WEDNESDAY: Wingnut Dishwashers Union--an anarchist punk outfit touring to study punk collectives--stops off at the Charm City Art Space. Thievery Corporation, the apparent massive appeal of which is lost on the Short List, continues on its five-night performance marathon at Washington's 9:30 Club. Person Parcel, a folk-country bent offshoot of Gary B and the Notions, performs at the Ottobar with the Owls Go and the Eureka Birds. A dude-ish indie band called the Gay Blades plays the Talking Head with Kiss Kiss and Scary River. Local folk songwriter MacGregor Burns brings his demure, plaintive tunes to the Windup Space with City Slides and King Cloud.
THURSDAY: Basement art-punk duo Weekends clatters and riffs at the Hexagon with Holy Ghost Party, which makes a pretty, chiming sort of post-rock/Deerhunterish benzo-pop, and Microwave Background. The Golden Filter, a New York disco revival that sounds like Glass Candy gone Ed Banger, fuels tonight's Tax Lo party at Sonar with Future Islands and Smart Growth.
FRIDAY: Claire Hux--a goofy fun R&B-meets-hip-hop-meets-Baltimore-club trio--takes the mic at Joe Squared with Lazer Bitch, and DJs Minus 9, Two Teks, Stretch, and Obtuse for the start of the All-City Custom Train Show, a street art mass collaboration that involves cars, not trains (I think). Whatever is left of proto-ska landmark the English Beat hopefully doesn't bum out its fans at Rams Head Live with the Pietasters and Bad Manners. The first night of the mammoth Aural States Fest happens at Sonar and the Talking Head with a local who's who, including Arbouretum, Small Sur, Wye Oak, Hollywood, Lo Moda, Sri Aurobindo, Andy Abelow, Cannot Be Stopped, Imperial China, and Caverns. Garage punkers the Ripovs play the Sidebar with the Trakes and Pete Yorko and the One Man Music Band. Megadrives, a Baltimore trio that makes throwback-y electronica/techno crafted for your Underworld nerve, performs at the Hexagon with Polygons, Talk to Animals, and 2n3904.
SATURDAY: The second night of Aural States Fest, the dance portion, takes place at the Whole Gallery with Cex (aka CP contributor Rjyan Kidwell), Craig Sopo, and Garrett McIndoe.True Vine guru Jason Willett's monthly dance party brings on a few hangovers and wobbly knees at the Golden West. Cameron Blake--a local songwriter known for ornate, retro indie songwriting--headlines at Joe Squared with Ellen Cherry and Pittsburgh pianist/singer-songwriter Joy Ike. Snacks--the inimitable, giddy noise duo of Tom Boram and Dan Breen--makes your stomach growl at Metro Gallery with a nice, diverse lineup including party-rap duo AK Slaughter, indie-rock outfit Baby Venom, and oddball folk ensemble the Agrarians. Valencia, another sort of prefab indie/pop-punk band that plays around here often, returns to the Ottobar with Houston Calls, Artist vs. Poet, the Summer Set, Coast to Coast, and the Downtown Fiction. Northernmost, a riff-happy heavy rock outfit drawn from a whole mess of old-school Baltimore rock and punk bands, has an album release show at the Talking Head with Caesteles, DeeKee Zjevotneya, and Old Man Family Band. Fuck-all jazz-spazz improv ensemble Little Women enacts some sort of audio violence upon the Red Room at Normals Books and Records. An die Musik goes straight for the Short List's heart with the trio of Lotte Anker, Ikue Mori, and Sylvie Courvoisier--the prior, a Danish saxophonist, is considered a hot commodity in avant-garde jazz composition; Mori, performing on electronics, helped form the vital No Wave group DNA back when; and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier appears to have played with everybody ever in left-field jazz.
SUNDAY: It's the Super Bowl, so those among us football-indifferent are kinda screwed on live music, alas.
MONDAY: New wave-cum-'90s rock institutions the Pretenders tout their meh new record, Break Up the Concrete--and, hopefully, more--at the 9:30 Club with American Bang. Passion Pit, an upbeat electro-pop band that just released an EP on Les Savy Fav's label French Kiss, sets the Ottobar on bounce with support from Paper Route and Cale Parks. Bred-for-AOR outfit Cowboy Mouth ("Jenny Says"), now in nearly its third decade, keeps on keeping on at Rams Head Live. After 30 years of trucking, the Paul Collins Beat, aka just the Beat, and the band that came after the Nerves, brings its still tight megapop songcraft to the Talking Head with Gentleman Jesse and His Men, Deep Sleep, and Active Sac.
TUESDAY: Ex Squirrel Nut Zipper Andrew Bird brings his genre-gaming pop-jazz-swing-etc. songcraft to the 9:30 Club with Lonely Dear. Jennifer O'Connor brings her simple, tungsten folk-pop to the Talking Head with Hotel Lights and Tim Kaye.
WEDNESDAY: Raucous, shouldn't-be-missed blues-rock duo the Black Keys stop off at the Rams Head Live with indie-ish blues guitarist Patrick Sweany. The Dreadful Yawns, a Cleveland band that makes drawn, morose folk-pop in the vein of M Ward et al., perform at the Talking Head with We Read Minds. The Visitations, an Elephant Six bred pop-folk outfit as political as it is oddball, play the Golden West with Lands and People and Old Tender Heart.
IN THE WINGS: The sample-punk anthem craftsmen of Japanther are at the Ottobar on Feb. 7 with Ninjasonik and Totally Michael. (For more information visit theottobar.com or call  662-0069). After god knows how long, Celebration returns to a local stage, performing at the Windup Space Feb. 20 with Ami Dang and Lone Wolf. (For more information visit myspace.com/thewindupspace.) And for more show previews, reviews, and any other music fit to print online, please visit City Paper's music blog Noise at noise.citypaper.com
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