These Modern Socks and more

 

WEDNESDAY 8.20

Great Lake Swimmers

7th St. Entry

Great Lake Swimmers' 2007 release, Ongiara, was a gorgeous record full of lush, moody folk ambiance seamlessly melded with deeply poignant and heartfelt lyricism. Even though they aren't touring behind a new record at present, the five-year output of these prolific Canadians can more than fill out the middle of their drawn-out, summer-into-fall tour, which has included performances with the fabulously revelatory Allison Krauss and Robert Plant. Swimmers' lead Tony Dekker's beautifully contained, lilting voice is a perfect mate to the late-night beauty of sweet layers of acoustic guitar and a slowly building dreamy electric, alongside spirited banjo and glockenspiel. Not to be overlooked are the two great local bands opening: the Pines and the Parlour Suite. It's a lovely bill, the kind that makes you want to find a cozy spot and just let it go on and on. 18+. $8. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Jen Paulson

Former Jayhawk Gary Louris wants to know: Where have all my friends gone?
Darren Ankenman
Former Jayhawk Gary Louris wants to know: Where have all my friends gone?

 

THURSDAY 8.21

Flobots

Varsity Theater

Denver, Colorado's Flobots seem intent on fomenting a populist revolution—or, at least, cashing in on the sugar-coated, romanticized, anything-can-happen idea of one. Perhaps they've struck a chord; thanks in part to guest appearances on late-night TV talk shows, debut Fights with Tools is closing in on 200,000 units sold here in the land of the brave. The solution to our present economic/cultural/political quagmire apparently involves poli-sci backpacker rap calisthenics, horns, strings, classic-style rock 'n' roll guitar, and more optimism and positivity than anyone should be allowed to possess in 2008 by law. Flobots aren't afraid to compare themselves to Rusted Root, favor Barack Obama, won't swear, want more vaccines made available to those who most need 'em; all admirable things, sure, but my inner-15-year old would rather just headbang to dusty Rage Against the Machine albums. With People Under the Stairs. All ages. $10/$12 at the door. 5:30 p.m. 1308 4th St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. Ray Cummings

 

FRIDAY 8.22

Chokecherry

Hexagon Bar

With their boots grounded in folk, a wagon full of punk flair, and lyrics full of political steam, Chokecherry sound like cheap beer and taste like squealing tires. The rowdy group of four aren't shy about their belief in DIY culture, but so raw about it that they're frequently humorous. If you can catch the speeding lyrics, you'll raise your fist to phrases like, "You and I will never be free 'til every boss is dead and buried," and "When the world ends, I hope that he comes back and puts a gun to every fucking cop's head." Yikes. The banjo and violin melodies speak to the band's old-time, outlaw country inspirations, while Chokecherry's radical attitude provides the cream. Their show at the Hex is also their CD release and tour kickoff party. Ruthless band friends Knotwells, Baby Guts, and Nancy Drew Crew will open. 21+. Free. 9 p.m. 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.722.3454. —Amber Schadewald

These Modern Socks

Turf Club

These Modern Socks may have started as a one-man bedroom band, but it has certainly evolved into something more. Even rarer: a band that melds a range of indie pop influences so seamlessly, and actually incorporates the musical tastes of its members. These Modern Socks find success with that formula on their latest effort, Picking a Lock at the Speed of Light. What results is the slow swirl of good pop—one part acoustic, with some electronic spice mixed with half a cup of bedroom pop. Now imagine all of that without making it sound like a paint-by-numbers mess. Their quirky, off-kilter lyrics are perfectly accentuated by crisp instrumentation. If you're lucky, they might even break out their cover of Tears for Fears' hit "Head Over Heels." While their new album adds more pop-influenced elements, this local gem still have a sound to reckon with. With Wishbook, Future Antiques. 21+. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. Desiree Weber

 

SATURDAY 8.23

Welcome to the Cinema

400 Bar

On Welcome to the Cinema's first full-length release, the burgeoning talent of these South Dakotans spills out in abundance. They mix rousing indie rock with an occasional spacey synth and brief moments of twee sprinkled in for good measure. Upon first listens to Blocks and Hills, my ears were treated to a shiny little breakthrough. From its first moments of Strokes-infused frenetic rock, the album continues on as a sharply produced, refreshing work of standout proficiency. With night-and-day vocals that go from a glorious, angsty whine to a charmingly sweet sing-song, there is a decidedly undecided vibe from this band. The record itself is multifaceted in scope and vision, yet it still manages to feel put-together and seamless. I can already sense great things from these guys, but first things first—I can't wait to see them play. Also on tap are hometown favorites the Hopefuls, who are playing a smattering of shows this year after an off-and-on presence, along with Prozac Rat and Golden Bubbles. 18+. $8. 9 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.332.2903. —Jen Paulson

 

SUNDAY 8.24

The Movement Celebration

7th St. Entry

After six annual Twin Cities Celebrations of Hip Hop, the three most recent of which took over First Avenue for a weekend, sponsors Yo! The Movement have scaled back the event to a single day in the Entry, citing the rising cost of insurance. They deserve thanks for those six amazing weekends, and acknowledgment that while the headliners were ace (Clipse, Slick Rick, Naughty By Nature), the best moments came as surprises from amateur rappers, dancers, DJs, and other hip-hop fame seekers. Today's event warms up with free workshops from noon to 4 p.m., then blows out into two parties, one all-ages and one 21+, each featuring hip-hop karaoke (song listings at yothemovement.org) and b-boy and krumping dance exhibitions. The lineup for both shows is proven, if heavily local: Mr. Wright (Toki Wright), Maria Isa, Trama, St. Paul Slim, Tony Bones and Big Wiz, Asian Hip-Hop Summit (from Los Angeles), Illuminous 3, Tou Saik Lee and Friends, Fres (from Milwaukee), Young Son, Naadirah, Yakub, and Profit. With DJ Snuggles and Benzilla DJing. All ages, $6, 4:30 p.m. 21+, $6, 9 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Peter S. Scholtes

 

MONDAY 8.25

Gary Louris

Guthrie Theater

He helped birth alt-country, that increasingly hard to define sound, albeit one that was represented perfectly on the Jayhawks' 1995 album, Tomorrow The Green Grass. Louris and the rest of the 'Hawks went on indefinite hiatus in 2005, disappointing many, but it reminds me of a statement Sting made circa 1985 that a band is like a gang—eventually you get too old to be in a gang. Finding your own path is much easier without people in tow and questions to answer from a committee regarding the group's chosen direction. Louris officially struck out on his own this year with Vagabonds, and while its alt-country influence is evident, it is not a throwback or a desperate reach for the glory days. Nor does it sound like one-fourth of a great band trying to establish himself as a legit artist. Certainly that's what Louris is trying to do, and with Vagabonds, it seems he has effortlessly succeeded, walking a similar but less traveled path than he did with his former bandmates, a path that seems fairly safe for now but could get much thornier should Louris choose to make it so. All Ages. $25. 7:30 p.m. 818 S 2nd St., Minneapolis; 612.377.2224. Pat O'Brien

 

TUESDAY 8.26

Parachutes

Varsity Theater

Hailing from Reykjavik, Iceland, Parachutes' soft sweeping melodies will whisk you into a wintry abyss of the calm and collected. A group of seven, they bring together sleepy vocals, lingering chimes, piano, sometimes trombone, light drums, and other cutesy toys, making a sound that will rock you like a low-swinging hammock. Last year the group released their first album, and this month they're making their first American tour. Cool and melty, Parachutes is soothing with substance, promising a fill for your empty ears. Electronic-inspired Solid Gold will open, offering a mix of tempos for the evening's harmonious show. With Greycoats. 18+. $8/$10 at the door. 7 p.m. 1308 4th St. SE, Minneapolis, 612.604.0222. —Amber Schadewald

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