Yeasayer, Gogol Bordello, and more

Varsity Theater

There clearly is something in the water in Montreal that keeps producing such inventive, inspired bands. You can add the expressive three-piece Plants and Animals to that ever-growing list, as their stellar 2008 debut, Parc Avenue, put them firmly on the musical map, while their sprawling new record, La La Land, due out on 4/20, will surely keep them there. Their music is a slow-building, eclectic blend of roots, psychedelia, and straight-ahead indie rock, oftentimes within the same sweeping song, working up to emphatically gratifying choruses that more than justify their simmering introductions. Frontman Warren Spicer is a gifted guitarist whose imaginative riffs are typically the driving force behind the band's emphatic numbers, but the steady support of Matthew Woodley and Nicolas Basque give the songs an added depth that truly flourishes in a live setting. The penetrating local three-piece Zoo Animal open, and should set the stage quite nicely for a night filled with smoldering, affecting rock 'n' roll. 18+. $10/$12 at the door. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. Erik Thompson

TUESDAY 4.27

Jakob Dylan and Three Legs

Fitzgerald Theater

Slow-burning rockers Plants and Animals come to the Varsity this week
Caroline Desilets
Slow-burning rockers Plants and Animals come to the Varsity this week

A lot of the buzz surrounding Jakob Dylan's current tour and new album, Women + Country, stems from the participation—on both—of alt-country sirens Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. There's certainly something to be said for the novelty of seeing and hearing the younger Dylan (as some of us still think of him) on stage with Case, in particular. But the women's role on the record is strictly as background singers, pleasant enough in itself but actually rather subdued and hardly earthshaking. A far more definitive presence is that of producer T Bone Burnett, who gives W+C a weathered, Americana roots feel, specks of grit seemingly caught on the wind along with a haunted essence echoed in songs like "We Don't Live Here Anymore." Also significantly adding to the seductively muted ambience is a superb band consisting of such frequent Burnett collaborators as guitarists Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz and drummer Jay Bellerose. There's also a blistering horn section that gives "Lend a Hand" a dirty, back-of-town vibe and contributes to the sense that "Standing Eight Count" is a lost track from the Band. Dylan's lyrics, meanwhile, probe the shadowy peripheries of love, death, truth, and survival, offering the mature perspective of someone staring into that relentless wind. 7:30 p.m., $30/$32. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul, 651.290.1220. —Rick Mason

Yeasayer/Sleigh Bells

First Avenue

Back in 2007, Yeasayer burst out of Brooklyn with their debut LP, All Hour Cymbals, and instantly became a buzz band among bloggers nationwide. Effortlessly bridging a surprising array of genres, the trio's disjointed melodies and tribal incantations formed a distinctive and challenging sound that was highlighted by such songs as "2080" and "Sunrise." Last year, Anand Wilder and his band further consolidated their reputation while pushing their boundaries with a stunning contribution to the all-star Dark Was the Night compilation, "Tightrope." Incorporating smoothed-out, synthetic rhythms while maintaining their off-kilter jerkiness, the song presaged Odd Blood, Yeasayer's brand-new album, which with its '80s dance-music vibe has done little to dim their still-growing cred. However, they'll face stern competition from fellow Brooklynites Sleigh Bells, whose bruising, white-noise crunch has caused a stir even though the duo's debut album, set to be released under the guidance of M.I.A., has yet to be released. 18+. 8 p.m. $15/$17 at the door. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Jeff Gage

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