Live Music: Elle Varner, Refused

This week's Bay Area concert picks

If you like a little bit of a bittersweet, romantic sheen to your country music without diving into truly tragic territory, Georgia singer-songwriter Erica Sunshine Lee just might fit the bill. Songs like her current single "Without You I'm Still Me" and 2010's "Walk of Shame" offer a modern edge without diving into vindictive Taylor Swift-type tales. Lee takes the stage on August 30 at Brick and Mortar Music Hall.

Swedish hardcore punk band Refused, which reunited this year after a 14-year hiatus, is a wonderful antidote to today's glut of wimpy punk pop bands. Originally scheduled for the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the Refused show has been moved. The band now appears with much buzzed duo Sleigh Bells on August 31 at Fox Theater, which means less room for mosh pits. But you'll still want to be careful.

Elle Varner last appeared in the Bay Area in July with a short set as part of the KMEL Summer Jam to sing her radio hit "Only Wanna Give It to You," a sassy collaboration with rapper J. Cole. Now, the 23-year-old R&B singer from Los Angeles with the throwback vocal tones returns for a full solo performance of songs from her quirky and honest debut album Perfectly Imperfect on September 2 at Mezzanine.

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