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Critics' Picks: Hip Hop Harambee, St. Vincent & David Byrne, Purity Ring, and more

Talib Kweli returns to civilization to headline the Hip Hop Harambee
courtesy of the artist

Hip Hop Harambee

Nomad World Pub, Saturday 9.15

The name of the festival might be unfamiliar, but for local hip-hop fans the stellar lineup — led by Talib Kweli and his live band — certainly won't be. Harambee [huh-rawm-bay] means "pull together" in Swahili, and is a work chant used on the East African coast, as well as a rallying cry in Kenya. The block party, taking place Saturday in the Nomad World Pub parking lot, has a slogan of "One Day, One Community, One Love," and should foster a welcoming, unified atmosphere. Also on the rain-or-shine bill are Sims and Lazerbeak from Doomtree, Big Zach, Audio Perm, Meta, Sean Anonymous, the Grittee Committee, and many other local hip-hop acts. 18+, $10-$15, 2 p.m. 501 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6424. —Erik Thompson

Minus the Bear

Varsity Theater, Thursday 9.13

Though they started life a decade ago as decidedly cheeky math-rock maestros, Seattle quintet Minus the Bear gradually shed their sophomoric sense of humor — no more song titles like "Thanks for the Killer Game of Crisco Twister" — and softened their sound. By 2010's Omni they had perhaps moved too far in the opposite direction, producing a dour synth-driven album met largely with indifference. This year's Infinity Overhead walks a welcome middle path, with frontman Jake Snider delivering a set of adult-themed relationship ruminations while the band rediscovers its love for razor-sharp guitar-tapping riffs and tricky time signatures. The end result is Minus the Bear's most satisfying effort since 2005's excellent Menos El Oso. With Cursive and Caspian. 18+, $22, 7:30 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rob Van Alstyne

Nobunny/Cozy 7-inch release

Turf Club, Thursday 9.13

All things sweet should define Cozy's first 7-inch release party. When Bonkers Waddington, Baz Bosworthy, Gordie Leatherby, and Fabian Blockbuster take the stage, the only thing to overshadow their striking stage presence and matching moptop/vest combos is their '60s homage power-pop. With handclap rhythms, big harmonies, and song titles that drop words like "sugar" and "huggin'," it's the stuff of wholesome goodness. Sprinkle in some showy guitar lines, sing-alongs, and mood lighting, and the music is well suited to the Turf Club's vinyl booths and hanging decor. Cozy are celebrating their debut release, the aptly titled Cola Shock Kids, courtesy of Chicago's HoZac Records, which has also released work by headliners NoBunny. With Bad Sports. 21+, $10, 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Loren Green

NOFX/Dillinger Four

Cabooze Outdoor Plaza, Friday 9.14

Outspoken and outlandish punks NOFX have scheduled a Minneapolis sandwich date in between Riot Fest shows in Toronto and Chicago. The rare Twin Cities club gig has the band, who just released their 12th studio record, sharing the stage with local veterans and labelmates Dillinger Four. A quick sample of either band's live albums gives a taste of what to expect. This'll be a 60/40 music-to-talking ratio featuring drunken, inane chatter and political barbs. It'll be a punk-rock show and live comedy act — just beware if leader Fat Mike takes the stage sporting clown garb and offers shots of Patron. Filling out a rollicking day of fun in the sun are Wyoming pop-punks Teenage Bottlerocket and Eau Claire's Arms Aloft, both of whom released records this year as well. All ages, $27, 6 p.m. 917 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. —Loren Green

Purity Ring

First Avenue, Friday 9.14

Canadian dream-pop duo Purity Ring's ethereal debut album, Shrines, was released this summer on legendary indie label 4AD, and critics approve. Corin Roddick and Megan James's theatrical live show shifted from the intimate Entry to the spacious Mainroom to accommodate the swelling demand of their local fan base. They've played two high-profile local gigs — opening for Neon Indian last fall and Dirty Projectors in July — but this headlining performance should allow Purity Ring to carefully craft a complete visual and aural representation of their lush, modern aesthetic. With Evian Christ and Headaches. 18+, $10-$12, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

David Byrne & St. Vincent

State Theatre, Saturday 9.15

What can you expect from a collaboration of artists a generation apart but sharing expansive, multi-textured pop perspectives that stretch to the avant-garde? In the case of former Talking Head David Byrne and Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, something unexpected, thoroughly intriguing, and pretty cool. Love This Giant is a fully collaborative effort between Byrne and Clark that gradually evolved into complete pieces over some two and a half years. One key surprise is that the arrangements are focused on a large brass band. Consequently the tour will feature eight horn players, a keyboardist, and a drummer. Of the Giant tracks, "Who" sounds like a classic Byrne/T. Heads moment wrapped around stomping brass and occasional gossamer flights from Clark. "Weekend in the Dust," meanwhile, is a funky workout juxtaposing Clark's declarative vocals with chortling, down-and-dirty horns. In concert Byrne also promises to play "a bunch of songs that we suspect people will already know." $39-$79, 8 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason

Wild Nothing

Triple Rock Social Club, Saturday 9.15

Thanks to wildly successful European imports like M83 leading the way, the big and shiny synth-rock sounds of the Reagan administration have come back in vogue in a big way. The '80s revival has so far been a mixed bag, with far too many newcomers looking to cash in by slavishly aping sonic signifiers from 25 years ago while offering little in the way of original songwriting chops. While Wild Nothing is clearly part of the '80s-emulating camp, thanks to its washes of pristine synthesizers and treble-focused sound, the group's sophomore album Nocturne boasts enough massive hooks to make for memorable listening in any era. Rather than merely mimicking Depeche Mode or doing a take on Duran Duran, frontman Jack Tatum draws inspiration from a gamut of artists. The title track's shadowy elegance and spiral guitar riffs echo Echo and the Bunnymen. The gentle synth-driven ballad "Paradise" feels akin to cheesy radio hits of the era, like Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark's "If You Leave," until it breaks down into extended ambient synth explorations. With Diiv. 18+, $12-$14 door, 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis, 612.333.7399. —Rob Van Alstyne

Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls

Varsity Theater, Sunday 9.16

English singer-songwriter Frank Turner has consistently captivated the Twin Cities with impassioned live shows, as well as a string of stirring albums that nod to Springsteen, Guthrie, and even Freddie Mercury. Yes, there are often Queen covers. As his star continues to rise on both sides of the pond, including a prominent three-song performance during the Opening Ceremony of London's Summer Olympics, Turner brings his Sleeping Souls back to Minneapolis. Turner is currently working on material for a new album, so perhaps this show will give him the chance to try some of that. Even if he sticks solely to his raw and revealing older numbers, this show should be a rousing good time. With Larry & His Flask and Jenny Owen Youngs. 18+, $16, 6:30 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —erik Thompson

The Jesus and Mary Chain

First Avenue, Tuesday 9.18

Celebrated Scottish noise-poppers the Jesus and Mary Chain finally make a Minneapolis stop on their recent reunion tour after playing sporadic high-profile, high-volume gigs over the past few years. The Reid brothers put whatever musical and personal differences they had aside when they agreed to reform for the Coachella Festival in 2007, and since then they have gone on to write their first new song since 1998, with a new full-length supposedly in the works. And while new JAMC is certainly enticing, they remain culturally relevant because of their groundbreaking back catalog, highlighted by their mesmerizing 1985 debut, Psychocandy, a boldly assertive collection balancing overwrought distortion and blissful pop. The Jesus and Mary Chain's influence on modern music is as pronounced today as it was during their heyday, and this is sure to be blistering show. With the Psychic Paramount. 18+, $25, 7:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik thompson

Matthew Sweet

Varsity Theater, Tuesday 9.18

Now coming up on 21 years since the October 1991 release of his seminal album Girlfriend, Matthew Sweet comes to town for a victory lap in its honor. He'll play the album in its 15-track entirety. Fortunately for Twin Citians, Girlfriend is an album more than worthy of the tribute-tour treatment and one that's held up surprisingly well with the passing of time, since its Byrds-ian jangle and country-rock flourishes weren't exactly redolent of their flannel-loving era to begin with. Sweet's sugary power-pop is truly timeless, part of why he's never been a bigger star — he's never had the right fit for flavor-of-the-month status — but also why his formidable cult of fans remains sizable enough to fill large concert halls. 18+, $20, 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rob Van Alstyne


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