First Avenue on Saturday 8.27

Indie pop as a genre isn't known for its adventurousness (maintaining a polite atmosphere and crafting immaculate hooks seem to be its only reasons for existing), but that doesn't mean that the musicians making it are devoid of ambition. Swedish imports Peter Bjorn and John recently released a video that doesn't stop at one song—they've created a single visual project that encompasses the entirety of their most recent album, Gimme Some. Likewise, PB&J haven't been content to merely write catchy songs; they want their songs to be the catchiest you've ever heard (hence "Young Folks"). The trio are clearly aiming for the superlative...and hitting it. With BNLX. 18+. $18. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

The War on Drugs

7th St. Entry on Sunday 8.28

Chris Morrissey (second from left) takes center stage with Taurus
Shervin Lainez
Chris Morrissey (second from left) takes center stage with Taurus

After being somewhat criminally (and critically) ignored following the release of their stellar debut, Wagonwheel Blues, the War On Drugs revamped their lineup (parting ways with Kurt Vile in the process) and refocused their efforts to construct their majestic new record, Slave Ambient, which is packed with dusty, distinguished gems that are bound to get everyone's attention this time around. The War On Drugs is the brainchild of Adam Granduciel, an earnest, impassioned frontman who has assembled a strong group of musicians behind him that has helped inject his project with a newfound urgency and ambition. This Philadelphian quartet now seems quite ready for their inevitable close-up, as they've composed a stellar batch of stirring tunes that are colored by the renowned tradition of American road songs, while being buoyed by their own modern pulse and restless spirit. With Caveman, Ocean Cats. 18+. $12. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Erik Thompson

Steely Dan

Minnesota State Fair Grandstand on Tuesday 8.30

Pretzel Logic was the name of one of Steely Dan's classic albums from the mid-'70s. That title also could refer to the music of Dan principals Donald Fagen and Walter Becker: a hipsterish summit of rock and jazz with plenty of pop hooks strategically situated among twisted, unpredictable arrangements; a certain cool reserve, occasional dissonance, and lyrics skewing to the cryptic and surreal. The resurgent Dan has been touring periodically of late. This excursion is dubbed Shuffle Diplomacy Twenty Eleven, with all the hits as well as deep album cuts promised. Fagen and Becker will be backed by the horn-spiked, eight-piece Miles High Big Band plus a female vocal trio called the Embassy Brats. Munching on a greasy state fair pretzel during the show might be logical. With Sam Yahel. $45-$55. 7:30 p.m. 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul; 651.642.2262. —Rick Mason

TV on the Radio

First Avenue on Tuesday 8.30 and Wednesday 8.31

The untimely passing of bassist Gerard Smith put TV on the Radio's tour on hold as the band mourned their dear friend and bandmate. The back-to-back April shows in Minneapolis were rescheduled for August—which seemed like forever to fans eager to hear selections from most recent album Nine Types of Light—but TVOTR disciples understood the need for the break. Now, rejoice! The rescheduled dates are upon us, with the band making up both shows and ready to give the Twin Cities what they've been patiently waiting for—two stage-igniting sets from one of the best live bands in all of modern rock. With Seulah. 18+. $20. 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

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