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

 

SUNDAY 7.20

Fleet Foxes

7th St. Entry

Over the past several years, Sub Pop has become quite the animal collective: first Wolf Parade, then Band of Horses, now Fleet Foxes. The sunny, bucolic pop of the Foxes, however, is far removed from stereotypical Sub Pop indie rock—by about 30 to 40 years. The Washington-based band's sound harkens back to the West Coast's golden era when vocal harmonies were prized above guitar solos. To Fleet Foxes' credit, their homage is fondly reminiscent without being shamelessly nostalgic, endearing but not precious. Most impressively, on songs like "Ragged Wood" and "Blue Ridge Mountains," the Foxes' pastoral prettiness blossoms into yearning wanderlust. Close your eyes and you'll swear you're in the foothills, traversing a vast, empty expanse. The ragged, lo-fi folk from openers the Duchess and the Duke should provide an appropriately gritty counterpoint. With Yer Cronies. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Jonathan Garrett

 

MONDAY 7.21

No Age

Triple Rock Social Club

Everything about L.A. twosome No Age screams community-mindedness and inclusiveness somehow: the noise-meets-hardcore-meets-shoegaze sound, the all-ages-venue they operate (the Smell), the nascent scene they're leading to national visibility, even the thick, D.I.Y./arty photo book that came packaged with Nouns, their new-ish Sub Pop debut. Once the initial shock wears off—that, you know, Dean Spunt and Randy Randall are bringing something somewhat mainstream-friendly to the table this time, as opposed to the entropic void that was 2007's Weirdo RippersNouns' catchy, clearer-eyed palatability becomes less sell-out move than full potential achieved. Soon thereafter, it becomes apparent that this pair aren't one-trick ponies, after all: "Things I Did When I Was Dead" being downright gorgeous, "Errand Boy" being downright Siltbreeze, the nonsensical nature of the lyrics being beside the larger, hopefully inspirational point. Which is—or seems to be—carpe diem, dude. Start a band or a movement, already, and prove to yourself—and the world—that you're alive. With Abe Vigoda. All Ages. $8/$10 at the door. 5 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7499. —Ray Cummings

Jay Reatard

Triple Rock Social Club

Jay Lindsey has been making a scene as Jay Reatard for almost 10 years now, and after 2006's Blood Visions he made a big impression. After starting as a solo artist at the tender age of 15 and playing and recording with a long list of bands in his hometown of Memphis, it came full-circle. His garage-punk sound is awash with jangly, fuzzed-out guitars; incredibly satisfying, fast, aggressive drums; and Reatard's own unique voice, which goes from sing-talk to yelp to melodic tool of rock warfare. Keeping busy, but without a new full-length, this year he released a couple of 7-inches with his imprint on them, one split with Deerhunter and one on his own. Given the stories about the intensity of his performances, combined with the glammed-out (without the godawful outfits and/or makeup) glory of openers Cheap Time and locals Private Dancer, who both sound as if they stepped right out of the rock 'n' roll time machine, tonight's Triple Rock show might just be legendary. 21+. $10. 10 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7499. —Jen Paulson

 

TUESDAY 7.22

Apples in Stereo

Turf Club

In our collective consciousness, the Elephant Six collective towers like a brilliantly ornamented obelisk. From that vaunted co-op came the most luminary music of the '90s, and though a few of its members are still active today, there is the pleasant sense when watching Apples in Stereo that they are emissaries from your own past, returned briefly from a time that is arrested and unspoilable and full of beautiful music. Apples frontman Robert Schneider, who was active in most of the principal Elephant Six bands, sports a discography that glows like a prayer candle to Brian Wilson and all things that glitter in our shared memory, and New Magnetic Wonder, the Apples' most recent full-length, is their most advanced, appealing work yet. Eschewing the Fisher Price aesthetic that marked their golden days, it's a record that, for the first time, seems as enthralled with the present and future as it is with the past. With Poison Control Center and Big Fresh. 21+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —David Hansen

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