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CL's picks for the week

THURS/6

AGENT ORANGE The legendary SoCal trio isn't as prolific as it was in the '80s, skating by for the past few years on greatest hits compilations. But these punk/surf hooligans always deliver the goods when they play live. The still-thriving pioneers of O.C. punk blend the Ventures with the Ramones. Check 'em out. Dr. Know and the Despised open. $10. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-9018. www.starbar.net. -- Lee Valentine Smith

click to enlarge Patty Larkin plays Eddie's Attic Thurs., April 6.The Last Waltz Tribute Ensemble plays Smith's Olde Bar Fri., April 7. - STEWART LANGER
  • Stewart Langer
  • Patty Larkin plays Eddie's Attic Thurs., April 6.The Last Waltz Tribute Ensemble plays Smith's Olde Bar Fri., April 7.

GHOSTFACE KILLAH Ghostface Killah lives in a world full of his own peculiar symbols: ziti pasta, Wallabee shoes, pimp cups, Theodore Unit and, of course, Wu-Tang Clan. True, his solo career made him a critic's darling -- read the hosannas thrown at him for his latest album, Fishscale -- but hasn't brought him the kind of record sales he once earned with his onetime group Wu-Tang Clan. But Ghost is still arguably one of the best MCs ever. Opening up for him on this tour is dead prez's M-1, who just released his solo debut, Confidential. $20. 9 p.m. Roxy Theater. 404-233-7699. -- Mosi Reeves

THE PRAIRIE WINDS The Prairie Winds blow into town tonight from just west of the Windy City. The outstanding woodwind quintet offers up an evening of music by Aaron Copland, David Maslanka, Ferenc Farkas, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Leonard Bernstein. (Does the bassoon come in on little cat feet?) Earlier in the day (2:30 p.m.), the quintet also presents a free lecture demonstration. $10. 8 p.m. Schwartz Center, Emerson Concert Hall. 404-727-5050. www.arts.emory.edu. -- MG

FRI/7

CLOUD ROOM, THE ORPHINS, IRON HERO New York City pop outfit Cloud Room crafts a tense and infectious brand of pop that falls somewhere between Placebo and Pulp. Atlanta's own art-rock act the Orphins craft a blend of smart and complex post-punk that balances manic emotions and chiming rhythms. Athens' six-piece Iron Hero plays a dark and dreamy set of nocturnal pop songs bound by melodic complexities. $8. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- Chad Radford

click to enlarge The Last Waltz Tribute Ensemble plays Smiths Olde Bar Fri., April 7. - STEWART LANGER
  • Stewart Langer
  • The Last Waltz Tribute Ensemble plays Smiths Olde Bar Fri., April 7.

PSYCHIC HEARTS, MANTISSA, CRAWLING WITH KINGS After a five-month-long break from the public eye, Athens trio Psychic Hearts return to Atlanta in support of a brand new 7-inch. The two songs on the single are a stark and tightly wound approach to post-punk paranoia and obsession with social and political anxiety. Atlanta-based, glitch-infused, indie-pop outfit Mantissa and Austin, Texas, emo-pop five-piece Crawling with Kings are also on the bill. $6. 9 p.m. Lenny's. 404-577-7721. www.lennysbar.com. -- CR

ROBERT EARL KEEN The enigma of attending a Keen concert is found in the disconnect between his powerful material, often scraping the bottom of life's barrel, and the immature drunken audience of frat rats who whoop every time a song character dies. It ain't right, but Keen is. $24. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. -- James Kelly

A TRIBUTE TO THE SONGS OF THE LAST WALTZ What started out as a tribute show has turned into a semi-regular gig for a diverse group of area musicians, fans of the 1978 Martin Scorcese film The Last Waltz. Members of Houndog, the Sundogs and Rick Richards and pals re-create the myriad of guest stars from the Band's final concert. But which one is Bob Dylan? $12. 9 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar, Atlanta Room. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- LVS

WHAT THE ...?, LINDSAY RAKERS BAND, THE INDICATORS That fab trio What The ...? celebrates the release of its new CD tonight and plans to bring along all the bells and whistles (or in this case, keyboards, horns and tubas) heard on the album. Rakers needs to drop that dreaded "band" off her act's name and keep the focus on her literate and intriguing songwriting. The Indicators share the bill. $7. 9 p.m. 10 High. 404-873-3607. www.tenhighclub.com. -- LVS

click to enlarge Venice Is Sinking plays the Athens in Atlanta Fest at Lennys Sat., April 8. - COURTNIE WOLFGANG
  • Courtnie Wolfgang
  • Venice Is Sinking plays the Athens in Atlanta Fest at Lennys Sat., April 8.

SAT/8

ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Robert Spano leads an engaging all-American program, including George Gershwin's Cuban Overture, Michael Gandolfi's "Reflections from The Garden of Cosmic Speculation" and Leonard Bernstein's "Symphonic Dances from West Side Story." Terrence Wilson is piano soloist, playing the "Piano Concerto" of John Corigliano (most widely known for his film score for The Red Violin). $28-$48. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. -- Mark Gresham

ATHENS FEST IN ATLANTA Lenny's promoter Bean Summer hand-picked a few of his favorite bands from Athens to make the long trek down Ga. 316 for a night dedicated to the Classic City. Bands picked for the show represent a broad selection, with everything from lo-fi indie rock to goth-tinged hardcore. Acts include Geoff Reacher, the Ginger Envelope, Venice Is Sinking, the Summer Hymns, and Engineering. $5. 8 p.m. Lenny's. 404-577-7721. www.lennysbar.com. -- CR

DORIA ROBERTS Doria Roberts' music has been described as "Tracy Chapman meets Woodie Guthrie" and "a delicious, bohemian blend of folk, jazz and pop," but you can just call it "damn good." Following in the stylistic footsteps of singer/songwriters like India.Arie and Anthony David, Roberts is helping to push personal, guitar-driven songs deeper into the mainstream. $10. 9 p.m. Apache Café. 404-876-5436. www.apachecafe.info. -- Carlton Hargro

GABRIEL & DRESDEN Gummy Life Savers are really good. Sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than a viscous loop. Gabriel & Dresden -- who have made over Britney, Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, New Order, Bloc Party and more, and also record under the name Motorcycle -- are like those Life Savers, unleashing melodic crescendos of synth-twitching, bass-throbbing, progressive house that makes you want to savor the flavor. J-Luv, Kevin O and Prince Presto add to a chew-your-face-off evening. $15. 9 p.m. Eleven50. 404-874-0428. www.eleven50.com. -- Tony Ware

click to enlarge Dinosaur Jr. plays the Variety Playhouse Sat., April 8. - BRANTLEY GUTIERREZ

HIROMI Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara is usually tagged as "jazz," but she refuses to put limitations on her style of music. The often dense flurry of her playing recalls one of her idols, Art Tatum, though she also finds inspiration in diverse sources like Chick Corea, Rachmaninoff, and the sound of car horns heard during traffic jams. $30. 8:15 p.m. Spivey Hall. 678-466-4200. www.spiveyhall.org. -- MG

THE JUPITER WATTS This night of good ol' local pop-rock is headlined by the Jupiter Watts, a band with a solid and relatively new second CD, Let It Lie. Opening up for the Jupiter Watts are two rhythmic post-punk acts, the Liverhearts and Moresight. Both groups are recording new albums, so expect to hear plenty of new and untested material alongside the usual fan favorites. $5. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- Mosi Reeves

THE PONYS It's difficult to be original in an indie-rock scene bloated from derivative "buzz" bands and pompous "auteur" songwriters. Chicago group the Ponys don't quite pull it off, either, but still sound fresh and exciting, and mix in enough noisy feedback and screams to keep the trendy rock appealingly unpredictable. Opening band the Carbonas plays Atlanta-style garage rock, full of swill and swagger. $8. 9:45 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- MR

SCOTT MILLER, SAM THACKER Southern songwriter Miller has moved from a solo acoustic act to the rocking V-Roys to confident frontman of the Commonwealth with ease. His new album, Citation, is a keeper, with his typically rich stories and witty wordplay. Sam Thacker opens. $12. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- JK

THE SOUNDS, MORNINGWOOD Everybody hates on the Sounds and Morningwood (OK, just music critics), but why? Yes, both groups sound outrageous and slightly contrived, but they're also a lot of fun to listen to. The Sounds, who play wiggy glam-rock circa 1981, come from a long line of Swedish rock bands who appropriate American trends. Morningwood is from New York, but not as pornographic as its name suggests, sticking to catchy, satirical cuts like "Jetsetter." NYC indie-rockers Action Action are also sorta pretty good. $13.50. 7 p.m. Masquerade. 404-577-8178. www.masq.com. -- MR

click to enlarge Celtic Woman plays the Fox Theatre Tues., April 11 - TONY HIGGINS
  • Tony Higgins
  • Celtic Woman plays the Fox Theatre Tues., April 11

MON/10

BEATS & EATS, CARROLL STREET EDITION Spinning rare soul sounds and hosting a variety of great live performers, DJ Larmarrous' Thursday night Beats & Eats event at Harlem Bar is a bona fide hit. But did you know that the crate-digging jock also hosts a Monday edition of Beats & Eats in Cabbagetown? This version of B&E, presenting mellower cuts sans the live performances, is ideal for folks looking to avoid big crowds and kick back in a chill, candle-lit atmosphere. Free. 9 p.m. Carroll Street Café. 404-577-2700. www.apresdiem.com/carroll/. -- Carlton Hargro

TUES/11

EL DA SENSEI Hey, I love Mic Club, but I hate how event promoter DRES tha Beatnik never announces his special guests. Case in point: El Da Sensei will be in the house tonight, according to his MySpace page (www.myspace.com/eldasensei). For hip-hop heads, El Da Sensei is a big deal. He's a former member of early '90s cult group the Artifacts, and a solo star who still makes sharp, relevant music (check his latest album, The Unusual, for proof). Man, I guess you gotta go to Mic Club every week, because you never know who's gonna show up. $5. 10 p.m. Apache Cafe. 404-876-5436. www.apachecafe.info. -- MR

WED/12

BOBBY YANG Rock violinist Yang and his Unrivaled Players rock Smith's with classics from Led Zeppelin to Smashing Pumpkins -- reforged in distinctive Yang style. Telegram, a fellow Atlanta band playing original tunes, opens the show. $10. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- MG

HEATHER HEADLEY, ANTHONY HAMILTON, VAN HUNT Heather Headley turned heads on Broadway years ago in the Broadway production of Aida, but since leaving the "Great White Way she's made her voice heard in the world of popular music. With a sound that blends the smoothness of R&B with the funk of soul and the digestibility of pop, Headley doesn't get tons of radioplay but you can catch her in heavy rotation on VH1 Soul. When she visits town tonight she'll be joined by the gravely voiced Anthony Hamilton and Sly Stone-flavored crooner Van Hunt. $35-$55. 7:30 p.m. Fox Theater. 404-881-2100. www.foxtheatre.org. -- CH

THURS/13

MARTIN LUTHER Fresh from his stint as a touring guitarist for the Roots, Martin Luther kicks off a two-night stand at Apache Café tonight. The acclaimed former Bay Area native, current New York resident plays a mixture of rock, funk, and soul that frequently draws a full house even when he doesn't have a new album to promote. ATL rockers El Pus open a show that is being taped for posterity. $10-$15. Apache Café. 404-876-5436. www.apachecafe.info. -- MR

RAILROAD EARTH, NATIONAL GRAIN Toeing the line between bluegrass and jam band is a precarious task, but Railroad Earth does a fairly decent job of satisfying both audiences by keeping the noodling to a minimum. Atlanta's National Grain is doing its part to keep the twang alive, and it's obvious the bandmates love country music. $12. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.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 Heather Kuldell, 384 Northyards Blvd., Suite 600, Atlanta, GA 30313, or e-mail information to: heather.kuldell@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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