Friday 1.28 at State Theatre

The two-decade evolution of Guster has seen them go from Tufts undergrads playing robust folk on acoustic guitars and bongos to the polished, pure-pop prestidigitation of the quartet's new Easy Wonderful. The group's unabashed populism permeates every pore of EW: gushing lush harmonies, gaudy hooks infused with sonic sunshine, plus sweeping, multi-tiered production. Overflowing with infectiousness, Guster's sound borrows elements from '50s and '60s folk and pop, including a massive dose from the Beach Boys, especially in the vocals and spacious production. Guster's most distinctive trait, however, is the ambiguous quality of their songs, which are often laced with dark suggestions of grim forces at work, belying the radiant music. All ages. $25.50-$31. 8 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

Lyrics Born

Friday 1.28 at Cabooze

The Jayhawks return to First Avenue for a two-night stand
Steve Cohen
The Jayhawks return to First Avenue for a two-night stand

With his wife Joyo Velarde, Bay Area rapper Tom Shimura has recorded some of the more memorable rap songs that craft original funk from scratch rather than sample the classics, and he's proven one of the more commanding live-band acts in hip hop. He's also a great voice, warmly scratchy yet sure, and so exact in his rhythms and ambitious in his rhymes that his best music might be what he makes while seeming to take his ease—a rap performed as a phone conversation between him and the Gift of Gab, for instance. Last year's As U Were was a misfire—a concept album reaching for the '80s that seemed unaware Top 40 beat him to it. But live, he's a legend. With Keys N Krates and Shoeless Revolution. 18+. $14/$17 at the door. 8:30 p.m. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. — Peter S. Scholtes

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1 comments
dollhouse miniatures
dollhouse miniatures

Sounds gross, fresh, new, somewhere between the old and new music in the doorway. Not many Lone Justice, Georgia Satellites and Scorchers but many red and green in the Long Ryders. Five stars? Hey, if only for the long wait.

 
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