PETER BJORN & JOHN (SEPT. 12)
When Writer's Block was released in March, the Swedish trio Peter Bjorn & John's third album seemed like just another nice pop record. Its bright and peppy songs sounded great when piping from a college-radio station. That changed when the charming animated video for its single, "Young Folks," became an unlikely hit on VH1. Now a certified dance hit, "Young Folks" is played in clubs alongside the likes of Justice and Lil Mo, and has turned Peter Bjorn & John from college favorites to burgeoning stars. $20. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com.
BLUE SCHOLARS (SEPT. 21)
While Pitchfork's proclamation that Blue Scholars represent "conscious rap's next great hope more or less by default" is far from accurate, it indicates how much respect the stridently political Seattle duo has earned in a surprising amount of time. On Bayani, the group references the historic World Trade Organization protests, social inequality, xenophobia, racism and material lust. Oddly, there are also numerous references to brown rice. When Blue Scholars headlines an Atlantis Music Conference showcase at the Drunken Unicorn, it will be its first concert in Atlanta. A host of local rap acts, including Mark Spekt, Broady Champs and Binkis Recs, will roll out the welcome wagon. Ticket prices TBA. 9 p.m. The Drunken Unicorn, 736 Ponce de Leon Ave. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net.
INTERPOL (SEPT. 21)
When it debuted in 2002 with Turn on the Bright Lights, Interpol was both widely praised and derided as faithful acolytes of Joy Division. Five years later, the New York band's sound hasn't changed much, but it has made strides in carving a unique identity. On its new Our Love to Admire, Interpol produces the same level of detuned guitar noises, which cascade against singer Paul Banks' harsh, acidic voice. But with a major-label budget, the band has an arena-sized sound that Joy Division could never afford in its brief lifetime. Concert opener and experimental rock band Liars is very different; in contrast to Interpol's muted feelings, it sounds like an emotional cyclone. $32.50. 8 p.m. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. 404-659-9022.
BOB DYLAN AND ELVIS COSTELLO (SEPT. 22)
Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello seemingly have little in common musically. One is America's great unofficial pop-music laureate; the other is a British paragon of the '70s new wave. But Dylan's and Costello's celebrated oeuvres have grown so dense that their commonalities overlap. Their roots-rock sensibilities resulted in Dylan's 1975 masterpiece Blood on the Tracks and Costello's 1986 classic King of America, respectively. Their indelibly nasal vocals match their sharp, biting lyrics. In recent years, Dylan has become a master at mounting package tours that pair him with another legendary performer. With luck, Dylan and Costello will do a song or two together. Perhaps it will be "Ballad of a Thin Man"? $39.50-$69.50. 7 p.m. Gwinnett Center Arena, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-813-7500. www.gwinnettcenter.com.
COMMON (OCT. 1)
The last time a tour sponsored by 2K Sports came to Atlanta, the Tabernacle nearly didn't survive. As A Tribe Called Quest performed its classic, "The Scenario," to a theater full of fans last fall, everyone leaped up and down to the beat, and it felt like the balcony would collapse. So what will happen when Common leads this year's edition, the 2K8 Sports Bounce Tour? Fourteen years after his debut single, "Take It E-Z," the Chicago rapper is arguably at the peak of his career. His new album, Finding Forever, made the top of the album charts with a collection of mature, lyrically deft and musically profound numbers. A Tribe Called Quest leader Q-Tip, producer 88-Keys and underground battle rapper Termanology enhance the package. Time and ticket price TBA. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. 404-659-9022.
MATTHEW DEAR (OCT. 6)
Based in a suburb of Detroit, Dear is one of the decade's leading techno artists. His 2003 album, Leave Luck to Heaven, is a legitimate classic, transporting the minimalist tech-house aesthetic to new and wondrous worlds. His new album, Asa Breed, goes a step further by featuring his heavily filtered voice on every track. The result is a haunted but sometimes awkward experience. You can judge for yourself when Matthew Dear's Big Hands, comprised of the singer/producer and his backing band, reach the Drunken Unicorn. The Mobius Band opens. $10-$12. 9 p.m. The Drunken Unicorn, 736 Ponce de Leon Ave. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net.
HOLLY GOLIGHTLY (OCT. 21)
With a reputation nearly comparable to her onetime mentor Billy Childish, U.K. musician Holly Golightly is a queen of underground rock music. She's recorded dozens of albums and singles since the 1990s, appeared on the White Stripes' Elephant and performed the theme song to Jim Jarmusch's movie Broken Flowers. Whether she's making traditional jazz, folk blues or shambling rock 'n' roll, her music is honest and direct, with studio trickery reduced to a bare minimum. Gentleman Jesse and his Men, an Atlanta band dedicated to punkish power-pop, opens. $10. 8 p.m. The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Road. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.
GALACTIC (NOV. 3)
For years, Galactic was a New Orleans funk combo best known on the jam-band circuit for its Meters-inspired instrumentals. So for its Epitaph debut, From the Corner to the Block, the group decided to enlist several underground rappers, including Gift of Gab from Blackalicious and former Jurassic 5 member Chali 2na, as well as rap star (and bounce-music pioneer) Juvenile. Galactic has dabbled in hip-hop before, but this album may be the most accessible thing the group has ever recorded, and its sharp, kinetic qualities deserve to be heard by a wider audience. For its tour, Galactic will bring along some of the album's guests, including opening act Lifesavas, Boots Riley from the Coup and Mr. Lif. $20-$25. 9 p.m. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com.
REGINA SPEKTOR (Nov. 15)
Regina Spektor's music is a deft balancing act. Whereas other performers with similar piano-pop styles tumble into adult-contemporary sentimentality, she manages to enliven her sounds with wit and charm. Her best-known song, "Fidelity," muses on the melancholy attraction of a catchy tune by replicating jaunty notes that could be a TV jingle. Her gold-selling 2006 album, Begin to Hope, has other nice surprises, too, even though it feels slightly watered down when compared with her more adventurous 2005 debut, Soviet Kitsch. $22.50-$25. 8 p.m. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. 404-659-9022. www.livenation.com.
AESOP ROCK (NOV. 20)
New York rapper Aesop Rock epitomized the underground hip-hop aesthetic of the early 2000s. Cynical and slightly depressed yet loquacious and verbally astute, he squeezed acres of literary observations on urban existence into albums such as 2001's Labor Days and 2002's Bazooka Tooth. In recent years, however, he's changed his life, from getting married and moving to San Francisco to experimenting with visual artist Jeremy Fish. His new album, None Shall Pass, reflects this new expansiveness while retaining Aesop's trademark skepticism. Aesop's backing DJ is DJ Signify, a producer in his own right. Rock band Black Moth Super Rainbow and rapper Rob Sonic also perform. $15. 9 p.m. MJQ Concourse, 736 Ponce de Leon Ave. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net.
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