KRS-One, Shonen Knife, and more

WEDNESDAY 10.21

Shonen Knife

7th St. Entry

The members of Shonen Knife are deeply in love with the Ramones. The Japanese trio's sound is a mirror image of the short three-chord assaults that their miscreant forebears perfected decades ago, but unlike the hordes of American imitators, they've done away with the leather jackets and druggy angst, crushing the underlying menace of punk with happy juggernauts about how awesome candy and friends are. Shonen Knife's cutesy, non-threatening image might not mesh with songs about beatings or blitzkriegs, but there seems to be enough "Rock 'n' Roll High School" to go around. Besides, there's something slyly subversive, almost prankish, about Japanese women removing the anger from American rock and replacing it with effervescent glee. At this point, the band has spent almost 28 years(!) dismissing their native country's popular music trends while staying faithful to a simple, vibrant sound that suits them—and really, is there anything more punk rock than that? With Red Pens. 18+. $15. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Traas

THURSDAY 10.22

Say Anything

Station 4

You could say that Say Anything's Max Bemis, like Lloyd Dobler, is a bit of an underachiever. Having just completed Anything's third major-label album, Bemis appears no closer to making commercial headway with his band's unique brand of emo—which directs just as much adolescent rage outward as it does inward; with titles like "Died a Jew" and "Shiksa (Girlfriend)," it's really no surprise that few have openly embraced the notoriously confrontational band. It's also probably safe to say that the band's last album, In Defense of the Genre, an experimental two-disc concept record, didn't widen their appeal. The first single from their newest, trimmer effort, "Hate Everyone," makes no obvious concessions with its sing-along chorus of—you guessed it—"I hate everyone." But the truth is, even at his most acerbic and misanthropic, Bemis still sounds like the kind of guy you'd root for to get the girl. With Eisley, Moneen, and Moving Mountains. All ages. $16/$19 at the door. 5 p.m. 201 E. Fourth St., St. Paul; 651.298.0173. Jonathan Garrett

FRIDAY 10.23

Split Lip Rayfield

400 Bar

Calling Split Lip Rayfield a bluegrass band may give the wrong impression. True, they bring the standard guitar, mandolin, bass, and banjo to the stage. But you'd probably imagine guys dressed in identical suits, rehashing a mix of gospel tunes and tame American classics. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mosh pits are common at Split Lip shows, as the frenzied plucking of Jeff Eaton on his gas-can bass drives the bands' fingers faster and faster. From the many cars destroyed in a misspent youth to the many drug-and-alcohol excesses of a misspent adulthood, the group's music covers topics too harsh for most traditional bluegrass ensembles. Split Lip hail from Wichita, and you can hear a strong country influence in their more laid-back tracks, like "Used to Call Me Baby," which employs the classic country play on words ("Used to call me baby, now she don't call me at all"). But with a hard edge and rock-influenced tunes, their audience these days is solidly urban, grungy, and punk. With the White Iron Band. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.332.2903. —Ward Rubrecht

The Pines (CD-release)

The Cedar

There's something inherently mysterious about the Pines' dusky, timeless folk music—the way it sinks into the listener's bones like a deep winter chill, the way it only improves with time and age like a bottle of wine forgotten in the cellar for 50 years and then unearthed and uncorked. Even more mysterious is the process of watching the music emanate from the players' mouths and hands live, as Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt make for a rather unnassuming pair—a couple of Iowa farmboys who just so happen to have a knack for creating expansive, emotive, and brooding Americana. The duo have been part of the Minneapolis music scene for years now, and the fact that they don't seem to fit neatly into any of the similar-sounding local scenes—the traditional West Bank folkies, the hipsters-turned-old-timey revivalists, the bleeding-heart singer-songwriters—speaks to their ability to transcend trends and labels and press themselves into something unique and incomparable. Their latest CD, Tremolo, finds Ramsey experimenting with vocal vibrato and falling in and out of time with the rest of the music, adding another dreamlike nuance to this band's already dense and foggy mystique. With Spaghetti Western String Co. All ages. $12/$15 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. Andrea Swensson

SATURDAY 10.24

P.O.S.

First Avenue

Autobiography aside (the Lil Wayne-sampling "Out of Category"), P.O.S.'s wall of lyrics is best taken in from afar, where you can see, amid densely woven metaphors and hilariously stretched pop references, the outlines of a long love letter to his community—not just hip hop or punk, but whatever left wing still summons itself off the couch. Where Cage's punk rap has the shelf-life of a novelty, P.O.S.'s challenging third album, Never Better, endures because it starts with love, and seems to imagine actual people singing or screaming along—dancing, too, before the music goes hardcore-sideways. Production-wise, his Minneapolis crew, Doomtree, has outdone itself, mixing the full spectrum of breakbeat-based pop to create at least eight compulsive playables, with Lazerbeak's "Goodbye" the soulful centerpiece. Yet the best song might be "The Basics (Alright)," which P.O.S. produced himself, pushing apart several clattering stop-start elements—an ancient blues moan, an African-sounding percussion break, a gothic boom-bap beat—before slamming them together again in his warm singing voice. The album title is truth in advertising, and that's saying something. With Plain Ole Bill, Slapping Purses, Prof & St. Paul Slim, and Moonstone. All ages. $10/$12 at the door. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Peter S. Scholtes

KRS-One

Epic

KRS-One might be an eloquent nut, but give the Bronx rap legend his due: Rather than ride on the fumes of a greatness documented across 2000's Jive collection KRS-One: A Retrospective and 2005's Traffic/B Boy deluxe reissue of Boogie Down Productions' Criminal Minded, the Teacher has stayed active and creative at about the profile level of a real schoolteacher—never better than in collaboration with Raphi of the Footsoldiers on 2006's "Gimmie Da Gun," and now with Boot Camp Clik's Buckshot on the new Survival Skills. Produced by Havoc of Mobb Deep, "Robot" goes beyond attacking Auto-Tune overuse to take robo-music as a metaphor for robo-thinking. "We Made It," with Slug of Atmosphere, poignantly redefines its title expression as simply living life successfully. "Think of All the Things," with K'naan, finds KRS pleading with young women: "You keep seeking little boys who only want sex from you/Real men want the rest of you." This is hip hop as revival tent, led by a juicily emphatic preacher in his 40s, yet still "hungry like I never had a meal." 18+. $20/$25 at the door. 10 p.m. 110 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.332.3742. —Peter S. Scholtes

SUNDAY 10.25

Great Lake Swimmers

The Cedar

Toronto's Great Lake Swimmers splash about in an atmospheric realm of spare but elegantly etched folk music blended with superior strains of subtle rock and pop. Combined with chief Swimmer Tony Dekker's arid, bittersweet, oddly affecting vocals murmuring enigmatic lyrics about existence as ephemeral as "a cry in the night" and lovers who drift into dreams, the mood is haunting, autumnal, and a little Erie—uh, eerie. The Swimmers' fourth album, Lost Channels, continues to probe exquisite melancholy with judicious bits of pedal steel, mandolin, and cello, but also breaks out into nicely ringing folk-rock, suggesting prime Fairport Convention on "Palmistry" and "Pulling on a Line," and even a lush, Beach Boys-like vibe on "Concrete Heart." There's not much surf to get up in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River, where Channels was recorded, but apparently the vibrations were pretty good. Openers the Wooden Birds, the latest band from former American Analog Set leader Andrew Kenny, conjure a similarly hushed atmosphere on Magnolia, the band's debut. With an up-front bass providing prominent rhythmic textures and Kenny stringing whispery vocals along gently loping beats, the sound falls somewhere between folk and rock without being either. All ages. $12/$15 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

MONDAY 10.26

The Raveonettes

First Avenue

Like Minnesota's own Low, the Raveonettes seem to have spun a career out of the sensibility expressed during the "In Dreams" sequence in Blue Velvet: They reach for everything precious, nostalgic, and haunting in '60s pop, but through a debauched haze of '80s alarm, like the Ronettes singing Velvet Underground lyrics backed by the Jesus and Mary Chain—and then looped into a soulless feedback echo of itself. Like Low, they've recorded a classic indie-rock Christmas song ("The Christmas Song"), perhaps recognizing the ornamental use of cool noise. But last year's impressionistic Lust Lust Lust was a big step forward: a refinement of their menace in beats. The new In and Out of Control turns down the racket to reveal lyrics you might wish you'd missed: Forever stamped on Roman Polanski's news week, "Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)" is an exercise in arty incongruity—all major-chord harmonies and wrath—and should have been destroyed. "Breaking into Cars" blurs its title theme more mysteriously, and is just as catchy. With the Black Angels, Violent Soho, and Daughters of the Sun. 18+. $14/$16 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes

TUESDAY 10.27

Lights

Triple Rock Social Club

You could call Lights, whose birth name is Valerie Poxleitner, the girl and/or Canadian version of Minnesota's own Owl City. The similarities are striking: Both picked up a guitar and started writing songs in their early teens, before switching to electronics in an attempt to expand their respective sounds. Both owe their early success to the internet and social media. The two are Christians, and while they are by no means Christian rock acts, their faith is an influence. And most importantly, Owl City and Lights make catchy electronic music to which you can bop around, or simply sit back and listen. There are differences, though. Lights is more influenced by the synth bands of the '80s such as New Order and Human League. "I've certainly drawn my share of influence from them," she says. "In fact, I just had a chance to see Human League play in the U.K. It was really interesting." And if future Big Bang theorists weren't already imagining this lovely chanteuse as their Canadian girlfriend, there's this little nugget—-she's totally into video games. "Losing yourself in another world is kind of perfect for inspiration," she explains. "My job and my hobby are the same thing...you can't take a weekend off, so I just lose myself in World of Warcraft." With Stars of Track and Field. All ages. $10/$12 at the door. 6 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 613.333.7399. P.F. Wilson

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down

The Cedar

If Know Better Learn Faster—the new salvo from Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down—doesn't boast quite as rollicking barnburners as 2007's We Brave Bee Stings and All did, it's still a worthy showcase for the San Francisco-based songwriter's fine folk-rockin' gifts. See, Nuygen groks the cardinal rule of transmuting bad, mad, and saddened moods into swinging song: Leaven emotional pain with bright horn charts and arrangements that bounce like diamonds on glass, and enunciate your sentiments with enough pressure and variation that vocals are transformed into an unusual, bonus percussive element. No matter how disconsolate her plaints may scan on paper, one always comes away with the impression that Nguyen and her bandmates are having the time of their lives. All ages. $12. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. Ray Cummings

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