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Winter Guide 2019: The season's best concerts

Channy Leaneagh of Poliça

Channy Leaneagh of Poliça Zoe Prinds-Flash

Here are four great concerts to look forward to this winter.

Schoolboy Q
Armory

Of the rappers who once were more pointed about presenting themselves as a group called Black Hippy, Schoolboy Q has the most conventional persona: He’s a truculent party boy with a deep-voiced snarl and a bobbing, declarative flow, equally given to loud flexing and solemn, detailed gangsta stories. Yet he’s also recorded fabulous, hypnotic pop singles (“Collard Greens,” with frequent collaborator Kendrick Lamar) and weirdly ethereal experimental tracks (“Man of the Year” samples the Chromatics). His new Crash Talk is a casual, comfortable, summery L.A. party-rap album, his breeziest and most unruffled yet, abounding with slick, blaring flute hooks (“5200”), tightly wound electrofunk grooves (“Chopstix”), shiny bounce everywhere, even a token R&B slow jam with Ty Dolla $ign and YG (“Lies”). Where once he favored Digi+Phonics-produced beats whose dark, murky bass rumble exuded a pungent, ominous cannabinoid odor, he’s now rapping over sweeter synthetic blends, and his voice has lightened too. With Nav. 6:30 p.m. $37-$67+. 500 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis.; 612-315-3965. November 23 —Lucas Fagen

Poliça
7th St. Entry

As winter prematurely arrives, a reminder to be careful out there: Two winters ago Poliça singer Channy Leaneagh fell off her roof while clearing ice dams from her gutters and wound up in a brace for months. (She’s doing much better now, thankfully.) You may not be surprised to learn that much of Poliça’s fourth album, When We Stay Alive, was inspired, whether directly or obliquely, by that event, though half of the songs were written before the accident. When We Stay Alive won’t be released till January 2020, so this two-night Entry stand—Poliça’s first time back on stage since Leaneagh’s injury—isn’t just a chance to see the band in a more intimate setting than usual, but also an opportunity to hear the music before the rest of the world. With Lady Midnight (night one) and Margaret (night two). 18+. 7 p.m. (night one) and 8 p.m. (night two). $20. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-338-8388. November 26 and 27 —Keith Harris

Brockhampton
Armory

“The internet’s first boy band” met in high school through a Kanye West fan website and gradually evolved into a large, fluctuating collective whose cross between boy band and rap crew resonates as much for their conceptual cunning as for their group synergy. Like the Beatles, they count as a boy band because you’re supposed to have a favorite member. It doesn’t matter if you choose driven mastermind Kevin Abstract, acrobatic chatterbox Dom McLennon, terse drawler Matt Champion, dreamy crooner Bearface, or any number of others (Brockhampton currently has 13 members, although the lineup will surely be different in a month); they all have distinct flows and personas, and listening to Brockhampton means figuring out which boy is yours. If their albums don’t cohere into the sleekest pop shapes, that’s because the excess of personality risks clutter, flooding their playful, genre-bending alternative rap songs with dozens of competing voices, ideas, and sounds that bounce around in tight kinetic spaces. With Slowthai and 100 Gecs. 7 p.m. $37-$47+. 500 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis; 612-315-3965. December 3 —Lucas Fagen

Low
Fitzgerald Theater

Over the past two decades, Low have developed their dreamy style, polishing their cautious electric textures, contemplative melodies, and fragile harmony singing into mild, immersive, almost meditative guitar blankets that still resemble complete, legible rock songs. But the Duluth band’s most recent album, 2018’s Double Negative, fractured that sound, sending guitar shards and digital crunches flying into a thousand tiny pieces. Buried beneath a flickering haze of static, at once louder and less encumbered by songform, it’s an extreme, experimental album, but no less gentle. The band has described Double Negative as a response to contemporary political horror, which comes through less in the fragmentary lyrics than the general mood: exhausted, mournful, trying to hang onto stray moments of empathy and coherence. Entwining their voices as always, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker sound ghostlier and more entangled than ever. This show celebrates the 20th anniversary of their 1999 Christmas EP. 7 p.m. $35. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 800-514-3849. December 13 —Lucas Fagen