The term pop-rock gets a bad rap, probably because so much of the music it’s been used to describe is lifeless, dull and unimaginative. Atlanta trio the Head is here to change that. These three young men take a bit of power pop, some ’70s AM Gold and singer-songwriter smarts and drag them into the new century with a brand new, shiny coat of paint. This gig is a release party for the band’s second album, “Hang On.” In a just world, the album would send these guys into the upper reaches of the pop chart. It might not sound like anything else on the radio today, but it has timeless charm, exudes youthful energy and the hooks come fast and furious. Check it out at the band’s website.
8 p.m. June 17. $8. The Five Spot, 1123 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-223-1100.
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
This R&B combo is a perennial favorite in Atlanta. Beverly has been the master of seductive crooning for as long as many young neo-soulsters have been alive. If you haven’t heard stone soul classics such as “Joy & Pain” and “Lady of Magic,” you’re missing some great music. “American Idol” winner Fantasia shares the bill.
7 p.m. June 17. $35-$75. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive, Atlanta. 404-233-2227.
Over the Rhine
Ohio husband-and-wife duo has been quietly making thoughtful, absorbing albums for about 20 years. The latest is “The Long Surrender,” which Paste magazine calls “a lovely, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting musical mosaic” while pointing to the line “All my favorite people are broken” as a kind of thesis for the record. It’s Americana with an extra touch of class and elegance, but swaddled in a cloak of darkness. It recalls the duo’s earlier “Drunkard’s Prayer,” a soul-baring work that chronicles a rocky patch in the couple’s marriage and the journey back to happiness.
8:30 p.m. June 17. $22.50; $20 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
The smart folk-pop of Lloyd Cole has been giving music fans something to think about since 1984, the year he released his still-stunning debut, “Rattlesnakes,” when he was accompanied by his band the Commotions. Since the end of the Commotions, Cole has been steadily releasing a series of solo albums, all marked by his intelligent songwriting.
8:30 p.m. June 18. $20. Five Spot, 1123 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-223-1100.
Jo Dee Messina, Jimmy Wayne
She might be from Massachusetts, but Messina seems to have a Southern soul. The fiery country redhead has been belting out the hits — from “Heads Carolina, Tails California” to “My Give a Damn’s Busted” — for 15 years now. Wayne scored a country No. 1 in 2008 with “Do You Believe Me Now,” five years after his 2003 debut. His latest album includes a collaboration with Hall and Oates on that duo’s hit “Sara Smile.”
7 p.m. June 18. $40-$65. Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater, 201 McIntosh Trail, Peachtree City. 770-631-0630.
Youssou N’Dour and the Super Etoile Band of Senegal
Youssou N’Dour is one of Africa’s greatest musical ambassadors, but he’s also one of the continent’s most visible social activists. He was among the Time 100 for 2007, a list of people “whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.” It’s his joyous, transporting music that brought him to prominence, though, and that’s what you can experience live in Atlanta this week.
8 p.m. June 19. $40. Georgia International Convention Center, 2000 Convention Center Concourse, Atlanta. 770-997-3566, tickets available at Ticket Alternative.
Daryl Hall and John Oates
They’re one of rock’s most successful duos, with a long string of hits. There’s a bit of cheese in the pair’s hit-stuffed catalog, but it can be pretty tasty, too. There’s good reason to turn up the radio every time you hear the sweetly soulful “Sara Smile” or the snide dismissal of “Rich Girl.” Even the cotton-candy bounce of “Kiss on My List” has its sugary charms.
8 p.m. June 19. $35.50-$55. Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 4469 Stella Drive, Atlanta. 404-233-2227.
New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys
In the ’80s, the fluffy pseudo-R&B of New Kids on the Block, a Boston-baked mixture of rough trade and pretty boys, proved irresistible to preteen girls everywhere. In the next decade, the Backstreet Boys came along aiming for that same sweet spot. Like their predecessors, they would have loved nothing more than to reach the pop sublimity of Michael Jackson, but it was more like smooth R&B filtered through a Swedish pop factory and flavored with a touch of vanilla rap. But the little girls (and the women they grew up to be) understand. These two groups have some undeniably catchy material to perform and it will seem even better when viewed through the rose-tinted goggles of nostalgia. It may not be great art, but there are plenty of fans who are happy to pay the ticket price for a trip in this time machine for a night.
7:30 p.m. June 22. $33.50-$93.50. Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive N.W., Atlanta. 404-878-3000.
Sollee is one of the most difficult musicians to categorize. No pigeonhole seems adequate for this singing, songwriting cellist. His debut album, “Learning to Bend,” offered glimpses of jazz, bluegrass, soul, rock and pop standards.
As you first listen to the follow-up, “Inclusions,” it seems Sollee has taken a turn toward rock and rhythm. “Hurting” offers hints of Andrew Bird and Ray LaMontagne, but then come the spare cello-and-vocal of “Embrace” and the striking, horn-driven “Bible Belt” and he’s surprised us again.
8 p.m. June 22. $20; $15 in advance. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.