Just when you think you have this Cleveland-born band figured out, another snippet recalls the thing that made you love some other band. There are traces of Wire, Pavement, the Pixies, Hüsker Dü, Nirvana and many more high points of the past several decades in the band’s fantastic third album, the January release “Attack on Memory.” There’s a raw energy and excitement that burns through the album, and it never lingers long without a memorable hook. It’s one of the best releases of this still-young year.
9 p.m. Feb. 17. $10; $8 in advance. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-522-3950.
This rock quintet, formed at Ohio State University, had already built a major following through word-of-mouth buzz about its well-attended live shows, but they remained a well-kept secret to most of the world. Then came 2008’s “All Sides,” which included “Shattered (Turn the Car Around),” the band’s first Top 40 entry and a No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Album Adult Alternative chart. With Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers.
8 p.m. Feb. 18. $32.50. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022.
Cleveland-born Wilcox got his start in the ’80s while attending Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C. He’s released 16 albums in physical format, including a best-of, a 2005 collaboration with Nance Pettit and his latest, 2010’s “Reverie.” Since then, he’s made two releases available via download only via his website, “Mixtape: 1979-1982,” a low-fi snapshot of the artist as a young man, and “Live at Eddie’s Attic,” which captures him in 2011 at the venue where he’ll play this weekend. He’s a brilliant songwriter, but his compositions really connect when Wilcox’s warm, comforting voice is wrapped around the words like a soft, fuzzy blanket.
8 p.m. Feb. 18-19. $32. Eddie’s Attic, 515 N. McDonough St., Decatur. 404-377-4976.
Van Dyke Parks
He’s been one of rock’s greatest arrangers for decades, but the Mississippi-born musician is probably best known for his songwriting collaborations with Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys’ long-shelved “Smile.” The 69-year-old Parks has released many solo albums, including the brilliant “Song Cycle,” wrote the string arrangement for U2’s “All I Want Is You,” and, in recent years, worked with Rufus Wainwright, Joanna Newsom, Scissor Sisters and Fiona Apple. With Jeffrey Butzer.
8 p.m. Feb. 18. $25. The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-522-3950.
This rootsy, soulful belter from Lubbock, Texas, cracked the Top 40 in 1980 with “Giving It Up for Your Love” and this year marks the 40th anniversary of his first release, a 1972 collaboration with fellow Texan Glen Clark called, appropriately enough, “Delbert & Glen.” His tunes have been covered by Emmylou Harris, who hit No. 1 on the country charts with McClinton’s “Two More Bottles of Wine,” and Waylon Jennings. He has two Grammy Awards to his credit, too, including one for his 1991 duet with Bonnie Raitt, “Good Man, Good Woman.”
8 p.m. Feb. 18. $30; $27.50 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Estelle is a John Legend protege, who gave us one of 2008’s most irresistible tracks, the Kanye West-assisted “American Boy.” That single came from the British artist’s second album, “Shine,” a bubbly and funky R&B/hip-hop/pop/reggae confection that’s a joy from start to finish. The long-delayed follow-up, “All of Me” — which includes a duet with Janelle Monaé on the Ne-Yo-penned “Do My Thing — is scheduled for release Feb. 28.
8 p.m. Feb. 20. $27; $25 in advance. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.
Cooley, one of Drive-By Truckers two guitarist-singer-songwriters, is the man responsible for the band’s brilliantly Stones-y “Marry Me” (from “Decoration Day”) and the riff-monster “Where the Devil Don’t Stay” that gets “The Dirty South” off to a roaring start. Unlike fellow Trucker Patterson Hood, Cooley doesn’t have a solo catalog to fill his set lists, so you’re likely to hear many of the songs he’s written for the band.
9 p.m. Feb. 22-23. Sold out ($15). The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-522-3950.
Maybe it’s her “aw shucks” demeanor, or maybe it’s her undeniably powerful pipes, but Clarkson has always seemed a cut above the rest of the pop stars churned out by the “American Idol” machine. Clarkson is better than ever 10 years after winning the show’s first season. She scored her third No. 1 single with the title track from her latest album, the appropriately titled “Stronger.” Matt Nathanson opens.
7:30 p.m. Feb. 23. $29.50-$59.50. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-881-2100.
Shane Harrison / email@example.com