WEDNESDAY 8.18

Autolux

Varsity Theater

Rising from the ashes of the now-legendary Failure, Autolux has taken a virtual eternity between album releases. Prior to the brand new Transit Transit, they had released only an EP, Demonstration, in 2001 and a follow-up, Future Perfect, in 2004. The long wait—due to "getting the business end of music squared away," as they put it—seems to have been worth it. Transit Transit sounds like Sonic Youth being filtered through a German art-house espionage film: slow-burning post-rock, often coupled with what can only be described as a propulsive grind in the background. It's as if the songs are in the process of being dismantled while you're listening to them. The homemade, amber stage lighting rigs present during the live show only add to the overall aesthetic. Autolux, unlike so many other bands of late, isn't an easy band to fall in love with, but once you have, it's easy to see why it was time well spent, and they're a difficult love to leave. With This Will Destroy You. 18+. $13. 8 p.m. 1308 4th St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Pat O'Brien

THURSDAY 8.19

Halloween, Alaska and Caroline Smith

Autolux give new meaning to the phrase acquired taste
courtesy of the artist
Autolux give new meaning to the phrase acquired taste

Location Info

Map

The Varsity Theater

1308 4th St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: University

Mears Park

There are plenty of bands that claim not to fit comfortably into one given genre, and most of those bands are mistaken. For their part, Halloween, Alaska have never really claimed to fit or not fit into any given category, opting instead to just make frighteningly good, sharp-witted, melodic rock music that touches on many disparate genres (pop, noisecore, avant garde—you get the picture) while not really giving over to any of them, with the end product being unmistakably their own. The songs often unfold in a way that is unexpected, but by the end you understand why the shortest distance between two points is never the most interesting. Opening will be Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps, purveyors of folk rock so authentic you're liable to hop a train to start your own Natty Gann-esque journey afterward. Employing a banjo, Smith's incredible voice, and a slew of other offbeat, low-tech instruments, Smith and company have built a live show that is not to be missed. All ages. Free. 6 p.m. 221 E. 5th St., St. Paul; 651.632.5111. —Pat O'Brien

Tokyo Police Club

Varsity Theater

After playing the Montreal Pop festival mere months after forming, several members of Tokyo Police Club quit school to become full-time musicians—a risky, but ultimately correct move, all told. Two excellent EPs (Smith and the stunning A Lesson in Crime) have drawn comparisons to the Pixies and Minneapolis's own Tapes 'n Tapes. With their sunny, volatile repertoire, TPC found that elusive sixth gear with 2008's Elephant Shell. On their new Champ, TPC is in much the same place, though a little more comfortably—the place looks lived-in; it's theirs now, they're not just renting. There was a glut of buzz-generating, TPC-like bands a few years back, but the smart ones ignored the noise and put their noses to the grindstone instead of basking in a manufactured limelight that eventually turned out to be just a dark room. For a young band, these guys are far wiser than their years, musically and otherwise. With Freelance Whales, Arkells. 18+. $16. 8 p.m. 1308 4th St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Pat O'Brien

FRIDAY 8.20

Nordeast Music Festival

Various locations

Spearheaded by local musician Robert Skoro and the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization, this weekend marks the first in what will hopefully become an annual tradition in northeast Minneapolis, the Nordest Music Festival. "I have really high hopes for this festival," Skoro says. "There's a lot of support from both the community and the city, and I think it's going to become something like Minneapolis version of Grand Old Days." The celebration spans several venues on 13th Avenue; tonight at the Ritz Theater, the Hopefuls headline a bill that includes Zoo Animal, Adam Levy's new side project Liminal Phase, Minor Kingdom, and more for a $12 cover. Meanwhile, Shuga Records is hosting a free show billed as the Minneapolis Electronic Music Festival, while the 331 Club is hosting local rock mainstay Curtiss A. Participating venues for the three-day festival also include Tarnish & Gold (who will host a roundtable discussion with Haley Bonar, Dark Dark Dark, the Daredevil Christopher Wright, and Adam Levy on Saturday afternoon) and Mayslack's. Age restrictions, entry fees, and start times vary. For more information, visit nordeastmusicfestival.com. Also Saturday and Sunday —Andrea Swensson

SATURDAY 8.21

Blondie and Cheap Trick

Treasure Island Resort and Casino

Nostalgia tours are always an odd undertaking. The fans are older, the musicians are older (or, in some cases, replaced entirely), and the songs are usually 20 years old at minimum. But that doesn't mean the products are past their freshness date. Both Blondie and Cheap Trick made songs and built careers that entered the cultural zeitgeist. Sure, Blondie's "Heart Of Glass" sounds exactly like 1981, but at the same time it's also a great song that somehow never aged; and how many times have you caught yourself offhandedly replying "I want you to want me!" as a non sequitur response to something a friend said? More than just bands with a few good songs, both Blondie and Cheap Trick own pieces of our lives, and as adults it's a fun re-visitation of our pasts. It's a safe bet that both "Heart of Glass" and Cheap Trick's "The Flame" both got played at your first junior high dance and you did nothing but stare uncomfortably at your shoes—now's your chance to right that wrong. $55-$65. 8 p.m. 5734 Sturgeon Lake Rd., Welch; 800.222.7077. —Pat O'Brien

Los Hombres Calientes

Orchestra Hall

The brilliant concept of Los Hombres Calientes was no less than essentially tracing the rhythms of the African diaspora from the North American epicenter of New Orleans, throughout the Caribbean, and into South America and its musical Mecca of Brazil. And they did it spectacularly, with exotic melodies and scintillating rhythms sweeping from Congo Square via Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, and other torrid spots to Bahia. Los Hombres' core has always been Bill Summers, a percussion genius who was once a member of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, and Irwin Mayfield, who was once an up-and-coming NOLA trumpeter but now is a multi-headed musical juggernaut, including serving as jazz artistic director of the Minnesota Orchestra. Except for a handful of sporadic gigs in the last few months, Los Hombres Calientes haven't performed since before Hurricane Katrina. This hotly anticipated resurrection should suffuse a Minnesota August night with fire and spice. Summers and Mayfield will lead a new and significantly expanded Hombres lineup that will feature New Orleans musicians Aaron Fletcher (sax), Jamal Batiste (drums), Leon Brown (trumpet), Michael Watson (trombone), and Ronald Markham (piano). New York salsa great Ruben Rodriguez will be joining them on bass. $22-$60. 8 p.m. 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.371.5656. —Rick Mason

MONDAY 8.23

Mos Def

Guthrie Theater

There isn't much that Mos Def can't do. Grammy-nominated albums? Check. Appearing in socially conscious films? Check. Appearing in big-budget blockbusters? Check. Broadway? Check. Rappers that act usually end up marginalized in one medium or the other; they're regarded as vain if they appear onscreen, and they lose street cred if they continue to produce albums, getting labeled as sellouts. But Mos Def has toed that line masterfully, opting for quirky, vulnerable roles onscreen and an equally offbeat, yet almost universally lauded discography. 1999's Black on Both Sides became an instant classic (as has last year's The Ecstatic) and his tongue-twisting, stream-of-consciousness delivery has given every wannabe rapper something to which to aspire, while simultaneously setting the baseline for real deals vs. the sucker MCs. You don't listen to Mos Def as much as stare in amazement at his formidable skill set and wonder, "How does he do that?" It's not magic, but it's somewhere in the neighborhood. $46-$48. 7:30 p.m. 818 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis; 612.377.2224. —Pat O'Brien

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