Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Spinners, Murder of Crows, and more

This is what a Massacre looks like
courtesy of the artists

The Brian Jonestown Massacre with Magic Castles

First Avenue, Thursday 8.16

Anyone who has seen the combustible 2004 rock documentary Dig! may be surprised to learn that both of the dysfunctional bands featured in the film, the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols, are still active and touring. While BJM's volatile but relentlessly creative frontman Anton Newcombe has reconfigured his band quite a bit over the years, regularly switching out members of his supporting cast as he sees fit, his retro rock continues to have an inventive, arresting quality that still captivates after over 20 years. The current version of the group (which features ex-Spaceman 3 bassist Will Carruthers and founding BJM guitarist Matt Hollywood) rolls through town in support of their challenging new record, Aufheben, which is a study in lush sonic contradictions that fits suitably alongside BJM's unconventional but imaginative back catalog. 18+, $20, 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Crushfest II

Cause Spirits and Soundbar, Friday 8.17 + Saturday 8.18

Crushfest II is set to take over Cause on Friday and Saturday night, as some of the Twin Cites' most inventive bands join in with groups from across the country for an eclectic weekend. Dream Crusher have once again curated the two-night affair, and are set to play both nights, along with Black Blondie, Me and My Arrow, Hardcore Crayons, Fort Wilson Riot, and many more. Frequent Astronautalis collaborator Bleubird is also making the trek up from his Florida home for Crushfest, as is the Brooklyn band Hiawatha, and KO from Indianapolis. The event promises some truly imaginative music as well as the potential for unique musical collaborations that will showcase the talent of these Twin Cities bands as well as their national counterparts. 21+, $7, 8 p.m. on Friday, 6 p.m. on Saturday, 3001 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.822.6000. —Erik Thompson

The Murder of Crows

7th St. Entry, Saturday 8.18

The richly evocative music of Duluth's the Murder of Crows is crafted by violinist/vocalist Gaelynn Lea and Low/Retribution Gospel Choir frontman Alan Sparhawk. The distinctive group formed in late 2011 when Lea and Sparhawk provided a soundtrack to a Lon Chaney film, and they enjoyed working together so much that the Murder Of Crows was born. While Sparhawk's name will always draw the most attention, Lea is the true star of the show, as she produces hauntingly elegant melodies on her violin while occasionally injecting direct, personal lyrics into her already poignant songs. This is their debut Minneapolis performance. With Jack Campbell and Andy Elwell. 18+, $10, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Mary Bue

Turf Club, Sunday 8.19

It's been five long years since Duluth talent Mary Bue released her excellent third album, Boat With No Oars. That's a long enough span that it was reasonable to wonder whether Twin Citians would ever get the chance to hear another record from the piano-based songwriter. The extended recording hiatus comes to an end this month with the release of Apple in the Ocean, which gets the CD-release show treatment. Still just 30 and now settled back in her home state after a lengthy stretch living in Seattle, Bue sounds confident and composed on Apple's set of mostly mid-tempo and lushly arranged folk-pop. What the album lacks in stylistic variety is more than made up for by Bue's distinctive voice, which sounds a bit like a twangier and subdued Ani DiFranco, and her frequently caustic and always well-crafted lyrics. With Brian Just Band, American Rebels. 21+, $5, 8 p.m., 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Rob Van Alstyne

Del McCoury Band

Dakota Jazz Club, Sunday 8.19

In his youth Del McCoury actually did a short stint with bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe. It's a neat link between two generations of bluegrass champs, now extended another generation to Del's sons, Ronnie and Rob, who play mandolin and banjo in one of today's elite traditional bluegrass bands, the Del McCoury Band. With Del leading the way on guitar and his fine tenor-to-falsetto vocals, the quintet conjures a superlative version of the classic bluegrass high lonesome sound, filling it out with marvelous picking and stirring close vocal harmonies. Despite its trad credentials, the band has a progressive playlist that includes the likes of Richard Thompson, Bruce Hornsby, and Mark Knopfler, while sometimes mixing it up with odd characters like Steve Earle and, last year, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. In bluegrass, it doesn't get any better than Del and the boys. $60 at 7 p.m, $60 at 9 p.m, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.5299. —Rick Mason

The Spinners

Dakota Jazz club, Tuesday 8.21 + Wednesday 8.22

Although they originated in Detroit, the Spinners epitomized sleek Philly soul during the 1970s after signing with Atlantic and getting together with Philadelphia producer/writer Thom Bell. Led by the late Phillipe Wynne's distinctive falsetto, the Spinners launched a slew of dazzling hits that scurried to the top of the charts, including "I'll Be Around," "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," "One of a Kind Love Affair," "The Games People Play," and "Rubberband Man." It's been decades since the Spinners had a hit, but they're still looking and sounding sharp, evoking a potent era with original members Henry Fambrough and Bobbie Smith anchoring the quintet. $55-$70 at 7 p.m., $45-$60 at 9 p.m., 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.5299. —Rick Mason

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