Lotsa Local Album Release Shows in Your Complete Concert Calendar: September 12-18
Pretty much all the music you can catch in the Twin Cities this week.
10:56 AM CDT on September 12, 2023
A good week to catch up on what some Minnesota musicians have been cooking up.
Tuesday, September 12
- Tegan and Sara with Carlie Hansen @ First Avenue—Crybaby, Tegan and Sara's first album of new material since 2016, suggests the Quin twins’ romantic lives (or at least their imagined versions of them) have gotten no less dramatic as they’ve entered their forties. The once-folkie-confessional sisters “went pop” a decade ago and never looked back; they love synths-or-is-that-a-guitar and big drums for the sheer whomp of it all, and they write broad lyrics to match. On the new collection, “Fucking Up What Matters” sums up the personal flaws that are their artistic strength; “this bruise ain’t black it’s yellow” is a raw, perfect metaphor for sidling up to an old lover to get hurt again. The show was originally scheduled for last November, when illness sidelined the whole T & S crew.
- Quasi with Ava Mendoza @ 7th St Entry—If you miss Janet Weiss's drumming (and why wouldn’t you?), you should know that Sleater-Kinney's former third wheel has long moonlighted (moonlit?) as the rhythmic half of the sardonic, tunefully clamorous Quasi, with long-ago ex-husband Sam Coomes up front. Their latest, Breaking the Balls of History, is their best in a quarter-century that was not without its high points, and that's in part because the human condition has caught up with Coomes's cranky disposition. Here he rants like a guy who'd hoped he'd die before the world went to shit and batters his distorted rocksichord (yes, that's a real thing, look it up) like there’s no tomorrow. Stuck between "Riots and Jokes," Coomes muses on the cruel indifference of the laws of nature ("Gravity"), the anxious tedium of pandemic isolation ("Doomscrollers"), and the act of settling for “half a half of a hotdog bun” ("Losers Win"). And if you’re worried that he’s giving up the fight with his "last long laugh at the edge of death," remember that in late 2016 while the rest of us were still chewing our nails and crying to our therapists, Coomes was working to get the indie-all-star ACLU/Planned Parenthood/350.org benefit album Battle Hymns ready in time for the inauguration.
Wednesday, September 13
- Bombino with Paul Metzger @ Cedar Cultural Center—If you think Niger's blues-rockin' Mdou Moctar is hot shit on guitar (and he is), you owe it to check out his no-less-amazing Agadez neighbor. Omar "Bombino" Moctar (no relation) didn't make the stateside splash some hoped—he no longer records for Nonesuch or scores name producers like the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. But from what I've heard of his latest, Sahel, which is out this Friday, he continues to play with both flash and subtlety. Definitely a treat live.
- Yard Act with Stuck @ Fine Line—A Leeds quartet you don't have to be an Anglophile to groove with, Yard Act rock the kind of postpunk that aspires to dance music rather than the kind that flaunts its own rhythmic deconstruction. I'm not the first to say frontman James Smith sing-speaks like a more reserved Eddie Argos—of Art Brut, that is, a comparison I'm guessing plenty of this young band's American fans are old enough and Anglophile enough to remember. Unlike Argos, I don't always know what Smith is going on about, but I can tell his heart is in the right place; on the band's 2022 debut, The Overload, his targets include racism and other Little Britain stupidities. Yard Act ups its funk quotient even further on its new single, "The Trench Coat Museum," anchored by the kind of bass line that can carry a whole song and more than earning a remix from definitive '80s electro-pop beat-master Arthur Baker. What I’m saying is, you'd better dance at this one.
Thursday, September 14
- Eric Clapton with Jimmie Vaughn @ Xcel Energy Center—Oh hell yeah, mom and dad are gonna be pissin' away your inheritance in downtown St. Paul tonight.
Friday, September 15
- Drive-By Truckers with American Aquarium and Gear Daddies @ Buck Hill—Hell of a triple bill out in Burnsville.
- Ken Marino & David Wain’s Middle Aged Dad Jam Band @ Fine Line—Says David Wain of the delightful musical project with his buddy from The State: “I’ve got to tell you, with the writers’ strike being in full swing, I’m all for this becoming my main job. If I could be a rock star and support my family, I would do it in a second.”
- Bully with Wombo @ First Avenue—Alicia Bognanno, the howling force behind Bully, is famously from here. The Rosemount-born, Nashville-based musician got her start engineering records with reformed crank Steve Albini, and began churning out her own grungey records in 2015 with Feels Like. Two more same-sounding LPs would follow, but Bognanno tapped into something special with June’s Lucky for You. Produced by fellow Nashvillian JT Daly, Lucky showcases her screamed confessional lyricism with more polish and depth than previous efforts, resulting in Bully's most adventurous album yet. I’ve had it on constant repeat since it dropped via Sub Pop. Wombo opens this homecoming celebration.
- We Are the Willows (EP Release) with Yellow Ostrich and Mike Kota @ Green Room—The three-song EP that Peter Miller's arty pop project celebrates tonight is the typically wistful Everything Changed.
- MAYDA (Album Release) with 5ifth House and Diane @ Hook and Ladder—Snippets of tracks from Mayda's new Infected have surfaced as teasers, suggesting where the inventively soulful funk-rocker might be headed. Sounds like her music's grown a lot—it's been a long time since she released Mrdr Pxp in 2018, after all.
- 50 Cent with Busta Rhymes and Jeremih @ Xcel Energy Center—Are 18,000 Minnesotans nostalgic enough to shell out $30-$45 for G-Unit's gangsta-pop charmer? I just checked ticket availability and so far signs are pointing to "No."
Saturday, September 16
- Obi Original and The Black Atlantics (EP Release) with Chutes and Moise @ Fine Line—The most prominent performer in the Ozone Creations collective, the Nigerian-born Obi Original debuts his new EP, Original Composition.
- Parliament-Funkadelic feat. George Clinton with George Porter Jr. @ Uptown Theater—Dog only knows the state of George Clinton's mind or body these days, but his soul is still as foul 'n' funky as ever. Uncle Jam was always the ringmaster more than the star attraction, and ask anyone who was there: P-Funk put on a great pair of free shows at the State Fair's Leinie Lodge in 2017. Yes, I know that was six years ago, when George was a spry 76 years old.
Sunday, September 17
Monday, September 18
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