Hole, Los Lobos, Josh Ritter, and more: Critics' Picks

WEDNESDAY 7.14

Los Lobos

Minnesota Zoo Weesner Amphitheater

It's been four years since the pride of East L.A. issued a new studio album. But early next month, Los Lobos will release Tin Can Trust, and a preliminary spin suggests it will be another jewel in the now-iconic band's nearly 40-year-old crown. The only change in the band's lineup in all that time was the addition, about a decade in, of saxophonist/keyboardist Steve Berlin to the quartet of Louis Pérez, David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, and Conrad Lozano. That extraordinary ensemble has created an indelible, signature blend of rock 'n' roll, Mexican traditional music, blues, and associated roots unmatched since the days of the Band. Tin Can's title track is a moody, simmering, blues-lashed meditation on trying to survive hard times, slowly blossoming into an epic, guitar-fueled burner. Dark, hovering shadows, in fact, are repeatedly turned into powerful statements throughout the album, from the opening "I'll Burn It Down," a blues-rocker with guest vocals from Susan Tedeschi, to the exquisite anguish of "All My Bridges Burning," co-written by Rosas and Robert Hunter. There's also a rollicking cover of the Grateful Dead's "West L.A. Freeway," an effervescent cumbia ("Yo Canto"), and an accordion-driven norteño ("Mujer Ingrata"), both written by Rosas. As always, every track is packed with cunning details and subtle experimentation, from stray Memphis licks to jazzy interludes by Hidalgo's guitar to flashes of psychedelia. Chester Bay, a local quartet that mixes up rock, blues, pop, and reggae, opens Wednesday. On Thursday the honor goes to Moreland & Arbuckle, a Kansas trio that plays gritty, hard Delta and country blues (mostly originals). Flood, their major-label debut, issued by Telarc last winter, is terrific. All ages. $37. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. Also Thursday —Rick Mason

THURSDAY 7.15

Josh Ritter

Orchestra Hall

Singer/songwriter Josh Ritter, best known for his folky, Dylanesque tunes, added a full band and a broader scope on 2007's excellent The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. The results were spectacular, ranging from the rollicking, lyrically playful "To the Dogs or Whomever" to more straightforward rockers "Real Long Distance" and "Rumors," the latter of which features the line, "My orchestra is gigantic/This thing could sink the Titanic." That quip will get a more literal spin when Ritter returns to the Twin Cities to play a show backed by the Minnesota Orchestra, led by Sarah Hicks. He'll be playing favorites from his first five albums, plus tracks from his new disc, So Runs the World Away. Ritter's latest effort is partly a return to form, lowering the tempo a little with sparer arrangements driven more often than not by acoustic guitar and piano, but lovely ballads like "The Curse" and compelling oddities like "Rattling Locks" should all fill out nicely with a backing band worth capsizing over. $20-$55. 7:30 p.m. 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.371.5656. Bryan Miller

FRIDAY 7.16

Hole

First Avenue

Yes, Courtney Love has issues. The cameras have been squarely aimed at Love since Kurt Cobain's suicide, and now it seems oddly natural to think about her purely in terms of her personal demons. But those same struggles make up the core of Love's best songs; the raw heartbreak on full display and the prospect of her whole life breaking down over the course of three minutes makes for some thrilling music that might have gotten unfairly lumped in with the rest of the late-'90s angst-fest. Her solo album failed to spark the kind of interest that might have allowed Love to climb out from under her own problems (at least in tabloid terms), so perhaps revitalizing Hole is Love's way of getting back to the music that made her a force, unburdened from carrying an act all on her own. Regardless, the possibility of seeing some of the most cathartic Hole material live should be enough for Love's fans or anyone looking for a (possibly frightening) release. With Foxy Shazam. 18+. $37.50. 10 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Traas

saturDAY 7.17

Band of Horses

State Theatre

As indie rock has steadily gained popularity over the past few years, Band of Horses emerged as a flagship act, spring-boarding toward a certain kind of hushed stardom. Actually, it's not so quiet anymore—TV appearances, a song on the most recent Twilight soundtrack, and a No. 7 Billboard charting for their latest record (Infinite Arms) reveal just how much mainstream acceptance the group has. The fans who have been around since their debut may want to believe that the band is still some personal secret, but it's a lost cause. The musical landscape has changed, and Band of Horses have changed alongside it, moving towards alt-country twangin' and pluckin', but the band's ear for broad pop hooks and massive arrangements has been present the entire time. The major-label-mandated coat of gloss on their recent material is largely unnecessary, but it's part and parcel of the rock star treatment, and there's no more use in denying that Band of Horses are now rock stars. With Bryan Cates. All ages. $27.50. 7 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Ian Traas

saturDAY 7.17

Kanser 15-Year Anniversary Show

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