Critics' Picks: Howler, Tanlines, White Denim, and more

Tanlines even get mixed emotions in front of the camera
courtesy of the artists

Tanlines/ Rewards / Wiping Out Thousands

7th St. Entry, Friday 4.20

Brooklyn duo Tanlines' dynamic debut record, Mixed Emotions, is a smooth blend of the crisp, ebullient dance music that permeated the '80s, along with the dark, moody introspection of the '90s. The results are indeed a mixed affair, bouncing from the crisp production featured on their synth-heavy, beat-driven jams, to more pensive, reflective numbers that are brooding and slower-paced. But no matter what vibe they are going for, Eric Emm and Jesse Cohen have crafted an intriguing, arresting mix that should be enough to get the Entry crowd swinging and swooning. Enthralling local openers Wiping Out Thousands should also not be missed. 18+, $10-$12, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Daryl Hall's Nu-Soul Revue

Orpheum Theatre, Wednesday 4.18

Five years ago, Daryl Hall started inviting fellow musicians he'd known for years and artists just beginning their careers over to his house. The resulting jams were filmed and put up on the internet as Live from Daryl's House, and their growing popularity has now spawned a road version. Hall, of course, is best known for his longtime collaboration with John Oates. Mixing Philly soul with rock and pop, Hall and Oates were prolific hitmakers in the 1970s and '80s, assaulting the charts with such tunes as "Rich Girl," "Kiss on My List," "Private Eyes," and "Maneater." Decades later, Hall seems to be having the time of his life playing in his living room with the likes of Smokey Robinson and Cee Lo Green. Plus he recently issued his first solo album in 14 years, Laughing Down Crying, an engaging summation of his strengths and influences. On his Nu-Soul Revue tour, Hall will be joined by his LFDH band, soul diva Sharon Jones, and neo-R&B/soul singer Allen Stone. Plus Philly cheesesteak chef Tony Luke will be on hand via video link. $39-$79, 8 p.m., 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.455.9500. —Erik Thompson

Nick Lowe / Paul Cebar

First Avenue, Wednesday 4.18

Jesus of Cool was the U.K. name of Nick Lowe's first solo album in 1978. Even as rebranded for skittish stateside audiences, Pure Pop for Now People had an unmistakable critical cachet of hip irony that has lingered through Lowe's episodically brilliant career: pub rocker, punk and new wave instigator, producer for Elvis Costello, tenaciously clever songsmith. And it still resonates in the 63-year-old Lowe's current guise as an overtly genial geriatric pop crooner. The songs on his recent The Old Magic amble instead of rage, touching on mid-20th-century country and pre-British Invasion American pop amid echoes of Burt Bacharach, but are full of cunning and cleverness. Still subversive is Lowe's entire lack of pretension and his relatively cheerful stoicism at the prospect of creeping decay. Love is still fleeting in Lowe originals like "House for Sale," but now he's the Grandpa of Cool, eager to get on with whatever's next, helped by a little "peace, love, and understanding" that reprises one of his most memorable lines. Opening with a solo set will be Paul Cebar, Milwaukeean professor of scintillating grooves from obscure corners of New Orleans, Memphis, the Caribbean, and Africa. 18+, $20, 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Rick Mason


Varsity Theater, Thursday 4.19

The boys in Howler have had little trouble generating press as of late, both locally and beyond. After the young quintet signed to the tastemaking U.K. record label Rough Trade, their brash debut, America Give Up, soon followed, as did the sound bites. Frontman Jordan Gatesmith set off a bit of a firestorm within the Twin Cities music scene after trashing a portion of its history — as well as some current performers — in an interview. But that impudent, brazen behavior goes hand in hand with a young band who seem poised to make their mark on the music world at large, and not just settle for provincial Minnesota success. Whether or not area music fans have forgiven him — or are even still interested in Howler — should become clear after this Varsity Theater show, their first local performance since the brouhaha. With Teenage Moods and Jack Campbell. 18+, $11-$13, 7:30 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Erik Thompson

Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles

First Avenue, Friday 4.20

The groundswell of local support for Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles has grown consistently over the last few years, propelling the band onto bigger stages and into spotlights both in the Twin Cities and across the country. The burgeoning folk-pop quintet seem poised to take their sound to an even wider audience with the release of their fourth LP, Heat, an assured, confident collection that was recorded in Brooklyn with the assistance of renowned producer Matt Boynton. This CD-release party for Heat should give their devoted, growing fan base a good idea of the bold direction the band is heading. With Communist Daughter, Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons, and Solid Gold (DJ set). 18+, $12-$15, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Said the Whale

400 Bar, Friday 4.20

Now that James Mercer has sanded off the rougher edges of the Shins' once-eccentric sound in favor of strictly professional pop sheen, it's left to fresh-faced newcomers like Said the Whale to carry the quirk-pop torch. Their recently unveiled third full-length, Little Mountain, finds the Vancouver quintet up to the task. Frontman Tyler Bancroft's regionally specific tales of twentysomething longing ("Big Sky, MT") work equally well whether dressed up as folk-rock sea-shanties or taut power-pop nuggets, anchored by a band of capable multi-instrumentalists who clearly revel in throwing atypical elements into the mix. Already something of a big deal in their native Canada, where they nabbed new group of the year at the 2011 Juno awards, Said the Whale bring their gargantuan sound to the relatively Lilliputian confines of the 400 Bar here in the Cities as they seek to establish an equally buzzed-over presence stateside. With Chains of Love, Honorable Trees. 18+, $5-$8, 7:30 p.m. 400 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.332.2903. —Rob Van Alstyne

A.Wolf and Her Claws

Cedar cultural Center, Saturday 4.21

Songwriter and frequent Dessa collaborator Aby Wolf is now known as A. Wolf and Her Claws. Her group's self-titled debut, celebrated with a release show at the Cedar, shows a deft and unexpected range. "Rise Anew" has an orchestral quality about it, while the vocal harmonizing from Linnea Mohn in "Zero to 60" takes the song from dubstep dance to a hymn and back. "Disassemble" is an eerie lullaby, as Wolf writes from the perspective of a caterpillar trapped in a cocoon. And although the lyrics may be less confessional this time around, there's no confusing these tracks with your average empty-headed pop songs — Wolf thinks too deeply for that. With Brute Heart. $10-$12, 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Natalie Gallagher

White Denim / Hundred Visions

Turf Club, Saturday 4.21

The writhing knot of delights White Denim pack into every tune can drive you crazy if you're foolish enough to try to unravel it. Expect that you'll be lunging at boogie, gawking at gnarly prog-rock tendrils whipping between guitarists Austin Jenkins and James Petralli, tripping over funk, weathering a punk blast from the garage, witnessing a country lope melt into psychedelic chamber pop, dodging a flute line escaped from Jethro Tull, feeling the blues flex its muscles, and catching an exhilarating whiff of jazz improv. There's all that on the Austin, Texas, quartet's latest, D, which is far below the letter grade it deserves. At a taut 37 minutes, D still covers an incredible amount of ground, mostly in a shape-shifting rush of rhythms, textures, melodies that WD unveil with an organic, questing joy most akin to the experimental ramble of the Grateful Dead at their most purposeful and resourceful. Best to sit back and let it all flow. Hundred Visions, another Austin quartet, will open with buzzing guitars, a hint of psychedelia, and a shimmery punk-funk edge. 21+, $10, 8 p.m., 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Rick Mason

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