Sound Menu April 30 2008

CL's picks for the week's best shows


EARTH, MADELINE, FUR ELISE Summoning slow metal, drone and dirge from the Pacific Northwest, Seattle post-grunge survivor Earth returns in support of its latest full-length, The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull (Southern Lord). With this go-round the group, under the direction of founding member Dylan Carlson, moves deeper into the realms of gospel and Americana influences while adopting improv, psychedelic rock and jazz leanings. Madeline and Fur Elise open. $10. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — Chad Radford

LEON RUSSELL, GEOFF ATCHISON My first "real" concert was a Russell show in the early 1970s, and I'll never forget the grandiosity and fervor of the performance. The Master of Space and Time is now in his late 60s, and hard living and health issues have slowed him down. A little. The piano-pounding Russell has a sideman résumé without parallel, and his solo work remains fresh today. Local blues-rock artist Atchison opens. $2. 7 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. — James Kelly


ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & CHORUS Long before ear-splitting sound systems there was Hector Berlioz. Donald Runnicles leads the ASO&C in that composer's massive "Grande Messe des Morts" (more familiarly known simply as Berlioz's "Requiem"). Its huge orchestration, including extra groups of antiphonal brass instruments, at times screams stereophonic thunder and calamity, but leaves plenty of room for heavenly grace and beauty. Leos Janacek's massive "Sinfonietta," with its wonderfully brassy "Fanfare," opens the show. Program repeats Fri., May 2, and Sat., May 3. at 8 p.m. $18-$70. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. — Mark Gresham


ANNA KRAMER & THE LOST CAUSE, TENEMENT HALLS, JEFFREY BUTZER With all the federal funding, local benefits and good will being channeled into Cabbagetown after the March tornado, East Atlanta has been somewhat overlooked by the public eye. Kramer & the Lost Cause, Tenement Halls and Butzer play a benefit show to raise funds to repair the areas of East Atlanta that were affected by the tornado. $8. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — CR

MATTHEW RYAN VS. THE SILVER STATE, JON DEE GRAHAM It's gravel-voice night at Eddie's! Ryan tends to be more of a whisperer, but has a lot to say on his many obscure albums of urban goth-folk. Graham is an Austinite with a rock pedigree, and is one of the most enticing performers I have ever seen. He's also the subject of an impending documentary, which captures his unique musical philosophy and practice. $15-$75. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — JK


CAROLINE HERRING With a voice as pure as the high Sierra sky, Herring takes the often overdone "chick with guitar" act to "a hoe nutha level." Her recent CD Lantana is one of the best releases so far this year, equally countrified and folky, loaded with great songs and masterful playing. $15-$75. 9 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — JK

ELF POWER Exultant yet earthbound, Elf Power continues to build its empire with its latest, In A Cave. While its sound is still launched toward the clouds of shambling psychedelia, there's a meatiness to its latest that grounds its cosmic, fuzzed-out folk and crisp, jangly pop. Credit the muscular rhythms for conspiring with the infectious melodies and resplendent harmonies to produce another fine album. If catalog were real estate, we'd be looking at some impressive acreage. $6-$7. 10 p.m. Caledonia Lounge, Athens. 706-549-5577. www.caledonialounge.com. — Chris Parker

JUCIFER, ABBEY TRAVIS, HERMAN PUT DOWN THE GUN The Athens-based headliners need no introduction but the guitar/drum duo tours behind a terrific new album of grunge, metal and even dark folk, all played with a raw intensity that grips you by the privates and never lets go. Current Bangles bassist and occasional actress Travis' set is an iconoclastic mix she describes as "cabaret-pop-glam-rock-trip-hop-soul." The openers are an eclectic new trio fronted by longtime Atlanta indie rock fixture Sonia Tetlow, whose debut will be released soon. $10. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 404-681-5740. www.starbar.net. — Hal Horowitz

OZOMATLI This Los Angeles collective has been blending hip-hop, Latin jazz and funk for a dozen years, since forming around a protest to save a community center. This generous spirit extends to its deep grooves and stage energy, filled to overflowing by musicians well-acquainted with all the necessary ingredients of their tasty sonic gumbo. Their fourth release, last year's Don't Mess With the Dragon, was produced by K.C. Porter (Santana, Ricky Martin) who gives their hooks a particularly danceable pop sheen. $17.50-$20. 9 p.m. Center Stage. 404-885-1365. www.centerstage-atlanta.com. — CP

ZAKIR HUSSAIN & THE MASTERS OF PERCUSSION An international star in the percussion world, Hussain, arguably one of history's greatest tabla players, brings his Masters of Percussion group to offer a unique experience of northern India's artistic heritage. The show includes esteemed sarangi master, Ustad Sultan Khan. Their collaborations have enchanted classical and world music audiences alike, exploring a blend of contemporary, traditional, folk and classical styles. $32-$56. 8 p.m. Rialto Center. 404-413-9849. www.rialtocenter.org. — MG


ATLANTA CHAMBER PLAYERS The ACP inaugurates its "Chamber Music in Art Spaces" series with a concert at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia's new location at TULA Art Center. The group performs the lusciously sensual "Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp" by Claude Debussy, the boldly modern "First Piano Quartet" by Bohuslav Martinu, and the hyper-Romantic "Kammersymphonie" by Arnold Schoenberg, arranged by Anton Webern. Half-price student tickets available. $20. 7:30 p.m. Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. 770-242-2227. www.atlantachamberplayers.com. — MG

KANYE WEST, LUPE FIASCO Building upon the winding narratives of his impressive debut, Food & Liquor, Fiasco's follow-up, The Cool, follows a youth beguiled by the glamour of the game-over-grand, symphonic arrangements coated in dollops of melodrama. While it hits the sophomore slump like a foot-wide pothole at 60, the adventurous arrangements and dense story reward additional listens. Meanwhile, Kanye's graduated to a single name thanks to flamboyant self promotion, keen fashion, and enough wit and humor on his three releases to compensate for middle-of-the-pack skills. $48-$130. 7:30 p.m. Gwinnett Center. 770-813-7500. www.gwinnettcenter.com. — CP

LITTLE FEAT, HOT TUNA Yeah, we know, Little Feat ain't the same without Lowell George, but they have a right to make a living. The current lineup has been mostly intact for 20 years, so it's time to move on and let Lowell rest, dontcha think? Hot Tuna is a living relic, born from the blues fad of the early 60s, filtered through the Jefferson Airplane and still making great music in the 21st century. Let's hear it for the old dudes! $37. 7:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. — JK

TOMMY WOMACK, KEN WILL MORTON Frequent Attic visitor Womack's wry, dry humor and sure sense of melody made his recent comeback album one of 2007's finest, funniest and most unexpectedly welcome releases. Live he trades the band for a more intimate but no less unhinged approach where the songs are just part of the show. He describes himself as "songwriter, author, creator of sexual tension." 'Nuff said. Athens' Morton has just released two solid new albums of rootsy folk/country rock/Americana, so he'll have no lack of material to choose from. $12-$15. 7 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — HH


ATLANTA SINGERS Started in 1977 as a group of friends devoted to singing, the Atlanta Singers have since developed into one of the city's few professional choral ensembles. David Morrow, the group's current director, has also been director of the Morehouse Glee Club since 1987. The group will perform works by William Albright, Edward Elgar, C.V. Stanford, Frank Tichelli, Dave Brubeck, Moses Hogan and David Morrow. Half-price student tickets available. $10. 7:30 p.m. All Saints Episcopal Church. 404-881-0835. www.allsaintsatlanta.org. — MG

LANGHORNE SLIM, AMY LAVERE Born in Langhorne, Pa., Slim combines the playful showmanship of Keller Williams with bustling bluegrass strumming and a rollicking rock 'n' roll spirit echoing Woodstock. Slim's parched tenor limbos like the spineless, surfing sanguine waves. Lavere's girlish coo sashays with sultry sway on tracks that veer from bluesy torch to country folk infused with a smoky, late-night vibe. Her second album, last year's Anchors & Anvils, possesses a graceful, insistent allure. $8. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — Chris Parker

MASON JENNINGS, BRETT DENNEN, MISSY HIGGINS This trio of up-and-coming singer/songwriters is an economical way to get introduced to talented faces in the overcrowded genre. Jennings is the most established name and has the longest discography filled with strummy, occasionally political, more often personal ruminations. Baby-faced Dennen's last album caught the ear of Rolling Stone, which bestowed on him one of its coveted "10 Artists to Watch" accolades. Australian Higgins veers toward the more upbeat lane of the folk-pop highway. All have new albums out now or will soon and onstage collaborations are likely. $18-$20. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-223-1100. www.variety-playhouse.com. — HH


CLUB OF ROME, BRASS CASTLE, PRIDE PARADE Atlanta duo Club of Rome is a purveyor of a mutant and disco-damaged throwback to the no-wave era. The sounds are muddy and the beats are primitive, but the hooks are catchy as hell. For fans of Suicide, early Sonic Youth and Throbbing Gristle. Brass Castle plays big, loud, Southern and deranged metal riffage. Athens' scratchy-throat psych-rock band Pride Parade also performs. $7. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — CR

FOOT VILLAGE Culver City, Calif.'s Foot Village is an unholy and drum-heavy four-piece that features members of Gang Wizard and Friends Forever. The group relies on nothing more than four drums and screaming, scraping vocal mantras that spearhead bouts of hardcore tribal bashing. It will be a dance party for sure, but one that resembles a scene from a Hieronymus Bosch painting or a deleted scene from one of the Mad Max sequels. $6. 10 p.m. Eyedrum. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org. — CR

KENNY NEAL Sidelined by health problems for the past few years, Louisiana blues/soulman Neal has returned with a terrific new album that returns him to the stylish and crisp swamp sound that has made him a genre headliner. He's a commanding triple-threat talent, equally proficient on guitar, harmonica or singing his heart out on covers and his own originals. As solid as his albums are, it's the live experience that best showcases his sharp playing and classy approach. It's great to welcome him back. $11-$15. 9 p.m. Darwin's 770-578-6872. www.darwinsblues.com. — HH

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.