If you like old-time sounds, then Friday night is a good night for you, although it'll involve making a choice between the Tarbox Ramblers at IOTA (703-522-8340) and the Seldom Scene at the Birchmere (703-549-7500). The Tarbox Ramblers hail from Boston and specialize in pre-World War II tunes, be they blues, country or gospel. They play with an entertaining verve that makes for a really fun live show in a space like IOTA's. The Seldom Scene have long been a favorite among area bluegrass fans. They're skilled musicians who aren't afraid to do the unexpected, oftentimes performing covers of old rock classics.

The Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre (703-218-6500) will host Orlando Marin and His Orchestra on Saturday night, performing their first D.C.-area show in 30 years. Marin is especially known for his timbale drumming and the evening should be a Latin music treat. At the Roots Cafe (located in St. John's Church, 410-880-3883) in Baltimore on Saturday you can check out the Hula Monsters, featuring talents-you-may-recognize-from-other bands Dave Giegerich, Dave Chappel, Mark Noone, Moe Nelson and Ben Holmes. Opening for them will be the eclectic sounds of Cigarbox Planetarium. (The Hula Monsters will be at Half Moon BBQ [301-585-1290] the previous night.)

This may not be a traditional nightlife sort of pick, but hey, he did write "A Drinking Life" so it works. Author Pete Hamill will be discussing his new novel "Forever" Tuesday at the Borders (703-998-0404) in Baileys Crossroads. For a taste of the blues Tuesday, head to the Kennedy Center to hear singer-songwriter Otis Taylor on the Millennium Stage (202-467-4600). Taylor has received the Handy Award for best new artist.

DJ Spooky's "Optometry" project rolls into the Black Cat (202-667-4490) on Wednesday. DJ Spooky grew up in Washington and is quite artful on the wheels of steel.

Remember the Smithereens? Had a big hit that was all over MTV back in the day called "Blood and Roses"? Well, they've still got a loyal cadre of fans who'll no doubt be pleased to rock with them Thursday at the Rams Head (410-268-4545) in Annapolis.

Someone I was listening to when "Blood and Roses" was high on the charts was Jason Ringenberg in his 1980s band Jason & the Scorchers, a rockin' alt-country band before the label alt-country came into vogue. He's been doing a lot of solo work in the past couple of years and the man can write a song. Check him out Thursday at IOTA (703-522-8340) and you'll hear what I mean. Also Thursday, the Radio King Orchestra will be swinging at Timpano (301-881-6939), celebrating the release of their CD "Live From Timpano."

-- Curt Fields