Los Straitjackets at the Continental Club. Landlocked Nashville might be the last place you'd look for the modern-day heirs to the Ventures and Dick Dale. But the luchador mask-clad Los Straitjackets are the real deal — instrumentalists with furious guitar chops who are doing more than any other band alive to perpetuate the proud tradition of surf rock. Midnight. $15. 1315 S. Congress Ave. www.continentalclub.com — Patrick Caldwell
Also recommended: Gossip at Emo's, Drive-By Truckers at Stubb's, the Steps at Antone's
Kurt Vile and the Violators at the Mohawk. A Philadelphia songwriter with a loggorehic streak and a solid working knowledge of fuzzy guitar pop made in the past 30 years, Vile recently released his Matador Records debut, 'Childish Prodigy,' which would be great if he didn't have a habit of putting out three albums inside of a year or so. Slow your roll, dude. With headliners the Black Angels and brilliant garagey up-and-comers Shapes Have Fangs. 9 p.m. $13 advance, $15 door. — Joe Gross
Also recommended: Widespread Panic at Austin Music Hall; All Time Low at La Zona Rosa; All Hallow's Eve Freak Show at Mixx; Venetian Snares at Elysium; Wolfmother at Stubb's
Butthole Surfers at Stubb's. Is there a better way to spend Halloween than with one of the most terrifying bands (in good ways and bad) ever to call Austin home? No there is not. Word has it their phasers are set to kill rather than stun. Steel yourself. With somewhat transgressive electronic weirdo Peaches. 7 p.m. $30. — J.G.
Also recommended: Widespread Panic at Austin Music Hall; Thomas Function at Beerland; White Ghost Shivers Halloween Ball of Fantasy at the Mohawk; Ghoul's Night Out 4 at Emo's; Maneja Beto at the Beauty Bar; Omar and the Howlers at the Saxon Pub; Pack of Wolves at Trophy's
Gogol Bordello at Stubb's. This New York-based, 'Gypsy punk' band has been flattening audiences for a decade. Their heady mix of Eastern European folk, punk energy, reggae's vague sense of dread and violin drone can make for a singular, galvanizing performance. With Apostle of Hustle. 6 p.m. $26.50. — J.G.
Also recommended: Black Cobra at Emo's; Thomas Function at Beerland
Stinking Lizaveta. It seems like this instrumental powerhouse is always on tour; I'd swear I've seen them at least once this year. This is in no way a bad thing; this Philadelphia trio are one of the tightest bands you will ever see, a blend of progressive rock chops, metal riffs and punk grit. This week's most sure-fire show. With Rotor and Baron Grod at Emo's 10 p.m. $10. — J.G.
Also recommended: Le Loup at the Mohawk; Dale Watson and his Lone Stars at the Continental Club
Alela Diane and Marissa Nadler at Cactus Cafe. An evening of gauzy folk from two singers born during the first Reagan administration. Nadler's newest album, 'Little Hells,' is a low-key acoustic stunner, thoughtful and sad. Diane's lithe music has been accused of being part of the 'slow grass' movement (think bluegrass playing mopey songcraft), a term for which someone should be beaten without mercy. 8:30 p.m. $12. — Peter Mongillo
Also recommended: Ephraim Owens Experience at Continental Club Gallery; Naw Dude at Trailer Space; Max Dropout's Annual Death Wish 3 Birthday Bash at Beerland
Drew Smith's Lonely Choir at the Mohawk. Since moving to Austin in 2002, Smith has slowly but surely made a name for himself as one of the city's most savvy pop rockers, with an invigorating sound heavily inspired by Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson. Last year's eponymous album was a smart, instant classic and one of the city's best 2008 releases. With Wiretree and Tribella. 10 p.m. 912 Red River St. www.mohawkaustin.com — P.C.
Also recommended: Rakim at Emo's, Jon Dee Graham and James McMurtry at the Continental Club