WEDNESDAY: Remnants of math-rock mainstay Don Caballero perform at Sonar with the post-surf rock glee of Ponytail and local seldom-seen out-metal foursome Compression. Baltimore prog-metal outfit Isthmus plays the Charm City Space with North, Balboa, and Astronomer. It's tempting to write Billy Bob Thornton's turn as a country rocker off as dalliance, but give the guy credit for coming down among the little people, with his band the Boxmasters, and making his Baltimore stop at the decidedly un-Hollywood Ottobar. Genre-spanning songwriter Christina Courtin brings her expansive, soulful voice to An die Musik. And college-funk mainstay the Bridge returns to action at the 8X10 with Amity Front.
THURSDAY: The Hush Sound, which looks and sounds an awful lot like prefab indie pop, plays the Ottobar with Cab, Steel Train, and the Morning Light. Pier Six offers something horrifying and confusing with the "It Was Forty Years Ago Today" tour, which is dudes from Foreigner, Wings, and the Moody Blues--and Christopher Cross ("Sailing")--covering songs from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It's best not to think about it too much. I could really spend the rest of my life listing off things I'd rather spend $25 on than seeing vapid, Nirvana-nicking Puddle of Mudd try its hand at alt-metal sap at Rams Head Live, but to each his own. Local garage-rock standby Thee Lexington Arrows play the Talking Head with the Howlies, the Barberries, and the Traumas.
FRIDAY: Underage noisemakers Engine and Needle Gun clear out some teen angst at the Charm City Space with Salad, Birthing Nets, Rick Weaver and the Ruined Frame, and Terra Dactyls. Arc and Sender, a local instrumental/avant-rock trio that does very cool, very sludgy things with baritone guitars, churns the murk at the Hexagon with Rhode Island free-jazz/avant-rock mix A Troop of Echoes and the Expanding Band. Rams Head Live's web site right now calls the Kottonmouth Kings "groundbreaking," which sorta makes the Short List want to organize a boycott--it's stoner-happy rap-punk dreck that even extreme-sports bros wouldn't touch with a 10-foot ski pole. Tech N9ne, (hed)pe, Dirtball and Prozak, and, jammed way at the bottom of the bill, an actually legit hip-hop outfit, X Clan, round out the night. Girlfriend in a Coma pays tribute to the Moz at the Ottobar; Billy Idol's "Idolize Yourself" tour stops off at Pier Six. Indie-pop outfit and friend of Modest Mouse Love as Laughter hits the Talking Head with the Oxford Collapse and Impossible Hair. The Sidebar hosts Georgia's crusty Two Man Advantage, Supreme Commander, the Reticents, and Lucky so Far. Sri Aurobindo's Southern-bent psych-rock fog takes the edge off at a recently revamped Joe Squared.
SATURDAY: Michael Straus and Matthew Burtner get strange with computers and saxophones (including "metasaxophone") at the Red Room at Normals Books and Records. Much revered bluesmen Robert Cray and Keb' Mo'--and their respective bands--share a bill at Pier Six. Nebula, the feedback-drenched descendant of desert-rock outfit Fu Manchu, plays the Ottobar with like-minded Yeti rocker Totimoshi and the Convocation. Eyelinered alternablah outfit Good Charlotte plays Sonar's main room with Burn the Fields; in the club room, Shaka Pits hosts freestyle MC battle Speakerboxin'. Hazy Chicago pop outfit Apteka headlines the Hexagon with the left-field hardcore punk of Monera and Izzi Creo.
SUNDAY: "Maxine, put your red shoes on/ we goin' to the disco/ we gonna elope on down to Mexico/ called up my momma said I'm in love with a stripper, yo": The fact that some surfer-styled frat child is probably going to sing along to this Slightly Stoopid lyric tonight at Pier Six is an indication that the world is heading toward a fiery, painful, and well-deserved end. Gothy chamber-rock ensemble Rasputina plays the Ottobar with Haale. Unruly Records hosts tonight's party at Sonar with Baltimore club godfather Scottie B, Wil Roc, and King Tut.
MONDAY: While Xiu Xiu-as-rock-band hasn't done nearly as much for us as Xiu Xiu-as-emotive-noise-tantrum, it still remains one of the more important and creative indie bands in the canon. The show is at Sonar with the stellar gothic chamber folk of Evangelista and King Ider and Common Ider.
TUESDAY: The trouble with Ted Nugent, more so than all the other right-wing radio douches alive combined, is that he wants us to loathe him. Dude feeds on it. But, it's hard to feel otherwise about a creep who once suggested that we should have "Nagasaki"-ed Iraq. So, loathe away, and, if somehow you have any reverence left for his music, the show is at Rams Head Live. Washington electronic psych-shoegazery duo Screen Vinyl Image sets the Talking Head adrift with Oblisk.
WEDNESDAY: Soulful reggae crooner Beres Hammond brings good vibes back to Rams Head Live with the Iternals. Superbuick punks the fuck out of your Nissan at the Sidebar with Killing California.
IN THE WINGS: Pontiak brings its fantastic stoner-y folk metal back to town at the Talking Head Sept. 5 with Arbouretum, Psychic Paramount, and Sri Aurobindo. (For more information visit www.talkingheadclub.com or call  207-8011.) GZA, performing his Liquid Swords, comes to Rams Head Live Sept. 9. (For more information visit www.ramsheadlive.com or call  244-1131.)
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201