Critics' Picks: Tokyo Police Club and more

Tokyo Police Club: Billy clubs not pictured

Tokyo Police Club: Billy clubs not pictured


Bouncing Souls

Triple Rock Social Club

What do you think of when you think "pop-punk"? Do you think Goldfinger? Blink-182? Rancid? Anything touted as "edgy" on MTV during the mid- to late '90s? Bouncing Souls could have been in that group, but they somehow got overlooked. Plenty of people managed to find them, and they built a following but ultimately missed the feeding frenzy, which may have worked in their favor. They toiled away for years (having formed in '87) and put out several albums full of goofy lyrics, tributes to a wasted youth, and sugary, buzzy hooks on several different labels before finding a home on Epitaph. The buzz morphed into a roar in 2003 with Anchors Aweigh, as the band buckled down, wrote more intricate songs, and started tackling serious, more personal issues like suicide and becoming an adult—and not in the typical "I guess this is growing up" manner. With 2006's Gold Record, Bouncing Souls birthed their classic—still relevant, still boisterous but far from goofy, carefree fun. They have hardly become morose shoegazers, but are well aware that there is a world outside of the alcohol-soaked tour bus, and that world is hardly sugary at all. With Tim Barry and the Gaslight Anthem. $18/$20 at the door. 6 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7499. —Pat O'Brien

Alicia Keys

Target Center

In many ways Alicia Keys is the quintessential 21st-century anti-diva. Which is kind of strange for someone who has achieved iconic status at the age of 26, has a warehouse full of awards from Grammys on down, has a thriving film career, regularly appears in fashion shoots, and has a television production company, along with a zillion other mostly high-profile activities. But she isn't a superficial personality whose celebrity relies on smoke and mirrors. And her personal life isn't a train wreck splayed out in the tabloids. She's an abundantly talented vocalist and accomplished musician who writes her own material (often with collaborators) and anchors it in classic soul, R&B, pop, and rock. For her latest chartbuster, last fall's As I Am (J Records), Keys declared that she aimed at no less than combining the spirits of Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin, an essentially unattainable goal. But As I Am is a substantial album, with genuine roots stretching back to Motown, Memphis, gospel, and even the Beatles, adeptly and subtly bulked up with contemporary rhythm production. One telling detail: When she invokes Smokey Robinson's classic "tracks of my tears" line on "Where Do We Go from Here," the moisture doesn't seem applied with makeup. Joining Keys on tour will be Jordin Sparks of American Idol fame and singer-songwriter Ne-Lo. $39.50-$100. 6:30 p.m. 600 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. —Rick Mason


All the Way Rider

Triple Rock Social Club

Spending a good deal of 2007 recording The Eagle's Revenge, an expansive and melodic full-length that takes wing tonight at the Triple Rock, and paring their lineup from a quartet to a trio in March 2008, local rock solids All the Way Rider have had a big year. Composed of track after track of pounding and organic rock, tonight's release breathes like an iron lung. Singer and guitarist Jeremy Jessen punctuates the songs with a plaintive top register wail that reaches without overreaching, and the band's songwriting is equally comfortable with melody and anti-melody, exhibited by Eagle's penchant for grinding into jagged edges at a moment's notice. They never stay in the pungi pit too long to endanger their pop listenability, but All the Way Rider's sense of adventure gives their new songs the dimension they need to cast a good shadow. With Sunday Flood, Redoverlunar, and Torch the Spires. 21+. $6. 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7499. —David Hansen

Greg Brown

Fitzgerald Theater

Seen in many ways as a legend, Iowa's Greg Brown is no stranger to neighboring Minnesota. The folk hero and co-founder of Red House Records (along with the late Bob Feldman) is widely known in the Midwest and abroad for his signature deep-as-the-Mississippi voice and subject matter that runs through a multitude of emotions, personal and political. Brown's clean, affecting guitar style can be at times warmly stark or awash with fiddle, mandolin, or harmonica as he melds country and blues into his own distinct sound. This night of music is well suited to the Fitzgerald's intimate theater setting—not to mention its ties to A Prairie Home Companion, where Brown was a recurring performer back in the early '80s. With local atmospheric folk-rock duo the Pines. $31-$37. 8 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651.290.1221. —Jen Paulson

Indian Jewelry

Turf Club

Is it considered indie-rock sacrilege to think of Houston's Indian Jewelry as a more coherent version of defunct Brooklyn freak-folkers Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice? Both groups consisted of a handful of core members with a rotating cast of auxiliary ones; both groups eked out fuzzy, headfuck underground rock. But WW/VV's over-prolific nature—issuing every last stoned rehearsal or performance in one form or another—suggested that quality control wasn't high on their priority list. Relatively speaking, Indian Jewelry are perfectionists, baking up distorted psychedelic brownies and only putting them out for public consumption once they're fully cooked. On Free Gold!, their latest noise-soaked, lysergic volley, singer/guitarist Erika Thrasher, drummer Ronnie Rodriguez, and guitarist Brandon Davidson prove handily that if you don't have the songs together before you fire up the amps, all the bitchin' effects pedals in the western hemisphere can't disguise a lack of preparedness. Live, they'll leave you raving and reeling. With Seawhores and the Danforths. 21+. 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Ray Cummings


Daughters of the Sun

Nomad Pub

Trying to describe Daughters of the Sun is both simple and difficult. Yes, certainly they are psychedelic rock, but unlike many bands that trade in this genre, it isn't the type of psych-rock you need to be baked out of your skull to enjoy. Even with the bongos and maracas, the songs resemble something the Cure's Robert Smith may have written had he wanted to steer his band down a different path—they somehow have the same "dirty glam" feel of many Cure songs. Each one is a small journey that ends in a different place from where it started. They build slowly, deliberately, sometimes ratcheting up tension that, in the end, never gets released. The band's recently released Visions of the Ocean Head is full of a quiet ghostliness that will haunt your dreams for days, which only raises another set of questions, not the least of which is: How did DOTS make their trippy, down-tempo meditations so addictive? With Magic Castles, Marvelle, and Starfleet Academy. 21+. $5. 9 p.m. 501 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.338.6424. —Pat O'Brien


Ra Ra Riot

7th St. Entry

Despite their limited number of releases, Ra Ra Riot have a charm that's got a lot to do with their tight musical equation. They utilize equal parts exuberance, youthful ingenuity, and good old-fashioned talent with an exquisite cello, dueling jangly and fuzzed-out guitars, and the birdsong vocals of lead singer Wesley Miles. Sharing the bill on this tour are Californians the Little Ones, whose well-executed mutation of the pop gems of the '60s incorporate savvy touches of modern eccentricities in their own wall of sound. Singer Ed Reyes inevitably draws strong vocal comparisons to the Shins' James Mercer or even Ben Kweller, and everything comes together with a delicious shimmer on the Little Ones' recent EP, Terry Tales and Fallen Gates. The sunshine wattage of their dynamic will leave you longing for the days of a real summer vacation. Opening the night is the glossy power-pop of locals Ready Goes. 18+. $10. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Jen Paulson


Tokyo Police Club

Varsity Theater

The Tokyo influence is understandable. A crew of chilly kids from Canada could realistically covet Harajuku clothes that don't need to be buried under a parka. It's the police reference I don't get. Bloody billy clubs are never in fashion. Nevertheless, Tokyo Police Club do throw sparks from ultra-hip tasers. Each EP has shown the group growing progressively more pop-minded. Their debut full-length, Elephant Shell, even finds them sounding unabashedly cheery. Their heavily nuanced indie rock pits layers of fuzzed-out guitars against singer David Monk's pristine tenor while intertwining speckles of pianos and splotches of happy Strokes-style hooks. Tokyo Police Club are a young band with some tricks up their sleeves that are certain to be delivered with a smile and a small collection of errant hand claps. With Smoosh, and Maps and Atlases. 18+. $13/$15 at the door. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Erin Roof

Black Kids

7th St. Entry

Buzz can only get you so far, but it never hurts to reek of it. For all the continuing hype Florida quintet Black Kids have generated, it's notable that while they've played an insane number of shows and buoyed countless blogs since dropping their debut EP, Wizard of Ahhhs, last August, they haven't bothered to set a release date for a first album yet. In a sense this is a shame, because the Kids kick up a synth-driven strain of party-down dork-rock that doesn't make dancing mandatory; like Southern rap's more accessible snap hits, "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You" is simple to sing along and relate to. But as this decade's previous indie-rock buzz bands could tell you, the honeymoon's over after that first full-length hits and the halo's gone. We suspect that A) Black Kids are laboring mightily in service of a monumental release, and B) catching 'em live might clue you in to what's in store. Yes, it's kind of ridiculous that they're issuing a rerecorded "Boyfriend" as a single next month—until you realize that it's just a way to keep their young brand fresh in the public consciousness a little longer. With Cut Copy and Mobius Band. 21+. $15. 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Ray Cummings