Critics' Picks: Seun Kuti, Perfume Genius, Cults, and more

Perfume Genius loves company
Angel Ceballos

Perfume Genius

Cedar Cultural Center, Wednesday 4.11

Perfume Genius mastermind Mike Hadreas is a Seattle-based singer/songwriter who crafts spare, evocative numbers that speak plainly of the growth that occurs after confronting the trials and tribulations of life head-on. The haunting, piano-laden numbers that make up his gorgeous new record, Put Your Back N 2 It, are drenched in raw emotion and tender feelings. The songs sound like they come from a delicate, heartbroken place, but there are elements of hope and strength that pulse from the heart of the album. Perfume Genius's poignant, powerful music is reminiscent of the diaphanous elegance of Antony and the Johnsons, and this intimate Cedar show should be the perfect environment to be entirely swept away by this emerging young talent. With Parenthetical Girls. All ages, $12, 7 p.m., 416 Cedar Ave S., Minneapolis; 612-338-2674. —Erik Thompson

The 4onthefloor

First Avenue, Friday 4.13

The 4onthefloor responded graciously to a recent fake kerfuffle with another local act, Howler, and continue to handle their business the only way they know how: by playing stomping, storming live sets. This headlining gig at the Mainroom is one of their biggest local shows yet. The 4onthefloor have also recently started a social media campaign lobbying to get the Minnesota Twins' Luke Hughes to use their rowdy song, "Lionhearted," as his walk-up music, which should endear the band even more to Twin Cities music fans who are itching to hear more local music played at Target Field. The strong lineup is rounded out by fellow area bands Roster McCabe, the Boys n' the Barrels, and the Evening Rig. 18+, $10, 7 p.m., 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Glen Campbell

Mystic Lake Casino, Friday 4.13

Time hasn't been gentle on the mind of Glen Campbell, the 75-year-old country-pop stalwart who last year was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. With consummate dignity, he completed an elegantly crafted album, Ghost on the Canvas, played joyfully at the Grammys, and is now on tour, which, like the album, is said to be his last. Ghost is unavoidably bittersweet and could easily have been a maudlin mess. But the songs — by Paul Westerberg, Jakob Dylan, and Teddy Thompson, as well as originals written with producer Julian Raymond — frankly address Campbell's situation without wallowing in pity, instead reflecting a reservoir of emotional strength derived in large part from Campbell's resilient high tenor voice. One particularly nice touch is that Raymond's arrangements include subtle references to such Campbell hits as "Wichita Lineman," "Galveston," "Rhinestone Cowboy," and "Gentle on My Mind," all of which also are likely to crop up in concert. Three of Campbell's children are in his touring band, one of many deftly handled details allowing an artist to say goodbye on his own terms and with abundant class. Sold out, 8 p.m., 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake; 952.445.9000. —Rick Mason

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

Cedar Cultural Center, Saturday 4.14

Seun Kuti was only in his mid-teens when his formidable father, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, died in 1997. Fela was a larger-than-life icon who created the muscular African funk-jazz hybrid Afrobeat, and a potent political force who confronted tyranny and corruption in his native Nigeria. Now leading Fela's brash, incendiary band, the 16-piece Egypt 80, Seun Kuti has seized his father's legacy with impressive passion and made it his own. Last year's Brian Eno-produced album From Africa with Fury: Rise is a bristling call to action. The band blazes fiercely on all cylinders while Seun presides over the rolling thunder, blaring away on his declarative alto sax (as did Fela) and barking out gruff, charismatic vocals. There are hints of hip hop and electronica (thanks to Eno), but the power still resides in the band's remarkably taut intensity and furious Afrobeat polyrhythms, now buoying Seun's railings against exploiters "Like Monsanto and Halliburton/Why they use their food to make my people hungry" and on behalf of Africa's powerless masses. $25-$35, 8 p.m., 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.375.7600. —Rick Mason

Kathleen Edwards

Varsity Theater, Sunday 4.15

The lion's share of the press surrounding Kathleen Edwards's latest album, Voyageur, has been preoccupied with her romantic ties to our very own local-boy-made-Grammy-good Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Considering the impressive career the Canadian alt-country songstress had already carved out over the course of the previous decade before the two ever crossed paths, this is more than a little unfair. That being said, Vernon's impact on Edwards's sound — he produced the album at his April Base Studio — is undeniable. Edwards's highly melodic broken-hearted narratives stay poised perfectly between adult-contemporary folk-pop and pastoral country-rock, but Vernon's production injects a welcome weirdness. Throughout Voyageur's 10 tracks, highly traditional song structures are coated in gauzy synthetic sounds and colored with unexpected instrumental touches. Embracing the odd without sacrificing anything in the way of melodic immediacy — there are hooks aplenty on songs like "Change the Sheets" and "Moving to America" — has resulted in Edwards's finest musical hour. 18+, $20, 7 p.m., 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rob Van Alstyne

Cults/ Spectrals/ Mrs. Magician

First Avenue, Monday 4.16

Cults blossomed naturally out of the unguarded home recordings of Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin into something much bigger than the duo ever imagined. Buzz and acclaim carry them straight into a headlining gig in the Mainroom following two captivating Minneapolis shows in 2011. Their catchy, self-titled debut LP is full of blissful, sun-drenched pop songs featuring buoyant arrangements perfectly balancing Follin's delicate, but occasionally dark, vocals. Openers Mrs. Magician are a four-piece out of San Diego who craft upbeat, relentless catchy songs. Their classic '50s- and '60s-inspired garage rock will complement the headliners while garnering the burgeoning young band plenty of new fans of their own in the process. 18+, $13, 7:30 p.m., 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Bear in Heaven / Doldrums / Blouse

7th St. Entry, Tuesday 4.17

If you started streaming Bear in Heaven's I Love You, It's Cool last December, you should be about finished now. The band's decision to digitally slow down its third album 400,000 percent into a blurry smear was a neat bit of aural sabotage now juxtaposed by the sprawling synth waves and icy pinnacles revealed by its physical release. Cool isn't a radical departure from its predecessor, Beast Rest Forth Mouth, which established BIH as an electronic-pop, dance-inducing force. It's on a similarly grand scale, oozing billowy, multi-layered synth clouds that pulse expectantly among peppery hooks; all are culled from decades stretching back to the new wave and prog rock eras. Jon Philpot's angst-ridden, sighing vocals sound echoey and detached, while Joe Stickney's thunderous, frenetic percussion provides an invaluable dose of earthy reality. Doldrums is Montreal-based Airick Woodhead, whose recent debut EP Empire Sound is a cacophonous, collage-like assemblage of woozy, industrial electronica with a post-punk percussive charge and slippery remnants of fractured pop. The Portland trio Blouse play dreamy synth-pop laden with icicles of irony while female singer Charlie Hilton bleeds insouciance. 18+, $10. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Rick Mason

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