WEDNESDAY: Who knows what kind of racket will emerge tonight or what kind of tools will be used to make it when local musical polymath Carly Ptak comes to the Lombard St. Bank to make a joyful/angry/your-guess-is-as-good-as-ours noise along with Nora Keyes, Madame P., and Larkin Grim. Bostonian noise-pop act New Radiant Storm King plays big swooping guitars and pretty little melodies at the Talking Head with Dr. Powerful and Elder Statesmen, which pretty much do the same thing. Skate or die, or just relive your thrasher days, at Charm City Space with Trash Camp, Rat Byte, Despotic Robot, Army of Kashyyyk, all banging out some sort of rousing punk or metal variant that invariably involves very loud guitars and speedy drums and the distinct feeling at the end of the night that your ears are getting too old for this sort of thing.
THURSDAY: "Heavy folk" sounds like the most oxymoronic genre of all time, but nonetheless that’s what you get tonight at the Talking Head when a three-piece version of Wooden Wand brings its mix of cosmic rock and earthen blues, back porch and third-eye, to Baltimore. The Wand is joined by Brooklyn drone and soundtrack enthusiasts Religious Knives and local noise no-goodnik DJ Dog Dick. Following the implosion of the Dismemberment Plan, its former frontman has drifted a bit, but tonight the Travis Morrison Hellfighters are at Fletcher’s with Cataract Camp, hopefully peddling a mix of the airy pop songs of his solo debut and the shimmering, rhythmic postpunk of the Plan--with a minimum of ironic rap covers.
FRIDAY: Wham City hosts a night of low-riding dub groove, apocalyptic country, less apocalyptic country, tiger costumes, and general weird shenanigans with Langhorne Slim, the Tall Grass, and Santa Dads. Doyen of the ECM label, home to "the most beautiful sound next to silence," guitarist Ralph Towner, runs up and down his 12 strings at An die Musik, melding jazz, classical, and good ol’ fashioned Yngwie-style showin’ off. Lafayette Gilchrist and the New Volcanoes whip up a strident mix of jazz-funk/funk-jazz/jazzy funk/funky jazz at New Haven Lounge.
SATURDAY: Fresh from a rave by rock druid and all-around sage Julian Cope, B-more’s Vincent Black Shadow pays tribute to the cosmic rough riders of ’70s rock in the loudest way possible at Wham City with Necking. On the other side of town, more guitar-driven heaviness at the Talking Head as it hosts Philly’s Espers, shoving folk-rock through a psychedelic scrim of amps and volume pedals, with Brightblack Morning Light, Daniel Higgs, and Mairee Sioux bringing up the rear. If you prefer your distortion chunky and abrasive instead of atmospheric and floaty, walk down to the Sidebar for hardcore from 100 Demons, Think I Care, Pulling Teeth, Spit on Your Grave, and About to Snap. And we’re honestly thinking about getting up at 4 a.m. to see Breakage spin at this year’s Starscape at Fort Armistead Park. Maybe you, on the other hand, can soldier all-day and all-night through multiple stages, bands, and DJs. Bring water and/or glowsticks.
SUNDAY: Liars don’t want to work, they want to bang on the overturned oil drum all day at Sonar, doing their best Einsturzende Neubauten/Test Dept. impression with Apes and Celebration. Everyone’s favorite quartet of math-metal mooks comes to Washington’s Black Cat when Dillinger Escape Plan unleashes its calculus riffs and quantum physics rhythms with Swarm of the Lotus and Colocal Kiss.
MONDAY: Baked to a golden brown by the Tucson, Ariz., sun, Calexico brings its mix of indie rock, spaghetti western, country, surf, and Latin music to Washington’s 9:30 Club with Jason Collett.
TUESDAY: One school of thought is that a good rock band should feel like taking a potato peeler to your skin. The Short List subscribes to this theory, and that’s why we suggest you check out the gloriously discomforting feedback buzz and amoral howl of Baltimore’s New Flesh at Charm City Space with Ultra Dolphins and Order of the Dying Orchid. The Storm Tour blows into the Ottobar featuring an all-star indie-rap lineup starring inner-city griot and Freestyle Fellowship alum Aceyalone, as well the Procussions, Ugly Duckling, Diverse, Mayday, and Wreckonize.
WEDNESDAY: The Futureheads, the Short List’s favorite British band since, like, the Beatles (or at least XTC), are at the 9:30 Club with French Kicks. Who could possibly hate on a collegiate glee-club version of early Wire, even if the ’Heads new album does show signs of the dread hand of maturity?
IN THE WINGS: What’s that deafening roar? It’s the sound of several hundred screaming people when Mr. James Todd Smith strips off his shirt like the hip-hop Chippendale he’s become. Yes, LL Cool J comes to Rams Head Live July 30 to prove that he’s still a rapper and not a walking middle-aged billboard for AbFlex. (For more information call  244-1131 or visit www.ramsheadlive.com.)
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