Watson Twins and more

 

WEDNESDAY 7.16

HEALTH

7th St. Entry

As evidenced by the national success of Crystal Castles and the local dominance of Skoal Kodiak, the club kids want noise and the noise kids want to dance. Los Angeles-based four-piece HEALTH, a wayfaring noise-rock outfit that seems to draw inspiration as much from Justice as from Sightings, means to mediate the peace talks between these two warring factions. Guitars haunt their pounding, surgical drum work before grinding into the ether like iron powder. The vocals, as remote and barren as Neptune, trill beneath icings of digital frost. The sum of all their tooth-grinding and pedal wizardry is a sound that treads the fine line between order and anarchy, with enough off-balance teeters to keep the audience guessing. And unlike the last time you saw Black Dice, this is a show that will compel you to do more than stand still with your eyes shut. With Icy Demons and Gay Beast. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. David Hansen

 

FRIDAY 7.18

The Watson Twins; Tim Fite

Turf Club

Chandra and Leigh Watson, genuine twins originally from Louisville, initially leapt to attention via Rabbit Fur Coat, their 2006 collaboration with Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis. An EP followed, and now there's Fire Songs (Vanguard), their full-length debut. Straddling folk, country, pop, and rock without an apparent particular allegiance to any of them, their canny synthesis almost sounds like a thesis for contemporary rootsy pop. Behind the Watsons' close harmonies is an atmospheric wash full of subtle hooks and scattered touches of psychedelia, pedal steel, jangly folk-rock electric guitar, and even a touch of pop noir punctuated with horns. And their knowing cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven" fits like an organic pea in the pod. Brooklyn-based Tim Fite has railed against consumerist greed, given away an entire album for free, dabbled in hip hop and folk (sometimes at the same time), and sampled albums he finds in bargain bins. So it's not surprising that his latest, Fair Ain't Fair (Anti-), contains all that and more. Its sprawling tracks range from what sound like drunken nursery rhymes to chamber folk played by Appalachian hip-hoppers, along with massed vocal harmonies that sound like the Beach Boys at a hootenanny in the Bronx. With his clever wordplay loosely dealing with consequence and remorse, catchy melodies strewn through quirky textures and contexts, and cut-and-paste approach, Fite comes across like a kindergarten savant with visions of the apocalypse. 21+. $10. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Rick Mason

Jennifer O'Connor

Uptown Bar

If NYC singer/songwriter Jennifer O'Connor has a fault, it's her too-frequent tendency to melodically and lyrically stalk whatever feeling she seeks to explore in song. Once or twice per record she'll really cut loose with something mercurial—"Turn It Down" on 2006's Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars or "Daylight Out" from the forthcoming Here with Me (both on Matador)—but generally, O'Connor teases hooks and emotional gravity from her country-ish compositions gradually. Her latest batch of tunes is especially modest and introspective—given the smoldering natural heat of her voice, one hesitates to say insular—taking on mistruth and yearning adoration as central themes. All of which is fine, in a low-key MOR sense, but let's hope against hope that, someday, O'Connor opts to rock at full, iPod-TV-ad blare for the entirety of a record. With Son, Ambulance, and the Pines. 21+. $6. 9 p.m. 3018 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.823.4719. Ray Cummings

 

SATURDAY 7.19

Ween

Roy Wilkins Auditorium

Ween, being the true musical geniuses they are, have something for everyone: the seemingly serious songs, the whacked-out crazy tracks, and those songs that seem to conform to the conventions of rock 'n' roll before tearing the whole thing apart. Which are all reasons why they've collected a dedicated fan base in the 20-plus years Dean and Gene have been together. The gymnasium-like accommodations of the Roy Wilkins is the perfect venue for this visit to the Twin Cities, unlike the seated confines of their last show at the Orpheum in 2006—a show that was perfect, but could have gained just that much more from even a little more room to move. Even though their last release, La Cucaracha, came out in the fall of last year, could there be a better time than the summer for a Ween show? Break out that Boognish T-shirt and get ready for one of the best shows of the season. $28.50. 7:30 p.m. 175 Kellogg Blvd. W., St Paul; 651.265.4800. Jen Paulson

STNNNG

7th St. Entry

STNNNG is the type of band you get a fake ID and sneak away from your rural confines to go see in the big city. Remember the Jesus Lizard? Cows? Like that. These are the types of bands—aggressive, bass-heavy—that give your 15-year-old self a first and generous dose of badass. Then as you get older you start to appreciate their very real musical merits while getting a simultaneous dose of nostalgia every time you see them again. Even if you haven't seen STNNNG (pronounced "stunning," as in, "Your ability to untangle those marionettes demonstrated a stunning display of manual dexterity"), you'll still get this feeling. Oh yeah, they're opening for Chicago's somehow '80s-sounding headliners Bottomless Pit (ex-Silkworm) and the Kadane Brothers. The brothers you may remember from their days as 40 percent of the band Bedhead or from their days as 100 percent of the band New Year. You'll like them. 18+. $8. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. Jessica Chapman

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