Sound Menu November 14 2007

CL's picks for the week's best shows



LICHENS, JANA HUNTER, MATTEAH BAIM Chicago's Lichens is the sometimes-solo, sometimes-full-band project of former 90 Day Men bassist Robert Lowe. As Lichens, Lowe dwells on the subtle elements of drone music and avant-garde folk pickery, relying on the microtones and the imperfections of sound to craft songs. Jana Hunter sings and strums a set of beautifully sparse and melancholy folk songs. Matteah Baim opens. $7. 9 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. — Chad Radford

REGINA SPEKTOR The Russian-born Spektor slowly filtered through the East Village's anti-folk scene, developing a quirky, effusive style, adding guitar to her bluesy, piano-driven compositions. Her major-label debut, Begin to Hope, is polished and less idiosyncratic than her prior work, but no less charming. She's got a spunky, especially honest manner, epitomized by the perky "Fidelity," where she confesses, "I've never loved anyone fully, always one foot on the ground." $25. 8 p.m. Tabernacle. 404-659-9022. www.livenation.com. — Chad Parker

SCOTT MILLER, THE GOUGERS Miller is one of the hardest-working musicians in the land, always touring, cranking out albums and giving it his all. He's a songwriter with an eye for the details, and a witty sense of injustice in the world. The Gougers from Austin open the show. I think they are Americana, whatever that is this week. $12-$60. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — James Kelly


ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Raised in Trinidad, Canadian-born conductor Kwamé Ryan, who recently became music director of Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine (France), makes his Atlanta debut with the ASO with the uplifting "Symphony No. 2" of Robert Schumann, and the solitary, challenging "Violin Concerto" of Ludwig van Beethoven with radiant violinist Leila Josefowicz as guest soloist. $16-$70. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. — Mark Gresham

DOC WATSON, LOVELL SISTERS What goes around comes around. Watson is in his 80s and has a thriving career as one of the living masters of traditional music. There are few people half his age who can put on as energetic and accomplished a show as the doctor. Joining him are the youthful Lovell Sisters, who bring a rich vitality and enthusiasm to the age-old music they love. What a wonderful musical complement. $28.50. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. — JK

EUROS CHILDS, DAVID KILGOUR It's a psychedelic folk-pop world party tonight as Welshman and ex-Gorky's Zygotic Mynci founder Childs joins New Zealand's Kilgour, previously of the Clean, for a night of edgy, eccentric strumming. Both expand their genre's boundaries with Child's whimsical visions playing off Kilgour's more trippy, atmospheric, Velvets vibe. The addition of Jeffrey Butzer, who just headlined a few weeks ago with a program of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave covers, makes a terrific triple bill. $10. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — HH

JENS LEKMAN There's a chilly sweep and a wry atmosphere enveloping this Swedish singer/songwriter's sweet, majestic pop that suggests the Magnetic Fields' Stephen Merritt channeling Burt Bacharach. Lekman's crooning tenor conveys a tender innocence on many songs (such as the snuggling snowbound strangers of "The Cold Swedish Winter"), leavened by a lighthearted whimsy evident on the clever, shuffling, horn-fueled ode to an exciting "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo," the single off his latest, Night Falls Over Kortedala. $10. 8:30 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. 404-870-0575. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. — CP

ZEPUBICLE, TATSUYA NAKATANI, GREY DATURAS, LESLIE KEFFER Zepubicle is a good-ol'-boy network of mostly Southern improvisers. The group plays a swirling and hulking mass of grooves and textures that are bound by every subtle, incidental and totally agro sound they kick up. Melbourne, Australia, trio Grey Daturas crafts on-the-spot loud and noisy rock. Nashville's first lady of knob-twiddling drone doom and gloom Leslie Keffer also performs. $8. 9 p.m. Eyedrum. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org. — Chad Radford


JAMES HALL, THE EMPTIES The ill winds of Katrina helped Hall relocate to Atlanta and tonight, he continues to explore the finer points of glam and basic rock 'n' roll — with able backing from some familiar faces: Chris Piskun (guitar), Bruce Butkovich (bass) and Ali Warren (drums). The Empties open the show. $10. 9 p.m. Star Bar. www.starbar.net. — Lee Valentine Smith

THE POLICE The biggest band of the early '80s — before U2 ascended to the top of the pile — Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland have reunited after more than 20 years for an ever-expanding greatest-hits tour. While rumors of a new album continue to trail the trio, one thing is certain: The iconic blond gods have an enviable catalog of hits, so just enjoy the classics and see what happens. For music and pop-culture historians, the Police are one of the most documented bands this side of the Beatles, with a new tome from Sting, mixed media from Copeland and the continuing success of Summers' One Train Later, perhaps the definitive story of the band and its origins. Fiction Plane opens Saturday night with material from its latest release on Florida's Bieler Brothers Records. The band features Joe Sumner, son of Gordon Sumner, better known the world over as Sting. $52-$227. 8 p.m. Philips Arena. 404-249-6400. www.ticketmaster.com. — LVS

THE ROMEROS Often called "The Royal Family of the Guitar," this esteemed quartet has spanned three generations. Founded by the late Celedonio Romero, "Los Romeros" currently includes two of Celedonio's sons, Pepé and Celin, and two grandsons, Celino and Lito. A genuine institution in the world of classical guitar, their virtuosity and musical accord is virtually peerless. $50. 8:15 p.m. Spivey Hall. 404-466-4200. www.spiveyhall.org. — MG

SWELL SEASON, MARTHA WAINWRIGHT The Swell Season features the Frames' frontman Glen Hansard and his creative partner, the alluring Marketa Irglova. The enigmatic duo will present a literate set of atmospheric pop and classical folk, as featured in the indie film Once. Music to lean into and absorb. Opener Martha Wainwright — yes, sister of Rufus and daughter of Loudon — is an engaging singer/songwriter known for her collaborations with a variety of artists including Snow Patrol. She's currently working on a collection of songs for her 2008 release, but will almost certainly include a few from her universally appealing EP, 2004's Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole — and we all know some of those, don't we? $22.50. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. www.variety-playhouse.com. — LVS


ART BRUT, THE HOLD STEADY Led by two of indie rock's smartest writers, this pair can bash and beguile. Art Brut frontman Eddie Argos possesses a withering dispassion, whether pondering the brokenhearted ("they're thrown for a few weeks, and then back where they started") or his own career on the dry, riotous, "Formed a Band." The U.K. post-punkers conceal hooks in their jagged sashay. The Hold Steady are the loud and boisterous ex-Midwesterners whose chunky barroom swagger is accompanied by frontman Craig Finn's expansive, Springsteen-esque odes to youthful suburban disaffection. $7-$15 (includes CD). 5 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-874-7828. www.variety-playhouse.com. — Lee Valentine Smith

BERGEN PHILHARMONIC with ANDRÉ WATTS Founded in 1765, the Bergen Philharmonic from Norway is one of the world's oldest orchestras. Although its musical activities have taken it all over Europe and as far as Japan, this is its first U.S. tour, led by conductor Andrew Litton (coincidentally, its first American music director). Grammy-winning pianist André Watts is guest soloist in Edvard Grieg's "Piano Concerto in A Minor." The program (subject to change) also includes Harald Sæverud's "Hymn of Revolt," and Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 4." $60. 4 p.m. Schwartz Center, Emory University. 404-727-5050. www.arts.emory.edu. — MG


CLUTCH Depending on which side of the Warped Tour ticket aisle you're on, vocals from Coheed and Cambria's lead singer Claudio Sanchez, along with the band's kicky riffs, melodramatic lyrics and even more dramatic storyline are probably the biggest reasons to wait through the lesser-known acts or arrive earlier for bands that make it truly an all-day event. Opening for C&C on this tour but fully capable of headlining its own, Clutch is no such conceptual/nu-rock group, driving home straight-up stompers that you'd expect out of some no-frills guys from Up North. Eight full-length albums in, From Beale Street to Oblivion continues the low-end, gritty rock that's kept Clutch in the game since '91. Look forward to the older stuff, and any side-project tracks they decide to throw into the set. The Fall of Troy also plays. $27. 7:30 p.m. 404-659-9022. www.tabernacleatl.com. — T. LaGon

DEAR AND THE HEADLIGHTS, THE PHOTO ATLAS Sandwiched in the middle of the bill are a couple of acts whose debuts are among the year's finest. Dear and the Headlights' effervescent indie pop wavers between swelling twee jangle ("Grace") and punchy, Death Cab-ish college rock ("Sweet Talk") on their debut, Small Steps, Heavy Hooves. The Photo Atlas' debut, No, Not Me, Never, delivers a churning dance-rock shimmy that, if familiar in tone, is so impossibly catchy it's difficult to resist. The guitar playing is particularly scabrous while frontman Alan Andrews' pinched whine echoes the nervy throb. $12. 7:30 p.m. Drunken Unicorn. 404-870-0575. — CP

OF MONTREAL, GRAND BUFFET As Of Montreal continues riding steam from its latest release Hissing Fauna..., the once twee aura of the group's psychedelic pop tones have taken an undeniable turn toward the dark side. Frontman Kevin Barnes used to sing fairy-tale ditties filled with whimsy and wonder. Now he spills his guts about personal demons and chemical imbalances to the tune of happy-go-lucky children's tales, which probably aren't fiction. Grand Buffet opens. $27. 7:30 p.m. 404-659-9022. Variety Playhouse. www.variety-playhouse.com. — CR


ELECTRIC SIX, THE WILLOWZ, GOLDEN DOGS The once narrow genre of "garage rock" expands to include the eclectic music of these three bands, none of whom sound alike but who all drink from the same grimy retro well. The Electric Six mixes funk, punk, glam, angular '70s dance and skewed soul with their guitars for a concoction that's even more explosive than it sounds. The West Coast's Willowz bring psychedelics to their grubby rock, and Canada's Golden Dogs' revisionist new-wave power pop is also born out of the era that the Nuggets set so effectively anthologized. $12. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — HH

HANS THEESSINK Those who believe that authentic Delta-based blues can only be cultivated in the muggy Southeast have yet to be exposed to Netherlands-born and -bred Theessink. His smooth baritone voice and slinky guitar were influenced by Big Bill Broonzy, but recent explorations into gospel and African music have widened his scope considerably. The recently released Slow Train combines these roots with expressive, intensely moving music that shows why he's a much bigger star in Europe than in the States. This rare Atlanta club date lets you get up close and personal to the classy and dedicated bluesman. $10. 9 p.m. Blind Willie's. 404-873-BLUE. www.blindwilliesblues.com. — HH


CARBONAS, LAY DOWN MAINES This is a good old-fashioned show of two local bands sharing the stage, not as opening acts for some out-of-towner, but for the sake of tearing it up. Carbonas play fast, loud punk songs that brandish an allegiance to pure punk rock that's untainted by the last twenty-some years of musical history. Lay Down Maines is more muscular in its endeavors, harkening to the post-hardcore grind of the Touch & Go '90s. $7. 10 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — CR

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.