Screaming Females

Triple Rock Social Club, Monday 7.30

New Jersey punk-pop trio Screaming Females have been steadily building buzz for seven years now, but on their new, Steve Albini-produced record, Ugly, the band have exceeded their potential while crafting one of the most striking, confident rock records of the year. Led by Marissa Paternoster's distinct wail and churning, explosive guitar riffs, Screaming Females' songs bristle with an assured urgency that is at once catchy and triumphant. Ugly has found its way onto many prominent mid-year "Best Of" lists, including those of both Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot from Sound Opinions. Screaming Females' live show adds an untamed edge to their raucous sound, which should go over well in one of Minneapolis's best rock clubs. With Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band and Braver. 18+, $8, 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Erik Thompson

Merle Haggard & Kris Kristofferson

The men and woman of Screaming Females
Christopher Patrick Ernst
The men and woman of Screaming Females

State Theatre, Wednesday 7.25

Reports from the road suggest these 75-year-old legends are having a grand time, informally swapping songs while backed by Merle Haggard's band, the Strangers, which is anchored by son Ben Haggard on guitar. Early on, Haggard epitomized the Bakersfield Sound of his California hometown, and went on to write dozens of country classics that often depicted the triumphs and tribulations of the American working stiff. Haggard's latest in an unremitting string of strong albums, Working in Tennessee, includes a fresh version of his classic "Workin' Man Blues." Kris Kristofferson helped redefine country with his detailed, character-rich songs, some covered so widely they became touchstones for other artists (Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee") while he developed a staunch pop and rock following. Expect an avalanche of vibrant nuggets, from Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee" to Kristofferson's "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down." $58.50-$68.50, 7:30 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

Los Lobos/Steve Earle

Minnesota Zoo Amphitheatre, Wednesday 7.25

Los Lobos are on the cusp of the group's 40th birthday, and the early addition of Steve Berlin is the only change to the original lineup in all that time. Their summer tour coincides with the 20th anniversary of the landmark album Kiko, when the band's disparate tendrils of rock 'n' roll, blues, Mexican roots, folk, country, and R&B coalesced around experimental arrangements and instrumentation. Shout Factory will release a remastered version of Kiko (including unreleased tracks and a live version) next month, while several Kiko classics should anchor the zoo set. Steve Earle built his rebellious rep playing roots rock and hard country, but in recent years has increasingly added folk to the mix while remaining politically outspoken. In recent months, he's played with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, covered Bob Dylan, and appeared at numerous events in tribute to Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday. He's on tour with the Dukes and Duchesses, including wife Allison Moorer, behind last year's I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive. $47. 7:30 p.m. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 800.745.3000. —Rick Mason

The Baseball Project

400 Bar, Friday 7.27

With the recent cancellation of the SoundTown music festival, area clubs scrambled to accommodate as many of the scheduled bands into smaller gigs in the area. Add the Baseball Project to that growing list, as the veteran supergroup trades the sprawling outdoors of Somerset for the intimate confines of the 400 Bar. The band originally formed in the early '90s when Scott McCaughey from the Minus 5 and the Young Fresh Fellows bonded with Steve Wynn from Dream Syndicate and Gutterball over their shared love of our national pastime. R.E.M.'s Peter Buck soon joined the baseball-themed project, along with local drummer Linda Pitmon from Zuzu's Petals. The group just released their second album, Volume 2: High and Inside, another collection of songs inspired by the sport that they love. With Castor Coal, Cats Melvin, and Hungry Skinny. 21+, $15, 8 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.244.5563. —Erik Thompson

Steel Panther

The Brick, Friday 7.27

Hair metal is alive and well in the form of exuberant L.A. quartet Steel Panther. The profane and proud of it '80s throwbacks released their second album, the appropriately titled Balls Out, in November, and are the self-proclaimed "Greatest Heavy Metal Band Ever." If it's not already apparent, they play up the seedy, excessive side of rock 'n' roll, all with their tongues wedged firmly in their cheeks. Famous stars and musicians have joined in the Steel Panther phenomenon, with Paul Stanley, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Sebastian Bach just a few of the big names to share a stage with the band. Who knows what will happen at their show here, but chances are you won't see anything else like it anytime soon. 18+, sold out, 8 p.m. 111 Fifth St. N., Minneapolis; 612.333.3422. —Erik Thompson

STNNNG

Turf Club, Friday 7.27

Later this year, STNNNG will turn 10, and with three albums under their belt, they continue to rank among the city's top live acts and most distinctive bands. Led by the dual guitar assault of Adam Burt and Nathan Nelson and the confrontational stage presence of vocalist Chris Besinger, they make a brand of hard-hitting, ear-splitting rock that continues to pack as much punch as on day one. While concerts are now a little more sporadic, that only makes catching the band live more important. Drummer Ben Ivascu is in town for only a few days between Poliça tours, and the band is making the most of it with a headlining slot at Turf Club. Chicago's Coffin Pricks and locals Bombay Sweets also play. 21+, $7, 9 p.m., 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Loren Green

Bouncing Souls/Smoking Popes

First Avenue, Saturday 7.28

A Bouncing Souls show is about far more than just hyping their latest release — in this case, it's Comet on Rise Records. The long-running band of melodic New Jersey punks bring a communal worldview with their songs. Sure, topics range from 1980s movies to the Iraq War to BMX biking and a good ol' "East Coast Fuck You," but the tone and sentimentality of the songs is universal, contagious, and ultimately uplifting. Plus, the band is Doomtree-approved: Singer Greg Attonito lent his voice to a P.O.S. song a few years back. With openers worthy of their own headlining sets, including a reunited Smoking Popes, this four-band bill is set to upstage the recently through-town Warped Tour by adding intimacy and energy that outshines the condensed outdoor festival. With the Menzingers and Luther. All ages, $16, 5:30 p.m., 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Loren Green

James Carter Organ Trio

Dakota, Sunday 7.29

James Carter is one of the most accomplished and adventurous saxophonists in contemporary jazz, covering the gamut from swing to bop and way beyond, from the harmolodic frontier to Billie Holiday, plus his recent innovative synthesis of jazz, European classical, and Caribbean rhythms in tackling Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra. The latest of his myriad projects involves his longest standing group, the James Carter Organ Trio, featuring B3 wizard Gerard Gibbs and ace drummer Leonard King Jr. The trio's recent At the Crossroads (Emarcy) is a tasty summit of jazz, blues, gospel, and soul. Carter can come out smoking or be breathtakingly lyrical, juggling a quartet of saxophones plus flute. Crossroads kicks off with a hard-blowing run through Matthew Gee's "Oh Gee" and later pays tribute to B3 royalty Brother Jack McDuff and Sarah McLawler. It also gets down and dirty on Big Maybelle's "Ramblin' Blues" and righteous with Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" and the traditional gospel piece "Tis the Old Ship of Zion"; the trio proves equally inspirational Saturday night and Sunday morning. $35 at 7 p.m., $25 at 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.5299. —Rick Mason

The Drive Tour with College, Anoraak, and Electric Youth

Triple Rock Social Club, Sunday 7.29

Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn put a lot to love into last year's crime thriller Drive: beautifully shot California skylines, the tense existentialism of Ryan Gosling's "The Driver," and Christina Hendricks. But one thing about the film that continues to be overlooked is its excellent score, whose bouncy synths and breathy vocals make for something like the most surreal, sedate disco ever. The Drive Tour taps two acts, France's College and Canada's Electric Youth, that are heard in the movie, and another, French trio Anoraak, that would have fit in perfectly alongside them, especially with their having a song actually called "Nightdrive With You." "Cinematic" is an overused word in music journalism, sure, but Sunday's Triple Rock audience is bound to see a show that truly fulfills the descriptor. 18+, $15, 7:30 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Mike Madden

Slim Cessna's Auto Club

7th St. Entry, Tuesday 7.31

There's an ambiguity at the core of Slim Cessna's ravings about sin and damnation that's even scarier than the harrowing tales themselves. The disquieting realization that Slim's holy-roller sextet might take the band's grotesque revelations of rampaging religious bile at all seriously puts a razor-like edge on music already engorged on high-octane country, gospel, and punk. SCAC is based in Denver and has recorded a half-dozen or so albums for Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label. The latest, Unentitled, features a white country church on its cover apparently about to be engulfed by a blood-red tide. What is clear is that Slim and his congregation are true believers when it comes to music. The band has been widely praised for its musicianship, Americana roots, and incendiary live shows, and there's nothing diffident about the banjos' on-the-brink-of-hell intensity or Cessna's gothic country yodels. Jezebel Jones & Her Wicked Ways and Housepet open 18+, $12, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Rick Mason

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