Critics' Picks: Lee "Scratch" Perry, Buck 65, Lil' Kim, and more

Lee "Scratch" Perry is prepared for anything
courtesy of the artist

Lee "Scratch" Perry

Cedar Cultural Center, WednesDay 5.23

Summing up the career of reggae's greatest living legend, Lee Perry, seems deceptively simple. The Black Ark production genius and early dub pioneer's career collaborations span from the heydays of the Skatalites to Andrew WK. Narrow his backbreaking discography down to a mere sliver — say, 1976-77 — and you've still got Max Romeo's War ina Babylon, Junior Murvin's Police and Thieves, the Congos' Heart of the Congos, the Heptones' Party Time, the Clash's "Complete Control," and the Upsetters' own Super Ape, a streak that feels less like a résumé and more like an atom bomb. In the years since, Scratch has grown into an elder statesman not just of the genre but of music in general. He's an odd but still together goodwill ambassador of life, good times, and the liberating realness of being just a bit eccentric. All ages, $22-$25, 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.338.2674. —Nate Patrin

Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside

7th St. entry, Wednesday 5.23

Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside may appear, at first, to be a little too hipster for their own good. Ford herself is like the proverbial slice of pie from a '50s ad, with a cute little bob, vintage cat-eye frames, and a cardigan sweater to boot. She's got this funky voice that has its own built-in rhythm, and when she's accompanied by her band the Sound Outside, the entire ensemble takes on a distinct rockabilly vibe — with something more. The resulting sound is irresistibly vintage, perfect for a sweet, dewy summer evening. But far be it from Sallie Ford to be all sugar-coated niceties. She may sound like a delightful mid-century relic, but her lyrics and her very legitimate bravado are definitely modern. On 2011's Dirty Radio, Ford challenges the conventions of contemporary radio with her punchy lyrics, intelligent compositions, and startlingly off-kilter personality. With Swallows 18+, $10, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Natalie Gallagher

Anders Osborne

Varsity Theater, Wednesday 5.23

Swedish-born, but with a true New Orleans soul after more than 25 years' residence, Anders Osborne is a formidable guitarist, singer, and songwriter who has collaborated with the likes of Keb' Mo and Tab Benoit. Additionally, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, and Kim Carnes have all taken his songs up the charts. Osborne is so integral to the New Orleans scene that he can turn up playing with Mardi Gras Indians, brass bands, or blues or jazz artists, while all those influences are rolled together with a broad swath of roots, rock, and R&B to constitute his seamless signature sound. He brings it all together on Black Eye Galaxy, his 11th album overall and second for Alligator, an epic accomplishment that marries starkly personal revelations of loneliness and addiction with universal themes of redemption as well as juxtaposing blistering rock, elegant guitar, sweet singer-songwriter fare, and country elements. The album is framed by the thunderous, angst-filled "Send Me a Friend," a harrowing mix of Zeppelin hard rock and searing Mississippi hill-country blues, and the soaring finale, "Higher Ground," a gospel-laced affirmation of hope, co-written with jazz pianist Henry Butler. Osborne will be accompanied by drummer Eric Bolivar and bassist Carl Dufrene. $18-$20, 8 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. S.E., Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rick Mason

Spencer McGillicutty CD-release show

Triple Rock Social Club, Thursday 5.24

Harkening back to a more innocent pop-music era, youthful quintet Spencer McGillicutty — they're a band, not a person — mine the sounds of early-'60s AM radio gold to produce their present-day melodic riches. The local group's third album, All the Happy People!, swings effortlessly between cotton-candy sweet group sing-alongs and wistful acoustic balladry. Employing a rotating coed cast of four charming lead vocalists and with an ear for precise group harmonies, Spencer McGillicutty's winning sock-hop sounds will prove to be irresistibly winsome ear candy for fans of Wes Anderson soundtracks. And considering that the majority of the artists on the beloved Rushmore soundtrack are buried six feet under or in convalescent homes, this is probably your best shot at enjoying a truly shagadelic live show in 2012. With Brian Just Band, and Paul Spring. 18+, 8 p.m., $5, 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Rob Van Alstyne

M. Ward

First Avenue, Thursday 5.24

After spending three years as a team player in super-groups both large (Monsters of Folk) and small (She & Him), M. Ward made a welcome return to solo artistry and sonic minimalism last month with the release of his seventh album, A Wasteland Companion. Keeping with its dystopian title, the collection of songs sees the critically feted troubadour turning his back on the sunny AM pop sounds of She & Him and returning to the plaintive finger-picked folk on which he initially made his mark. Lead single "Primitive Girl," with its catchy piano-driven groove, is ultimately a red herring. The bulk of Wasteland finds Ward where he's always belonged: croaking cryptic tales of disappointment atop technically stunning acoustic guitar work. Expect Ward and his group of longtime collaborators to lean heavily on boisterous full-band numbers, but here's hoping he saves room for at least a few of his latest bummed-out solo-acoustic masterpieces. With Chris Scruggs. 18+, 6 p.m., $22, 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Rob Van Alstyne

Buck 65


7th St. Entry, Friday 5.25

If there's one thing that's consistent about Buck 65, it's his inconsistency. He'll pick up a persona — needle-voiced surrealist basement rapper (Vertex); beathead Tom Waits (Talkin' Honky Blues); gravelly chronicler of a '50s beat generation transgressiveness (Situation); electronic indie-pop collaborator (Bike for Three!'s More Heart Than Brains) — and sidestep to parts elsewhere once the impression's been made, storing but never discarding the accumulated phases along the way. Last year's Polaris-nominated 20 Odd Years takes stock of Richard Terfry's years in the art, and all those aforementioned elements coalesce into a work that still has room for new twists — smoky-cabaret guest spots from the likes of Jenn Grant and Olivia Ruiz, a stark, faithful cover of Leonard Cohen's "Who by Fire," and one of Buck's most pop-friendly rap tracks to date — one about a zombie apocalypse, no less. With Busdriver and So Gold. 18+, $15, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Nate Patrin


Turf Club, Friday 5.25

Firebrand frontwoman Maggie Morrison has kept a low profile since her beloved local synth-pop duo Lookbook called it a day two years ago. Well, the wait is now officially over, as this Turf Club show marks the debut of LaLiberte, a new collaborative effort featuring Morrison, Doomtree's Cecil Otter, and Votel member Ben Clark. At this early juncture, very little is officially known about the band. Will Morrison dip her toes back into Lookbook's crystal-clear '80s-copping waters? Will Otter rap alongside her? All that's been revealed thus far is a single Bandcamp demo called "Kelis." The gently pulsating and slightly menacing electro dirge doesn't really go anywhere musically, but remains riveting thanks mostly to Morrison's compelling vocal performance. 21+, 9 p.m., $6, 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 612.332.1775. —Rob Van Alstyne

Red Daughters CD-release show

Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Friday 5.25

The spirited Minneapolis quintet Red Daughters have cultivated a solid local fan base through their captivating live shows filled with their rousing, soulful brand of rock 'n' roll. Opening for Dawes and Caroline Smith on New Year's Eve certainly helped introduce them to a wider audience as well. Now the guys are poised to capitalize on that growing momentum with a CD-release party that their fans have been waiting for, as the band is finally putting out an album filled with the stirring songs that have been featured in their recent live sets. Red Daughters are bringing along some fine local support for their big night as well, as Phantom Tails, the Goondas, and Buildings will all help add to the festivities with raucous sets of their own. 21+. Free. 9 p.m. 6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul; 612.285.3112. —Erik Thompson

Preservation Hall Jazz Band & New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

Orchestra Hall, Saturday 5.26

With Orchestra Hall about to close for extensive renovations, the old place will get a Crescent City-style sendoff courtesy of two bands steeped in traditional New Orleans jazz: the venerable Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the relative upstart New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, led by Minnesota Orchestra Jazz Artistic Director Irvin Mayfield. Also on hand will be Davell Crawford, one of the heirs of the great New Orleans piano tradition. New Orleans jazz funerals feature a slow, mournful procession to the boneyard, followed by a rousing, up-tempo romp back, the fired-up band trailed by gyrating second-liners. At the end of this performance, the bands will lead the audience out into Peavey Plaza, where they'll join up with one of the Twin Cities' disciples of NOLA's funked-up brass bands, Jack Brass Band. Before the grand finale, both bands will likely air out the traditional New Orleans repertoire with requisite spirit. Both are serious about the music, but hardly doctrinaire. PHJB has loosened up considerably under Ben Jaffe and freely cavorts with diverse artists, including Del McCoury's bluegrass band on last year's American Legacies. Each also sports charismatic characters, such as PHJB singer/reed player Clint Maedgen, and NOJO trumpeter Leon "Kid Chocolate" Brown and clarinetist Evan Christopher. $25-$70, 8 p.m. 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.371.5656. —Rick Mason

Mark Sultan

Turf Club, Saturday 5.26

Mark Sultan may not be a household name, but he's an incredibly busy and influential musician. Typically thrown into the "garage punk" genre, he's played with King Khan and BBQ Show (he is also known as BBQ), Almighty Defenders (with the Black Lips), Spaceshits, and Les Sexareenos. Currently he is performing as a one-man band. Touring in support of two recent In the Red Records releases and a live Record Store Day LP released last month, Sultan brings his show to St. Paul to deliver a performance that encompasses much of his catalog. He draws from garage, pop, doo-wop, punk, early R&B, and more, led by his harmonic voice and the ability to craft memorable and rhythmic hooks. Sultan plays drums, guitar, sings, and has been mixing floor toms, cymbals, and delay pedals into recent live shows. While playing multiple instruments, Sultan makes a point to avoid gimmickry, relying instead on beautifully crafted songs that pull from a deep and varied songbook that draws heavily from rock 'n' roll's early eras. With Birthday Suits, FMWired, DJ Danny Henry. 21+, $8, 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Loren Green

Lil' Kim


Fine Line Music Cafe, Tuesday 5.29

After breaking into the rap game in the early '90s with the help of the Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Kim has had no problem staying in the spotlight. As the self-proclaimed Queen Bee of hip-hop, Kim released a string of hit records before being incarcerated in 2005, but she still managed to turn that misfortune into a reality show and an album that came out while she was in prison. A stint on Dancing With the Stars brought Kim squarely back into the public eye, and now she seems determined to reignite her music career. This intimate show at the Fine Line will give her fans, who have stuck with her through thick and thin, a chance to reconnect with Lil' Kim in a major way, and should give Kim an opportunity to rock the crowd once again with her always provocative songs. 21+. $26-$31 doors. 7 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Erik Thompson

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