WEDNESDAY: Ghosts In the Valley, a pop-drizzled hardcore outfit from Pennsylvania, haunt the Sidebar with the Empire State. Boom Tic Boom, the project of New York-based drumming polymorph Allison Miller, performs at An die Musik. Mattin, a Basque improv/noise artist with high ideas about blowing up the concept of performance, does some rewiring at the Red Room at Normals Books and Records with Stephanie Barber and Jenny Graf.
THURSDAY: Country-rock songstress Ellen Cherry plays Joe Squared with Dylan Conner. If you can't imagine the music Rumpelstiltskin Grinder makes, its show probably isn't gonna be your thing; the thrashing ensues at Sonar with Pyromorphous, Vahalla, Absolute Vengeance, and a Sunlit Aperture. The Howlies, a wicked impressive garage-pop band out of Georgia, play the Sidebar with Thee Lexington Arrows and the Dustys. Thickly layered instrumental rock duo the Water washes into the Metro Gallery with Arms and Sleepers. Comfy dance-pop trio Fujiya and Miyagi drops into Washington's 9:30 Club with School of Seven Bells.
FRIDAY: A brutal night of hardcore--melodic, fast, punishingly heavy, any way you like it--is at the Charm City Art Space with Energy, Mindset, Beartrap, Debaser, and Brick. Southern rock guardians Drive By Truckers park it at the 9:30 Club for a two-night run with Bloodkin. More or Less' monthly dance party goes house tonight at the Hexagon with Deep Sugar residents Jerome Hicks and DJ Exclaime and Cooper Miley. Meg and Dia, Breathe Carolina, Every Avenue, Anarbor, and Cute Is What We Aim For steal your children at the Rams Head Live. Meshuggah, a wholly unfuckwithable death-cum-prog metal band, chugs through Towson's Recher Theatre with Cynic and the Faceless. House remixologist Treasure Fingers heads up tonight's Tax Lo party with a live set from Blaq Starr, Juiceboxxx, Cullen Stalin, and Simon Phoenix. Travels, the project of now-Massachusetts-based Metal Heart Anar Badalov, brings its winsome, drifting folk miniatures to the Talking Head with Mr. Moccasin (a band that includes City Paper contributor Jared T. Fischer), Ari Schenck, and Owls Go. The Sidebar hosts a night of '60s girl-group appreciation called "Doo Lang" with Matt Walter (a CP employee) spinning records and live music from the Motorettes. After g-d knows how long, Celebration returns to the stage, performing at the Windup Space with Ami Dang and Lone Wolf.
SATURDAY: Caustic Castle, an electronic artist of the purest sort (no inputs), performs at the Red Room at Normals Books and Records with Dan Conrad and Jorge Martins. Local beatsmith Mike Rambo heads up a dance throw-down at Joe Squared with DJ Mills and Abrock. Immortal funk godhead George Clinton and his Parliament Funkadelic get bleary at Rams Head Live. The Recher hosts a benefit for HopeWell Cancer Support with dad-friendly jam/classic-rock outfits Stone Deaf, Gypsy Dawg, and the Hippy Sheiks. Pianowire, a piano-pop ensemble that sounds something like a primordial Elvis Costello, tickles the keys at the Talking Head with Scary River, Deleted Scenes, and La Strada. Brit pop-cum-country rock outfit the Payola Reserve plays the Metro Gallery with Lazlo Lee and the Motherless Children, and Sik Sik Nation. Peruvian dancer/performance artist Luciana Proaño presents an odd collaboration with guitarist JB Butler involving improvised music and interpretive dance at An die Musik.
SUNDAY: Support your local punk collective: the Charm City Art Space hosts a benefit show with pummelers Braindead, the Younger Years, Rough Sex, and Pala. Christopher Willits brings his sublime, muffled beat turbulence to the Hexagon with Ami Dang and WKC. Estelle, currently top woman in the UK hip-hop scene, brings her sunshine-y rhymes to Rams Head Live with Solange.
MONDAY: Canadian deathcore brute Despised Icon peels the paint at Sonar with Beneath the Massacre, Neuraxis, Carnifex, Plasma Rifle, Shinakumah, and Poveglia.
TUESDAY: Lord Jeff--a crunchy, lo-fi decomposed rock band signed to Ecstatic Peace--reigns over the Hexagon with Weekends.
WEDNESDAY: Crooner Tom Jones makes a "surprise" (says 930.com) appearance at the 9:30 Club. True Womanhood--a Washington band that does well with demure, melodic atmospherics a la a stripped-down Radiohead--performs at the Metro Gallery with Weekends and Bad Liquor Pond. The mighty Mos Def takes the mic at Rams Head Live. Pulling Teeth brings its Baltimore-bred doom metal to the Talking Head with Magrudergrind, Amen Ra, Zororoaster, and Pala.
IN THE WINGS: Maryland doom institution Pentagram makes another go at it at Sonar on March 7 with Priestess, Moonshine, the Devil's Blood, and Serpent Throne. (For more information visit sonarbaltimore.com or call  783-7888.) The Death Set, now a Philly resident, returns to town March 13 and hits the Ottobar with Team Robespierre, Totally Michael, and Cerebral Ballzy. (For more information visit theottobar.com or call  662-0069.)
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