Quiet Please with Low, Kate Nash, and more

WEDNESDAY 5.5

Kate Nash

First Avenue

Armed with an impressive voice, undeniable cuteness, and just the right amount of snark, Kate Nash unsurprisingly emerged as an indie "it" girl when single "Foundations" popped up on the charts in 2007. But after a quick rise, she dropped off the hype radar, giving the idea of releasing a strike-while-the-iron-is-hot follow-up a big middle finger in the process. Now she's back with a new album, My Best Friend Is You, that sheds much of the twee piano ditties on her debut in favor of big, Motown-aping singles along with odd forays into rock and, um, angry slam poetry. Nash is still singing about the girls she hates and the boys she wishes didn't hate her, but it's unclear how audiences will react to some of her new musical choices. Minneapolis is one of only seven cities on her U.S. tour, so getting the opportunity to sate your curiosity with a live show is a chance you shouldn't pass up. With Supercute. All ages. $5. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Traas

THURSDAY 5.6

"Quiet, Please" with Low

Varsity Theater

Looking at "Quiet, Please," a collaborative effort between City Pages and the Varsity Theater designed to deliver a series of concerts aimed at blowing minds instead of eardrums, it's hard to imagine a better headliner than Low. With lots of national attention, a huge local fan base, and a deliberate, nuanced sound that lends itself to close listening, Low seem like the ideal act to showcase at a purposely small event, one where you can focus on the music instead of the drunk guy crammed next to you spilling beer on your new shoes. Ticketholders were disappointed in January when Low postponed their "Quiet, Please" appearance due to illness, and it's been a long three months for those who have been waiting patiently for the makeup show, but it promises to be worth the wait. For once, a sold-out concert doesn't mean fighting a crowd and jockeying for position, but a comfortable evening with a band that demands your full attention—and little else to get in the way. 18+. $16. 7:30 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Ian Traas

FRIDAY 5.7

Carrie Rodriguez and Romantica

Varsity Theater

Classically trained violinist Carrie Rodriguez started singing seriously only after a chance encounter with songwriter Chip Taylor, with whom she eventually put out several collaborative albums. Her affecting voice is sly, often languorous with sultry shadings, sometimes sliding into atmospherics but also honing a countrified edge; a charming cross between Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams. Rodriguez's previous solo efforts increasingly showcased her own songwriting and de-emphasized her fiddle, even while defining a sophisticated roots sound mingling country, folk, and jazz. Her new one, Love and Circumstance, is all covers from those who have inspired her, including father David Rodriguez's "When I Heard Gypsy David Sing" and great-aunt Eva Garza's "La Puñalada Trapera," an emotion-fraught ballad brilliantly etched with the help of Greg Leisz's pedal steel and Hans Holzen's electric guitar. The other covers, linked by a ragged theme of love, range widely from Hank, Merle, and Townes to Richard Thompson and M. Ward, varying from a full-band jaunt on Julie and Buddy Miller's "Wide River to Cross" to a plaintive "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" featuring only Rodriguez's voice and mandolin and Bill Frisell's evocative guitar. This co-bill reunites Rodriguez and the impressive Twin Cities-based Americana-Irish pop quartet Romantica, who have toured together widely in the past, often joining one another onstage. 18+. $16/$19 at the door. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rick Mason

SATURDAY 5.8

Kaki King

Varsity Theater

Those long acrylic fingernails Kaki King is sporting on her right hand? Strictly utilitarian—she uses them to pick stunningly intricate patterns on her guitar. While her early albums are hypnotic, layering and sequencing those patterns to dizzying effect while showing off her considerable technical prowess, the one-woman show didn't give much in the way of humable melodies (or, really, even lyrics) that could stick with you. Recently, King seems like she's gotten bored with making music that's so singularly focused on her skill with an axe; her last few albums show a desire to reach into singer-songwriter territory. She's still new at it, and even on her most recent album, Junior, she seems less experienced with words than with an alternately tuned guitar, but she's pushing herself, each piece of new material venturing further out of her virtuoso comfort zone. But even if the songs seem lopsided, King is such a marvel in a live setting that you could easily be satisfied with just watching her work. With An Horse. 18+. $16/$18 at the door. 6 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Ian Traas

MONDAY 5.10

Frightened Rabbit

Varsity Theater

Glasgow's Frightened Rabbit made music fans everywhere swoon over their stellar debut, Sing the Greys, and the equally impressive follow-up, The Midnight Organ Fight. The quintet are now touring the U.S. in support of their third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, which might not be as immediately affecting as their first two efforts but proves to be a bit more lighthearted and upbeat than their melancholy-drenched early material, and should really flourish live. Frightened Rabbit are a dynamic band that bring a lot of energy and emotion to their stirring music, with captivating frontman Scott Hutchison pouring everything he has into songs that obviously mean the world to him. That passion transfers effortlessly over to their fans, making for a wonderfully communal live experience where the audience often leaves feeling as attached to the songs as the band does. The imaginative Chicago band Maps & Atlases open, and should easily add to the splendor of the evening with their wildly inspired sound. With Our Brother the Native. 18+. $13/$15 at the door. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. Erik Thompson

TUESDAY 5.11

Shout Out Louds

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