Sound Menu 

CL's picks for the week's best shows

WED/27

ROD STEWART It pains me to see what my fellow Scotsman has become over the years -- a mellow crooner of pop standards. Is this the same guy who fronted the hard-living Faces, released some of the finest rock albums of all time in his early solo years (Never A Dull Moment... hell yeah), and bestowed "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" upon us? But the boomers love this cover song crap, and at least Stewart's making a good living. Here's to you, lad. $60-$150. 8 p.m. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park. 404-733-5010. www.vzwamp.com. -- James Kelly

THURS/28

ELF POWER, SILENT KIDS, THE MEEKS FAMILY Athens' long-standing ambassadors of the E6 psych-pop scene of the '90s return to Atlanta playing songs from their latest release, In A Cave. These days the group tends to curb the weirder parts of their songwriting with a more mature approach, though they haven't completely abandoned their fun and surreal side. Atlanta indie rockers Silent Kinds and the Meeks Family open the show. $8-$10. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- Chad Radford

DONNIE, KIMBERLY NICHOLE, DAIN HARRIS, "THE DIVA" NIKKI WADE Though Donnie's second album, The Daily News, didn't receive the same kind of label push or commercial pull his debut, The Colored Section, received, he's still Atlanta's hometown souljah. And his live shows are too few and far between. Then again, it would be hard to stomach Donnie's raw, provocative subject matter in large doses. Seattle native Nichole has recently relocated to New York, but the fiery performer still considers the A-Town down. With his new EP, For the Moment, Harris has put a smooth, sophisticated stamp on the scene's otherwise scattered, smothered and covered sound. Hosted by Madam CJ. $20-$22. 10 p.m. Sugarhill. 404-658-0068. www.sugarhillatl.com. -- Rodney Carmichael

SCRAPOMATIC, GEOFF ACHISON Just because Scrapomatic lead singer Mike Mattison also pulls the same duty for the Derek Trucks Band, don't look at this as a side project. Rather, along with guitarist/songwriter and occasional singer Paul Olsen, this outfit stands alone with its drunken, bloozy vibe and gruff R&B, gospel and jazz leanings. The duo's recently released third album is arguably its finest, as Olsen and Mattison fine tune a rootsy and, well, scrappy approach to Americana that's captivating and intoxicating. Aussie transplant Achison will be returning to his homeland soon, so catch the remarkable guitarist now before his frequent Atlanta gigs disappear. $12. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- Hal Horowitz

FRI/29

DRIVE-INVASION PRE-PARTY Kicking off Atlanta's most exciting Labor Day event, tonight's lineup includes the inimitable Bubbapalooza alumnus Redneck Greece, truckin' hillbilly stalwarts Cletis and his City Cousins and the endearing but slightly swarthy El Cobra Negro. Get your drinking hat on, and keep it there for the whole damn weekend. You can sleep on Monday. $5. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. www.starbar.net. -- JK

HOWLIES Point your garage toward the nearest West Coast beach, and you have the no-frills rock and vocal quartet essence of Howlies (without any "the"). Only one year old this month, Howlies are already among a handful of local bands shaping the identity of Atlanta's indie scene. Eighth-note-driven momentum and direct lyrics that don't pretend subtlety are featured in songs such as "Sea Level," the title track of their debut two-song EP being released at this show. $8. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- Mark Gresham

JOHN MAYER When he moved to Atlanta in 1997, unknown, Mayer found the right spot for honing his chops and building a following. A decade later, high on the musical heap and living in Los Angeles, Mayer has gone from humble acoustic-pop beginnings to multiplatinum, Grammy-winning pop stature but continues to grow his musical palate, having picked up more blues influences in his guitar playing over the last few years. $36-$56. 8 p.m. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. 404-733-5010. www.vzwamp.com. -- MG

PARACHUTES, THANK YOU, FRODE GJERSTAD, PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE DUO Icelandic seven-piece Parachutes creates flowing, atmospheric pop that's driven by strange but gorgeous rhythms and harmonies. The show at Eyedrum marks the group's American debut. Baltimore trio Thank You concocts a deep, dark and polyrhythmic dirge. All the way from Norway, powerhouse drummer Nilssen-Love and saxophonist Gjerstad churn out wild jazz stylings from the outer limits. $10. 9 p.m. Eyedrum. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org. -- CR

REGENERATION TOUR Ahh, the '80s; it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. MTV actually played music videos, and glammed-up, synth-based acts such as Human League, Flock of Seagulls, Naked Eyes and ABC enjoyed their fleeting 15 minutes of fame. Relive those fizzy Breakfast Club days for a night on a package tour that includes those bands, along with solo Go-Go Belinda Carlisle. Expect the hits played faithfully with at least one of the original members in tow for a crowd-pleasing evening geared to a fortysomething crowd in need of a quick fix after the glow of the Duran Duran show earlier this summer has faded. $19.85-69.85. 7 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheater. 404-733-5000. www.classicchastain.com. -- HH

THE SUBLIMINATOR, RECOMPAS Come get subliminated when Atlanta's resident space-rock insurgent the Subliminator celebrates the CD release party for his second full-length, Rake. Expect a night of discomforting noise, drones and confrontational stream-of-conscious ramblings about the apocalyptic state of America's cultural malaise. Travis Thatcher, who spends most of his time performing as one-half of Judi Chicago, makes an appearance with his other band, Recompas. $8. 9 p.m. East Atlanta Icehouse. 404-577-2073. www.eastatlantaicehouse.com. -- CR

WHAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS While generally cautioned about bands listing Radiohead first among the influences on their MySpace page, you have less worry about gloomy, sophomoric electro-addled guitar buzz with Austin's WMMF. Not that they're above a bit of dyspeptic atmospheric shimmer, but it's fused to a punchy indie-pop sensibility that frequently leavens the majestic, meandering melancholia. It's supporting its second album, What Doesn't Kill Us, a generally crisp, alluring effort. $5-$7. 9 p.m. 40 Watt Club. 706-549-7871. www.40watt.com. -- Chris Parker

SAT/30

AGENT ORANGE, THE FORTY FIVES Agent Orange founder Mike Palm hasn't released a new album in a dozen years, and their quarter-century four-album output would barely fill Ryan Adams' year, but then they rock more convincingly than Adams. The original California surf-punks, Agent Orange helped create the hyperactive skate-core sound. While little more than a nostalgia act compositionally, they still bring the heat live. Speaking of songwriting absences, locals the Forty Fives crawl from beneath their rock into the streetlight with a promise of new songs and potentially a new album, four years after High Life High Volume. $24-$43. 1 p.m. Starlight Six Drive-In. 404-627-5786. www.driveinvasion.com. -- CP

DECATUR BOOK FESTIVAL In keeping with the Book Fest theme of presenting multitalented authors, former Refreshments (theme from "King Of The Hill") frontman and fiction writer Buddy Edwards performs, along with another writer/musician, Nashville's Doug Hoekstra. Also on the bill is noted folkie Bill Morrissey, whose deep songs are like mininovels. $15-$75. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- JK

SUN/31

DECATUR BOOK FESTIVAL Continuing tonight and featuring the ladies, songstress Marshall Chapman brings her pals Matraca Berg and musical authors Jill McKorkle and Lee Smith for what looks to be a special performance. Balancing the estrogen is opener Tommy Womack, who is no stranger to fans of literary song crafting. $20-$100. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. -- JK

THE LEGENDARY SHACKSHAKERS They're one of the country's finest live acts, led by J.D. Wilkes' manic backwoods blend of Iggy Pop and Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hütz. While initially a punkabilly methamphetamine of twang and stomp, their scope's expanded with each of their five albums, incorporating everything from garage blues and klezmer to Southern swamp rock. Aside from Wilkes' electric presence, the combo's been characterized by a series of fantastic guitarists from Joe Buck to David Lee and now Jesus Lizard's Duane Dennison. $24-$43. 1 p.m. Starlight Six Drive-In. 404-627-5786. www.driveinvasion.com. -- CP

TUES/2

SOFT TARGETS It's another of Smith's "3 for 5" nights of three bands for a fin, this time featuring Tallahassee's Soft Targets. The trio combines older Todd Rundgren-styled pop nuggets with an indie but not emo sensibility. Singer/guitarist Jesse Corry sounds like a sweeter Tom Verlaine singing slightly bluesy originals with strong melodies. Pride Parade and Jacob Church also appear. $5. 7 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- HH

JOHN COWAN BAND It looks like the biggest voice in acoustic music is doing a four-week "residency" every Tuesday in September at Eddie's, which should prove to be an intriguing series. Cowan is one of the true purveyors of Americana music, and surrounds himself with great musicians. His vocal performance on the entire Led Zeppelin II album at Merlefest 2007 with the Wilders will go down in history. $15-$75. 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 Thursday at noon (for the issue that comes out the following Wednesday) to soundboard@creativeloafing.com.

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