Janelle Monae, Matt & Kim, and more

Cedar Cultural Center

Playing music flushed with the sweet haze of midsummer—nature at its ripest—amid the bleakness of a Minnesota winter is what confronted Laura Veirs and her Hall of Flames on their visit last March. Veirs was then ripe herself (giving birth to son Tennessee in April) and undoubtedly knew what she was dealing with, as a former Minnesota resident (while attending Carleton College). Anyway, this is a more appropriate time of year for the material on July Flame, because Minnesota still retains a little of summer's warm glow, but more significantly, harvest time underscores the bittersweet reality of all that lush growth's ultimate fragility. Veirs's pop-folk tunes bloom amid arrangements that find an exquisite hazy-lazy balance on Flame, achieving a quiet intensity akin to the unbridled fertility of the July landscape. Openers Chandra and Leigh Watson's sisterly harmonies negotiate Southern soul tempered by sizable injections of vintage pop, country, noirish folk-rock, blues, and gospel. On their second album, Talking To You, Talking To Me, songs like "Midnight" probe some timeless locale somewhere between Memphis, the Brill Building, and Laurel Canyon, their precipitous harmonies riding billowing organ swells and a stinging electric guitar. Elsewhere, they surf a bossa nova wave, flirt with indie rock, and channel Carole King on "Calling Out." Additional support Led To Sea is the musical alter-ego of Alex Guy, who plays viola and violin, and is often a member of Veirs's Flames. LTS's first full-length album, Into The Darkening Sky, sports elegant, moody chamber pop that oozes and drifts over quirky, atmospheric shoals. Squally outbursts downshift into off-center meditations among the strings and peppery percussion, while Guy muses poetically about ghosts and rust. All ages. $14. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

SUNDAY 9.26

Those Darlins

7th St. Entry

Cowpunk rather than alternative country, rowdy rather than merely hard-bitten, this singing trio (plus drummer) breathes the same blissful mix of nostalgia, empowerment, and bad-girl appeal fueling, say, roller derby. Like the God Damn Doo Wop Band, they have a pinch of girl-group in them, but sound more like three lower-registered Holly Golightlys twanging away about regretful behavior, defending Mama, and nice boys who really should have known better. They're at work on a follow-up to their 2009 self-titled debut on Oh Wow Dang Records, but in true punk spirit are touring behind a 7-inch single, "Nightjogger," which edges into Joan Jett territory. With Turbo Fruits and Henry Wagons. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Peter S. Scholtes

Gucci Mane

Epic

Atlanta's Gucci Mane is proof that a certain kind of mindlessness—not having much to say about life as people live it, for instance—can free other parts of the brain for genius. In fact, you get the sense from his songs' brightly painted gangster hedonism that anything autobiographical is just coincidence or a reflection of whatever motions he went through (including real jail time) before returning to his healthiest addiction: making free-associative rhymes along various themes, street or otherwise—vampires, the word "gross," the color yellow. In the nine short months since he released his rap smash "Lemonade" (a riff on all things lemony and mustard-colored inspired by sales of the title drink spiked with codeine syrup, with a chorus sung by children to the tune of Flo & Eddie's "Keep It Warm"), Gucci has issued a half-dozen mixtapes, all filled with tracks that are like song-length versions of Lil Wayne verses (so be warned). With a marble-mouthed drawl that could be a hypnotized MF Doom, he's all impossible achievements (a love affair with money that crosses over into the literal, like "Panama" with the Geico cash-with-googly-eyes) and insults ("I don't want your girlfriend, homie, but my b**** might"). He sandwiches this Minneapolis date on his tour itinerary one night after Mobile, Alabama, and one night before New York, two days before the release of his hotly anticipated third major-label album,

The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted. 18+. $30-$60. 10 p.m. 110 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.332.3742. —Peter S. Scholtes

MONDAY 9.27

Sea Wolf (solo acoustic)

Turf Club

The parenthetical clarification means that this is a show by Alex Brown Church, the leader and only constant member of L.A. indie folkies Sea Wolf. The group scored a modest hit in 2007 with "You're a Wolf," woozy chamber pop from Leaves in the River, a full-length debut mindful of the Shins, Bright Eyes, the Left Banke, the Zombies, and a campfire sing-out behind the conservatory. Church's sometimes breathy and slurry vocals coupled with his fondness for Romantic and folkloric imagery can test one's tolerance for preciousness, while his best tunes satisfy one's hunger for smart prettiness. There were more bells and violas, pounding pianos, and nods toward urgency on 2009's White Water, White Bloom, all of which gave a few cuts the second-hand glow of Arcade Embers. But there were some winners too, such as "Turn the Dirt Over," Church's second memorable song about dirt. He's touring with two like-minded openers, Patrick Park and Sera Cahoone. 12+. $12. 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. Dylan Hicks

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