WEDNESDAY: If stonery sludge can be "sharp," Pelican is it--the instrumetal trio is at Washington's Black Cat with Kayo Dot's neo-classical-meets-avant-rock meanderings and Stephen Brodsky. Just reunited this year, post-hardcore outfit Rival Schools return to the field at the Ottobar with Innaway, Furious Love Kids, and Give. "Alternative" '90s staple Matthew Sweet is at the 8X10 with the Bridges.
THURSDAY: Drama-heavy indie-folk outfit Fredrik performs a free show at the Metro Gallery. The Mountain Goats collaborate with renowned guitarist Kaki King in a show at Washington's 9:30 Club. The Dwarves, a reunited early Sub Pop band that would like to rupture your ears and bleed in your cereal, gives a history lesson or two at the Ottobar with the Uprising, Ratsize, and the Mandroids. "Aggro-metal" 'outfit Dredg comes to Rams Head Live with Telescreen and Judgement Day. There's a gaggle of emo/pop-punk/alterna-/etc. bands at Towson's Recher Theatre, including Secondhand Serenade, Cute Is What We Aim For, Rocket to the Moon, and Automatic Love Letter. Washington's Ra Ra Rasputin, which plays a refreshingly unneutered, loud and messy sort of indie-rock, is at the Talking Head with Mr. Moccasin (which features City Paper contributor Jared Fischer), Baby Venom, and Scout. The six-member Saxophone Cartel probably does just about what you'd expect with what you'd expect at An die Musik.
FRIDAY: Post-Screaming Trees/Afghan Whigs power duo the Gutter Twins climb on out to the Black Cat with Afterhours. Susan Tedeschi, a deft blueswoman rather popular with the adult contempo set, performs at Rams Head Live with blue-eyed soulman James Hunter. Friend of Marilyn Manson Otep, the shock-goth-metal band you'd expect, plays Sonar's main room with Ill Nino, Walls of Jericho, and Sister Sin; in the club room are the bouncy emo kids of Hellogoodbye, Playradioplay!, Ace Enders, and Never Should Never. Short List favorite Vincent Black Shadow, which does wonderfully painful things with jagged, sharp noise-punk, is at the Talking Head with titular swagger of Endless Boogie and Arbouretum. Local improv mainstay John Berndt showcases his electro-acoustic wizardry at the Hexagon, celebrating the release of his new album, The Private Language Problem.
SATURDAY: Tradition, one fellow from Toronto, makes a folksy, propulsive thunder at the Golden West with the Face Accidents and Water Planet. Death Vessel, offering some of the finest autumnal folk sung by a guy who sounds like a girl around, is at the Black Cat with Sea and Cake. Gloomy indie-rock outfit Murder by Death gets its brood on at the Ottobar with J Roddy Walston and the Business and William Elliot Whitmore. The Decemberists, basically that kid that showed up to the fourth grade in a suit of the indie-rock world, performs at Rams Head Live with Loch Lomond. Detroit producer and MC Black Milk, one of few potential heirs to the J Dilla throne, brings his deft flows and cooled-off sample-based beats to Sonar with Elzhi, Guilty Simpson, A-Class, the Equation, and DJ P-Funk. Local indie-pop mainstay Jason Dove is at the Talking Head with the Swims, the Orange Opera, And the Moneynotes, and Neal Page. Olsavsky and Asirvatham, actually a local septet of forward-thinking jazz musicians co-led by erstwhile City Paper contributor Sandy Asirvatham, drops into the An die Musik blender for two evening shows.
SUNDAY: The Reverend Horton Heat, by now a well-worn monument to psychobilly, gives us all a reason to break out the Dep at the 9:30 Club with Nashville Pussy and Reckless Kelly. All your favorite post-hardcore/screamo/alterna- bands are at Rams Head Live with Silverstein, Chiodos, Escape the Fate, Alesana, and A Skylit Drive.
MONDAY: Dir En Gray--imagine a Japanese version of, say, Slipknot--is at Rams Head Live as part of the "Rose Trims Again" tour (presented by Hot Topic) with the Human Abstract. The Rosewood Thieves bring their cool, tempered indie-rock to Baltimore Chop. Sharp art-punk outfit Health is at Sonar with Video Hippos, Smart Growth, and (erstwhile City Paper contributor) Ed Schrader. Plastic Crimewave Sound, making punk of the brain-melting variety, performs at the Talking Head with Sri Aurobindo, the Black and Whites, Mondo Drag, and Tender Mothers. Baltimore punks the Revelevens play the Sidebar with Michigan HandMe Downs and Dead End Lane.
TUESDAY: "Christian alternative metal/metalcore" Norma Jean screeches to the choir at Rams Head Live with Haste the Day, the Showdown, My Children My Bride, and Oh Sleeper. We Are Scientists, a Brooklyn, N.Y., band that kinda hits every latter-day indie-rock stereotype you can imagine, performs at Sonar with Liam and Me.
WEDNESDAY: The Homosexuals, among the original art-punkers, are at the Talking Head with the Octagon. The best Jesus Lizard tribute band in the known universe that, uh, isn't, Pissed Jeans, is at the Ottobar with the brash rock genre melange Semi-Precious Weapons, the Drama Club, and People. Sinden, a fairly ubiquitous London-based DJ who functions frequently as a Baltimore-club ambassador, mans the decks at Sonar with partners in crime the Count, Nadastrom, and Scottie B.
IN THE WINGS: Max Ochs, American primitive folkster and brother of Phil, comes to the Golden West on Dec. 5. (For more information, visit www.myspace.com/goldenwestcafe or call  889-8891.) Increasingly ballyhooed indie-rock outfit Ra Ra Riot comes to the Ottobar on Dec. 16 with So Many Dynamos and Princeton. (For more information, visit www.theottobar.com or call  662-0069.)
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201