The pluckiest way to dispatch the waning year may be with a potent dose of northern grass in its many varietal splendors—blue, new, maybe even askew. This party of Minnesotans with a Southern exposure is headed up by Trampled By Turtles (recently upgraded to a quintet with the addition of fiddler Ryan Young), who give Bill Monroe's baby a punkish dose of adrenalin that threatens to rocket Dave Carroll's banjo into orbit. The Turtles' latest CD, Trouble (Banjodad), plays havoc with tradition, straying into new-grass fusion at times, fashioning weepy country laments about excessive carrying-on, and constantly flirting with indie-rock fragments that finally break out on the positively grungy "Who's Calling?" The Turtles' partners in roots-twisting innovation, Pert Near Sandstone, are a string band with grassy inclinations that stretch to country at either end of the new/old timey scale, pop, and even intimations of urbanity—they even question the resident repulsive Republican regime on "Aught Three Waltz," a song from their own far finer incumbent, Up and Down the River. For pure weirdness, the album also sports a sizzling Transylvanian klezmer breakdown innocuously dubbed "Gypsy Reel." Between the grassy knolls will be the White Iron Band, whose finest contribution to the evening's theme may be a little Tex-Mex ditty called "Sweet Mary Jane" from last year's live and definitely kickin' At the Cabooze disc. A rowdy, countrypolitan bar band par excellence who rock out hard, this is one Iron that's always hot.
Mon., Dec. 31, 8 p.m., 2007