WEDNESDAY 9.15

Hot Hot Heat

7th St. Entry

It seems like a big deal when major labels pick up an indie-favorite band; the fans who have been there since the beginning (rightly) start to wonder if they'll recognize the group when they emerge on the other side of an image-and-marketing machine. But what happens when the majors lose interest? Ask Hot Hot Heat—a debut full of youthful synth rock led to a relationship with Warner Bros., but after two albums with the majors, the honeymoon is over and HHH have been left to their own devices. It isn't necessarily a bad thing. Without Big Brother watching the boards and over-polishing their 2010 effort, Future Breeds, the band has been able to get back to some of the breathless promise of their first record—though it also means that HHH's profile has come down a bit, now headlining the cozy 7th St. Entry instead of a much larger club. The marquee may not be as big, but a return to basics has pumped life back into the band. With Hey Rosetta! and 22-20s. 18+. $13/$15 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Traas

THURSDAY 9.16

Male Bonding

Triple Rock Social Club

"I know you're disappointed/I see your disappointment in" isn't exactly Yeats or Auden, let alone Bon Iver. But Male Bonding make no claims to profundity; the U.K. foursome rock like a pogo-pop hit parade through the speakers of a disintegrating jalopy. On Nothing Hurts, they smash corn-syrupy chords together like cymbals, discovering sweet deliverance from life's imperfections in fist-pumping choruses and quivery jolts of feedback. There's no shortage of bands working this particular angle right now, and Male Bonding can only walk this agony-as-ecstasy tightrope for so long. (Unless they've got Michael Cera-like luck on their side.) Right now, though, they're the perfect tonic for bidding adieu to weeks when the world won't seem to stop kicking you in the teeth. With Best Coast. 18+. $14. 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Ray Cummings

The Jazz Crusaders

Dakota Jazz Club

Originating in a Houston high-school marching band in the 1950s, the Jazz Crusaders came up with an innovative blend of hard bop and Texas R&B, meeting with modest commercial success. Then around 1970, shortening their name to the Crusaders and stirring in elements of pop, funk, and rock, the band scored a slew of hits throughout the decade, including "Put It Where You Want It," and "Street Life." Although a lot of musicians have played under the Crusaders' moniker over the years, the essential band remains pianist Joe Sample, tenor sax/bassist Wilton Felder, drummer Stix Hooper, and trombonist Wayne Henderson. Sample, who has had a successful solo career, and Henderson, who left the group to concentrate on production, have both led variations of the band, but haven't played together under the Crusaders' name for more than three decades. Until now. Although still highly anticipated, the reunion shows lack Hooper, who has given up professional music, and Felder, who reportedly began rehearsals with the reunited group but has experienced partial paralysis due to growths on his spine. The lineup at the Dakota will be Sample, Henderson, saxophonist Gerald Albright, bassist Reggie Sullivan, and drummer Moyes Lucas, who also plays in Sample's trio. $45-$65. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. Also Friday —Rick Mason

FRIDAY 9.17

Titus Andronicus

7th St. Entry

Concept-album schomcept-album: Titus Andronicus's sophomore long-player with fiddle and readings from Walt Whitman and William Lloyd Garrison, the broken-romance-as-Civil-War-epic punk opera The Monitor, wouldn't mean squat if it didn't foist such an appealing variety of guitar textures on you at once. As with the band's 2008 debut, The Airing Of Grievances, the sound is two parts crushed jangle, one part mutant fuzztone, and a pinch of surf-scratch gone lyrical, all blanketing junk vocals more Paul Westerberg than Conor Oberst—too angry and/or bashful to approach the latter's theatrical sob. The cheerful pop references are also very Dillinger Four, and these New Jersey boys are Clashy too, if the Clash had been more into the Band and eight-minute song sagas. Can't wait for them to go pop. All ages. $14. 5 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Peter S. Scholtes

SATURDAY 9.18

Railroad Earth

Cedar Cultural Center

Fundamentally a bluegrass band from an unlikely origin (New Jersey, the blacktopgrass state?), Railroad Earth long has stretched its bounds much farther afield. The vast panoply of Americana has become RRE's playground, sometimes even sliding jamgrassward. Except lead singer/guitarist Todd Sheaffer is a particularly sharp songwriter with a strong sense of historical context, musically and otherwise, suggesting an affinity with the Band. His songs on the RRE's forthcoming album, simply dubbed Railroad Earth, for instance, reference the Civil War, the first transcontinental railroad, and Native American classic Black Elk Speaks, all with contemporary allusions. The new one also attempts to tap into the rock 'n' roll intensity RRE often conjures up live, a touch of aggression that surfaces most notably in the flowing instrumental "Spring-Heeled Jack." Throughout, as usual, RRE's ensemble work is immaculate and daring, and the group's vocal harmonies approach the richness of prime Crosby, Stills & Nash. Opening will be the idiosyncratic Asheville, N.C., quintet Toubab Krewe, which parlays a sometimes ferocious, consistently convincing fusion of American rock 'n' roll (favoring surf guitar) and West African music (including its rhythms and instrumentation) into swirling psycherootsy maelstroms. All ages. $20/$22 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

SUNDAY 9.19

School of Seven Bells

7th St. Entry

School of Seven Bells' cool dance beats, interweaving Euro-folkie harmonies, and wall of electronically-processed guitars are some kind of new twist on Stereolab, Cocteau Twins, and U2—the latter of whom cited the Brooklyn band as recent sonic inspiration. But these actual twins (plus guitarist) seemed to show their anonymous limits the catchier they got on their 2008 debut, Alpinisms. This year's Disconnect from Desire is much better, turning up the Deheza sisters' vocals and funky drums on subtler, warmer, meatier tunes ("I L U") and grittier atmospheric workouts ("Bye Bye Bye"). Live, they're a phenomenon apart, and this time they play the Entry on the night that Dirty Projectors play the Mainroom next door. 18+. $12/$14 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes

The Flaming Lips

Roy Wilkins Auditorium

The long, strange trip of Oklahoma psychedelic troopers the Flaming Lips appears to have reached a fresh threshold with the nearly concurrent releases late last year of Embryonic and its complete version of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. Both albums fundamentally deal with the relative nature of madness and paranoia, and in a variety of blatant and subtle ways reflect the Lips' longstanding debts to incarnations of Floyd all the way back to Syd Barrett's tenure. Still, the appropriately titled Embryonic feels at least like a rejuvenation for the Lips, who cultivate a raw, swirling spirit that seems to organically ebb and flow from noisy, raucous rock to spatial drifts laced with ethereal pulses and stray snippets of sonic punctuation. It's consistently unsettled and experimental, but with unexpected blossoming of soul and melody, ultimately hanging together to feel like an epic. The Lips' homage to Floyd's Moon is relatively straightforward, albeit with plenty of quirky Lips service, plus contributions from Henry Rollins and Peaches. Perhaps not coincidentally, another Pink will open. Nearly as eccentric as the Lips, Ariel Pink creates mash-ups derived from a jumble of pop, rock, and R&B splinters generally culled from the '60s through the '80s. James Brown, the Beach Boys, Jay and the Americans, punk, and much more all compete in fragmented bits that somehow coalesce on the recent Before Today, Pink now leading a full-fledged band after a long, singular studio existence. $39.50-$45. 7:30 p.m. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651.989.5151. —Rick Mason

MONDAY 9.21

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks

Cedar Cultural Center

They don't make 'em like Dan Hicks anymore. Never did really. A genuine anomaly, Hicks essentially could have stepped from the pages of an R. Crumb comic: amiably subversive, eccentrically hipsterish with a wicked, phenomenally arid wit, and a love for vintage styles of music he still makes every bit as mind-altering as the psychedelic stuff floating around his Haight-Ashbury environs in the '60s. Early on, Hicks was a member of one of the formative Haight bands the Charlatans before getting his Licks in via a clever amalgamation of jug band, Tin Pan Alley, old time country, vintage jazz, folk, western swing, and blues, regaling his cultish followers with tales like "I Scare Myself" and "How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?" The Licks went cold for an extended period before Hicks re-heated them around the turn of the century, and they've been firing on all quirky cylinders since, including last year's Tangled Tales (in which our hero tangles with such modern atrocities as cell phones). There's also a forthcoming Christmas album, Crazy for Christmas, which includes a tinselly variation on "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" called "Santa Gotta Choo Choo," the tragic seasonal ditty "Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit," and an astounding scatty, yodelly, Chipmunks-referencing version of "Carol of the Bells." $25/$28 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

TUESDAY 9.21

Esperanza Spaulding's Chamber Music Society

Dakota Jazz Club

Already hailed as a phenomenon at the ripe old age of 24, and with only a single domestic album to her credit, Esperanza Spaulding continues pushing the envelope with her current Chamber Music Society project, exploring the ties between jazz and classical, and next spring's Radio Music Society, which is supposed to be a new fusion of jazz, funk, hip-hop, and rock. Spaulding has a charismatic stage presence, is a wonderfully supple singer with a particular gift for contemporary scatting, an accomplished jazz bass player, and a fine composer and arranger. Accompanied by a classical string trio plus her usual piano and drum setup on Chamber Music Society, Spaulding creates music that so deftly spans genres that the result is almost impressionistic in a painterly sense, blurring edges until they disappear, no more so than on her exquisite duet with Milton Nascimento on her own "Apple Blossom." She and Gretchen Parlato also engage in some complex, subtly spectacular vocal feints on Jobim's "In til Paisagem." At the Dakota, Spaulding will be accompanied by pianist Leo Genovese, drummer Francisco Mela, a string trio, and singer Leala Vogt. $25-$45. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

Mahala Rai Banda

Cedar Cultural Center

With an album called Ghetto Blaster and a track placed in a major motion picture, you'd expect a band of... hyperactive Romanian Gypsies? Right. In fact, the ghettos in question are in the suburbs of Bucharest, the film was Borat, and the blast fuses sundry traditions from the region. There's raucous brass (ranging from funky jazz to chortling militia) from one village; strings and accordion from another; crazy rhythms that sometimes suggest careening ska, or slip into rock, blues, or folkloric grooves that ricochet at a steaming pace; and vocals that undulate sinuous paths among taut, baroque melodies. It's twisted traditionalism with post-modern intensity, and Mahala Rai Banda will use it to launch the Cedar's second Global Roots Festival. Also on the festival's first evening bill will be Red Baraat, a New York ensemble that establishes its own blistering momentum as the world's apparently only dhol'n'brass band. A baraat is a Hindi marriage procession, and Red Baraat's has a lot in common with a New Orleans second line parade. Marrying NOLA trad and funkified brass band sounds with North Indian bhangra rhythms, this stuff gets down and shakes it mercilessly. $20. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

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