What's up with heavy music

August brings a lot of stellar shows, starting this weekend with Austin's Ancient VVisdom, Bloody Hammers, and Ilsa Aug. 9 at the Sidebar. The following night, Ghastly City Sleep-featuring Brandon Evans of Pg. 99, Kilara, and City of Caterpillar-closes out its summer tour at Club K with Thee Lexington Arrows and Dead Mechanical. Sunday, Aug. 11, Hunx and His ever-rotating band of Punx split a bill with Ian Svenonius' current group, Chain and the Gang, at the Ottobar. The next day, Roomrunner plays Metro Gallery with Speedy Ortiz and Hive Bent. Capping off this five-day rock block is the thoughtful hardcore band Ceremony, which will be stopping at the Ottobar on Aug. 13 while on tour with Give and Baltimore's own Ed Schrader's Music Beat.

That gives you a scant few days to recover before local label A389's stacked showcase at the Ottobar on Friday, Aug. 16, featuring Ringworm, Municipal Waste, as well as local acts Full of Hell (pictured), Noisem, and others. The next night, new venue the Crown is hosting a round robin, with highlights including Christopher Nobody and the Nothing and Sexgender.

Lars Ulrich's favorite band, the Sword, performs with local rippers Asthma Castle Aug. 20 at the Ottobar. Richmond crust-metal act Occultist hits the Sidebar on Aug. 22 with Musket Hawk.

Things get a little more punk at the tail-end of the month, with the unbelievably named (but very fun) Diarrhea Planet playing with Big Christ at Metro Gallery on Aug. 25, then Pure Junk and Enemy Insects (fresh off their tour with Common Enemy) opening for Union 13 at the Sidebar on Aug. 26, which leads into Celebrated Summer Records' seventh anniversary show at the Ottobar. Tony Pence from CSR managed to score the legendary punk band Zero Boys as well as Night Birds and support from notable locals the Ravagers and Pence's own band, WarXGames. The celebration goes down on Tuesday, Aug. 27.

Looking further out, there are two notable shows coming up in September. On the Sept. 13, local promoters Extremity Retained celebrate their birthday with a killer lineup that includes EYEHATEGOD, Agnostic Front, the Cro-Mags, Iron Reagan, a Final Conflict reunion, and more. Extremity Retained tells us this is going down at the Ottobar. The next day, and a short jaunt down 95, Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring is holding a two-stage festival that covers the gamut of heavy-music styles, with a focus on stoner/doom. Highlights include Baltimore's the Wayward (for whom this author released a record a decade or so ago), as well as Highpriest, Cavern, Wall of Sleep, Weed Warlock, and many others.

In local release news, the Old Lines and Multicult EPs are coming out on Reptilian Records, with preview tracks available in City Paper's Big Music Playlist. Also featured on the playlist were local punks the Ravagers, who have a 12-inch coming out on Cricket Cemetery. Locals Sick Thoughts are releasing a cassette on Southpaw Records, a well-known punk and garage label that just relocated to Baltimore. Suburban Maryland noisemakers Chaos Destroy also have a new LP out on the Olde English Spelling Bee label.