Music A-List

The pride of Bloomfield, New Jersey, the indefatigable Ted Leo plays sinewy post-punk loaded with urgent hooks and punctuated with gnarly electric guitar. Leo's torrent of storytelling lyrics suggests early Springsteen, maybe Billy Bragg or Graham Parker on the pub front. Like Bragg's, much of Leo's music is virulently (if not overtly) political. If he's not taking on big issues like war, as in the brutal "Bomb Repeat Bomb," from his latest, Living with the Living (Touch and Go), then it's grainy anthems about average folks trying to endure "in this land of grand decay." There's a touch of ska on Living, sonic references to the Clash, the Brit reggae band Steel Pulse, and the Kinks ("Army Bound" borrows directly from "Victoria"). But it's all ardent Ted Leo, cranking the amps, searching for truth in the rushing words, proving there's better Living through chemistry. With A Sides and His Mischief. $12/$14 at the door. 18+. 6:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. — Rick Mason

SUNDAY 10.14

Redukt Vol. II
Ritz Theater

The first Redukt show christened the Ritz Theatre as a rock venue. This proved a great gift, because it's arguably the best place to see underground music in town: The acoustics are superb, the seats comfy, and there are no pillars blocking your view. Redukt's second installation might not have the same novelty factor, but the bill is just as wide-ranging. Erik Wivinus unfurls acoustic ragas as Forgotten Works, and Jason Kesselring dusts off an electric guitar piece, promisingly named "Metalgazer," under the handle Cupid. The band Sarah Johnson have been described as a youthful outpouring of Id, and Arto Lindsay, er, savaging Glenn Branca, and will probably draw a crowd of gyrating No-Wave revivalists to the Ritz stage. Maps of Norway lurch between melody and noise like a drunken landlubber staggering through the narrow passages of a sinking boat, yet have enough presence to manifest fresh surprises at every chord change. All ages. $8. 7:30 p.m. 345 13th Ave. NE; 612.623.7660. —Cecile Cloutier

TUESDAY 10.16

New Pornographers
First Avenue

Perpetual power-pop persuaders, the New Pornographers emerged from deepest Canada as a super collective side project obsessed with the prevailing sounds of another era. A decade later, the Pornos are critical darlings consistently turning out some of the smartest, most buoyant, heartily complex pop of any era. Carl Newman's songs strew references to a litany of pop predecessors as prolifically as Mets infielders drop pop flies—ELO, Bowie, Beach Boys, and obscurities infinitum. Meanwhile, alt-country princess Neko Case and new sidekick Kathryn Calder play pop sirens to the hilt. The genius behind Newman's (and fellow songwriter Dan Bejar's) pop forays is that they're far more peculiar than predictable, opting for the twists and tangents, however lushly melodic. That's even more the case on the new Challengers, which favors relatively dense eddies of eccentric pop craft over popsicle rushes. Opening will be former Delgados singer/guitarist Emma Pollock, whose solo debut, Watch the Fireworks, is a striking slab of shimmering, cerebral, mature pop (see review, p. 62). 18+. $18/$20 at the door. 8:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Rick Mason

Justice
Foundation Nightclub

There's plenty of things that the French don't necessarily do better than anyone else, they just...well, they invented the phrase je ne sais quoi for a reason. And while I can't quite explain why Le Cercle Rouge is cooler than any other heist flick I've seen, or why I'd rather drive an Alpine-Renault A110 than a Porsche 911, I can at least justify France's lock on house music with a few well-placed names: Daft Punk, Alex Gopher, Alan Braxe, and now Justice. The last group's recently released debut, a Led Zeppelin IV-ishly-titled record alternately called , or Cross, is rougher, scuzzier and more abrasive than the work of their predecessor countrymen; if Daft Punk's Discovery was the disco utopia of Larry Levan's Paradise Garage, Cross is a boom box and a flat slab of cardboard in an abandoned subway station. Their combination of electro pop-lock rhythms, thick funk bass, and heavy metal thunder is the best thing to happen to house since the genre went minimal. 18+. $15/$20 at the door. 8:00 p.m. 10 S. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.332.3931. —Nate Patrin

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