Taylor Swift, Jolie Holland, School of Seven Bells, and more

WEDNESDAY 10.7

Yo La Tengo

First Avenue

Hoboken, New Jersey's Yo La Tengo have always seemed like a trio of hip older uncles and aunts: deeply dippy, good-hearted musos trailing their collective muse wherever it happens to lead them, from fuzz-bombshells to soundtrack abstractions to recorded-under-an-alias classic-rock covers to retro-and-loving-it-leaning indie-pop. Yo La Tengo mean no harm: They just wanna have a good, dinky time, and hope you will, too. Popular Songs, the group's latest, goes in for lounge bop, faux Motown, power-pop, and good ol' fashioned indie pap, decorated with the sort of sappy, semi-biographic navel-gazing that guitarist Ira Kaplan, drummer Georgia Hubley, and bassist James McNew have indulged in since before 1997's I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One. Either you can hang with that, or you can't. If you can't, you may be too young to grok the dulcet tones of middle-aged scenester contentment. With Cheap Time. 18+. $18/$20 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ray Cummings

Joe Buck Yourself

Lee's Liquor Lounge

In his days as bassist for Hank Williams III, Joe Buck was easily the most striking figure in the band. That's no small feat when you're sharing the stage with the spitting image of the grandaddy of country-western music. It isn't just Buck's foot-long mohawk, bugged eyes, and enormous, zombie-like maw. The man plays fast. Really fast. Like, "swallows a heaping handful of trucker speed before each show" fast. As a solo artist, he changes up his instrumentation a bit, two-step-stomping a bass drum to complement his grubby guitar work while screaming his lyrics at the top of his lungs and spraying sweat everywhere. The music is a screeching gothic mash-up of country and punk, heavily infused with religious and Southern imagery. Catching a Buck show at Lee's is a special kind of intense, with the crowd leaned over the monitors to within inches of Buck's manic visage, howling his words back at him like Pentecostal exorcists expelling a demon. 21+. $6. 9 p.m. 101 Glenwood Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.9491. —Ward Rubrecht

FRIDAY 10.9

The Decemberists

State Theatre

In the era of pick-and-choose, downloadable mp3s, long live the rock opera! Following 2006's Japanese-folk-tale-inspired The Crane Wife, the Decemberists have crafted a somewhat obscure woodland narrative for their new album, The Hazards of Love, a story about a love-seeking maiden, a cruel rake, an irritable queen, and her shape-shifting son. The Portlanders do some shape-shifting themselves on Hazards, moving from their customary prog/folk rock to metal riffs and back, with atmospheric Hammond organ, romantic mandolin, and even a children's choir. Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond and Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond fit their characters perfectly, and other guests include My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Robyn Hitchcock, and the Spinanes' Rebecca Gates. Per usual, frontman Colin Meloy gives word nerds much to love—i.e. "irascible," "bereft," "deadfall"—though the story's outshined by the inventive instrumentation and vocals. The Decemberists were named after the 1825 Decembrist revolt in Imperial Russia, and Hazards also functions as an uprising—against indie conventions and genre labeling. Portland peers Laura Veirs (who appears on The Crane Wife's "Yankee Bayonet") and the Hall of Flames open. All ages. $32.50. 7:30 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Jenny Woods

Asobi Seksu

First Avenue

New York-based Asobi Seksu initially established themselves as weavers of densely layered pop dreamscapes, thoroughly atmospheric with a serious My Bloody Valentine fixation, yet fueled by James Hanna's furious, noise-guitar assault; all with pint-sized Yuki Chikudate's immense voice soaring amidst the fray. The core duo took an abrupt turn on 2008's appropriately dubbed Hush, replacing the aggressive guitars with cool synths, up-front vocals, and a new emphasis on the songs. Now, AS apparently have shifted gears again, going for mostly acoustic instrumentation on their forthcoming Rewolf (due in November), and consequently billing this as an acoustic performance. Opening will be Sweden's Emil Svanängen, who essentially is Loney Dear, and who knows his way around finely honed folk-pop atmospherics, too. Svanängen accompanies his bittersweet ruminations on romance with sweet melodies and sufficient pop confections to keep things interesting with bright epiphanies and dark undercurrents. Fellow Swede Anna Ternheim won a Swedish Grammy for Leaving on a Mayday, produced by Bjorn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John fame, and released stateside in August. Its prevailing sound is lush, autumnal folk-pop with plenty of zinging strings for dramatic effect, setting up poetic confessionals etched by Ternheim's cool but ingratiating voice. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Rick Mason

SATURDAY 10.10

Crocodiles

Turf Club

Sort of a snottier, more desperate-sounding two-person Jesus and Mary Chain, San Diego's Crocodiles are either empathizing with evil on "I Wanna Kill," or using the slang of every performer who hopes to wow an audience—either way, expressing a sentiment too self-indulgent for this adult to sing along with except against his better judgment. But singer Brandon Welchez and guitarist Charles Rowell sound like God's own garage, even with programmed synthesizers and a drum machine, which sound somehow crappier and scrappier than their organic equivalents would, on this year's ingloriously noisy Summer of Hate, and they put on a show worthy of their record label, Fat Possum. With the Horrors and Ouija Radio. 21+. $13. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. Peter S. Scholtes

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