Critics' Picks: The Kooks, Tribute to the Replacements, Drinksgiving, and more

Mary Louise Knutson plays the first of two release shows this week

Mary Louise Knutson plays the first of two release shows this week

Mary Louise Knutson (CD-release show)

Artists' Quarter on Wednesday 11.23

Although Minneapolis jazz pianist and composer Mary Louise Knutson maintains a busy schedule playing with the likes of Connie Evingson, Debbie Duncan, and the JazzMN Orchestra, her charming new album, In the Bubble, is her first in 10 years. Its release will be celebrated at the AQ this week and at the Dakota on Wednesday, November 30, with performances by her trio, which includes Twin Cities jazz heavyweights Gordy Johnson on bass and Phil Hey on drums. Bubble has been well worth the wait. Her straight-ahead approach to a collection almost evenly split between jazz standards and her own smart compositions spotlights her luminous work on the ivories, which is endearingly lyrical, sprightly, and rife with inventive nuances. She's been accurately compared to Bill Evans and Marian McPartland, with maybe the playful spirit of Vince Guaraldi thrown in. "Luminous," incidentally, is what Knutson calls a jaunty, adventurous bridge she wrote for a striking, gospel-like version of the pop nugget "You Are My Sunshine." Other highlights are her shimmery, emotionally rich arrangement of Toots Thielemans's "Bluesette," the subtly swinging "Bernie's Tune," and her rambunctious McCoy Tyner-influenced original "Can You Hear Me Now?" 18+. $5. 7:30 p.m. 408 St. Peter St., St. Paul; 651.292.1359. —Rick Mason

Drinksgiving with Fuck Knights

Turf Club on Wednesday 11.23

The drunk-punch frenetic shaking garage rock of Minneapolis band Fuck Knights should be enough of a rock 'n' roll call to arms to bring out the family for this year's Drinksgiving at the Turf Club. But with polished rockabilly trio Reckless Ones backing, fresh from their supporting slot behind Tiger Army at the Octoberflame festival, the thing's a no-brainer. Now mix in the hell-on-wheels speed of strong-as-steel rockabilly opener Muddy Udders, and you have three headline-ready bands in one show, and more unadulterated libido than a cockfight in the basement of a Persian nightclub. The Flying Dorito Brothers to boot? Well, that's one hell of a lot to be thankful for. 21+. Free. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Ian Power-Luetscher

Markéta Irglová

Cedar Cultural Center on Friday 11.25

After catching everyone's attention with her engaging performance in Once (and subsequently winning an Oscar for Best Original Song), Markéta Irglová parlayed that success into a short but distinguished run with the Frames frontman (and her Once co-star) Glen Hansard in the Swell Season. Now Irglová has set out on her own, and comes back to Minneapolis in support of her just-released debut solo record, Anar. Her new tunes are tender, piano-laden numbers that smartly focus on Irglová's warm, pure vocals, and should sound glorious within the intimate confines of the Cedar. Whether Irglová will dig into her acclaimed back catalog for this performance is anyone's guess, but with a strong new batch of her own songs to choose from and a voice as gorgeous as hers, there's no doubt the show will be stunning. With Sean Rowe. All ages. $18/$20 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Erik Thompson

A Tribute to the Replacements

First Avenue and 7th St. Entry on Friday 11.25

Twin Cities music fans swell with pride any time an out-of-town musician covers a song from our hometown heroes the Replacements. Imagine the sheer joy (and riotous unpredictability) that a whole set of 'Mats covers can bring, and you have First Avenue's annual Tribute to the Replacements. There's a prestigious list of local bands scheduled to fill both the Mainroom and the Entry with the unruly rock 'n' roll of the 'Mats, featuring a special performance of their celebrated debut album, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, in honor of its 30th anniversary. The 4onthefloor, Red Pens, BNLX, Night Moves, High on Stress, Martin Devaney, and John Swardson are just a few of the artists scheduled to appear, as well as a stellar list of guest vocalists who are sure to inject their own distinct spirit into the 'Mats' boisterous back catalog. This is a guaranteed good time whether or not you're a fan of the Replacements. 18+. $8. 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Erik Thompson

Peter Ostroushko's Harvesting the Music

Fitzgerald Theater on Friday 11.25

After several years of celebrating the season with his globe-wandering but prairie-centric Heartland Holiday performances, local fiddle and mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko is getting an early start this year. His Harvesting the Music cornucopia shifts the focus from midwinter icicles and carols to late autumnal leaves and seasonal bounty. And fiddles. Ostroushko's reasoning is that fiddles have been an integral part of harvest celebrations for generations. His own music has always had a deep strain of American roots, particularly those originating in the heartland. So he's assembled an impressive cast of locally and internationally renowned musicians, beginning with himself, of course. The other fiddlers will be Celtic master Liz Carroll, multi-grass adventurer Darol Anger, and local teenaged phenoms Sedra Bistodeau and Shena Tschofen. Rounding out the ensemble will be guitar aces Dean Magraw and Daíthí Sproule, pianist/accordionist Dan Chouinard, and cellist Michelle Kinney. Expect an eclectic mix that'll stir your feet and imagination. All ages. $34. 8 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651.290.1200. —Rick Mason

Austra and Young Galaxy

Triple Rock Social Club on Saturday 11.26

Too many current synth-pop bands pride themselves on sounding cold (I'm looking at you, Ladytron), so a shift toward humanity is a welcome change. The Canadians are leading the charge with groups like Austra and Young Galaxy, both of whom are layering raw emotion onto a genre that traditionally places a huge emphasis on robotic detachment. Austra's tense, nervous sound gets a massive boost from the histrionics of vocalist Katie Stelmanis, while Young Galaxy's midtempo bliss-outs indicate a new direction for an established band, one that speaks directly to the body while offering images of romantic escape. Synth-pop is evolving, and apparently, it's warming up as it ages. With Tasseomancy. 18+. $12. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Ian Traas

The Kooks

First Avenue on Sunday 11.27

The Kooks took the British music scene by storm back in 2006, generating a huge buzz and a coveted record contract after being together for a scant three months. The Brighton, England, quartet rode that wave of hype to two consecutive smash-hit albums filled with their particular brand of catchy, no-frills rock 'n' roll, and are now touring in support of their recently released third record, Junk of the Heart. Their new batch of jaunty tunes draws on a variety of classic pop-rock influences from both sides of the pond, crafting a breezy, lighthearted collection that remains highly listenable even after its indelible melodies get stuck in your head for weeks. The Kooks have always been a spirited, highly enjoyable live band, bringing a rougher edge to their tightly polished studio sound, and this stop at First Avenue (their largest Minneapolis show yet) should give local fans who haven't been paying attention all these years a chance to finally see what the fuss is all about. With Yawn. 18+. $21/$23 at the door. 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Erik Thompson

The Blind Shake

Turf Club on Sunday 11.27

It's a damned shame that the Blind Shake aren't in charge of of the universe. And yeah, we could sit here and mope about how they aren't, or we could celebrate what they do, which is a heck of a lot. Let's start with "rock your pants off," because that's at the top of the list. The Blind Shake's newest album, Seriousness, is white-hot heat, lasered into one central beam and then stuffed into an auditory ray gun to be blasted off into the eardrums of children, mothers, and fathers alike. Someone told us that Marie Antoinette, shortly before the guillotine, was given the choice of being beheaded or having to sign a document attesting that the Blind Shake aren't amazing live.... Obviously she chose correctly. Oh, and Nobunny is playing? And Teenage Moods? Lucky ducks! 21+. $7. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Ian Power-Luetscher