Alejandro Escovedo plays the Variety Playhouse Sunday, Oct. 21. Photo: Todd Wolfson
“Swans Are Dead” was the title of the career-capping 1998 live album from this artfully pounding post-punk outfit led by Michael Gira. And that’s the way it seemed until 2010’s “My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky,” which bound the band’s elegant thud to meditations on the spiritual. Gira followed it with the recently released “The Seer,” a double-disc set funded by the limited edition “We Rose From Your Bed With the Sun in Our Head.” These works constitute a remarkable return that, despite the mellowing effects of time, has proved just as polarizing as the rest of the band’s output. Swans will always be dark and foreboding, and you either love it or hate it.
9 p.m. Oct. 19. $22-$25. Terminal West, 887 W. Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-876-5566.
No amount of scandal can tarnish Kelly’s ability to fascinate the music-buying masses. It’s been awhile since he scored a major Top 40 hit, but he remains a popular concert draw and a regular presence in the R&B/hip-hop charts. His latest album, “Write Me Back,” has already scored two Top 20 R&B/hip-hop hits with “Share My Love” and “Feelin’ Single.”
8 p.m. Oct. 19. $59.15-$101.70. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-881-2100.
The jazz vocalist and bassist caused a stir when she won the best new artist Grammy in February 2011, besting Justin Bieber, Drake, Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine. The win infuriated Bieber’s fans, who, for the most part, had never heard Spalding’s name, much less her elegant and decidedly grown-up music. Check out our interview with the musician. With Terri Lyne Carrington.
8 p.m. Oct. 19. $26-$77. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2800.
These new-wave locals will make you nostalgic for the days of skinny ties and wraparound sunglasses. Remember the power-pop-tastic “What’s He Got?, “ “She Sheila” or “What She Does to Me”? They were part of the soundtrack of summer in the Southeast in the first half of the ’80s. The guys called it quits in the early ’90s, but there’s been a renewed burst of activity lately. With Angie Aparo.
8 p.m. Oct. 20. $29-$39. The Buckhead Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-843-2825.
This Australian multi-instrumentalist blends rock, folk, acoustic soul and a droning didgeridoo that invests his tunes with the flavor of his homeland. Much of his music has a percussive yet summery vibe that should appeal to fans devoted to Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz.
8 p.m. Oct. 21. $22; $19 in advance. Center Stage, 1374 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-885-1365.
Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys
Escovedo has spent his career outside the mainstream, quietly creating a diverse and oft-covered catalog of songs. He was a punk rock pioneer (with San Francisco band the Nuns), then moved on to blending roots music with punk back in his home state of Texas (in Rank and File and the True Believers in the 1980s) before launching a solo career. In an interview a few years ago, he told me you could look at his trailblazing but not exactly lucrative career as a case of “being in the right place at the wrong time.” His latest album, “Big Station, “ is his third with former David Bowie/T. Rex producer Tony Visconti. Check out our interview with Escovedo.
8 p.m. Oct. 21. $22.50; $20 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.
Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie
A few years ago, the satirical newspaper the Onion did a piece on Marilyn Manson. It began: “Stung by flagging album sales and Eminem’s supplanting him as Middle America’s worst nightmare, shock rocker Marilyn Manson has embarked on a door-to-door tour of suburbia in a desperate, last-ditch effort to shock and offend average Americans.” In truth, he was always a little too cartoonish to be truly scary, but his fans haven’t completely deserted him. His latest album, this year’s “Born Villain,” debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard album chart. He’s joined by the ever-frightening Rob Zombie, who is better at making horror movies than music these days.
7 p.m. Oct. 25. $75 general admission pit; $25-$75 reserved; $25 lawn. Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, 2002 Lakewood Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-443-5090.
Check out our round-up of upcoming fall concerts for more shows taking place this week and through November.
Shane Harrison, email@example.com