation.com. -- CP

JAY REATARD, TWIN TIGERS, THE BALKANS, POISON ARROWS In case you missed their set at the Deerhunter record release party the night before, Reatard and Co. play their second show of a two-night stand in Atlanta. Reatard's manic and aggressive punk anthems are played out onstage like pure, emotional catharsis. Athens band Twin Tigers play hazy and deliberate art-punk, pop and noise-afflicted dirges cut from equal parts melancholy and tension. Atlanta newcomers the Balkans and Poison Arrows open the show. $10. 9 p.m. Lenny's. www.lennysbar.com. -- CR

MEETING OF THE MINDS That's the problem with the whole "hip-hop is dead" mantra. It totally ignores the conscious elements that nurture the culture from the ground up -- which is why this celebration of hip-hop's birth is more than a concert. Back to Eden celebrates with panel discussions on black love and community activism, a fashion show and live performances from Ishues, Mojo Swagger, Stahhr tha F.E.M.C.E.E., Lucky Charms, Sidestreet KED and more. Show hosts and special guests include Stic Man of dead prez, Minister Server (Temple of Hip Hop), Kalonji Changa and taj anwar (FTP), and Phala Nazarine. $10 donation plus a canned good. 9 p.m. Apache Café. 404-876-5436. www.apachecafe.info. -- RC

SUN/2

FRANKLIN POND STRING QUARTET & ROBERT SPANO Violinists Jun-Ching Lin and Carolyn Hancock, violist Paul Murphy, and cellist Daniel Laufer are joined by ASO music director Robert Spano as pianist for "Piano Quartet in E-flat," K. 493 by W.A. Mozart and "Piano Quintet F minor" by Johannes Brahms. The quartet will also perform Osvaldo Golijov's "Tenebrae." In addition, a quintet of student alumni from the Franklin Pond Chamber Music program will perform the "Adagio" from Felix Mendelssohn's "String Quintet in Bb." $15. 3 p.m. Trinity Presbyterian Church. 404-237-6491. www.trinityatlanta.org. -- MG

REV. HORTON HEAT, NASHVILLE PUSSY, RECKLESS KELLY It's time to get rowdy, with the Kellys (no relation), Nashville Pussy (no shame), and Rev. Heat and his boys (no boundaries). Tonight's mix of twang, bang and psychobilly slam will be one to remember. $25-$27.50. 7:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- JK

MON/3

DUNCAN SHEIK, LAUREN PRITCHARD Sheik is one of the more interesting and talented of the contemporary college music crooners, showing more insight into human nature and a better sense of melody and structure than most of his peers. He had a few hits in the past, but seems content to float through town and play the bars these days. Broadway singer/actress Pritchard opens. $20. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- JK

SONIC GENERATOR Homemade circuit boards, Norwegian memories, pop-icon Marilyn Monroe, and the final speech of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. are among the inspirations for Sonic G's performance of seven new works written in the last eight years by Paula Matthusen, Marco Buongiorno Nardell, Cody Wright, Tristan Perich, Anna Clyne, and Jacob Ter Veldhuis. Amid all of that, the group hangs onto its mission to demonstrate the connections between technology and music. Free. 8 p.m. Georgia Tech Alumni House. 404-385-7257. www.sonicgenerator.gatech.edu. -- MG

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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