Green Day, Cage, and more

WEDNESDAY 7.8

Cage

Triple Rock Social Club

Damaged-goods rapper Cage famously claimed Eminem ripped off his style, has his own 8 Mile in the dream pipeline (with longtime fan Shia LaBeouf hoping to play him), and a new album that you could call his anti-Relapse—with Cage's entertainingly frank autobiography contrasting with Eminem's increasingly desperate agit-poop. But the more telling point of comparison is punk-rap from the Beasties to P.O.S., which Cage one-ups on Depart from Me by finding a new balance: "Fat Kids Need an Anthem" sounds less like hip hop than like Mike Muir sputtering through Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized" over a Big Black beat ("I went from fantasizing about women to fantasizing about food I can't eat anymore"), while "Kick Rocks" could make Le Tigre fans dance. At this point, a harrowing Hollywood biopic would be an anticlimax. With Yak Ballz. 18+. $15. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Peter S. Scholtes

THURSDAY 7.9

Josh Ritter

Varsity Theater

Josh Ritter is frequently tagged with the descriptor "Dylanesque," an adjective that is usually too broad to mean much of anything. Does that reference folkie Dylan, plugged-in iconoclast Dylan, religious zealot Dylan, or frog-voiced elder Dylan? But the comparison is actually suitable for Ritter, a singer-songwriter who amped up his sound on his latest album, 2007's The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. That excellent disc still shows off Ritter's quiet side, as well as the incredible facility with metaphor and wordplay that has earned him the comparison to the demigod of all troubadours, on gentler tunes like "Naked As a Window" and in particular the lyrically dense ballad "The Temptation of Adam." ("What five letters spell apocalypse, she asked me," Ritter croons, before answering his own riddle, "WWIII.") But it's the jolting, band-backed tracks that drive the record, from the rapid-fire "To the Dogs or Whomever," which indelibly invokes the verbal blitzkrieg of "Subterranean Homesick Blues," to the percussive gunfighter's lament "Mind's Eye" to the wry "Next to the Last Romantic." Ritter's show at the Varsity will include his full band, which should guarantee a lively performance. Of course, the only true way to follow in the footsteps of Dylan is to be an ever-evolving artist with a sound all your own. Ritter certainly has that—and what a sound it is. With Joe Pug. 18+. $20. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. Bryan Miller

FRIDAY 7.10

Brutal Becomings

501 Club

Brutal Becomings navigate their handcrafted maelstrom with the ease of seasoned caped crusaders. Whether they are using their powers for help or havoc is yet to be determined. Their battle never ceases, as the brand of their sound morphs with every snippet. At certain moments the locals try on an Eno-like ambience, minus the bells and whistles. During others they plummet into Hendrix-esque disarray. Whether it's drippy blues or warped squealing, Brutal Becomings never layer too much or too little. So far the band has shied away from the public, some preferring to wear the costume of the everyman and some diddling with hip hop and Heiruspecs. But at their CD-release show, the masks will fall away and there may be no innocent bystanders. With Lookbook and Aaron and the Sea. 21+. Free. 501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.3848. Erin Roof

Black Francis

Triple Rock Social Club

Black Francis hardly needs an introduction. Whether using his Pixies moniker or going by his real name, Frank Black, under a solo project, Black has proven himself as one of the most significant players in the ever-developing genre of rock. With the Pixies, Black pioneered an incomparable style of jagged, frenetic rock and invented a loud-quiet-loud formula that so many bands have since attempted to recreate. And solo he has demonstrated a seemingly innate ability for songwriting, incorporating pop hooks into his gritty, soul-baring, stripped-down punk. His latest tour is in support of a new project with his wife, Violet Clark, known as Grand Duchy, but Black's stop in Minneapolis will be a rare solo performance. Expect songs spanning his entire career, from Black Francis to Frank Black and back again. 18+. $20. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Andrea Swensson

SATURDAY 7.11

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Turf Club

Chicago's Owen Ashworth (a.k.a. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone) will stop in the Twin Cities in the middle of a 30-date tour in support of his two most recent releases, Vs. Children and Advance Base Battery Life (a collection of 7-inch singles released between 2004 and 2007). Now more than a decade into his career, Ashworth has employed his delicate vocals and melancholy electronics to earn a reputation as a unique indie-pop storyteller. His ability to complement his gentle voice with the sounds of his understated, moody arrangements gives his songs a warm sensibility that is rare among knob-tweakers. Ashworth typically takes a very personal approach to his songwriting, and the lyrics on Vs. Children offer a refreshing perspective, with many of the songs revolving around bleak stories about remorseful criminals. The entire package is powerful, and the listening experience is amplified in the live setting. With Cryptacize, Best Friends Forever, and the Danforths. 21+. $7. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. Chris DeLine

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