Critics' Picks: The Mekons and more

7th St. Entry

Bless Craigslist. It does the work of the Gods, righting wrongs in Missed Connections and uniting dongs in Casual Encounters—why, it's even behind the mini-orchestra from Washington, D.C., that's rolling into town tonight. You see, the songs from Le Loup's 2007 release, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly, originally existed only on bandleader Sam Simkoff's laptop. But then he reached through it to pull seven bandmates off of Craigslist. Now the troupe bring his heated, experimental, ever-changing folk rock to life. The group members create swells of sound and waves of color and emotion; they might seem to be aimlessly meandering before tightening down into an electro-blippy, banjo-bending jam. And with everybody in the operation contributing to the vocals? I can't imagine the most successful Casual Encounter creating a more ecstatic sound. With the Ruby Suns. $8. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Sarah Askari


These United States

400 Bar

Blair Witch Moth Super Rainbow
courtesy of Solid PR
Blair Witch Moth Super Rainbow

Timelessness and universality are two qualities missing from most contemporary music—which is a lot of the reason why These United States feel like such a breath of fresh air. On their debut CD, A Picture of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden, the dynamic duo of songwriter/singer Jesse Elliott and producer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist David Strackany pursue a vision somewhere between the Postal Service's soft synth-pop and traditional blues-folk. Elliott comes off as the best sort of troubadour: For him, songs are as much signposts to rally around as they're short, short sonic stories or romantic serenades that'd work equally well in 1953 or 2009. Take "The Business," a lively, swinging, all-in-a-day's-work meditation that doubles a reaffirmation of dogged adoration. "I got a big brand new Cadillac of a plan," he promises, later flipping negative to positive: "I can't even tell you all the blood I've seen/But for a taste of your love, I'll go through any machine." With No Time for TV, the Pleasure Boaters, Mannix!, the ReVamps, Pandora's Box Cutters, and the Puritanicals. 18+. $5. 5 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.332.2903. —Ray Cummings


Born Ruffians

7th St. Entry

Imagine—if you dare, really—the tribalist/psychedelic antics, shrieking exuberance, and faux-twee naiveté of Animal Collective married to the Strokes' OCD, no-note-wasted-or-outta-place take on downtown muso NYC cool. Taken singly, each of these two flavors is delicious in unique, distinctive ways; taken together, the resulting compound would be enough to make almost anybody cringe. To say that Born Ruffians violently disagree would be a massive understatement. Take debut full-length Red, Yellow, & Blue. As multi-tracked guitarist/singer Luke Lalonde reels off lame fantasies and Rolling Stones lyrical lifts, this Canadian indie-rock threesome bangs together anal-retentive pop constructs so tight you'd swear they just rolled off of an assembly line. None of which is much fun to think about, let alone listen to; unlike their celebrated Warp labelmates Battles, Born Ruffians haven't figured out how to synthesize influences into something unique and amazing. Acid Mothers Temple headline. With Danava and Cadence Weapon. $10. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ray Cummings

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