The Rapture, Girls, James Blake, and more

The Rapture

Varsity Theater on Thursday 9.29

We could sit here and kick around how the Rapture's new album, In the Grace of Your Love, marks a return to music for a band with all sorts of historic importance. Yes, Grace heralds the end of nearly a half-decade of purgatorial hiatus, and yes, with it we see the Rapture back on DFA and off of a major label, but let's push aside the hype here for a moment and get down to brass tacks: There's this band that used to be together and then wasn't, and now is again. They made an album, it's the fourth one they've made, and it's, well...it's great. In the Grace of Your Love has ample surges of that catchy energy that made the Rapture so maddeningly appealing in the first place (see "Come Back to Me" and "How Deep Is Your Love"), but more than that, Grace is a record seemingly made to tug the band, and their audience's preconceived notions, in new directions. And it's an album not concerned with drawing a lot of attention to that. The Rapture are older now, and they've made a record full of odd little crafty tunes: a few stumble a bit, and one or two are just plain genius, but Grace has this loose, athletic feel that can only come with 15 years at the plate. Well, 15 years minus four or five in there. Did we mention they're great live? Because it's universally agreed that they are. 18+. $18. 8 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. Ian Power-Luetscher

James Blake

Brace yourselves 
for the Rapture
Ruvan Wijesooriya
Brace yourselves for the Rapture

First Avenue on Wednesday 9.28

No one could tell when James Blake burst onto the scene with intricate, sample-heavy compositions that he would morph into such a convincing singer in such a short time. His CMYK EP was built around bits of reappropriated '90s R&B chopped nearly into dust, but Blake garnered the most acclaim with his own voice, centering new compositions entirely on his vocals and piano. But, as striking as those two elements are, it's the space between them that makes his songs so haunting. He's a master of atmosphere, and when he reins a song in, there's a tension that few young artists could hope to match. Blake's range is impressive, but not as impressive as his restraint. With Chairlift. 18+. $20. 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. Ian Traas

Minnesota Orchestra with Fat Kid Wednesdays

Orchestra Hall on Thursday 9.29, Friday 9.30, and Saturday 10.1

An institution as well-respected and consistently groundbreaking as the Minnesota Orchestra doesn't necessarily need a shot in the arm to stay relevant. But they are surely about to get one, as longtime MN Orchestra composer and contributor Stephen Paulus and his son Greg (of Brooklyn's No Regular Play) have collaborated on an original composition titled TimePiece, which will see its world premiere at Orchestra Hall. The arrangement, which is a fusion of a standard classical sound and more modern jazz and electronic elements, will be bolstered by a stellar supporting cast of musicians, in addition to the orchestra itself. Besides Greg on trumpet (as well as other sonic flourishes), Fat Kid Wednesdays (featuring Mike Lewis, Bryan Nichols, Adam Linz, and J.T. Bates) will flesh out their adventurous, contemporary sound. Conductor Osmo Vänskä will be orchestrating the inventive performances, and is even rumored to be joining in on clarinet at some point during the piece, which makes this a truly can't-miss event. $26-$84. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.371.5656. Erik Thompson

Girls

First Avenue on Saturday 10.1

The expansion of San Francisco's Girls from wall-of-lo-fi studio duo to actual rock band on their second album can be taken as a loss, at first: Augmented by strings, organ, and backing vocals, the band's second album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, is as safe as houses, style-wise, from the middle of a road paved long ago by Elliot Smith and Dinosaur Jr. What's new about Christopher Owens isn't just his Abbey Road classicism, however, but a tendency to under-sing, which can also seem like a loss at first until his quietness becomes more intriguing and seductive, the edges of his voice growing more and more apparent. It's an odd sound—the tender whisper you never knew Craig Finn had? But it sustains songs that sneak up on you. With Nobunny and Papa. 18+. $15. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. Peter S. Scholtes

St. Vincent

Walker Art Center on Sunday 10.2

Although it's tempting to say St. Vincent is the alter ego as well as the stage name of Annie Clark, the art-pop she creates is so multidimensional and highly textured that two personalities barely scratch the surface. The Texas singer-songwriter and prodigious guitarist is a pop provocateur who defies expectations with constant rhythmic twists, jarring juxtapositions, and disquieting, often ambiguous lyrics. With her new band (Toko Yasuda, mini moog; Matt Johnson, drums; Daniel Mintseris, keyboards), she'll kick off a fall tour at the Walker supporting her third album, Strange Mercy. The title track offers a sort of frigid comfort, Clark angelically crooning a soulful lullaby (about "policemen who roughed you up") over an electronic pulse that bleeds into fathomless atmospherics eventually lashed by shredded electric guitar before drifting into a surreal temporal realm that melts like Dali's clocks. "Cheerleader" ricochets between quiet, folky rumination and stomping, industrial protestation, Clark's still-sweet vocal riding bucking, increasingly dissonant orchestration. "Surgeon" is a moody cauldron of skittering electronics, jazz-rock bolts, and icy funk, Clark meanwhile enticingly suggesting "Come cut me open." Which would likely lead to an entirely unexplored dimension. All ages. $25. 7 p.m. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.375.7600. —Rick Mason

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

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