This Week's Top Picks 

An amazing countertenor, high-energy rockabilly, a blues king, and some cowboys

CLASSICAL

The remarkable countertenor David Daniels returns to Hertz Hall on Thursday for a recital guaranteed to exhibit his many strengths. Accompanied by pianist Martin Katz, Daniels sings works by Gluck, Handel, Ravel, Poulenc, and Britten. Expect flawless coloratura, ravishing floated tones, and a depth and warmth rarely encountered in the countertenor voice. This is a must-hear. 510-642-9988. (Jason Serinus)

ROCK

Voted "Best Live Act" in this year's Best of the East Bay issue, the Phenomenauts play high-energy rockabilly with flaming drums, a Theremin helmet, and songs about robots. They appear Thursday at the Starry Plough. 510-841-2082. (Katy St. Clair)

The Talk of the Town on International Boulevard has opened its doors, and on Sunday brings in Ohio's the Lack, which gets compared to Skinny Puppy and the Ministry. How the band will fit in with the tacos and stuffed animal heads at the club remains to be seen, but its low-end bass has been known to knock glasses off of bars. 510-534-8255. (K.S.)

NEW MUSIC

The word "pioneer" gets thrown around in music writing almost as much as "seminal," but in the case of Pauline Oliveros it's legit. She's dedicated her life not only to experimental composition, but to the advancement of women in music. She's a Mills College staple, and now her friends and colleagues are gathering to celebrate her seventieth birthday on Friday at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater in San Francisco. Performers include Rova Saxophone Quartet, Deep Listening Band, Space Between, Circle Trio, Cornelius Cardew Choir, and Ghostdance Trio. 415-398-7229. (K.S.)

BLUES

Better known in Europe than he is in the US, Joe "Guitar" Hughes pays a rare visit to the Bay Area to perform Friday at Biscuits & Blues. The veteran Houston bluesman is a first-rate picker in the T-Bone Walker tradition, and his warm crooning style recalls that of onetime boss Bobby Bland. 415-292-2583. (Lee Hildebrand)

COWBOY

Named after a Zane Grey novel, the Riders of the Purple Sage have been singing about life on the prairie since 1936. Founding member Buck Page remains with the quartet, which also features the rippling accordion of Dart Zubis and the fancy picking of multi-instrumentalist Cody Bryant. The Riders roll into Freight & Salvage on Friday with such sweetly harmonized Hollywood-style Western favorites as "Ghost Riders in the Sky," "Don't Fence Me In," and "Blues Shadows on the Trail." 510-548-1761. (L.H.)

JAZZ

SFJAZZ hosts the West Coast debut of Italian jazz trumpeter Enrico Rava this Saturday at Herbst Theater. A modernist whose avant-garde and hard-bop leanings have led him to collaborations with Carla Bley, Lee Konitz, and many others, Rava is a passionate player with emotional fire and progressive improvisational fury. French accordion and bandoneon player Richard Galliano opens. 415-788-7353. (Jesse "Chuy" Varela)

Jazz-pop singer Jenna Mammina has a great band, great arrangements, and a great song selection -- from jazz standards to Steely Dan classics -- and she's got the magic touch, as she demonstrated by driving away the unseasonal rain at the recent Jazz on Fourth festival with a ten-minute version of Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives." She has both sass and class -- and a lot of love. She appears Monday at Yoshi's. 510-238-9200. (Larry Kelp)

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