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CL's picks for the week's best shows

WED/11

DILATED PEOPLES, ACEYALONE The crew came together 16 years ago, building enough of an underground West Coast hip-hop following to attract the majors. But despite several fine albums and a hit Kanye West collaboration ("This Way"), the label got preoccupied with other things, and barely promoted their 2006 fourth album, 20/20. A backpacker favorite, they aren't as heady as Native Tongues, busting a slightly earthier groove and offering some banging with their science. Freestyle Fellowship founder Aceyalone's limber tongue is among the West Coast's most revered. He toasts dancehall on his latest, Lightning Strikes. $20. 8 p.m. The Loft. 404-885-1365. www.theloftatl.com. -- Chris Parker

TIM McGRAW, JASON ALDEAN, HALFWAY TO HAZARD Over the years, McGraw has proven he has the staying power in the fickle world of mainstream country music. Partly a function of his honesty ("I'm not that good a singer" ... true) and his charisma (the ladies love to molest him), he delivers what's expected. Aldean is from Macon, and has made a big impression over the last few years with catchy tunes. $29.75-$59.75. 7:30 p.m. Lakewood Amphitheatre. 404-443-5000. www.hob.com/venues/concerts/lakewood. -- James Kelly

MUDHONEY Too unapologetically raw to appeal to the masses that lapped up flannel-clad contemporaries Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Mudhoney nonetheless was, and to some extent remains, the heart and soul of the '80s Seattle grunge scene. The band tours behind a terrific and somewhat retro new album that retains all of singer Mark Arm's sneering vitriol and guitarist Steve Turner's psycho, fuzzed-out leads. Call 'em the Northwest's answer to the Stooges, but the band is as vital now as ever. Birds of Avalon and Anna Kramer & the Lost Cause also appear on this impressive triple bill. $16-$18. 8 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- Hal Horowitz

VAMPIRE WEEKEND Boasting a steadier buzz than an army of cicadas, this Big Apple crew's odes to collegiate heartbreak ("Campus") and punctuation ("Oxford Comma") introduce the Talking Heads to Belle & Sebastian. Precocious pop and bubbling baroque lilt twirl about bongo-driven Afro-pop and skittering polyrhythms. The toast of the blogosphere with their self-titled January debut full-length, there's plenty of inventiveness, bon mots and crisp harmonies making them coyly irresistible. $18. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- CP

THURS/12

ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Robert Spano conducts the ASO season finale, featuring guest clarinetist Todd Palmer in Osvaldo Golijov's klezmer-infused "Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind," inspired by 12th-century Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzhak Saggi Nehor. It's paired with the orchestral suite from The Firebird ballet by Igor Stravinsky, which tells the story of a large, luminous bird that proves both blessing and curse to the person who captures it. Program repeats Friday and Saturday. $18-$70. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. -- Mark Gresham

COLOUR REVOLT Probably the least rootsy act on the Fat Possum label, Mississippi-based Colour Revolt's shoe-gazing indie rock is torn from the Brit handbook, right down to the spelling of the group's name. The five piece's moody music falls on the generic side but tight playing and dusky, emotional vocals provide splashes of color to the gray palette. Like bluesier labelmates, CR finds a deep, dark groove with murky, intertwining guitars and rides it with impressive results. Atlanta's Gringo Star opens. $9-$10. 9 p.m. Vinyl. 404-885-1365. www.vinylatlanta.com. -- HH

TAB BENOIT The Louisiana swamp rocker comes through town so frequently (he was just here six weeks ago), even fans might take him for granted. But once he tears into that banged-up Telecaster, and his tight duo kicks into gear and he unleashes his whisky-tinged voice, you realize how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy his ruggedly soulful blues rocking so often. Benoit's one of the next generation of bluesmen. He tours endlessly and delivers consistently sizzling, sweat-soaked shows that never disappoint. The Shane Pruitt Band also appears. $15. 9 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- HH

UNWED SAILOR Located in the shimmering ether between math rock and dream pop, Unwed Sailor's languid post-rock instrumentals eschew predictable soft-loud epics or showy, shifting time signatures in favor of supple droning beauty on its latest, Little Wars. Taken and expanded from an unreleased 2002 EP, it's a suitably succinct (just two of the nine tracks break the five-minute mark) and hook-lined treat that unfolds like origami, the many miniature manipulations yielding cunningly crafted splendor. $8. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- CP

ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA The tribute band thing can be sublime or ridiculous, but when it's fronted by the son of the honoree, it takes on a different perspective. Dweezil and his band deliver a near perfect sampling of Frank's finest work, and the inclusion of former FZ vocalist Ray White this time around adds a new twist. $38-$40. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- JK

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