Critic's Picks: Wiz Khalifa, the Suburbs, Teengirl Fantasy, and more

The trippy universe of Teengirl Fantasy is upon us
Erez Avissar

Teengirl Fantasy

7th St. Entry, Friday 8.31

The driving creative forces behind dream-pop duo Teengirl Fantasy, Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss, met while they were both students at Oberlin College. After slowly catching the music world's attention with a few small releases, they headed abroad to go to school and make music in Amsterdam. That led to their hazy, enthralling debut, 7AM, a collection of highly textured, laid-back tracks that the duo performed and composed live, boldly turning their backs on the loops and quantization that pervades so much of modern dance music. That personal approach definitely works, as is evident on Teengirl Fantasy's just released follow-up, Tracer, an evocative, mesmerizing batch of new songs (featuring a guest spot from Panda Bear) which signifies a intoxicating new sonic direction for the emerging young band. With Gatekeeper, Thunder Horse, and Sovietpanda. 18+, $12 -$14, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Albert Lee

Dakota, Wednesday 8.29 & Thursday 8.30

Not to be confused with the southern Minnesota town (or Ten Years After guitarist Alvin Lee), veteran English guitarist Albert Lee is a high-caliber virtuoso who ranks right up there alongside his friend and sometimes colleague Eric Clapton. Much of Lee's reputation, however, is based on his work in country music, which took off after a notable late-'70s stint with Emmylou Harris's Hot Band. He had played R&B and rockabilly in England, and was a member of the country-leaning Heads Hands & Feet. While working with an eclectic array of artists (Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers, Joe Cocker, Jackson Browne, Bo Diddley), Lee became an in-demand session player in Nashville and L.A., also issuing a string of well-received but low-profile solo albums. Working with a band called Hogan's Heroes, Lee was in prime form on 2008's Like This, picking prodigiously on guitar and mandolin, his voice fine and supple, and showing off his impeccable taste with covers of the likes of Ray Charles, Charlie Rich, Delbert McClinton, and Little Feat. On tour he'll be backed by session vets Jeff Alan Ross on keyboards, bassist Will MacGregor, and drummer Jason Harrison Smith. $30, 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

Leon Russell

Cedar Cultural Center, Wednesday 8.29

For a couple of decades beginning in the late '50s, Leon Russell's imprint was on a broad swath of rock and pop, fueling his top-hatted persona as the Master of Space and Time. He was the very definition of the supersession musician, a multi-instrumentalist who also wrote, arranged, produced, and put together bands for some of the era's highest profile tours. In one capacity or another, Russell worked with Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Phil Spector, the Byrds, Herb Alpert, and Willie Nelson, among legions. He was part of the star-packed Delaney and Bonnie's Friends Tour, played on George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh, and led the band on Joe Cocker's epic Mad Dogs and Englishman tour. Russell's early-'70s albums were critical and popular hits, featuring his Oklahoma drawl and potent blend of rock, gospel, swampy country, and soul, spinning off such songs as the widely covered "A Song for You," "Delta Lady" (a Cocker hit), "Tight Rope," "Superstar" (a Carpenters hit), and "This Masquerade" (a George Benson hit). Although he remained active, Russell's fortunes and fame faded dramatically in subsequent decades. But in 2010 Elton John, who praised Russell as a key inspiration, helped spark a Russell revival by collaborating on a duet album, The Union. Produced by T Bone Burnett, and peppered with the likes of Jim Keltner, Neil Young, Marc Ribot, and Booker T. Jones, the album's rootsy Elton-Leon piano and vocal duels spurred both to levels of artistic assurance neither had approached in some time. The bristling "Hearts Have Turned to Stone" in particular sounds like an outtake from one of Russell's prime albums. Russell, still a savvy musical conjurer, here will be backed by a quartet. $35-$50. 7:30 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

The Suburbs

Weesner Family Amphitheater, Thursday 8.30

The veteran Minneapolis new-wave band the Suburbs make a grand return to the Minnesota Zoo in one of the last performances of the summer at the intimate outdoor stage. After first garnering attention with an audacious self-titled EP in 1978 on Twin/Tone Records, the group has become one of the best-known area acts. Their wild, energetic live shows attracted a wide audience for the band throughout the '80s, as did their consistently inventive subsequent albums, but they sadly never quite broke out. However, with the recent re-issues of some of their earlier records as well as a best-of collection, the band have played more frequently, and still rock the songs that have never gone out of style. With the Magnolias. $34-$46.50, 7 p.m. 13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley; 952.431.9200. —Erik Thompson

The Evening Rig CD-release show

Triple Rock Social Club, Friday, 8.31

The Twin Cities music scene has long boasted a reputation for ragged-but-right country-rock even as the number of actual bands in the Land of 10,000 Lakes favoring said sound has conspicuously dwindled over the past decade. Scene veterans the Evening Rig show no signs of abandoning their post as the best boisterous dirty-boot bar band around anytime soon. Formed six years ago by singer/guitarist Jason Miller after he called it a day with pop-punk outfit the Crush, the Evening Rig retains the hookiness and throat-singeing vocal approach of Miller's prior band while injecting a touch of country and western swing. Tonight the quartet celebrates the release of Evening Rig album number three, Nothin' to Hear Here, an undoubtedly misleading title based on the uniform strength of their two prior powerhouse albums. With the Dirty Hits and It's Criminal. 18+, $8, 8 p.m., 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis, 612.333.7399. —Rob Van Alstyne

Schoenburg CD-release show

7th St. Entry, Monday 9.3

The St. Paul (by way of Illinois and Michigan) folk-pop trio Schoenburg will release their debut full-length, Hydrophobia & Identity Insecurities, after getting the attention of local music fans with their engaging live shows and highly inventive combination chap stick/EP cassette release, Short, But Sweet. The spare, but still catchy, new numbers should certainly find Schoenburg a wider audience in the folk music community. The talented 18-year-old John Mark Nelson is one of the openers for Shoenburg's album-release show, and is well worth showing up early for. With John Mark Nelson, Superchris, and Kara Laudon. 18+, $5, 7 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Wiz Khalifa/Mac Miller

Minnesota state Fair Grandstand, Monday 9.3

Pittsburgh MC Wiz Khalifa set the hip-hop world on fire straight out of high school, releasing buzzworthy mixtapes and his highly praised debut album, Show and Prove, while he was still a teenager. Despite troublesome label issues that plagued his early career, the young rapper really has shown no sign of slowing down. Khalifa has already collaborated with some heavy hitters in the hip-hop industry over his few short years in the game, including Curren$y, Wale, and Snoop Dogg, to name just a few. And with the massive success of 2011 single "Black & Yellow" and the album Rolling Papers, as well as his highly anticipated follow-up, O.N.I.F.C., Khalifa seems poised to take his unique style and distinctive flow to the top of the hip-hop charts as well as the Grandstand at the Minnesota State Fair. Fellow Pittsburgh MC Mac Miller easily sold out First Avenue last year, so it's destined to be a strong pairing. With Big K.R.I.T. All ages, $29-$39, 6:30 p.m. 1265 Snelling Avenue N., St. Paul; 651.288.4400. —Erik Thompson

Pat Metheny Unity Band

Dakota, Tuesday 9.4 & Wednesday 9.5

The stellar quartet jazz guitarist Pat Metheny assembled for his new Unity Band includes longtime associate Antonio Sanchez on drums, versatile acoustic bassist Ben Williams, and top-tier saxophonist Chris Potter, who contributes tenor, soprano, and bass clarinet. The group's new Unity Band is the first time in over 30 years Metheny has led a band with a tenor sax. The last time was 80/81, when the late Michael Brecker and Dewey Redman were both aboard. There are inevitable subtle echoes of that outfit in the Unity Band, but the current quartet is distinguished by its own outstanding mesh of guitar, horns, and sublime rhythmic textures. Metheny's signature fluid blend of lyricism and experimentation is brilliantly complemented by Potter, whether in the swirling soprano-guitar synth joyride of "Roofdogs," the rich bass clarinet/sparkling strings juxtaposition at the beginning of "Come and See," or the fiery finale "Breakdealer." Metheny's compositions are challenging throughout, tapping an array of influences from bop to fusion to blues and beyond, bringing them together with his characteristic melodicism while the band repeatedly rises to the occasion and positively glows. $50-$100, 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

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