High on Fire

Turf Club, Saturday 12.8

Matt Pike's transition from the diabolical sludge of '90s doom-metal overlords Sleep to the stoner-thrash hybrid of High on Fire has been one of the most underappreciated second acts in rock. Diehards know the score, and High on Fire have maintained the same indie-crossover attention that greeted split-7-inch cohorts like Mastodon and Baroness, but their dozen-plus-year discography has all the evidence you need of their power-trio mastery, whether or not you care about the fact that they cut an album with Steve Albini (2005's Death Is This Communion). This year felt like something of a career-spanning canonization of the band with E1's release of their characteristically maelstrom-force album De Vermis Mysteriis back in April and Southern Lord's chest-compressing remaster/reissue of their 2000 debut full-length, The Art of Self-Defense, a couple of months later. And damn if the new album doesn't sound every bit as devastating as the classic, though it helps that top-notch producer (and Converge guitarist) Kurt Ballou did justice to Des Kensel's lithely brutal drumming, Jeff Matz's leviathan-growl bass, and the interplay between Pike's voice and guitar — both of which are equally capable of technical grandiosity and concrete-rupturing impact. 21+, $15, 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul, 651.647.0486. —Nate Patrin

Public Enemy

High on Fire's step-by-step method
Tom Couture
High on Fire's step-by-step method

First Avenue, Thursday 12.6

Now in their 50s and almost a quarter-century removed from their masterpiece It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Public Enemy would seem to be more likely to spend their time in a retirement community somewhere sunny than to be on tour detonating knowledge bombs. But Occupy Wall Street, Arizona's immigration regulations, and the Trayvon Martin scandal, among other issues concerning the security of the first world, have kept such a fire in PE's collective belly that they've released two highly political albums this year alone. Neither Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamp nor The Evil Empire of Everything stands up to Chuck, Flav, and co.'s early material — hardly anything does — but both are enough to warrant that the noise they're bringing be heard and appreciated. At this point, it's hard to ask for much more from them. 18+, $25, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Mike Madden

Dan Mariska 7-inch release

Triple Rock Social Club, Friday 12.7

Having kicked off the year by issuing one of the local scene's most promising full-length debuts in the form of It's All OK, 22-year-old indie rocker Dan Mariska closes out 2012 with a tasty four-song follow-up 7-inch recorded with the aid of his three-piece backing band, the Boys Choir. Mariska has re-teamed once again with ace local producer Knol Tate and is still drawing plenty of inspiration from the slack-jawed '90s indie scene, despite the fact that he was barely out of diapers when Pavement were at their apex. The 7-inch finds Mariska's sound maturing without losing its feisty edge. Given the massive blog buzz that's greeted other youngsters reviving the sounds of the Clinton-era underground, the odds of Mariska staying a largely under-the-radar talent for much longer are slim. With International Karate, France Camp. 18+, $5, 9 p.m., 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis 612.333.7399. —rob Van Alstyne

Curtiss A's John Lennon Tribute

First Avenue, Saturday 12.8

This is the 33rd installment of Curt's annual paean to John Lennon, which began the evening the Beatle was murdered in New York, instantly creating shock waves around the globe. While stunned multitudes lit candles and traced peace signs in the snow, the irrepressible Mr. Almsted jumped onstage and belted out Beatles and Lennon solo classics to assuage the pain. Decades later he's still at it, with considerable help from an elastic cast of his estimable friends, twisting and shouting with an indomitable spirit Lennon would appreciate. Now the show doubles as a release party for the latest Minnesota Beatle Project album, whose proceeds support music and the arts in Minnesota public schools. This year's fourth volume again features a virtual who's who of contemporary Minnesota artists doing their versions of Beatles staples, including "A Day in the Life," "Think for Yourself," and "You Never Give Me Your Money" by, respectively, John Mark Nelson, Molly Maher and her Disbelievers, and Big Trouble, all of whom will be on hand for the show. 18+, $15, 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338.8388. —Rick Mason

Sigur Rós Valtari film experiment

Ritz Theater, Sunday 12.9

The lush, darkly beautiful Sigur Rós film INNI lingers in the psyche of those who experienced it. Now, the Icelandic post-rock band's music is set to creative filmmaking with the premiere of the Valtari film experiment, screening at the perfect environs of the Ritz Theater (where INNI premiered last year). Sigur Rós gave a dozen filmmakers — including Ramin Bahrani, Alma Har'el, and John Cameron Mitchell — a modest budget to create whatever came into their heads while listening to songs from their sixth album, Valtari. This two-hour film bypasses the usual artistic-approval process and allow artists complete creative freedom. Sigur Rós fans will have this to hold in their minds until the band hits Roy Wilkins Auditorium on April 3, 2013. $8, 6 p.m. 345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis, 612.436.1129. —cyn Collins

The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show

Dakota, Monday 12.10 & Tuesday 12.11

The rumbling, soul-stirring, sometimes ground-shaking voices of the Blind Boys of Alabama are a genuine marvel, weaving into harmonies as rich and piquant as devil's food cake, a confection probably more suited to their recent secular drift than gospel roots reaching back nearly 75 years. The Boys play it both ways during their annual Yuletide celebration, based on their 2003 Christmas album Go Tell It on the Mountain. Traditional hymns and carols mix with seasonal pop nuggets like "White Christmas" and "The Christmas Song," all wrapped in festive, glowing arrangements as likely to rock out as soar on gossamer gospel wings. Founding member Jimmy Carter still leads the Boys, who in recent years have vastly expanded their horizons by collaborating with artists from across the musical spectrum while tackling material stretching from trad jazz to bluegrass and beyond. Meanwhile, the group's Noel nuggets are guaranteed to warm the bleak midwinter. $45, 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.5299. —Rick Mason

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2 comments
KnolTate
KnolTate

@danmariska ace LOCAL producer

KnolTate
KnolTate

@danmariska nice write up

 
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