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

SUNDAY 10.11

Rob Thomas

Xcel Energy Center

Let's be honest here: Ripping on Rob Thomas is all kinds of fun. The sudden fluctuations in weight. The reliably maudlin FM radio cheese. The cornball 1999 collabo with boomer icon Carlos Santana ("Smooth"). The tortured-puppy glower clouding modelesque features. The interchangeably anonymous, low-maintenance hairstyles. The fact that between his Matchbox Twenty winning streak and his solo career, the guy appears to be on a personal quest to catalog every dolorous emotion ever suffered, if his themes are anything to go by: "Bent," "Disease," "Unwell," "Lonely No More." Really, at this point, you maybe sort of wish Thomas—who is totally married to a Puerto Rican model, and is a dad—would cheer up and start penning tunes with names like "Ecstatic" and "Stoked" and "Sweet." Thing is, he's really good at capturing what it feels like to have your heart smashed and stomped by someone you love, in the same way that Trent Reznor is the undisputed king of pop-industrial spleen. Catch 22: If Thomas lightens up, he loses his entire reason for being. With OneRepublic and Carolina Liar. $42-$62. 7 p.m. 175 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul; 651.726.8240. —Ray Cummings

Taylor Swift

Target Center

Consider this: Taylor Swift was last year's biggest-selling American artist. Her single "Love Story" became the first country single to top the Billboard Pop Top 40. She hit Nashville by age 11, started writing songs and playing the 12-string by 12, and at 14 was the youngest staff songwriter ever hired by Sony/ATV Tree Publishing. She has a clothing line at Walmart and dated a Jonas Brother. Every single she's released has hit the Country Top 10. Her 2009 tour sold out the Staples Center in two minutes, Madison Square Garden in one. Forbes ranked her as the 69th most powerful celebrity, with over $18 million in earnings this year. Taylor Swift is 19. If you were quick to the draw and purchased a ticket in under 30 minutes for her October 11 Target Center show (with Kellie Pickler and Gloriana) consider yourself lucky—all her U.S. dates this tour have sold out. $22-$51.50. 6 p.m. Target Center, 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. Nikki Miller

MONDAY 10.12

Jolie Holland

Varsity Theater

Jolie Holland's whippoorwill mushmouth is one of the more dauntingly beautiful vocal things to emerge from '00s alternative roots music, so odd and engaging that it reveals itself anew with every fresh context—tackling straight-up blues, accompanying rapper Sage Francis, or working her own developing jazz-folk-pop amalgam, where most fans find her. But she's not one to make lyrics the star of her songs, however heartfelt, so her surest claims on eternity might lie outside the jazz she plies, amid the consciously mysterious porch singing of 2003's Catalpa, where she began, solo-wise, and the rock of "Mexico City," off last year's The Living and the Dead, in which she becomes a sad Elvis for a mysterious situation involving war and booze. Her music remains high on its timeless novelty, and with such a regular live presence here, most fans require no introduction. With Matt Bauer. 18+. $16. 8 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Peter S. Scholtes

TUESDAY 10.13

School of Seven Bells

7th St. Entry

Animal nature and band iconography being what they are, some portion of School of Seven Bells' audience for this first headlining tour will wonder if former Secret Machines guitarist Benjamin Curtis and identical twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza (the singer-guitarist and singer-keyboardist from On!Air!Library!) wear clothing while living and making music together in their Brooklyn apartment—home base at least as of their 2008 debut, Alpinisms. But SVIIB are too big a deal to reduce to their chilly star power: Curtis's waves of electronically processed guitars—never audibly strummed, just volume-knobbed into overwhelming existence—were cited by the Edge as an influence on U2's No Line on the Horizon. The Dehezas are a new sound unto themselves with Curtis, never quite resembling the cosmos-pop-with-beats they're sometimes compared to (Medicine, Cocteau Twins, Air), but building a droning melodicism as sure and subtle as Yo La Tengo's. You might not even notice the dance-y bottom until you dream the songs back a year later. With the Depreciation Guild and Warpaint. 18+. $10/$12 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes

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