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Philly's Atom and His Package is really just smart geek-punk Atom (formerly of Fracture), who writes and programs songs on his music sequencers (aka the "package") and adds guitar, vocals and stuff on his home studio. The results, if you check out his most recent disc, 2001's Reinventing Music, brings to mind such artists-wits as Devo, They Might Be Giants and even '80s college-radio wackos The Dead Milkmen (who, incidentally, also hail from Philly--maybe it's something in the cheesesteaks). With songs about punk-rock high schools, shopping sprees, giant cranes, black metal, Rob Halford and more ("Anarchy Means I Litter," is a sample song title), you'll either love or hate his stuff. See Atom this Wednesday, Jan. 16 at Go! Room 4 in Carrboro. Call 969-1400 for details.

DiamondDiamondDiamondSinger, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and producer Rhonda Vincent (pictured) has been playing music for as long as she can remember, joining her family's group, the Sally Mountain Show, at the age of 6. Although she can pick about anything with strings, these days Vincent is primarily known for her singing and fine mandolin playing--she was voted 2000's Female Vocalist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Association. After doing the Nashville thing, both as a country artist and as a session musician, Vincent returned to "pure" 'grass in '99, when she put together her backing band, The Rage (all top-notch pickers in their own right). Their subsequent Rounder release, Back Home Again, saw Vincent welcomed back into the bluegrass community with open arms--the disc topped both the Gavin Americana and Bluegrass Unlimited charts. See Vincent and the Rage, with local pickers the Steep Canyon Rangers, this Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill. Call 967-9053 for details.

DiamondDiamondDiamondBlue Note recording artist Diane Reeves pays tribute to one of her inspirations on her Grammy award-winning latest disc, The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan. Besides containing a Reeves-penned homage to Vaughan, "I Remember Sarah," Reeves covers such classic tunes as "Lullaby of Birdland" selected from throughout Vaughan's career. Reeves recorded the tracks live with a studio orchestra in order to re-create the spontaneity that Vaughan brought to her sessions. Heir to the tradition of Vaughan, Carmen McRae and Ella Fitzgerald, Reeves will be performing at N.C. State University's Stewart Theatre (as part of their Center Stage series) this Friday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m. Call 515-1100 for ticket information.

--Angie Carlson

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