Eyedea tribute, the New Standards, Andrew Bird, and more

WEDNESDAY 12.1

Freelance Whales

7th St. Entry

Freelance Whales have an air of goodwill hovering about them, a disarming sweetness that gives their brand of indie pop a mood-altering quality. It might have kept the band safe; scouring Craigslist for potential band members and busking on New York subway platforms both might seem like risky ventures, but the Whales have managed to turn the odds in their favor with melodies that keep the cold out, wrapping you in the homey warmth of gently picked banjo and vintage synthesizer. Each of the five group members sing and switch instruments constantly throughout their set, but it doesn't feel like showing off—the band isn't aggressive enough to push your face in their talent—it's simply a product of a heavily layered sound, where each piece has a rightful place. Their recorded material feels far more subdued than their live show, where the group's appreciation for the attention they're currently receiving is palpable, energizing both the Whales and their audience. They're aiming to be adored, and hitting their target dead-on. With Miniature Tigers. 18+. $10/$12 at the door. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ian Traas

Superchunk

Andrew Bird brings his intricate indie ballads to First Ave
Cameron Wittig
Andrew Bird brings his intricate indie ballads to First Ave

First Avenue

When the late Might magazine published a satirical profile of the "late" Adam Rich in 1996, the writers stumbled upon a fitting encapsulation of a certain Chapel Hill, North Carolina, band's exorcism-by-volume aesthetic; one of Rich's supposed "top 10 moving tips" was "Just turn on some Superchunk, throw your stuff in a box, and move it!" In its brilliantly noisy heyday, the 'Chunk were all about throttle and velocity, ecstasy-as-pathos eruptions of frustration narrated by perpetual-teen yelper Mac McCaughan, disguised as fist-pumping indie rock that ex-Nirvana fans could slip into their thrash/puke party playlists; 1995's Here's Where the Strings Come In remains the gold standard for cross-country relationship soundtracks. As the mid-'90s became the late '90s and the band aged, their albums lost some of their angst-y edge. Thankfully, a much-needed hiatus ensued—McCaughan and bassist Laura Ballance run indie-royalty label Merge Records—and Superchunk emerged earlier this year with the don't-call-it-a-comeback wallop of Majestry Shredding, which (somehow) bests everything that came before it. Yep, even "Slack Motherfucker"—and scream-along classic Incidental Music. So it stands to reason that this show will probably annihilate your week, in a good way. If you go. Which is a total no-brainer. Right? 18+. $18. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Ray Cummings

THURSDAY 12.2

Tribute to Mikey "Eyedea" Larsen

Station 4

It took a large wake in St. Paul and a memorial concert at First Avenue for many fans of Michael "Eyedea" Larsen to realize they would be grieving and processing for some time, not just remembering in one frenzied night and moving on. The number, size, and quality of Eyedea memorials since his death on October 16 speak to the impact he had across the Twin Cities music community, not just as a member of Eyedea & Abilities, Face Candy, and Carbon Carousel but as a person. Mikey pushed those around him to be better, say his Rhymesayers family, and it shows. Tonight's memorial benefit at Station 4 brings the remembrances closer to Larsen's home neighborhood near downtown St. Paul, with a suggested donation of $7-10 at the door benefiting Larsen's family, and another dollar for every drink sold going to the memorial fund. Performers include Sensory Motel, Sota Boys, Eden, Elliott Graber, Conner Allen, Murphey's Midnight Rounders, and special surprise guests. 21+. 8:30 p.m. 201 E. Fourth St., St. Paul; 651.298.0173. Peter S. Scholtes

Andrew Bird

First Avenue

For an artist so revered by the indie community, Andrew Bird doesn't seem to care much about rock 'n' roll. His list of influences doesn't include any trendy touchstones or major players along the wide spectrum of pop—Bird writes music that feels like his alone. He's not beholden to anyone else's sound, which allows his prodigious talent to manifest itself in ways that sound fresh even as they utilize rustic elements (strings, shimmering cymbals, and whistling, to name just a few). He's an auteur, but one who knows just how to connect with a crowd (it seems unwarranted to accuse him of navel-gazing), and that ability has earned him a following that believes wholeheartedly in his vision, eagerly awaiting and collecting his material like communiqués from a new world. You can hardly blame them; it's singularly exciting to watch an artist reach a certain level of uninhibited self-expression while remaining entertaining, and Bird walks that tightrope with an uncanny confidence that suggests he's only ever been interested in being himself. With Alpha Consumer. 18+. $30. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

Jenny Scheinman's Mischief and Mayhem

Walker Art Center

The dizzyingly eclectic, ever resourceful Jenny Scheinman has been a key player in the avant-garde and experimental jazz realm for more than a decade. A violinist, composer, fierce improviser, and, lately, vocalist, Scheinman moved from northern California to New York in 1999 and immediately fell in with the downtown crowd, eventually collaborating with everyone from Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, and John Zorn to Lucinda Williams and Norah Jones. After distinguishing herself as an instrumentalist, Scheinman unleashed her vocals on a surprisingly charming and effective 2008 eponymous album that included folk, blues, vintage country, and rock tunes from the likes of Williams, Jimmy Reed, Tom Waits, and Mississippi John Hurt. Scheinman's latest project is Mischief and Mayhem, an all-instrumental affair that will debut locally at the Walker and feature a virtual all-star lineup of first-call musicians with whom she's long been associated: guitarist Nels Cline (of Wilco fame), drummer Jim Black, and bassist Todd Sickafoose. The group's forthcoming album of the same name ranges from moody chamber jazz to aggressive, razor-wire, rock-fueled mayhem, all deeply layered with stray bits of Americana, Django's Hot Club, swing, and bop, and delivered with visionary intensity. All ages. $22. 8 p.m. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.375.7600. —Rick Mason

FRIDAY 12.3

The New Standards Holiday Concert

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