Gossip, Brother Ali, Owl City, and more

Gossip girls and guy
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Fine Line Music Cafe, Saturday 10.6

Gossip should forget about keeping things clean. They've tried a number of times to construct sterile pop singles, but those never manage to rank among the band's best work. Recent album A Joyful Noise aims to buck that trend, but its glossiest moments feel like they belong to a different group entirely. So who needs studio magic when you have Beth Ditto? She makes a convincing disco diva, but when it sounds like there's some dirt (or blood) caked under her fingernails, her voice devastates. That goes double for a live set, where Ditto has a chance to wail in earnest or deploy a killer cover. Just like actual gossip, the band is always better when it's not pulling punches. With Magic Mouth and Bonnie Montgomery. 18+, $20, 8pm. 318 First Ave N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8100. —Ian Traas

Two Gallants

The Varsity Theater, Wednesday 10.3

While they may have started life as a rootsy acoustic duo, San Francisco's Two Gallants have gradually beefed up and amplified their sound, a process that appears to have reached its fully rocking fruition on their just released fourth album, and first in five years, The Bloom and the Blight. Recorded with A-list producer John Congleton (the Walkmen, David Byrne), the record's 10 swinging-for-the-fences tracks are rooted in dirty-blues electric guitar riffs and booming drum fills. Even when songs start off in gentle acoustic territory, as on "Winter's Youth," they eventually shift gears into raw Jack White-worshipping terrain. How one feels about frontman Adam Stephens in his more howling moods will largely dictate the response to Two Gallants' undoubtedly ambitious but often bombastic new material. 18+, $15-$17, 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Rob Van Alstyne

Owl City

First Avenue, Thursday 10.4

As hard as it may be to believe, Owl City's Adam Young says he's never been inside First Avenue. While he has attracted many young followers, including Taylor Swift, who have excitedly come out to see him play, the reclusive Young tends to shy away from concerts — unless he's performing. With the pop ballast of The Midsummer Station to hold him up, expect a synthesizer-fueled sing-along featuring voices young enough (or young enough at heart) to still believe in the magic of "Fireflies" and the idyllic summer day crystallized in his duet with Carly Rae Jepsen and the Minneapolis Youth Choir, "Good Time." With Matthew Koma. All Ages, $25, 6:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Reed Fischer

Brother Ali

First Avenue, Friday 10.5 + Saturday 10.6

City Pages has dealt a drenching amount of ink to rapper-orator Brother Ali leading up to this weekend, and now it's time to remember why. Musical enlightenment rarely smacks you with such force and accuracy. Ali's emotion, wit, and showmanship shine on his political new record, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, and as he touches down for two shows at First Avenue, it's going to be a hometown throwdown with the momentum of a load of dates already in the books. With Blank Tape Beloved, Homeboy Sandman, DJ Sosa, and the Reminders. Friday: 18+, $15, 8 p.m.; Saturday: All ages, $15, 5 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612.332.1775. — Reed Fischer

Cold Flows 4 Warm Clothes Hip Hop Celebration

Minneapolis American Indian Center, Saturday 10.6

As we exit summer, it's great to see musicians pitch in to give needy folks some extra layers. That's the idea behind the first Cold Flows for Warm Clothes benefit show. A wealth of area MCs have donated their time for this free event, including I Self Devine, Maria Isa, Haphduzn, Tony Bones, Anchormen, Mike the Martyr, Point of Contact, Mundo Libre, and many more. To volunteer, email [email protected]. All ages, free, 2 p.m.-10 p.m. 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.390.6408. —Reed Fischer

Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro

Dakota, Saturday 10.6

The Obama administration's easing of restrictions on cultural exchanges with Cuba in 2009 led to a U.S. tour by Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Piñeiro for the first time since 1933. Formed by singer, bassist, and composer Piñeiro in 1927 and led by him until his death in 1969, Septeto Nacional became an iconic Cuban band that was a pioneer in the evolution of son, a hybrid of Spanish folk and African rhythms with call-and-response vocals, into the musical symbol of the island. Piñeiro was among the innovators who added a punchy trumpet to the lineup when son migrated from rural Oriente to urban Havana. He's also credited with initiating salsa as a musical term with his song "Echalé Salsita" ("throw some sauce in it"), which was even quoted musically by George Gershwin. The band is still thriving with its fourth generation of musicians, currently led by singer Eugenio Rodríguez, known as El Raspa and playing a mix of Piñeiro classics and new pieces that fit seamlessly with the old spirit. On 2010's ¡Su Rumba no hay Son! the band plays with a sense of joy as piquant and intoxicating as fresh salsa. $25, 7 & 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

William Elliott Whitmore

Triple Rock Social Club, Saturday 10.6

William Elliott Whitmore's songs are set in the fields of Iowa and on the banks of the Mississippi, but his guitar and banjo have traveled the globe, opening stages for the likes of the Pogues, Billy Bragg, Chris Cornell, and Social Distortion. On Saturday, Whitmore brings his weary blues-folk to the Triple Rock. The gruff and heartfelt singer's music brims with passion and honesty, and the close confines of the small room are a perfect setting to fully capture his charm. Field Songs , released in 2011, was a lament of hardworking Americana and agriculture that is equally befitting of modern music and classic folk. Oklahoma singer-songwriter Samantha Crain joins him on tour. 18+, $12, 9 p.m., 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Loren Green

Twin Cities Day of Dignity with Atmosphere

Masjid An-Nur Mosque, Sunday 10.7

Last fall, Brother Ali helped launch Day of Dignity, a community outreach event at his mosque in north Minneapolis, Masjid An-Nur. Now, the tradition continues with Rhymesayers labelmate Atmosphere topping the 2012 bill, and Maybach Music Group rising star Stalley joining in too. The second annual Day of Dignity brings focus to our community members in need and provides clothing, food, medical supplies, and obviously some solid entertainment. Taking a peek at the calendar, it looks like Ali himself might be in the neighborhood on this occasion. All ages, free, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1729 Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.521.1749. —Reed Fischer

Mike Watt & the Missingmen

Turf Club, Sunday 10.7

Legendary Minutemen and Firehose bassist Mike Watt has never been one to rest on his past success. Not only has he forged a celebrated solo career, but as of late he has also played with the reunited Stooges on their recent tours. But Watt is once again touring in support of his stellar, Hieronymus Bosch-inspired album Hyphenated-man, and is bringing those feisty songs back to the Turf Club as part of what he's humorously calling "the second heapin' helpin' of third opera tour." Watt will again have the Missingmen, Tom Watson and Raul Morales, at his side as he gives these songs life one last time before he inevitably switches his musical direction yet again. With LITE. 21+, $13, 8 p.m. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul, 651.647.0486. — Erik Thompson

Norah Jones

Orpheum Theatre, Sunday 10.7

It turns out sultry-voiced Norah Jones is more multidimensional than her jazz/classic pop hybrid debut may have suggested. In the decade following her classy hit Come Away with Me, Jones experimented with sparer and more contemporary arty aesthetics as well as letting her country and blues inclinations blossom with her side project, the Little Willies. Again adeptly finessing the changes, this year's Little Broken Hearts opens yet another new facet for Jones. A full collaboration with producer Danger Mouse, Broken Hearts is a moody, pop-noir meditation on just that. It ranges from melancholy and confusion to bitter recriminations and murderous musings in the wake of a breakup. Jones sings with stylish despair, lacing her voice with dark, fathomless undercurrents, while Burton paints her pain in vivid shades of gray. $59-$69, 7 p.m. 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason


The Cedar Cultural Center, Tuesday 10.9

Practitioners of a brand of indie-pop so instantly ingratiating they've licensed songs for multiple national TV ad spots for the likes of Bloomingdale's and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, New Orleans-based duo Generationals have a sound that is consistently catchy but stylistically diverse. Their excellent 2011 sophomore album, Actor-Caster, saw guitarists/vocalists Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer dabbling in everything from sparkly Strokes-style riffage ("I Promise") to retro-soul piano-led romps ("Greenlead"), their consistently hook-heavy and bright melodic arrangements more than making up for their relatively pedestrian singing voices. New EP Lucky Numbers forgoes the genre-hopping in favor of zoning in on a slick, synth-driven sound for three tracks, ultimately making for a slim but satisfying addition to their sugary song canon. With Devin. All ages, $10-$12 door, 7 p.m., 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. — Rob Van Alstyne

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