Triple Rock Social Club on Saturday 11.26

Too many current synth-pop bands pride themselves on sounding cold (I'm looking at you, Ladytron), so a shift toward humanity is a welcome change. The Canadians are leading the charge with groups like Austra and Young Galaxy, both of whom are layering raw emotion onto a genre that traditionally places a huge emphasis on robotic detachment. Austra's tense, nervous sound gets a massive boost from the histrionics of vocalist Katie Stelmanis, while Young Galaxy's midtempo bliss-outs indicate a new direction for an established band, one that speaks directly to the body while offering images of romantic escape. Synth-pop is evolving, and apparently, it's warming up as it ages. With Tasseomancy. 18+. $12. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. Ian Traas

The Kooks

First Avenue on Sunday 11.27

Mary Louise Knutson plays the first of two release shows this week
courtesy of the artist
Mary Louise Knutson plays the first of two release shows this week

The Kooks took the British music scene by storm back in 2006, generating a huge buzz and a coveted record contract after being together for a scant three months. The Brighton, England, quartet rode that wave of hype to two consecutive smash-hit albums filled with their particular brand of catchy, no-frills rock 'n' roll, and are now touring in support of their recently released third record, Junk of the Heart. Their new batch of jaunty tunes draws on a variety of classic pop-rock influences from both sides of the pond, crafting a breezy, lighthearted collection that remains highly listenable even after its indelible melodies get stuck in your head for weeks. The Kooks have always been a spirited, highly enjoyable live band, bringing a rougher edge to their tightly polished studio sound, and this stop at First Avenue (their largest Minneapolis show yet) should give local fans who haven't been paying attention all these years a chance to finally see what the fuss is all about. With Yawn. 18+. $21/$23 at the door. 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Erik Thompson

The Blind Shake

Turf Club on Sunday 11.27

It's a damned shame that the Blind Shake aren't in charge of of everything...in the universe. And yeah, we could sit here and mope about how they aren't, or we could celebrate what they do, which is a heck of a lot. Let's start with "rock your pants off," because that's at the top of the list. The Blind Shake's newest album, Seriousness, is white-hot heat, lasered into one central beam and then stuffed into an auditory ray gun to be blasted off into the eardrums of children, mothers, and fathers alike. Someone told us that Marie Antoinette, shortly before the guillotine, was given the choice of being beheaded or having to sign a document attesting that the Blind Shake aren't amazing live.... Obviously she chose correctly. Oh, and Nobunny is playing? And Teenage Moods? Lucky ducks! 21+. $7. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Ian Power-Luetscher

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