WEDNESDAY: Casperous Vine, a mournful gypsy/chamber outfit out of Buffalo, lays its haunt on the Metro Gallery. Franz Nicolay, one of the Hold Steady dudes performing solo, is at the Ottobar with Mischief Brew and Labianca. Brazil's Garotas Suecas, a garage-rock beach party with awesome accents, stops off at the Talking Head with AK Slaughter, Thee Lexington Arrows, and DJ Amanda Otto.
THURSDAY: Retiring Baltimore-area thrash-punk quartet the Shortage delivers a final roar at the Sidebar with Wombat in Combat and the Side Affects. Baltimore's John Dierker brings his improv sax wizardry to the Windup Space for a solo performance.
FRIDAY: Femi Kuti, son of Afrobeat deity Fela Kuti, makes his old man proud at Washington's 9:30 Club with backing band the Positive Force. Mr. Manic brings his mutant computer funk to the Hexagon with Lizz King and Sleauty. Baltimore pop-punk standard Odd Girl Out brings the hooks to Rams Head Live with FiF, Laredo, Savagemill, and Vespertine Movement. Goth-tinged metal outfit Integrity peels the paint off Sonar with Pulling Teeth, Oak, Pala, and Warpriest. Instrumental synth-pop duo Thrust Lab plays the Talking Head with Abiku, Polygons, and Engine. U.K. funk/soul/jazz outfit the New Mastersounds makes one of their few U.S. stops at the 8X10 with Higher Hands. Com Você brings its bossa nova to An die Musik for two evening shows.
SATURDAY: We're not sure exactly what to expect from this event, but it should be well worth your time: "Ebony and Irony Vll: Barack the Casbah," a collaboration between nebulous composer Lorraine L. Whittlesey and artist Joyce J. Scott, goes down at An die Musik. Midwestern chamber-folk ensemble the Speedbumps put a spell on the Metro Gallery. No idea what the Dinny and Marie Show is or why it's having a New Years Eve Extravaganza Jan. 10 at the Ottobar. The third-annual M.I.L. Fest, featuring a whole catalog of bands that probably spend a lot of money on Nickelback CDs, proves something sour about corporate radio-spawned culture at Sonar. Publicist--aka Sebastian Thomson of Trans Am, Weird War, and Dead Kids fame--makes what appears to be his only U.S. tour stop at the Talking Head for Tax Lo coconspirator Simon Phoenix's birthday bash; Cullen Stalin and Chris O also DJ. Sitar/drone alchemist Ami Dang returns to the Hexagon with Unicornicopia, Meredith Moore, and DJ Jen Kirby. Rosemary Stretch, a quite good, poppy local alt-country outfit, celebrates an album release at the Windup Space.
SUNDAY: Boston hardcore-punk unit Get Laid keeps your Sunday unholy at the Golden West. Reggae-rock fusion outfit Lionize takes on the Ottobar with Intellibang, Ten Elevenths, and A Gold Star.
MONDAY: After a couple of weeks off, the Peabody Student Jazz ensemble returns to An die Musik.
TUESDAY: Insane Clown Posse spawn Anybody Killa hits Sonar with Detroit Warriors, Hagerstown Skeez, Homicydal Maniaxe, Ajax, and AMB. Anti-folk forbearer Hamell on Trial performs at the Talking Head with the Garnet Hearts and the International Jet Set.
WEDNESDAY: Merge Records shadow players the Rosebuds bring their fairly traditional and low key indie-rock to the Ottobar with the Love Language.
IN THE WINGS: Local music blog Aural States kicks off its one-year anniversary celebration at Sonar with a wide cast including Arbouretum, Wye Oak, Lo Moda, Small Sur, Sri Aurobindo, Andy Abelow, Imperial China, and Caverns Jan. 30. (For more information call  783-7888 or visit sonarbaltimore.com.) The second night of Aural States Fest happens Jan. 31 at the Hexagon with Cex and Craig Sopo making music for your feets. (For more information visit auralstates.com.)