There’s something about Swedish new wave that, somewhat predictably, comes off as kinda frigid. It goes all the way back to Abba’s frosty pop take on the genre and stretches to the Sounds’ chilly nostalgic glances in 2009. The Sounds’ third album, Crossing the Rubicon, is filled with cool skittering synths and cascading keys — all guided by Maja Ivarsson’s ice-princess vocals. When the deep and hollow backing “oohs” blow onto “My Lover,” it’s time to bundle up. But Rubicon isn’t without its catchy songs. “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake” would have been huge on MTV in the early ’80s, and “Midnight Sun” is a big, glorious ballad about freezing your ass off waiting for the perfect love (at least that’s what I want it to be about). The Sounds tend to overload their songs with glacier-mounting, vista-scaling whooshes that often drain them of warmth. But when you’ve got hooks as big as Stockholm, who cares? Semi-Precious Weapons and Foxy Shazam open at 8 p.m. at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583). Tickets: $20 advane, $22 day of show. — Michael Gallucci
Given the almost institutional level of ADHD afflicting most music listeners these days, it takes a bold band to cater to that scattered attention span. Philly’s Dysrhythmia fold emo-core, prog-jazz and thrashing metal into an instrumental miasma that delivers its message on a purely musical level. Dysrhythmia’s three members — guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, bassist Colin Marston and drummer Jeff Eber — operate with almost supernatural intuition; the band’s success is clearly a product of the trio’s ability to create structured chaos. This amazing talent is woven deep into the fabric of the group’s latest album, Psychic Maps, a metal/jazz/prog/indie rock excursion that juxtaposes noise and melodicism, simplicity and complexity, and eccentricity and accessibility in ways that would make Robert Fripp smile. Prepare to be amazed. Keelhaul, Sikhara, Stats and Clan of the Cave Bear open at 9 p.m. at Now That’s Class (11213 Detroit Ave., 216.221.8576). Tickets: $5. — Brian Baker
Here’s a Halloween tip: Don some black eyeliner, yank out a hair straightener and act like the bands on the annual Atticus Tour are good. It’s shocking that Finch are still around: Their screamy, gritty music wasn’t particularly fresh or interesting when their debut album came out in 2002. Drop Dead, Gorgeous, a post-hardcore band from Denver that sounds a lot like Underoath, recently released The Hot N’ Heavy, which sounds like its past two albums. At least their live show is worth checking out. Meanwhile, Phoenix screamo band Blessthefall is still reeling from its singer calling it quits after the release of its debut album. Let’s Get It are also on the bill. This show is gonna be loud and heavy, especially down in the obligatory mosh pit. And we bet at least one band member will show up in a Michael Jackson costume when they play Peabody’s (2045 E. 21st St., 216.776.9999) at 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $15. — Emily Zemler
Playwright Dael Orlandersmith grew up in New York but found inspiration for her 2002 Pulitzer-nominated play Yellowman in childhood visits to South Carolina. The play deals with “intra-racism,” a level of discrimination rooted in mixed-race offspring caused by slave owners impregnating their slaves. Orlandersmith encountered that type of racism in the Gullah community of coastal South Carolina. Her play tells the story of Alma and Eugene, who have known each other since they were kids. As they grow up and fall in love, Alma battles poverty and her mother’s alcoholism; Eugene is the “yellowman” who struggles with his light skin. Fred Sternfeld directs. Yellowman opens at 8 tonight with performances through November 22 at Karamu’s Arena Theatre (2355 E. 89th St., 216.795.7077). Tickets: $20-$25. — Michael Gill
“It’s a very inexact science,” says Cleveland Pops conductor Carl Topilow about how he chooses which of his colorful clarinets he’ll play at a concert. Topilow was on tour in Munich in 1998 and spotted a music store with red and green clarinets in the window. They soon became a signature part of his Pops concerts. “They are just plastic student models,” he says. “But if you use your own mouthpiece and reed, you can make it sound pretty good.” The busy conductor is back at Severance Hall tonight to lead the Pops in When Swing Was King, a salute to Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and other big-band icons. And in a nod to the classics, the program even swings a Paul Ferguson arrangement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. “‘Stardust’ doesn’t work with green or red, so I’ll probably play the blue [clarinet] on that,” he says. “‘Sing, Sing, Sing” is a very hot number, so red would be good with that.” The show features Jack Schantz on trumpet, Ferguson on trombone, George Judy on drums and vocalist Barbara Knight. Showtime is 8 p.m. at Severance Hall (11001 Euclid Ave., 216.231.1111). Tickets: $19-$58. — Michael Gill
Just like they’re demonizing Acorn now, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) was once right-wingers’ main target. Remember the elder George Bush describing Michael Dukakis in 1988 as a “card-carrying member of the ACLU,” implying he was some kind of pinko radical? Yet there are few missions more thoroughly patriotic and American than the ACLU’s: protecting the civil liberties guaranteed in the Constitution, whether it involves a teenager wearing a T-shirt bearing an unpopular message or the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, whom the organization stood by on a case relating to church land ownership (despite the fact that Falwell implicated the ACLU in the 9/11 terrorist attacks). From 6-7:30 tonight, newly elected national president Susan Herman — a professor at Brooklyn Law School, an author and a noted authority on constitutional law — will stop at the local ACLU’s Max Wohl Civil Liberties Center (4506 Chester Ave., 216.472.2220, acluohio.org) for an open house to bring people up to speed on what the group is doing these days. The event is free for members; you can become a “card-carrying member” for $20. Go to the group’s website or RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. — Anastasia Pantsios
Laramie, Wyoming, may not be a punk hotbed, but Teenage Bottlerocket play loud, fast and anthemic enough to make you think that the sleepy town could be harboring a musical secret or two. The band goes back nearly a decade, when twin brothers Ray and Brandon Carlisle played in a punk group called the Homeless Wonders. When the band broke up, the Carlisles formed Teenage Bottlerocket (named after a local vehicle bearing that spray-painted moniker) as a Ramones-flavored trio, released a couple of records and went through two guitarists before settling on former Lillingtons member Kody Templeman. Bassist Miguel Chen joined shortly after. Since then, Teenage Bottlerocket have opened for All, the Ataris, and the Mr. T Experience; the Groovie Ghoulies liked them so much they featured them on their personal stage at the Vans Warped Tour. The quartet recently released They Came From the Shadows, featuring killer songs like “Skate or Die” and “Fatso Goes Nutzoid.” Cobra Skulls and Beatnik Termites open at 9 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Tickets: $10. — Brian Baker
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