Critics Picks: Morcheeba and more

Tristan Prettyman: Less pensive in concert

Tristan Prettyman: Less pensive in concert



First Avenue

The U.K. group recently assembled its sixth album of club-ready electronica with singers and musicians it found on MySpace. Built on Paul Godfrey's trippy beats, Dive Deep is a surprisingly cohesive listen—even when tracks veer off into their own subgenres. "Run Honey Run" retains folkie John Martyn's original vocals but shapes a whole new sound around various electronic noises. "Thumbnails" blends American blues and Indian ragas. As good as the album is, Morcheeba works at least as well on the dance floor. $20. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ernest Barteldes


Nada Surf

First Avenue

Three important rules for being past your commercial prime—tour behind a solid album, remind your fans that you once charted in the U.K., and don't get too high on your horse to play the hit everyone is there to hear. Nada Surf is a "them's the breaks" kind of band—a trio of talented slack-rockers who had the misfortune of crafting a single so monolithic that all their more sophisticated efforts still cower in its shadow. Since soldiering through the nuclear winter generated by "Popular," there has been a reverse proportion between their crowd size and their critical acclaim, with this year's Lucky being just the latest of their well-reviewed releases to be ignored by the big-watt radio stations that put them on the map. $15. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —David Hansen

Tristan Prettyman

Varsity Theater

Remember all those carefree, collegiate hours you whiled away at Dunn Bros. open-mic nights? No? Well, Tristan Prettyman does, and vividly. One is loath to compare the Bay Area songstress to such '90s poppers as Blues Traveler or the Wallflowers, but the tracks on her debut album, twentythree, have such a homey, inoffensive groove that it's hard to ignore how snugly that shoe fits. Prettyman's work is a familiar room—inviting and well lit, with a big ol' ratty couch that just begs a catnap. More strum than pluck, Prettyman traipses through her songs at a leisurely skip, addressing life's more normative plights as she goes. One can hear her take-it-as-it-comes half-smile as she croons. For those nights when Chan Marshall is just a little too jagged and roughly hewn, Tristan Prettyman fits like a suede tea cozy. $15. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —David Hansen


Treehouse Records Seventh Anniversary Show

Turf Club

It's been seven years since Uptown's Treehouse Records took the baton from the much-beloved Oarfolkjokeopus and set up shop in the little red brick building at the corner of 26th Street and Lyndale Avenue. Seven is a lucky number, because the store is still hanging in there despite a topsy-turvy retail market that finds CD sales down, teens buying turntables, record companies giving away coupons for free MP3s, and brick-and-mortar shops closing in droves. There's some reflected glory, too, with predecessor Oarfolk being recognized at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony as one of the great U.S. independent record stores. To spread some of that pretty good karma around, owner Mark Trehus is donating proceeds from this (and all future) benefits to Common Ground Relief, a nonprofit agency rebuilding New Orleans's Ninth Ward. Featured performers are raucous roots rockers Chooglin', the angular and moody Vampire Hands, exuberant garage-stomp veterans the Hypstrz, and unfettered guitar improviser Paul Metzger. $10 suggested donation. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave., St Paul; 651.647.0486. —Cecile Cloutier

Bad Boy Bill


A decade before Daft Punk dressed the club scene in jean jackets and Chuck Taylors, Bad Boy Bill, hard house's elder statesman, was spinning Moroder synth on six turntables and pushing a crossfader with his penis. Daft Punk's tsunami may have withdrawn once more to the sea, but here's trusty Bill, nobly reanimating the corpses it left behind. If you ever scorned a DJ by crumpling up his flyer on your way out of Too Much Love, you have 3B to thank—Chicago native William Renkosik authored the mad lib career path that has been diligently filled out by every superstar DJ that ever ascended from warehouses to...well, other warehouses. With an outpouring of mixes spanning 20-plus years, Bad Boy Bill is the godfather of the biggest musical trend ever to leap national consciousness in a single bound. Don't call it a comeback—I'm told he's been here for years. 18+. $10/$15 at the door. 10 p.m. 10 N Fifth St., Minneapolis; 612.332.3742. —David Hansen


Kanser (CD-release party)

Dinkytowner Cafe

Local rap institution Kanser are releasing their seventh album, a feat of longevity and abundance almost as impressive as my man Favre's streak of games played. Future Retro Legacy is the perfect title because it makes little practical sense but also fits their contemporary "legacy" exactly—being local for life, the group will never make it into any national rap narrative but will undoubtedly be looked back on fondly and with nostalgia by TC fans who've been spoiled by innumerable Dinkytowner performances. Produced entirely by Big Jess of Unknown Prophets, the new platter, and its accompanying unveiling tonight, will showcase again why the once-thriving but ostensibly lost group dynamic of MC-MC-DJ is so intoxicating. Listen for some classic material sprinkled in with the fresh songs, keep a lookout for other local favorites making cameos, and celebrate another spring thaw under the soothing sounds of one of our best tireless throwback crews. With Pee Wee Dread, Dalia, Rezerected Beans, Fik & Nova, DJ Fundamentalist, and DJ Mixwell. 18+. $5. 10:30 p.m. 412 1/2 14th Ave. SE, Minneapolis; 612.362.0437. —Jordan Selbo


Dimmu Borgir


Dimmu Borgir's status as earth's most popular black-metal band hinges less on subgenre standards of merit than on the Norwegian sextet's knack for cramming nearly every excess imaginable into a mightily ornate package. The European limited edition of last year's In Sorte Diaboli ("In Direct Contact with Satan") boasted a leather-bound digipack, lyrics printed backward, and a mirror. Currently threatened with bannage in their native Poland on charges of "promoting Satanism and murder," legendary blackened death-metal quartet Behemoth offer even the steeliest Dimmuphobes compelling cause to visit Myth, if only for guitarist Nergal's demoniac virtuosity. Trondheim-based BM veterans Keep of Kalessin open, guaranteeing a night kept real. $22/$25 at the door. 6 p.m. 3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood; 651.779.6984. —Rod Smith



Resurrected by soundtrack contributions to Scrubs and Shrek, Mark Everett, the Eels' songwriter and principal member, has found second life in big business's attempt to camouflage itself in an indie veneer. Is he a rook or a pawn? A dogging question to be sure. But there is sincerity lurking in Everett's oeuvre. His seminal release, Electro-Shock Blues, which was inspired by an array of personal tragedies, throbs with an earnest agony that soaks every shake of his tambourine, and though his career smacks more and more of aspartame as it rolls ceaselessly on, it's spiked with enough vulnerability to make you forget he's to blame for vapid, catchy hits like "Novocaine for Your Soul." In an age that saw Rage Against the Machine shill for Taco Bell, there's no sense in holding Everett's comparably modest corporate rap sheet against him. Every so often, the suits almost get it right. $20.50-$26.50. 8 p.m. 710 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis; 612.673.0404. —David Hansen