LCD Soundsystem, Deerhunter, and more

FRIDAY 10.22

Phantogram

Fine Line Music Café

If it weren't for the rock-solid beats anchoring them, the songs from New York duo Phantogram would float away, buoyed on expanses of sweetly chiming guitars and singer Sarah Barthel's sighing vocals. It's equal parts trip-hop and dream-pop, though it has evolved by moving past the former's sense of melodrama and the latter's soft-focus melodies; it's an animal all its own. Phantogram can feel grounded and immediate enough to qualify as "catchy," but the hooks are surprisingly light, often pared down to a guitar laced heavily with echo, breathy cooing, and Josh Carter's head-nodding drums holding everything together. Just when you think a song has drifted too far away from its center, the pair introduces something odd or noisy enough to shock you out of your lull, a dark balance to the woozy beauty. Carter and Barthel have turned out a fully realized sound after only two EPs and a debut album, and if you haven't caught them on their past two trips through the Twin Cities, now's your chance. With Josiah Wolf of WHY? 18+. $15. 8 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. Ian Traas

SATURDAY 10.23

Great Big Sea

Pantages Theatre

Emerging from the St. John's pub scene nearly two decades ago and rooted in the rough-and-tumble, Celtic-laced folk music of its home province, Newfoundland's Great Big Sea specialize in forging a fervid cross between traditional and contemporary music. Employing mostly trad instrumentation running to mandolin, fiddle, pipes, and whistle, the band often uses a drum kit to kick the tunes into raucous overdrive, including the rousing pub anthems "Road to Ruin" and "Wandering Ways" on GBS's latest, Safe Upon the Shore. The title track, on the other hand, is an original tragic seafaring tale that easily matches Maritimes trad fare, especially showing off GBS's bracing a capella harmonies. All the new tracks are originals except for a sprightly cover of the Kinks' "Have A Cuppa Tea" and the folk standard "Gallows Pole," but even then GBS's rousing version is based on Led Zeppelin's. A number of the pieces are collaborations with other Canadian songwriters, notably Randy Bachman. The band also got fresh inspiration from recording several tracks in New Orleans with producer Steve Berlin and a smattering of locals, most prominently guitarist Sonny Landreth and the trombone onslaught of Bonerama. Renowned for their live energy, Great Big Sea should come on like a wave of the icy north Atlantic in the face. $30-$40. 8 p.m. 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

Deerhunter

Fine Line Music Café

Looks like these Georgia boys got their titles switched. Deerhunter dropped Microcastle in 2008, but that title's a better fit for the just-released Halcyon Digest, a creamy compendium of carefully crafted sleeper-cell pop. Microcastle's marvels, by contrast, felt less present-tense immediate than past-tense flashback. Anyway, on this Digest, swooning glo-fi money shots abound: the florescent, Mersey Beat undertow of "Don't Cry;" the rickety, wind-up grind of "Revival;" secondary-songwriter Luckett Pundt's insidiously panther-like contributions ("Desire Lines," "Fountain Stairs"). In a blind listening test, you—or maybe your mom—would be hard-pressed to identify this as the same band that cobbled together mangy magenta moods back in 2007 as Cryptograms. The best part? They're just getting started—and even when they're on pause, you can count on wavy, hazy Atlas Sound and Lotus Plaza discs to zone out to. With Real Estate and Casino vs. Japan. 18+. $15. 8 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. Ray Cummings

LCD Soundsystem

Roy Wilkins Auditorium

James Murphy and band began to breathe in 2002, releasing three singles throughout the year on Murphy's brand-new label, DFA, and becoming a flagship of New York cool while chasing a certain version of honesty. One of those singles turned out to be more or less decade-defining: the lament-of-cool "Losing My Edge," a song that, at the time and in retrospect, captured perfectly the tenor of a pretty frustrating decade in which connotation and appropriation seemed as close as we could get to real cultural weight. So that's how a star is born. Murphy's circuitous career brought him from being a writer on Seinfeld (almost) to work as a sought-after New York DJ and producer, acclaim and fame as a dance/punk alchemist, and finally a position that will allow him to take full advantage of those laurels. Eight years, four albums, 18 singles, and innumerable classic interviews later (his headlined quote from a Guardian interview in 2004 is one for the books: "I speak as a lifetime failure"), Murphy and the gang are putting LCD Soundsystem in the memory box. This year they've been on what he calls an "album schedule—release, press, videos, and tour" in support of their retirement and their new record, the Los Angeles-bred This Is Happening. That record's opening song, before bounding straight into a beat that sounds culled from the mind of a cyborg Marc Bolan, declares: "It's the end of an era, it's true." Going by the almost unanimously rave reviews LCD Soundsystem are getting from the live shows they've put on this year, they intend to write their swansong with dignified spark and polish. With Hot Chip. $35. 8 p.m. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651.989.5151. Andrew Flanagan

SUNDAY 10.24

Blonde Redhead

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