Yeasayer, Gogol Bordello, and more

Slow-burning rockers Plants and Animals come to the Varsity this week

Slow-burning rockers Plants and Animals come to the Varsity this week



Dakota Jazz Club

As charming as sultry Brazilian chanteuse Céu was on her eponymous debut, last summer's follow-up, Vagarosa, proved even more enchanting. Her supple, sensuous voice caresses and stretches syllables with a remarkable insouciance, and when multi-tracked, she can even sound like Bob Marley's old backup group, the I Threes. Already known for mixing samba and bossa nova with electronica, trip-hop, reggae, dub, jazz, and pop, Céu makes the intoxicating blend positively sublime on Vagarosa with the assistance of cutting-edge producers Beto Villares, Gustavo Lenza, and Gui Amabis, plus a string of notable guests, including drummer Curumin, singer Luiz Melodia, and members of Nação Zumbi and Mestre Ambrósio. The seamless integration of roots and contemporary elements has an organic feel that reflects the album's name, which means slow, as in easygoing. In fact, it is insidiously languid and sophisticated, as sly rhythms sidle up against a trumpet flirting with dissonance, a dub pulse buoys simmering melodies, or a jaunty Ipanema bounce bristles with wiry guitar, juicy bass, and warm electronic hooks. $45. 7 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. Also Thursday —Rick Mason


The Infamous Stringdusters

The Cedar

Although Nashville's Infamous Stringdusters are relatively young, having released their first album in 2007, they quickly made an impact, picking up IBMA awards for album, song, and emerging artist of the year. The septet's picking prowess and classic bluegrass instrumentation put the Dusters firmly in the string-band realm, but they harbor grander ambitions that are beginning to blossom on their third album, Things That Fly, due out this week. While many young string bands gravitate to jamgrass's free-flowing improvisations, the Dusters have opted in the direction of solid songcraft, polished arrangements, and stylish production, all without compromising the organic core. Things' instrumentation is expanded to include organ and viola, while a trio of guests—Dierks Bentley, Aoife O'Donovan, Sarah Siskind—add to the richness of the vocals while studiously avoiding bluegrass's classic high, lonesome sound. And the songs take off from their string-band cover of U2's "In God's Country," with similarly expansive anthems probing grand concepts, such as "Those Who've Gone On" and "Love One Another." All ages. $15/$18 at the door. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason


The Magnolias' 25th Anniversary

7th St. Entry

Back in those heady days of the mid-'80s, when the Replacements and Hüsker Dü walked the earth and Twin-Tone Records ruled the roost, Minneapolis's music scene boasted an embarrassment of riches that has rightfully become the stuff of folklore. Among the many much-loved acts of the day were the Magnolias, the scrappy little pop-punk brothers to the Suburbs and Suicide Commandos. Playing buzz-saw riffs behind John Freeman's snarling vocals, the Mags held their own and more with the Cities' luminaries, punchy anthems like "When I'm Not" and "Bring It Back" carrying the band to the verge of widespread acclaim. While such success ultimately eluded them, the band became underground legends and to this day maintain a special place in many a Midwesterner's heart. Reuniting 25 years after their first show at the Uptown Bar in April 1985, the Mags' appearance at the Entry offers two nights with one local treasure that hasn't yet passed on to musical Valhalla. With Ten Ton Bridge and North of Grand on Friday, and North of Grand and Whole Lotta Loves on Saturday. 18+. 9 p.m. $8/$10 at the door. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Jeff Gage


Gogol Bordello/DeVotchKa

First Avenue

Eleven years into fronting the Pogues of Gypsy music, Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hütz would be a movie star on the strength of his performance in Liev Schreiber's directorial debut, Everything Is Illuminated, if not Madonna's directorial debut, Filth & Wisdom, were he funneling his humor and charisma into something less culturally specific than a streak of great punk songs. As it is, his New York band's snarling zest is a treasure for converts, the promise of the late Clash filtered through an Eastern-European-American identity still smashing out a place for itself. This tour behind the forthcoming Trans-Continental Hustle features a perfect opener in Denver's DeVotchKa, whose New York gigs at the traveling Spiegeltent circus tent were a memorable match of atmospheres, and whose Romani-mariachi-Roy Orbison burlesque made its own cool cinema soundtracking Little Miss Sunshine. Come early for New York's Jesse Malin & the St. Marks Social, the onetime D Generation singer and friends making roots rock out of glam and vice versa. 18+. $25-$27. 6 p.m. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.332.1775. Also Sunday —Peter S. Scholtes


Martin Sexton

Fitzgerald Theater

A folkie by implication, having busked in his youth and earning plaudits as a member of the erstwhile "new folk" crowd, Martin Sexton is a superb singer who could just as easily ply his trade as a soul, gospel, or even jazz singer alongside the likes of Al Green. On his new collection, Sugarcoating, Sexton matches Green's burnished, soulful croon and soaring falsetto on "Livin the Life," even copping a bit of the Rev.'s uplifting, do-the-right-thing message. But that's just one cut on an album that grasps eclecticism by the collar and goes for a ride, traversing gospel, country (complete with yodeling), lots more soul, jazz, the Beatlesesque "Stick Around" (which even mentions Abbey Road mid-tune), and even a burbling rag concerned with swoonin', croonin', and spoonin'. But most striking is the title track, a skewering of the apocalyptic assault on truth in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks and the implications for a society in which "nightly news gone entertainment biz." Sexton makes his message hit even harder by setting it to an ironically jaunty cowboy-folk gallop. Opening and subsequently backing Sexton will be the Ryan Montbleau Band, a Boston-based outfit that works effervescent grooves derived from a broad cross-section of soul, jazz, blues, folk, rock, country, and rock-steady. $27-$29. 7:30 p.m. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul; 651.290.1220. —Rick Mason


Plants and Animals

Varsity Theater

There clearly is something in the water in Montreal that keeps producing such inventive, inspired bands. You can add the expressive three-piece Plants and Animals to that ever-growing list, as their stellar 2008 debut, Parc Avenue, put them firmly on the musical map, while their sprawling new record, La La Land, due out on 4/20, will surely keep them there. Their music is a slow-building, eclectic blend of roots, psychedelia, and straight-ahead indie rock, oftentimes within the same sweeping song, working up to emphatically gratifying choruses that more than justify their simmering introductions. Frontman Warren Spicer is a gifted guitarist whose imaginative riffs are typically the driving force behind the band's emphatic numbers, but the steady support of Matthew Woodley and Nicolas Basque give the songs an added depth that truly flourishes in a live setting. The penetrating local three-piece Zoo Animal open, and should set the stage quite nicely for a night filled with smoldering, affecting rock 'n' roll. 18+. $10/$12 at the door. 7 p.m. 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis; 612.604.0222. —Erik Thompson


Jakob Dylan and Three Legs

Fitzgerald Theater

A lot of the buzz surrounding Jakob Dylan's current tour and new album, Women + Country, stems from the participation—on both—of alt-country sirens Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. There's certainly something to be said for the novelty of seeing and hearing the younger Dylan (as some of us still think of him) on stage with Case, in particular. But the women's role on the record is strictly as background singers, pleasant enough in itself but actually rather subdued and hardly earthshaking. A far more definitive presence is that of producer T Bone Burnett, who gives W+C a weathered, Americana roots feel, specks of grit seemingly caught on the wind along with a haunted essence echoed in songs like "We Don't Live Here Anymore." Also significantly adding to the seductively muted ambience is a superb band consisting of such frequent Burnett collaborators as guitarists Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz and drummer Jay Bellerose. There's also a blistering horn section that gives "Lend a Hand" a dirty, back-of-town vibe and contributes to the sense that "Standing Eight Count" is a lost track from the Band. Dylan's lyrics, meanwhile, probe the shadowy peripheries of love, death, truth, and survival, offering the mature perspective of someone staring into that relentless wind. 7:30 p.m., $30/$32. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul, 651.290.1220. —Rick Mason

Yeasayer/Sleigh Bells

First Avenue

Back in 2007, Yeasayer burst out of Brooklyn with their debut LP, All Hour Cymbals, and instantly became a buzz band among bloggers nationwide. Effortlessly bridging a surprising array of genres, the trio's disjointed melodies and tribal incantations formed a distinctive and challenging sound that was highlighted by such songs as "2080" and "Sunrise." Last year, Anand Wilder and his band further consolidated their reputation while pushing their boundaries with a stunning contribution to the all-star Dark Was the Night compilation, "Tightrope." Incorporating smoothed-out, synthetic rhythms while maintaining their off-kilter jerkiness, the song presaged Odd Blood, Yeasayer's brand-new album, which with its '80s dance-music vibe has done little to dim their still-growing cred. However, they'll face stern competition from fellow Brooklynites Sleigh Bells, whose bruising, white-noise crunch has caused a stir even though the duo's debut album, set to be released under the guidance of M.I.A., has yet to be released. 18+. 8 p.m. $15/$17 at the door. 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388. —Jeff Gage