Critics Picks: St. Vincent and More

St. Vincent's Annie Clark, doing her best Gretel


Matt White

Varsity Theater

After numerous postponements, Matt White finally arrives in town, still surfing the hype from his hook-heavy, radio-friendly debut album, Best Days (Geffen). If you haven't heard his songs about the most obvious ups and downs of love on TV shows like Laguna Beach or One Tree Hill, think James Blunt without the shadows or John Mayer without the blues streaks. For a guy who grew up in Jersey idolizing Springsteen, went to school in Madison (Wisconsin, not Jersey) and busked around Lower Manhattan, you'd think he'd have a little more grit, a few more demons. The best he can manage is "New York girls are crazy." Okay. Days is pleasant enough, with its confectionary melodies, carefully crafted tracks, and puppy-love angst. Still, the few genuine emotions he puts into play are shallow, and the entire package seems ephemeral. Opening will be Zox, a pop-rock outfit formed at Brown University in 2002 that sometimes gets up a promising head of steam on its new Line in the Sand (SideOneDummy)—but don't look for political implications. All ages. $8/$10 at the door. 6 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rick Mason

The Toasters

Triple Rock Social Club

For many people, ska died in the late '90s, around the time it graced the opening credits of the Daisy Fuentes-hosted incarnation of America's Funniest Home Videos. Fortunately, not everybody got the message. Arguably responsible for popularizing Two-Tone ska in the U.S., third-wave originators the Toasters have been plying their brand of infectious, up-tempo, horn-fueled exhilaration for almost a quarter of a century. Band founder Robert "Bucket" Hingley is the only original Toaster to be found on 2007's One More Bullet, but the 21st-century version of the band clearly carries the Two-Tone torch. Besides, even if Bucket were performing solo, with nary a horn in sight, he'd still be the Toasters. That's excuse enough to break out those checkered creepers and brush up on your skanking technique. All ages. $12/$14 at the door. 5 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Nicholas L. Hall


Homegrown's Rock 'n' Roll Funeral

Turf Club

Since October 29, 1996, when Mei Young spun a lone song from a local artist in the radio-nowhere of two o'clock Sunday morning, this city listened as Homegrown blossomed into an institution. Through time-slot changes, a small army of co-hosts, and a jump from KQRS to Drive 105, the show soldiered on, unfazed. The program was a torchlight leading the way through the vast cavern of local music, illuminating what was relevant. More importantly, it highlighted what Young and company enjoyed listening to themselves—even if what they enjoyed wasn't necessarily conducive to propping up the bottom line of the radio station. When Drive 105 became Love 105, the show got the boot, and this time, the wound proved fatal. Though tonight is touted as a funeral for Homegrown, the mood should hardly be somber, as this also serves as the CD-release party for Silage: Foreclosure & Eviction, the second volume of live recordings from the show, including one from the very last broadcast that aired May 6, 2007. Homegrown is sorely missed, but this should ease us into the grieving process. With Haley Bonar, A Night in the Box, Dan Israel & the Cultivators, Ben Connelly, Big Trouble, and special guests TBA. $6. 10 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Pat O'Brien

St. Vincent

Cedar Cultural Center

Having previously performed in the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens's touring band, multi-instrumentalist St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark, grandly stepped into the spotlight last July with her acclaimed debut, Marry Me. With wit in her pen and sweetly hushed soprano vocals on top of layered and challenging arrangements, this wide-eyed songstress manages to curl the lips in nearly every song. Supporting St. Vincent are California-based quartet Foreign Born, recently signed to indie label Dim Mak. Shine up your dark-rimmed specs and don your thrift-store sweaters, as this show is primed to boost your Current listening cred. With Foreign Born. All ages. $12. 8 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —John Henry


Miranda Lambert

Mystic Lake Casino

A finalist on Nashville Star and winner of the Cover Girl Fresh Face of Country Music Award, Miranda Lambert has a résumé that reads like the instructions on a bag of Maruchan Smack Ramen. It's clear that she was launched from the same bottomless box of blank ammo that spawned the impotent, lucrative careers of LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood. But bushwhack through those dubious honors and discover a talent that is re-purposing the powers of this musical munitions factory to push modernizing ideas on an industry plagued by as much misogyny as a 2 Live Crew tour. Unlike her hive-mind cohorts, she writes the majority of her own songs, and that freedom does not go unflexed. Seek out "Gunpowder and Lead" to hear her exult in the righteous glory of confronting an abusive boyfriend with a shotgun. Don't be blinded by Lambert's prefab stardom; her talent and her vision were hand-built brick by brick. $32/$39 at the door. 8:00 p.m. 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake; 952.445.9000. —David Hansen

Royalty, Etc. 2-Year Anniversary Bash


Sound Gallery

Ah, the terrible twos—that feral age before our absurd and gleeful impulses get chiseled into our permanent records. Local label Royalty, Etc. may only be turning two, but a quick glance at tonight's lineup (all labelmates) reveals a maturity beyond its years. One can always count on bit-and-byte Spandex benefactors Zibra Zibra to write on the walls and cut the heads off of its sister's Barbie Dolls. But the symphonic, digital brooding of These Modern Socks suggests a precocious contemplative side, and the bassy, Elephant Six nostalgia of show-openers Middlepicker indicates that the label has been digging through its older brother's record collection. And this label is no avaricious toddler—with a slew of CDs and T-shirts to hand out, Royalty, Etc. will be providing the gifts, ensuring that this is one second birthday party where the grown-ups won't be feigning their good time. 21+. $15. 7 p.m. 414 Third Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.455.2397. —David Hansen

Girls Rock Your Boys


We all know the ladies can split skulls every bit as gruesomely as the boys. But even if tonight yields no Saul-en-route-to-Damascus revelations, Stasiu's has more urgent aspirations for the evening than preaching gender politics to the converted. In the face of a molehill-cum-mountain PR hiccup, Nordeast's newest venue is especially eager to put sneakers on the floor, and tonight's multi-chromosomal lineup should be a perfect kill stroke. In addition to local coed powerhouses like Ouija Radio and Awesome Snakes, Stasiu's will be radioing for reinforcements from the tri-state area's Coalition of the Willing, and, like Custer's cavalry, Chicago's the Dials and Madison's Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons will faithfully answer the call to arms. Whether you watched G.I. Jane for the feminist message or the cleavage-gazing, this show offers the most inter-gendered billing since your senior Sadie Hawkins dance. $10. 8 p.m. 2500 University Ave. NE; 612.788.2529. —David Hansen


New York Dolls

Fine Line Music Café

The word "legend" gets bandied about a lot nowadays, but for the Dolls it verges on understatement. Putting an androgynous, exultant spin on bare-bones rock 'n' roll and girl-group sassiness on '70s classics The New York Dolls and Too Much Too Soon, the band never got a sliver of the commercial attention they deserved. Still, through thousands of acolytes ranging from punks like the Clash to Poison and their ilk ("it's like having Cain and Abel as your spawn," sensational frontman Johanson told New York magazine in 2006), their inspiration never left insider consciousness. One cultist even managed to return the favor: Longtime fan Morrissey orchestrated their bittersweet 2004 reunion (bassist Arthur Kane passed away not long afterward) for a British festival he was curating. Still, Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain managed to keep playing shows, and even record a proper third album, One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This (Roadrunner), in 2006, ensuring that we all will able to dance like monkeys far into the future. With We Are the Fury. $20/$25 at the door. 8 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. — Cecile Cloutier

Citizen Cope

Fitzgerald Theater

Clarence Greenwood—a.k.a. Citizen Cope—occupies an oddly decorated space. His music incorporates elements of blues, turntablism, hip hop, and R&B, resulting in the sort of moody, languid rock that advertisers lean on to help sell cars. That isn't necessarily a knock, though Greenwood has taken lumps enough for it. Truthfully, he should be commended, but he consistently gets mentioned along with Everlast and the mostly boring Jack Johnson, though even on his worst day he stands head and shoulders above them. While having a certain dreamlike quality to them, his songs are also anxious and agitated, like they might spin out of his careful control into full-blown rap anthems or Delta blues standards. Others have attempted this "everything-and-the-kitchen sink" approach with lesser results, but Citizen Cope has found a way to please both the man drinking a domestic beer and the woman sipping a $12 glass of French wine across the table. $30. 7:30 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651.290.1200. —Pat O'Brien



Fine Line Music Café

If you're looking for the ideal business model of how to achieve pop success in a marketplace where radio play lists keep shrinking and album sales are no longer a financial surety, 32-year-old Australian singer Sia Furler is as good a candidate as anyone. Ethereal in every regard—her feathery voice, her music's down-tempo electronica, her songs' tales of lost love and general melancholy—Sia is too delicate a flower to survive against mainstream female performers who are breathtaking pinups belting and moaning their emotions in capital letters. Her latest record, Some People Have Real Problems, is another reliably polite collection that offers pretty choruses without demanding too much of your concentration. Perhaps more importantly, it's been released through Hear Music, guaranteeing that it'll be easily accessible to the nation's middlebrow Starbucks crowd. She may be a marketing gimmick, but she sure beats Fergie. With Har Mar Superstar. 18+. $19/$20 at the door. 8 p.m. 318 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Tim Grierson

Triple Double


Triple Rock

What softens a recession's bite as effectively as cheap booze? Nothing...except free entertainment. While "Triple Double"—the Triple Rock's freshly reinvented Tuesday bacchanal—offers both commodities by the truckload, the night's ever-changing DJ roster and floating-genre music selection make leaving the house to drink a far more attractive proposition than mere two-for-one tap beers and well drinks (or fucking karaoke) ever could. Next week's lineup, featuring Vampire Hands vocalist and percussionist Colin Johnson, generalist DJ TRL, and Rhymesayers/Current bastion Kevin Beachum, provides a textbook example of the madness behind curators Wes Winship and Mike the 2600 King's method. We who are about to rock, er, hip-hop, uh, soul or whatever, can only salute them. 9 p.m. to midnight. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Rod Smith

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