Music A-List

WEDNESDAY 10.24

The Good Neighbor Policy
331 Club

Two years ago, Magnolia Electric Co. frontman Jason Molina unwittingly defined a genre of music with a simple question. "What comes after the blues?" The sad-bastard blues are about daring to answering that question—and I'll give you a hint, the answer isn't happiness. Thomas Pendarvis of the Good Neighbor Policy falls decidedly on the sad bastard side of the blues/bastard rift. He possesses the gravitas of Smog's Bill Callahan, the heartbroken gospel of Molina, and a backing band that swoons as effectively as it bangs (most of that sound being telegraphed by the fingertips of pianist James Palmer). All of this can be heard on the band's debut disc Kill...the Good Neighbor Policy, most distinctly on his somber tale of vicious infidelity, "This Beast." "I am selfish, I am jealous, and I am cruel," he sings as the strings tug the edges of the song. "Maybe I gave up when the Lord gave up on me." This, from a 25-year-old? A little young to start realizing that, once you look past the blues, you're looking into the abyss. Free. 9:30 p.m. 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612.331.1746. —Mark Baumgarten

Van Halen
Target Center

No, really, this time they mean it (probably): Van Halen are touring again with David Lee Roth, which is good news—at least for those of us who were eight when they broke up and spent our teens thinking of VH mostly as that band from the Crystal Pepsi commercial. The catch (there's always one) is that Michael Anthony won't be along. This time, Van Halen contains 25 percent more Van Halen, with Eddie's teenage son Wolfgang filling in on bass (seeing as how musical acts with "Wolf" in their name are popular and all). No word on whether, being too young to play a Jack Daniels bass, Wolfgang will have to settle instead for a Sunny D bass. As much complaining as this personnel change might inspire, the possibility of seeing Diamond Dave and Eddie on the same stage doing something besides scowling at each other should be worth at least part of the ticket price. Filling out the rest of the value for your rock entertainment dollar: at least six years' worth of hits from the band that justified arena rock's existence, from the wall-to-wall hits of their debut through the scuzzy white-dude funk of 1981's whompass Fair Warning, up till the synth-drenched, teacher-ogling, Lamborghini-revving ultrablockbuster 1984. $49.50-$149.50. 7:30 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. —Nate Patrin

THURSDAY 10.25

Lyrics Born
Foundation Nightclub

It's generally unfair to define an artist by the various collectives he's associated with, but it's hard not to do just that with San Fran-based MC Lyrics Born. Aside from founding the seminal indie label Quannum Projects (formerly Solesides) with Left Coast institutions DJ Shadow and Blackalicious, the dude has gone on to work with such diverse talents as KRS, E-40, and basically the entire guest list at the Cali alternative-rap banquet. Not surprisingly, his music relies heavily on innovation, creativity, and the joy of words, as well as the craftsmanship honed from touring incessantly. Born's latest project, last year's Overnite Encore, is an amazing live album (last decent live rap album? anyone?), so it's assured that his show is trump tight. Mainly, if you love the sounds of fellow West Coast oddballs Gift of Gab, Pigeon John, and Del but have not yet been blessed by Lyrics Born and his magical mic presence, open your ears to your new favorite rapper. 18+. $12. 10:00 p.m. 10 S. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.332.3931. —Jordan Selbo

FRIDAY 10.26

Chuck Prophet
Turf Club

Ever since his days as guitarist for the unclassifiable '80s band Green on Red, Chuck Prophet has played the pop blues. His latest, Soap and Water, pays tribute to the suave yet tortured work of Memphis icon Alex Chilton. The modified tango of "I Can Feel Your Heartbeat" takes up where Chilton's 1979 "Hey! Little Child" left off, while "Let's Do Something Wrong" effortlessly combines Prophet's rhythm guitar with Nashville's Vine Street Christian Church Children's Choir. Producers Prophet and Brad Jones make Soap sing, with touches of Texas two-step and one-chord electro-blues complementing songs such as "Downtime" and "Freckle Song," which finds Prophet crooning, "Let me help you out of that dress/Before you catch a cold." Just like Chilton, Prophet makes music that's insouciant and empathetic, as on the gorgeous "Small Town Girl," about one more victim of the big city whose new clothes can't conceal the same old heartbreak. $12. 8:00 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Edd Hurt

SATURDAY 10.28

Josh Rouse
Fine Line Music Cafe

Once an alt-country kinda guy, the prolific Josh Rouse left Nashville for Spain a few years back, apparently determined to become the quintessential singer-songwriter of the '70s. (One of his albums was even titled 1972.) His latest release, Country Mouse, City House (Bedroom Classics), sports finely crafted, mellow pop-rock laced with simmering rhythms, judicious horns, bloodless funk, and R&B—even a bit of swing. Carole King, James Taylor, maybe the Eagles or Steely Dan on their milder days—you get the idea. Rouse calls it a winter album, and its music does have the tasty warmth of a glowing hearth. But many of the lyrics also have a decided chill, with "Domesticated Lovers" casually breaking each other's hearts, an outsider yearning to fit in, and an abandoned lover complaining that his ex is off "fuckin' those Italians with expensive clothes." Melodic singer-songwriter opening act Maria Taylor, formerly half of the duo Azure Ray, juggles folk-rock, the odd electronic pulse, yearning vocals, and emotionally fraught lyrics on her second solo album, Lynn Teeter Flower (Saddle Creek). $18/$20 at door. 8:00 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Rick Mason

MONDAY 10.29

The Octopus Project
7th St. Entry

This Austin group is far from catholic in its approach to indie rock. Though pegged as "experimentalists," the Octopus Project are more than capable of delivering the pop goods. And despite the members' tendency toward vintage electronic equipment like theremins, the group's passion for tweaking the capabilities of modern recording gear should not be overlooked. Essentially, then, the Octopus Project is that most millennial of outfits—a wide-ranging (and often ironic) knowledge of historic esoterica and unorthodox weirdness combined with a contrasting thread of semi-futurism and pop formalism. The result? A deceptively complex sound that appeals to straightforward indie purists and lovers of avant-pop, never too weird for the former nor too simplistic for the latter. $8. 8:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. — Jason Ferguson

TUESDAY 10.30

Del tha Funky Homosapien and Devin the Dude
7th St. Entry

If everything you know about Del is from his involvement in the innovative but cutesy side projects Deltron 3030 and Gorillaz, you're missing the point. Tha Funky one has been laying down his idiosyncrasies on wax since his cousin Ice Cube put him on in 1991. Ironically, dude only found his true artistic footing after abandoning Cube's trademark reliance on funk backdrops. Focusing on jazzy and airy soundscapes, he eventually became a founding member of the fan-friendly Hieroglyphics crew, dropping songs about metro transit, distant galaxies, and all points in between. And just as Hiero were the perfect anecdote for Cali's thugged-out gangsta-isms, opener Devin the Dude and his Coughee Brothers brought a much-needed joviality to Scarface's mid-'90s Rap-A-Lot family. Over the last decade he has solidified his place as one of the most refreshing and honest solo artists in rap, keeping it simple (women, weed, wine) but never boring. This is a veritable hall of fame for left-field rap. 18+. $15. 8:00 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Jordan Selbo

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