Critics' Picks: Andrew W.K., Megafaun, and more

Hunx: Even hairdressers get the blues
Olivia Hemaratanatorn

Hunx and His Punx

Triple Rock Social Club, Tuesday 3.27

Through his music, Seth Bogart—better known as Hunx from Hunx and His Punx—has constructed an image of someone who probably doesn't write from a dark place. His malt-shop doo-dahs don't seem to be a rope that pulls him from a well of misery. However, his latest, Punx-less LP, Hairdresser Blues, mixes the lover's-lane throwback pop we saw in 2011's excellent Too Young to Be in Love with a newfound sadness. This is not the previously heard dreamland sadness of "my boyfriend left me," but palpable, no-bullshit depression that came as a result of his friend and mentor Jay Reatard's death in January 2010. Bogart admits writing the HB songs in a delirium of despair, finding tapes he didn't even remember singing over: "I like those songs where you can hear that sadness in someone's voice and you can tell it's a real thing." All ages, $10, 6 p.m. 629 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Mark Brenden

Andrew W.K.'s I Get Wet Ten-Year Anniversary

First Avenue Mainroom, Thursday 3.22

When it comes to longhaired cult-hero oddballs in ragged jeans hammering out simple shout-along rock anthems that nod to the sounds of 15 years previous, every generation gets what they deserve. It might be only in retrospect that Andrew W.K.'s cathartically joyous take on big-big-big arena rock carries a Ramones-ian aura, since 2001's flat-out bonkers I Get Wet had the misfortune of dropping right at the time the great American irony-awareness crisis of the early 21st century went into high gear. But that album and its ensuing follow-ups—2003's The Wolf, 2006's Close Calls With Brick Walls—were guilt-free, earnestly kick-ass doses of dopamine-fueled rock 'n' roll rebellion. More recent works have leaned away from that early template to touch on modern classical piano (55 Cadillac) and J-pop (The Japan Covers and Gundam Rock), exhibiting an adventurousness to go along with his enthusiasm. And in the 10 years since that first full-length dropped, the party machine-turned-motivational speaker-turned-kids' show host (the explosion-heavy engineering showdown Destroy Build Destroy) has built himself up into the most unlikely cult rock star in the world—always with something to do, somewhere to go, and no reason to be sedated. With Math the Band and Aleister X. 18+, $20, 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Nate Patrin

The 802 Tour

Walker Art Center, Thursday 3.22 + Friday 3.23

Although this collective is rife with evidence of its base in New York's cutting-edge downtown music scene, the 802—as in area code—tag gives away the Vermont origins of most of the principles: composer/pianist Nico Muhly, keyboardist/singer Doveman (a.k.a. Thomas Bartlett), fiddler/banjoist/guitarist Sam Amidon, and violist Nadia Sirota, along with Minneapolis's Laurels String Quartet. Individually and in various combinations, the 802s explore the frontiers of classical, folk, and pop, flirting with the avant-garde and particularly attuned to fresh tangents when genres overlap and merge. Muhly's diverse interests run to Anglican chorale music, electronica, indie pop, and minimalism. He's written orchestral pieces, operas, for film and ballet, as well as collaborated with the likes of Philip Glass, Bjork, Rufus Wainwright, and Grizzly Bear. Bartlett's whispery vocals often float through a diaphanous ambient chamber folk context. He's classically trained, but also ventures far afield, including working with Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, and Yoko Ono. Amidon is known for his fractured perspective on Americana roots, twisting Appalachian ballads, for instance, in strikingly irregular modes. Juilliard grad Sirota is active in new music circles, playing regularly with contemporary groups like the Meredith Monk Ensemble, as well as sitting in with Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire. The Laurels, who have worked locally with Jeremy Messersmith, Dessa, and the New Standards among many, will back Sirota here. Performances will range from solos to a variety of collaborations. $18-22, 8 p.m., 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.375.7600. —Rick Mason


400 Bar, Friday 3.23

For going on 18 years now, Tim Kasher has carved a small but fervent cult following pairing lacerating lyrics with barbed-wire riffs as the frontman for Omaha-birthed post-punks Cursive. During that time there have been highs (2000's withering divorce document Domestica) and lows (2006's bloated and unwisely brass-laden Happy Hollow). File their latest, I Am Gemini, squarely in the middle of the pack. It's a bizarre concept album about separated-at-birth twins Cassius and Pollock, with lyrics that are pretty much nonsense, which is a shame considering how great a wordsmith Kasher can be when he's trying (see his stellar 2010 solo album The Game of Monogamy). Luckily the band makes up for it by coming through with a clutch of enjoyably fidgety tunes featuring plenty of razor-blade riffs and propulsive rhythms. Kasher may be barking random imagery these days, but his scorched-earth tenor makes clear that it still means something to him. With Cymbals Eat Guitars, Conduits. 18+, $12, 9 p.m., 400 Cedar Avenue S., Minneapolis, 612.332.2903. —Rob Van Alstyne

Rosie Thomas


Turf Club, Friday 3.23

After building a solid career on the strength of a series of rapidly released pretty folk-pop records hatched with high-profile companions like Iron & Wine's Sam Beam and Sufjan Stevens, Rosie Thomas suddenly dropped off the map in 2007. While fans not in the know could only assume some sort of artistic burnout, the reality was far worse. A crippling thyroid disorder had rendered Thomas seriously depressed and close to bedridden. After finally recovering a few years later, she took her time crafting With Love, released this past Valentine's Day. In the past, Thomas's tunes occasionally felt too diaphanous for their own good, floating away before making any real impact; the time away appears to have re-energized her, as she sings with a newfound emotive expressiveness on surprisingly rhythmic lead single "Over the Moon." If cool-coffeehouse folk-rock is your cup of tea you'll be hard pressed to find better. With Bhi Bhiman. 21+, $10, 8 p.m. 1601 University Avenue, Saint Paul, 651.647.0486. —Rob Van Alstyne

Megafaun/Field Report

Turf Club, Saturday 3.24

While the years since the 2006 dissolution of Wisconsin-formed folk-rock quintet DeYarmond Edison saw that group's frontman, Justin Vernon, go supernova with Bon Iver, the rest of the ex-DYE dudes have been equally active in pursuing compelling new musical pursuits. Megafaun, which features brothers Brad and Phil Cook alongside Joe Westerlund, has gradually morphed from an improvisation-heavy freak-folk outfit into a stunningly beautiful and surprisingly melodic folk-rock band over the course of three records. Now fellow former DeYarmond Edison member Chris Porterfield appears poised to join the Pitchfork-plaudit-winning fray as well with the forthcoming release of his six-years-in-the-making solo debut, recorded under the moniker Field Report. Early blog buzz on Field Report's initial singles is already running insanely high, and it's easy to hear why. Their ethereal finger-picked charm pretty much instantly recalls the high and lonesome beauty of Bon Iver's landmark debut. The lesson? Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes wholly necessary. 21+, $15, 8 p.m., 1601 University Ave., Saint Paul, 651.647.0486. —Rob Van Alstyne

Camile Baudoin and the Living Rumors

Bayport BBQ, Saturday 3.24 + Wilebski's Blues Saloon, Sunday 3.25

When New Orleans's venerable Radiators, generators of funky fishhead music for 33 1/3 years, quit zig-zagging for good last year, its members scattered to side projects that had long simmered on the back burner along with the gumbo. This weekend, Rads guitarist Camile Baudoin returns to town with a great new album, Old Bayou Blues, featuring mostly songs he played as a boy with his extended family out in the country along Bayou Lafourche. The superb trio Baudoin assembled for the project are hardly rumors, including guitarist David Doucet, whose regular gig is with premier Cajun band Beausoleil, and sweet-as-molasses fiddler Harry Hardin, whose alter-ego is a classical violinist. The mood is low-key, acoustic, and akin to an all-star back-porch pickin' session as the band rambles through country and New Orleans standards, the homesick title track (first recorded by his uncles the Dufrene Brothers in the '60s), plus some stylish original instrumentals and an "adult Cajun French nursery rhyme." But Baudoin left those guys down yonder, and the perhaps harder-rocking Rumors here will be Rads bassist Reggie Scanlon and guitarist Curt Obeda of Minnesota's own Butanes. After their Bayport gig Saturday, Baudoin and the Rumors will join a stellar krewe at Wilebski's for a Sunday afternoon/evening benefit for longtime local journalist, blogger, and NOLA music fanatic Karl Bremer, who has notably tackled the herculean task of correcting Michele Bachmann's encyclopedia of lies, and who is now battling pancreatic cancer. Dubbed Never Let Your Fire Go Out, after a Radiators' song, the show promises rare and intriguing combinations, including fiddler Peter Ostroushko sitting in with Baudoin and the Rumors; blues ace Tony Glover joining Baudoin, Obeda, and Scanlon as the Side Door Rockers; Paul Metsa and Cats Under the Stars with New Orleans's Willie West; plus the Butanes, and finally Gene Lafond and the Wild Unknown, whose name might suggest the event's wider possibilities. Bayport: $15, 7 p.m. 328 5th Ave. N., Bayport; 651.955.6337; Wilebski's: $25 donation, 2 p.m. 1638 Rice St., St. Paul; 651.331.0929. —Rick Mason

Of Montreal

First Avenue Mainroom, Tuesday 3.27

Of Montreal—not of Montreal, Quebec, but of Athens, Georgia—have now been making music for about 15 years. Throughout those years, the band has delivered a variety of sounds, ranging from zany twee-pop and neo-psychedelia to glam and funk, while hitting all kinds of notes in between with lead singer Kevin Barnes's witty lyrics. Barnes says his mission for his band—and himself, for that matter—is to remain "always melodic, yet unpredictable," and describes Of Montreal's sound as basically a "celebration of life." Of Montreal released their 11th album, Paralytic Stalks, earlier this year. With Loney Dear and Kishi Bashi. All ages, $16.50-$18.50, 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Alexa Crenshaw

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Triple Rock Social Club

629 Cedar Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55454


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