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CL's picks for the week's best shows

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THURS/13

DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND The New Orleans natives' recent post-Katrina disc covering Marvin Gaye's entire What's Going On album was an undiscovered gem that channeled the soul man's classy words of protest through the horn-propelled jazz/funk at the heart of the Dirty Dozen's sound. Even after the hurricane's dour result -- which displaced the band's members -- the resilient group still comes to party. Anyone who hasn't experienced one of their festive live shows doesn't fully understand the vibrant exuberance of New Orleans music at its finest. Repeat show Fri., Dec. 14. $10. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- Hal Horowitz

CARBONAS, MURDER JUNKIES, WHISKEY SHIT VOMIT, BOBBY & THE SOFTSPOTS Many people are saying Carbonas' new self-titled album is the greatest thing to hit punk rock in decades. Holding the record-release party at the Clermont at a Murder Junkies reunion says it all. Expect a visit from the ghost of GG Allin blessing the debauchery from beyond the grave. Whiskey Shit Vomit and Bobby & the Softspots also perform. $10. 9 p.m. The Clermont Lounge. 404-874-4783. www.clermontlounge.net. -- Chad Radford

GORE GORE GIRLS, CATFIGHT It's girls (with guitars) gone wild as Detroit's and Atlanta's most ferocious women rockers face off for a night of raunchy garage punk. The headliners motor in on their best album ever -- one that kicks out the jams with hard-hitting, sexed-up songs that slap you upside your head followed by a big, wet kiss. Once you get past the va-va-voom short skirts and high boots, these women take on a guy's game and come out swinging like Iggy sparring with the Shangri-Las. Burmese Crush adds some male muscle to this estrogen-heavy bill. $10. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-5740. www.starbaratlanta.com. -- HH

MF DOOM While mainstream peers draw inspiration from Scorsese and Scarface, hip-hop vet Daniel Dumile drew on Marvel Comics for his mask-clad persona, MF Doom. Though Dumile appeared on 3rd Bass' classic "Gas Face," Doom didn't emerge until '98. Since then he's honed a panther-creeping flow of sinewy rhymes unleashed in long, syncopated flurries like a pugilist going for the knockout. Collaborations with Madlib (Madvillianny) in '04 and Danger Mouse (The Mouse and the Mask) in '05, raised his commercial profile, though several cancelled performances this year generated rumors and negative publicity. 9 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. 404-870-0575. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- Chris Parker

FRI/14

10TH ANNUAL TOYS FOR TOTS WEEKEND Tonight and tomorrow, the Star Bar celebrates a decade of collecting items for the worthwhile Toys For Tots campaign with its annual Christmas extravaganza. Tonight, scheduled performers include Zoroaster, the Despised and Yule Log, the thoroughly rockin' gaggle of familiar, way-over-the-top regulars. Tomorrow, the stocking is stuffed with care with Bitch, Rock City Dropouts, the Sweetloves, Lust, the A-Sides and other tidings of great joy -- and high volume. $10 or a new, unwrapped toy. 9 p.m. Star Bar. www.starbaratlanta.com. -- Lee Valentine Smith

AFROMAN Before Lily Allen and Clap Your Hands there was Afroman, whose pot paean "Because I Got High" rode from Napster to national prominence, earning him a six-album deal from Universal. He opted out after one album, and began self-releasing material, continuing to plumb similar comic threads -- drunk, stoned, and horny -- like Biz Markie raised by 2 Live Crew. He's usually profane, often funny, and though his albums are littered with throwaways and limited in subject matter, Afroman delivers them with surprising musicianship and cleverness. $10-$20. 9 p.m. Apache Café. 404-876-5436. www.apachecafe.info. -- CP

ASO GOSPEL CHRISTMAS Chelsea Tipton II, resident conductor of the Toledo Symphony, conducts the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in this annual holiday shout-out. The show features the ASO Gospel Choir, which brings together some of metro Atlanta's top gospel choristers and soloists to rock Christmas with a hallelujah of enduring spirituals, hymns and contemporary soulful sounds for the season. Program repeats Sat., Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. $18-$50. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. -- Mark Gresham

TECHNICAL ITCH, HIVE, MC ARMANNI 404 Audio presents its latest post-biweekly installation of drum-and-bass bombast with longtime producers/DJs Tech Itch and Hive. Although the two are based on different labels and operate from London and Los Angeles, respectively, you can expect "a dirty grimy slimy crunchy disgusting day of the sickest drum and bass on the planet," to quote "darien" from 404audio.com's forum. He's pretty much said it all. Luckily, MC Armanni knows when not to say anything, but if you listen closely enough when he does, it'll feel like he's calling you out to dance. Former WRAS-FM (88.5) "Subterranean" DJ Deco returns from Cali -- a treat unto itself -- to lend support, along with Truform + Section 8, and Sonar. $25. 10 p.m. Masquerade. 404-577-8178. www.masq.com. -- T. LaGon

UNKNOWN HINSON, MATT REASOR & THE MADNESS He looks like a late-night Creature Feature TV-show host, but Hinson can play the Beelzebubba out of a guitar. He has to, as besides him the trio only includes drum and bass. Some of the songs are a bit silly in their striving for the faux-macabre, and the shtick wears down after a while, but they can rock hard and entertain you nevertheless. Did I say the man can play? $14. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- James Kelly

WRASFEST Once again, the student voice of Georgia State's WRAS-FM (88.5) returns to Eyedrum for its annual WRASFEST benefit concert. This year's lineup is a mish-mash of outsider hip-hop, post-hardcore, indie rock and experimental music. The show features both a main stage and a side stage with performances from Chopper, Madclout, Noot D' Noot, Clan Destined, Cadillac Jones, Kids with Codenames, Random Rabbit, Janelle Monae and a few others. $8. 8 p.m. Eyedrum. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org. -- CR

SAT/15

ATLANTA CELTIC CHRISTMAS Celebrating its 15th consecutive year, this Atlanta holiday tradition developed by Emory scholar/artist James Flannery celebrates the magic and warmth of the season through the lens of Celtic and Appalachian music, story, poetry and dance. Grammy winners Moya Brennan (sean nós Irish vocalist), banjoist Alison Brown and Riverdance composer Bill Whelan headline, joined by Cormac and Fionan De Barra, Sinead Madden, Garry West and Joe Craven. Student and senior discounts available. Program repeats Sun., Dec. 16, at 2 and 8 p.m. $25. Emerson Concert Hall. 404-727-5050. www.arts.emory.edu. -- MG

THE DAPPLED GRAYS WITH BOBBY HICKS, LOU WAMP, SWING SHIFT Local bluegrass favorites the Dappled Grays bring in a ringer with the amazing Bobby Hicks on fiddle. He's shared the stage with the originators and the innovators, and no doubt will pass a little magic on to the DGs tonight. Not that they need it, but it sure is exciting. Rootsy instrumentalists Swing Shift open. $15-$75. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- JK

ENGINES Chicago's high-energy jazz quartet Engines features such revered Windy City players as Dave Rempis (saxophone), Nate McBride (bass), Tim Daisy (drums) and Jeb Bishop (trombone). The group plays Improv with a capitol "I," as the goal with this ensemble is to shirk the responsibilities of appointing a distinguished leader/composer et. al. Instead, these four players rely on chemistry, telepathy and channeling their respective skills into a collective sound. $8. 9 p.m. Eyedrum. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org. -- CR

TAB BENOIT Louisiana-based blues-, roots-, swamp-rocker Benoit keeps "One Foot in the Bayou," as one of the songs on his newest album is titled. It's that connection with his home state that makes the guitarist one of the most genuine and popular touring acts on the hardscrabble blues circuit. His gritty, whiskey-aged voice perfectly highlights the natural soul in his music. There's no denying that he has the vocal and instrumental chops to take his style to a larger audience, especially when he digs into an Otis Redding cover or a sweaty guitar solo during a slow blues standard. The Squirrelheads also appear. $15 plus two cans of food. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- HH

TUNES FOR TOTS The Red Light's own Toys For Tots festive toy-and-canned-food-gathering campaign arrives tonight with a lengthy and diverse lineup of elfin musicians that should please even the sourest ol' Grinch or Grinchette on your list. Busy Kodac Harrison (doesn't he play somewhere every night?), rootsy rock from the Sane (with Kevn Kinney's son Tylor) as well as Liquid Marble, Lucky Stray, Diesel Jones, Number 99 and probably a few more. $2 plus three cans of food or an unwrapped toy. 6 p.m. Red Light Café. 404-874-7828. www.redlightcafe.com. -- LVS

SUN/16

THE MICHAEL O'NEAL SINGERS Get a Handel on the holiday season with the 135-voice MOS as they host a massive audience sing-along of the Christmas portion of "Messiah," the epic oratorio by Georg Frederic Handel. You're invited (yeah, encouraged) to bring your own copy of the score and join in singing the choral sections with the vast and raucous surrounding hordes. $10. 3 p.m. Roswell United Methodist Church. 770-594-7974. www.mosingers.com. -- MG

mon/17

BOB SCHNEIDER, AM Clever, funny, often profane and never boring, singer/songwriter Schneider is back in town with copies of his recent double-live album on Shockorama, Songs Sung and Played at the Same Time with People in the Room. The discs, recorded in Austin, Texas, in front of a vocal group of die-hard fans, presents the laid-back entertainer in fine form, playing audience favorites. Be ready for a few selections from his "rock opera," Fuck All You Motherfuckers. AM shares the bill tonight. $15 plus two cans of food. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- LVS

STREET DOGS, THE BASTARD SUNS, ANN COULTER, DEAD TOWNERS Rousing, heartfelt high-energy punkers the Street Dogs are led by ex-Dropkick Murphy frontman Mike McColgan. They blend roots-punk, Oi! shout-alongs and crackling Johnny Thunders-style guitar in urgent, anthemic melodies. Their third release, last year's Fading American Dream, demonstrates gelling power behind fist-pumping tracks such as "Common People," "Rights to Your Soul" and the Billy Bragg cover, "Power of the Union," which testifies to where their loyalties lie. $12. 7 p.m. Masquerade. 404-577-8178. masq.com. -- CP

TUES/18

ED ROLAND AND FRIENDS This annual benefit for the H.E.R.O. (Hearts Everywhere Reaching Out) for Children organization, dedicated to helping youngsters with AIDS, features Mr. Collective Soul himself in a rare, acoustic, solo setting. Removed from his group's arena-rock bluster and pumped-up arrangements, his hooky, melodic songs shine just as brightly and the intimate setting encourages digging deep into his fertile catalog. Roland has been an Atlanta musical fixture since the band's 1993 debut, so his "friends" will likely be well-known local artists. The combination is sure to yield a terrific night of music even for non-CS fans. $20-$30. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 770-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- HH

thurs/20

ARLINGTON PRIEST, JACKSON COUNTY LINE Tonight's double bill features the smooth, melodic, easy-listening side of Americana. Duet act Arlington Priest has been doing its thing in town for quite a while, and its pop influences are easy on the ears. Locals JCL fit into a similar category, and the group has a new CD just out with some rather interesting instrumentation. $10-$50. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- JK

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 Friday at noon (for the issue that comes out the following Thursday) to soundboard@creativeloafing.com.

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