Har Mar Superstar, Brute Heart, Soul Asylum, and more

Mayda covered "The Death 0f Ferdinand De Saussure" from 69 Love Songs
Alex Zoltai

Absolutely Cuckoo: Minnesota covers the 69 Love Songs

First Avenue, Saturday 12.29

Absolutely Cuckoo is a statewide ode to the quick-witted New York band the Magnetic Fields and their 1999 album 69 Love Songs. Compiling a nifty spreadsheet of their friends and favorite local artists, Matt Latterell and Chuck Terhark managed to acquire a cover of each love song to create their own tribute, which is available for free download at 69ls.mn. And dozens of the participants are coming together for a live performance of these songs. Scheduled to perform are the Chalice, Actual Wolf, Nallo, Maggie Morrison, Mayda, Dan Israel, Fuck Knights, the Drug Budget, Bethany Larson and the Bee's Knees, and numerous others. 18+, $10-$12, 5:30 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Monica LaPlante

The Bad Plus

Dakota, Thursday 12.27 + Friday 12.28 + Saturday 12.29

The Bad Plus are always seeking unique avenues of engagement for their genre-defying escapades. The locally bred trio return for their annual Christmas-week residency at the Dakota with a fresh bag of tricks after releasing their eighth studio album, Made Possible, in September. Synthesizers and electronic drums infiltrate the band's acoustic orientation for the first time while Messieurs Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson, and Dave King focus on originals instead of the deconstructed pop covers that helped forge their iconoclastic reputation. Made Possible digs into the crevices of the trio's badass avant-jazz classical garage-punk ethos. "Pound for Pound" kicks things off with Iverson's majestic, elegiac piano arcing through an increasingly turbulent blend of King's thrashing drums and roiling electronics. Anderson's galloping bass drives "Seven Minute Mind" while Iverson pecks at it with chord clusters and icy minimalism. "Re-elect That" ventures to the outer limits of bop while King's trashcan percussion is pure punk angst. "I Want to Feel Good Pt. 2," meanwhile, is a sort of cubist swing tune, punctuated by Iverson's enigmatic array of quotations, references both profound and dizzying, linking and splintering everything simultaneously. $40. 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.5299. —Rick Mason

The Dwarves

Triple Rock Social Club, Friday 12.28

Twenty-five years and perhaps as many members — all of whom made a cameo on 2011's The Dwarves Are Born Again — would take a toll on a lesser band. However, this group of scantily clad punks is still ransacking villages across the globe without slowing down. The sound has cleaned up a bit production-wise, and the tones have gotten poppier as Blag Dahlia and Hewhocannotbenamed have aged, but the fiery contempt the Dwarves hold for humanity remains at its peak. See the self-proclaimed earth's greatest band as they bust through classics like "Fuck You Up and Get High," "Who's Fucking Who," "Fuck 'Em All," "We Only Came to Get High," and, of course, "The Dwarves Are Still the Best Band Ever." It'll be an evening full of attitude, energy, and arrogance, perfect to get over the holiday bliss. 18+, $15, 9 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Loren Green

Soul Asylum

First Avenue, Friday 12.28

With the Replacements' ongoing pseudo-reunion and Hüsker Dü's Bob Mould having put out his latest solo outing, September's Silver Age, it was only fitting that 2012 also saw an increase in activity from the Cities' other favorite alt-rock sons, Soul Asylum. That came in the form of July's brisk Delayed Reaction LP, but Friday will feature a performance of 1992's Grave Dancers Union — ya know, the one that went triple platinum — in its entirety. After spending much of their harder, punk-leaning first decade on Minneap indie Twin/Tone, Dave Pirner and co. transitioned to Columbia for Union, whose 'Mats-via-Mellencamp jams "Somebody to Shove," "Black Gold," and the Grammy-winning "Runaway Train" guaranteed their new bosses wouldn't regret the signing. With guitarist Dan Murphy's exit this year, Pirner is the only original Soul Asylum member still with the group. This homecoming, then, will be a chance for fans to unite around him and a tight supporting cast in honoring one of the 612's defining records. With the Honeydogs and Dead Man Winter. 18+, $20, 8 p.m., 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Mike Madden

Brute Heart 7-inch Release Show

Turf Club, Saturday 12.29

The sounds of Brute Heart might be better-suited for an opium den than a rock venue. Saturday, the band release their second 7-inch of the year — available now from Portland's Water Wing Records — and it promises to be a powerful evening of wild, untamed, and hypnotically rhythmic tunes. The all-female three-piece straddle many a line, drawing from dream pop, Middle Eastern and Indian sources, and art-rock as a whole. The atmospheric and trance-y tunes build from the band's viola, bass, and drum foundation to create a moody and complicated art that employs each member's individual contributions equally, coming to a collective front when all three vocalists harmonize into a seamlessly powerful lead. It's both layered and open to interpretation, while it doubles as a powerful reinterpretation of pop. With Leisure Birds, Father You See Queen, and Rollerblade. 21+, $7, 9 p.m. 1601 University Ave., St. Paul; 651.647.0486. —Loren Green

Har Mar Superstar/Astronautalis

Triple Rock Social Club, Monday 12.31

When faced with an all-ages crowd, rapper Astronautalis told City Pages, "I'll try to tone down the cursing and the whiskey and keep things PG-13." There are no such limitations for New Year's Eve at the Triple Rock. It's an 18+ affair, so a full-on, ribald burst into 2013 should be expected. Whether Astro is swigging Redbreast, punching the air with his tattooed hands, scorching through This Is Our Science, or freestyling his face off, this is the guy you want leading the party. Unless, of course, you can also jam with the twisted pop stylings of Har Mar Superstar in the same sweat-inducing swoop. Better wear some killer undies for his set in case you're hit with the uncontrollable urge to disrobe. 18+, $20, 8 p.m. 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Reed Fischer

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