WEDNESDAY: Lo-fi, mellow out-folk trio Microwave Background headlines the Ottobar with quirk-pop outfit Art Department and the Extraordinaires. Baltimore grindcore quartet Oedipus lets out a mighty roar at the Sidebar with charging, riff-metal outfit the Somber Tones, the Pen, the Feather, the Plague, Surf Nazis on Ecstasy, and Age Sixteen.
THURSDAY: New Jersey jam band Railroad Earth plays Washington's 9:30 Club. The Recher Theatre in Towson hosts a slew of mallcore/pop-punk/etc. bands in Finch, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, From First to Last, Tickle Me Pink, and Our Last Night. Boston's Pretty and Nice brings its "tazer rock" to the Talking Head with Baltimore rock vets Gary B and the Notions and indie-bent locals the Frauds.
FRIDAY: The inscrutable and fantastic Dub Trio brings its peculiar mix of punk, metal, noise, and dub to the Ottobar with local full-band hip-hop outfit Late Night Breakfast. Atlanta classic-rock yawn Stone Rider plays an early 5:30 p.m. show at Sonar with a cast of openers too long and, well, dull to print here. The Talking Head hosts an all-around solid-and then some-psych-rock bill including Sri Aurobindo, the Psychic Paramount, Pontiak, and Arbouretum. Trad-rock outfit Cary Ziegler's Expensive Hobby-"The Tightest Band in Maryland!"-headlines a benefit show for Susie Mudd and Music Monthly at the 8X10 with Table Top Poets, Clarissa, Elise Major, and Sonia.
SATURDAY: 1990s underground/mainstream crossover hip-hop wonders the Beatnuts headline an impressive otherwise local bill at the Ottobar with E Major, For the People Entertainment, Blacksmith, and Profit Productions. Indie-rock savants the Walkmen are at the 9:30 Club with Golem. Soulstress Patti LaBelle lends her voice to a Chesapeake Urology Foundation benefit at Pier Six. 1980s tribute band the Legwarmers get frizzy at Rams Head Live. Gory grindcore quartet Impaled declares "war on everything" at Sonar with Phobia, Magrudergrind, Malignancy, Illogicist, Maruta, and Marrow. The Sidebar pummels you into punk exhaustion/pulp with its RBR Fest II, headlined by Japan's the 50s High Teens, tinny J-pop-punk at its finest, along with a long list of performers including standouts and Sidebar regulars Hollywood, Thee Lexington Arrows, and Ratsize, along with touring devil spawn Giant Tigers and the Darvocets. An die Musik hosts jazz guitar virtuoso Ana Vidovic.
SUNDAY: Philly progressive-punk Godhead Anthony Green plays the Ottobar with Good Old War and Person L. TRLcore drone Avenged Sevenfold preaches to its choir at Rams Head Live, its only U.S. "club date," with Shadows Fall. Crom puts the grindcore hurt on the Talking Head with like-minded locals Triac, Oak, Deceiver, and Drugs of Faith. Dunno if Ocean City is really the spot to hatch a band-something about prefab culture and fried carnival food-but Spindrift turned out alright, crafting sun-baked psychedelia to soundtrack your swirly gunfight at the really OK Corral dreams; it's at Metro Gallery with Sawhorse and Water Planet.
MONDAY: Taut, energetic indie-rock outfit Tokyo Police Club makes its "public" Baltimore appearance of the year at the Ottobar-the last was a MySpace "secret show"-with Southern-fried indie rockers the Whigs and the Coast. Slick, ubiquitous, and frequently disposable Top 40 singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw plays Rams Head Live with Matt Wertz. Alt-country staple the Old 97s rock for Obama at Sonar with locals Caleb Stine and the Desert Boys.
TUESDAY: Latin rock 'n' roll fusion crew Los Lonely Boys play Rams Head Live with Dave Barnes. Some three-decade-old U.K. metal-punk band GBH gives one of its few small-room shows this side of the ocean at the Ottobar with Whole Wheat Bread, Krum Bums, and the Living Wrecks. Goth totem the Cult performs at the 9:30 Club.
WEDNESDAY: Sonar's lineup tonight is wholly unfuckwithable and potentially dangerous to the children, elderly, g-d-fearing, or generally infirm: grindcore progenitor Carcass heads up an acerbic bill including Suffocation, 1349, Pig Destroyer, Aborted, Rotten Sound, and Misery Index. Hip-hop force of nature GZA performs his masterwork Liquid Swords at Rams Head Live; Snapz and Only open. The interminably volatile, intensely personal songstress Martha Wainwright-yes, daughter of Loudon and sister of Rufus-does the family proud at the 9:30 Club. Well, this sounds like one of the more fantastically odd pairings we've see around these parts in a good minute: Furry cavebeast venue thrasher-and by now Mid-Atlantic regular-Montonix opens for indie-Americana softies the Silver Jews at the Black Cat.
IN THE WINGS: Forever hip beats-and-guitar duo Ratatat comes to Sonar Oct. 5 with Panther and E*Rock. (For more information call  783-7888 or visit www.sonarbaltimore.com). Indie dance producer turned house revivalist the Juan Maclean comes to the Ottobar Sept. 28 with the Tax Lo DJs. (For more information call  662-0069 or visit www.theottobar.com).
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201