Passion Pit, Jackson Browne, Morrissey, and more

METZ's mind-blurring debut is one of the year's best
Robby Reis


7th St. Entry, Monday 10.29

Toronto trio METZ play a blistering brand of rock 'n' roll, shaking up the rather placid modern musical landscape with their emphatic riffs and rhythms. Their dynamic self-titled debut record just came out on Sub Pop, and it bristles with an intensity that proves irresistible. The frenetic power trio's vaunted live show builds on the raw potency of their highly charged studio work, easily making them one of the best new rock bands in the current scene. With Buildings and UBT. 18+, $8-$10, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Erik Thompson

Sea Wolf

Cedar Cultural Center, Friday 10.26

Given Alex Church's icy, understated tenor and penchant for gentle arpeggios, it's easy to label him and his revolving-band project Sea Wolf as devoted disciples of the Iron & Wine school of adult-alternative-approved folk-rock. And while Church's preference for immaculate sounds and middle-of-the-road tempos has occasionally made past Sea Wolf records feel slightly bloodless, this year's Old World Romance finds him sounding livelier than ever while operating as a one-man band. With Hey Marseilles. All ages, $12-$15, 7 p.m., 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rob Van Alstyne

Sun Airway

7th St. Entry, Friday 10.26

Philadelphia's Sun Airway set Coldplay-reminiscent crooning atop decidedly more adventurous electronic song structures to fine effect on their excellent sophomore album, Soft Fall. Started as the home recording project of Jon Barthmus as he licked his wounds after the implosion of his excellent but overlooked guitar-oriented indie band, the A-Sides, Sun Airway retain Barthmus's former band's knack for unerringly catchy vocal melodies and big choruses, while exploring a newfound taste for ambient sounds and woozy verses. Just as likely to hit the listener over the head with a soaring slice of dance-friendly pop (the New Order-nodding "Black Noise") as a headphone-oriented deep-space exploration (glacial-paced orchestral album closer "Over My Head"), Soft Fall manages to be both dynamic and cohesive on a level rarely heard in electro-pop land. With Savoir Adore and Royal Canoe. 18+, $10, 8 p.m., 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Rob Van Alstyne


Dakota, Saturday 10.27

Haunted by the gnarly roots of the blues, the sinuous sound of Tinariwen blows in from the Sahara on an arid wind punctuated by the equally harsh landscape and history of the region. The band consists of Tuaregs forced from their nomadic traditions into exile, where they used electric guitars to transform ancient desert music into something that connects to John Lee Hooker and Jimi Hendrix. The music can almost be hallucinatory: droning guitars over writhing percussion, with call-and-response vocals crying for justice and rebellion. The group traded electric for acoustic guitars on last year's Tassili, featuring contributions from Wllco guitarist Nils Cline and members of TV on the Radio. Most extraordinary, however, are the surrealistic, free-jazz-like horns from New Orleans's Dirty Dozen Brass Band, which quaver and wail while shadowing the undulating guitars on "Ya Messinagh." $35, 7 and 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

Hot Roxx Halloween Extravaganza

Hexagon Bar, Sunday 10.28

On the first frighteningly festive weekend associated with Halloween, it doesn't get much better than the covers unfolding at the fourth-annual Hot Roxx Halloween Hextravaganza at the Hexagon Bar. Expect spirited sets by the Springsteen tribute band Tramps Like Us, and a Roky Erickson tribute by Hard Roky Cafe (featuring members of Chambermaids/STNNNG, Gospel Gossip, Voytek, and Daughters of the Sun). Father You See Queen will be covering electronic tunes from the '60s, Heavy Deeds will be paying tribute to country classics, and New York's the Marching Jaybirds have a set of time-honored throwback numbers planned. Hot Roxx DJs will keep the party going between sets, and there will also be a costume contest for all the ghosts, goblins, and PSYs who took the time to dress up. 21+, No cover, 9 p.m. 2600 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.722.3454. —Erik Thompson

The Hush Sound

Triple Rock Social Club, Sunday 10.28

Weirdly lumped in with the emo-loving teen scene by dint of their signing to Fueled by Ramen records, Illinois outfit the Hush Sound were far from your typical Hot Topic crowd-pleaser. Instead, they favored brassy boy/girl piano-led romps over pop-punk histrionics during their initial five-year run. On hiatus since 2009, in which time vocalist/keyboardist Greta Morgan launched excellent indie-pop outfit Gold Motel and vocalist/guitarist Bob Morris formed Stamps, the band is back together and working on new material for a fourth record set to hit sometime in 2013. With John Mark Nelson. All Ages, $14-$15, 5 p.m., 629 Cedar Ave.S., Minneapolis; 612.333.7399. —Rob Van Alstyne

Jackson Browne/Sara Watkins

State Theatre, Sunday 10.28

For four decades Jackson Browne has been the quintessential Southern California singer-songwriter. Graced with strong, often hummable but never obvious melodies, Browne's folk-rock has supported particularly literate lyrics that are at times deeply introspective while connecting to universal experiences. His last studio album, 2008's Time the Conqueror, issued on his 60th birthday, reaffirmed his role as an activist while acknowledging mortality issues. These days Browne is on an acoustic solo tour. Expect a cavalcade of hits, plus maybe the odd nugget from Woody Guthrie. Browne contributed harmony vocals to some cuts on Sun Midnight Sun, the latest solo album from opener Sara Watkins, of Nickel Creek fame. $54.50-$105, 7 p.m. 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rick Mason


Orpheum Theatre, Monday 10.29

Curmudgeonly crooner Morrissey mastered the art of melodic melancholy ages ago — right around the time of the Smiths' 1986 classic The Queen Is Dead, to be exact. Thankfully the notoriously depressive star manages to overcome his bummed-out moods long enough to mount proper tours with surprising regularity even as the pace of his recorded output continues to slow. So while there's no word yet on when 2009's glum-as-ever Years of Refusal will receive an official follow-up, that isn't stopping the Moz from giving fans a glimpse of what's still to come in concert. With Kristeen Young. All Ages, $39.50-$75, 7:30 p.m., 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.339.7007. —Rob Van Alstyne

Passion Pit

First Avenue, Monday 10.29 + Tuesday 10.30

For every person falling hard for Passion Pit's sugar-sweet 2009 debut, Manners, there seemed to be an equally impassioned naysayer driven bonkers by frontman Michael Angelakos's unhinged falsetto and seemingly unearned overnight success. The Boston-based electro-pop band's sophomore album, Gossamer, doesn't try to win over non-believers, instead continuing to play to Angelakos's strengths — oodles of ear-worm synths abound — while making enough forays into new terrain to avoid being written off as a mere Manners retread. With Youngblood Hawke, Hollerado. All Ages, $30, 6:30 p.m., 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Rob Van Alstyne

Maria Schneider Orchestra

Dakota Jazz club, Tuesday 10.30 + Wednesday 10.31

Windom native and University of Minnesota grad Maria Schneider is oft regarded as one of the finest composers, arrangers, and conductors in contemporary music. Working in big-band jazz and the nexus where jazz, classical, and avant-garde connect, Schneider won two Grammys for the 2004 album Concert in the Garden and her composition "Cerulean Skies," and received commissions and invitations to be a guest conductor from dozens of organizations across the globe. For nearly two decades she has led her own orchestra, and paints with sound, exploring a rich palette of tonal colors in compositions that are sophisticated, vividly detailed, and loaded with arresting imagery while exploiting the strengths of her talented musicians. $60 at 7 p.m. $40 at 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

The Rural Alberta Advantage

7th St. Entry, Tuesday 10.30

Hard fact: Summer's over, gang. If the current glut of dance-pop isn't helping, dig around that dusty mp3 folder and revisit those two Rural Alberta Advantage albums probably tucked away in there. They still tug as hard on the heartstrings as they did a couple of years ago. The RAA managed that trick by scaling back on grandiose arrangements, streamlining their plaintive folk-rock until each element sounded raw and emotive — even the tiny electronic embellishments felt hand-carved. It's music for saying goodbye to the summer sun or your summer fling, and the RAA will be here to say it with you. With Dan Mangan. 18+, $18-$20, 8 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. —Ian Traas

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