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CL's picks for the week's best shows 

WED/22

PENDULUM The latest cross-Atlantic sensation to smash breakbeats over rock, the Aussie-born duo dangle drum 'n' bass bustle over dreamy, burbling art-pop synth, spiced with processed guitars. The result is deviously infectious, thanks to pop craftsmanship outstripping what anyone would expect from a knob-twiddler. The roof-raising hit "Propane Nightmares," off the second album, In Silico, sounds like Prodigy cooking a "Rock Lobster" for Depeche Mode. $16. 9 p.m. The Loft. 404-885-1365. www.theloftatl.com. -- Chris Parker

THURS/23

K.D. LANG It's been years since Lang had an actual hit record, but the incredibly talented Canadian has continued to put out some great music. She's drifted pretty far from the country-rockabilly roots that launched her toward stardom to a more crooning style, and following her muse has been more important than climbing the charts. Without a doubt, one of the world's greatest vocalists. $54.50. 8 p.m. Atlanta Symphony Hall. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. -- James Kelly

MARIA MULDAUR Thirty-five solo albums in a 45-year professional career attest to journeywoman Muldaur being far more than the one-hit "Midnight at the Oasis" wonder that too many casual listeners think she is. Her newest project is a "pro-peace" set of covers from Dylan, Gaye and even Garth Brooks that plays to her folk-blues-gospel-funk-jazz strengths, soulful groove and deep, gutsy still-sexy voice. It's a powerful and often fun disc that displays another side of Muldaur's personality but still packs a punch and slots surprisingly well into her extensive catalog of relationship-based tunes. $20. 9 p.m. Blind Willie's. 404-873-2583. www.blindwilliesblues.com. -- Hal Horowitz

MURDER BY DEATH, WILLIAM ELLIOTT WHITMORE MBD's rich, dark Americana channels the Pentecostal fury of Sixteen Horsepower, while Adam Turla's deep basso vocals recall the late Country Dick Montana (Beat Farmers). The fourth album, Red of Tooth and Claw, is the group's best to date, a Homeric revenge story fueled by trilling cello and keen-edge country twang. The group is well-matched by opener Whitmore, whose stark, moribund Americana ache and well-weathered baritone suggests backwoods Appalachian gospel of the last century. $12. 9 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. 404-870-0575. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. -- CP

FRI/24

ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO, MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC COMPANY Despite being slowed (and nearly felled) by a bout of hepatitis, Escovedo's four post-millennial albums can stand against anyone's output this decade. From new wave (The Nuns) to cow-punk (Rank & File) to roots rock and songwriter pop, for two decades Escovedo's proved a gifted musician and evocative writer, but recently he's reached another level. His largely autobiographical latest, Real Animal (co-written with Chuck Prophet), is his smartest, leanest, hardest-rocking set of tunes yet. Opener Magnolia Electric Company is Jason Molina's Neil Young-indebted country-rock act that followed Songs: Ohia. $15. 8 p.m. 40 Watt Club. 706-549-7871. www.40watt.com. -- CP

BABY DEE, ARIANNA FOUND OBJECTS OF DESIRE It is hard to deny that classically trained harpist Baby Dee has had an eventful life: trips around the United States and Europe with touring "freak shows" and circuses; music directing for a Catholic church in the Bronx; and collaborating with bands such as Antony and the Johnsons, Current 93 and the Dresden Dolls. Touring in support of this year's release of Safe Inside the Day, one of the several Baby Dee solo albums, has been on the agenda as of late. $10. 9 p.m. Eyedrum. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org. -- Scott Irvine

DOLLY PARTON The Backwoods Barbie Tour is back on track after a detour due to back pain, and Dolly is as embarrassingly entertaining as always. The fact that she has so many amazing songs is undermined by some of the kitschy theatrics, but there will be some memorable musical moments. Let's just hope the Kenny Rogers mannequin stays in the box this time. $38.50-$68.50. 8 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheater. 404-249-6400. www.livenation.com. -- JK

SAT/25

COBB SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Bridget-Michaele Reischl, music director of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, is guest conductor. A former student of Robert Spano, Reischl will lead the CSO in the orchestral version of "Last Round" by Osvaldo Golijov, the dramatic, nearly autobiographical "Symphony No. 4" by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and the unabashedly romantic "Oboe Concerto" by Richard Strauss featuring oboist Robin Johnson as soloist. Program repeats Sunday at 3 p.m. $15. 8 p.m. Kennesaw State University. 770-429-7016. www.cobbsymphony.com. -- Mark Gresham

HARMONY IN LIFE Atlanta's monthly soul staple serves as the CD release for Kameron Corvet, whose new Korporate Rockstar explores his ongoing evolution from supple, falsetto-voiced soul singer ("Kiss and Make Up") to light rock swooner ("War Within"). Other performers include Avery Sunshine, Rudy Currence, Kimberley Nichole and the Remnant. $10-$15. 9 p.m. Sugarhill. 404-658-0068. www.sugarhillatl.com. -- Rodney Carmichael

LYNN HARRELL & VICTOR SANTIAGO ASUNCIÓN American celloist Harrell has long been held in high esteem among the highest ranks of performers of classical music. Asunción, born and raised in the Philippines, has rapidly built a reputation in classical circles as a pianist of natural ability and superior technique. The two have collaborated extensively, both as a duo and part of larger chamber groups. They will perform music by Beethoven, Dvorak, Schubert, and Chopin. $48. 7:30 p.m. Emerson Hall, Schwartz Center. 404-727-5050. www.arts.emory.edu. -- MG

SUN/26

NEVA DINOVA, DAVID DONDERO The country's finest unheralded songwriter, Dondero's quavering vocals and literary lyrical torrents were an inspiration for Conor Oberst when Dondero helmed Sunbrain in the early '90s. Since then, he's recorded six studio albums, the last two for Oberst imprint Team Love. His clever tales involve mugged waiters, relationships like over-ripened fruit, and other downcast, disheartened transients, as if escaped from Townes Van Zandt's songs. Omaha, Neb.'s Neva Dinova began 15 years ago, but its country-tinged slowcore took time to gather steam. The recent third album is more rustic than dreamy. $10. 8 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- CP

MON/27

JACKSON BROWNE West Coast singer/songwriters have faded from favor but Browne's 35-year legacy has proven to be remarkably sturdy. He's touring behind his first album of new music in six years, a set of songs that could have slotted into his 1972 debut. That's no criticism, though, as his politically and personally driven material has always intertwined gracefully with Browne's forever-young voice, effortlessly inviting melodies and addictive lyrics. He'll play many of the hits that the graying boomers come to hear, but his new tunes are nearly as impressive, and his band is always top-shelf. $40-$75. 7:30 p.m. Tabernacle. 404-249-6400. www.livenation.com. -- HH

TUES/28

JAGUAR LOVE, POLYSICS, BLACK GOLD It would be tough to sell Jaguar Love's sound to every schlub uninitiated with vocalist Johnny Whitney and guitarist Cody Votolato of the now defunct Blood Brothers. Perhaps they'd be familiar with Jay Clark of the equally obsolete Pretty Girls Make Graves? In all fairness, it truly doesn't matter where the trio has been before now: This band is a separate force, a distinct beast of dysfunctional rhythm and sideshow vocals. Being billed alongside Polysics -- Japan's answer to Devo -- ensures a night of scientists, a supergroup, and hopefully a few now informed schlubs in attendance. $12. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. -- SI

ROBERT AMBROSE & FRIENDS GSU-based conductor Ambrose has gathered a one-time ensemble of colleagues to present a concert of music for nine to 14 players, just large enough to require a conductor. This "chamber orchestra" will perform the Concerto Grosso "Dumbarton Oaks" by Igor Stravinsky (inspired by J.S. Bach's "Brandenburg" concertos), the original ballet scoring of Aaron Copland's popular "Appalachian Spring," and the original string nonet version of Osvaldo Golijov's "Last Round." Free. 7:30 p.m. Kopleff Recital Hall. 404-413-5901. www.music.gsu.edu. -- MG THE REVEREND PEYTON'S BIG DAMN BAND Emerging from the wilds of Indiana, the Rev. Peyton on acoustic guitar and vocals is joined by his brother/drummer and his washboard-playing wife -- The Whole Fam Damnily as their new album is titled -- for raw, revved-up, freaked-out psychobilly folk blues. This stark, energized, stripped-down rocking marries lyrics about having the DTs, Wal-Mart killing the country store and not being able to pay medical bills to repetitious, powerful strumming and banging that chugs with the intensity of a runaway freight train. Southern Mischief also appears. $8. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. -- HH

WED/29

SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS, BACKYARD TIRE FIRE The Zippers opened the door to another era of music, and exposed hypnotized and oversedated grunge fans to the classic jump blues and boogie woogie sounds of the '20s and '30s. A long hiatus comes to an end, and they are swinging and jiving once again with most of the original members. Backyard Tire Fire opens. $22.50-$25. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.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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