Big Gigs: A guide to Twin Cities music, Feb. 14-20

  • Updated: February 13, 2014 - 3:00 PM
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Arctic Monkeys

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Fresh from packing Madison Square Garden, British chop-and-crunch rockers Arctic Monkeys clearly had no trouble selling out a club show here — especially with the heavy Current airplay for their latest record, “AM,” and a steady local fan base that goes back to their memorable First Ave debut in 2007. The Sheffield gang of four was a terrifically spastic live band even back then, and now they’re touring behind their hardest-rocking, most cocksure album yet. Should be a slam-dunk, or whatever comparable sports analogy a soccer fan might use. (8:30 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, sold out.) Riemenschneider

POP/ROCK

Looks as if Walker Art Center and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series are in the record business now. The two arts institutions commissioned an album by Sufjan Stevens’ latest electronic music project: Sisyphus, a collaboration by Stevens, New York electronic composer Son Lux and Chicago rapper Serengeti. The odd bunch first came together on a 2012 EP and will issue their self-titled full-length next month via Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty label. Twin Cities fans get the first crack, though, as the songs were inspired by the visual works of Jim Hodges, the subject of a Walker exhibit opening this weekend alongside a short and rare Sisyphus performance. Even farther removed from Stevens’ folky hits than his 2010 techno turn “The Age of Adz,” at least “Sisyphus” is more fun than it is cutesy, and it’s really more of a star vehicle for Serengeti’s sly, Spank Rock-like talent. (9 p.m. Fri., Walker Art Center, $20-$30; also Opening Day Dialogue, 2 p.m. Sat., $12.) Chris Riemenschneider

 

Being a single mother of 3-year-old twins will change your life. It has also changed veteran Los Angeles singer-songwriter Eleni Mandell’s music. “Let’s Fly a Kite,” her ninth studio album, is a focused collection of light parlor music about the joy of children and afternoon delights (with your kids). It was recorded with Nick Lowe’s touring band and his producer, Nick Brockbank. The vibe is dramatically different from Mandell’s earlier efforts, which have ranged from torchy jazz-pop to classic country. From “Little Joy” to “Put My Baby to Bed,” you couldn’t find a sweeter reflection on parenthood. Opening is Vikesh Kapoor, a graduate of the Woody Guthrie school of folk music. (9 p.m. Fri., Turf Club, $10-$12. ) Jon Bream

 

Rap/rock has gone out of fashion, but Christian rock is still going strong, and TobyMac remains one of its biggest names. The singer/rapper formerly of DC Talk fame — remember their 1995 crossover hit “Just Between You and Me”? — landed at No. 1 in Billboard last year with his solo album “Eye on It,” which just won the Grammy for best contemporary Christian album. He’s on tour with Brandon Heath, Mandisa, Matthew West and Matt Maher. (7 p.m. Fri., Xcel Energy Center, $22-$42.) Riemenschneider

 

Next month, singer-songwriter John Gorka of Marine on St. Croix will release his 12th studio album, “Bright Side of Down,” on St. Paul’s Red House label. It’s another fine collection of well-etched folk-pop that travels from “Holed Up in Mason City” (with Buddy Holly salute) to “Really Spring” (about those prolonged Minnesota winters). Claudia Schmidt offers a haunting vocal coda on “Procrastination Blues.” Eliza Gilkyson, Lucy Kaplansky and Michael Johnson also contribute to the disc. (8 p.m. Sat., Hopkins Center for the Arts, $24.) Bream

 

Like father, like son, Dweezil Zappa is back with Zappa Plays Zappa. This time the featured album is “Roxy & Elsewhere” (RIP, George Duke). Previous tours have included cool guest artists from Dad’s past, but the six-piece band is apparently going it alone this time — unless you count that “Penguin in Bondage” spotted in the back of their van. (7 p.m. Sun., First Avenue, $30.) Tom Surowicz

 

Are you into “instrumental psychedelic space-funk”? Then check out Matt Owen and the Eclectic Tuba, from Birmingham, Ala. They deliver extraterrestrial synth licks, tuba sound loops, funky sax, dynamic drumming and a trippy light show. Owen has worked a bit with the Polyphonic Spree and Amanda Palmer, and his group’s soon-to-be-released album, “Intergalactic Domination,” features Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips. Just stay away from the brown acid. (8 p.m. Sun., Turf Club, $8-$10.) Surowicz

A classic, Heartbreakers/Band-style Americana rock group based in Nashville with Texas roots, Wild Feathers made a strong impression opening for Gary Clark Jr. at First Ave in November. Their self-titled debut boasts a lot of sweet, BoDeans-like radio hooks, but it’s a tad overproduced and only hints at their spirited, rambunctious live show. This time the quintet is bringing their own promising opening acts: Head and the Heart-like heartland rockers Saints of Valory and the folkier, harmony-strewn Jamestown Revival, both from Austin, Texas. (8 p.m. Tue., Turf Club, $12.) Riemenschneider

 

Still the only guy in indie-rock wily and witty enough to pull off lines like, “We lived on venison and Tennyson” — from the new single “Lariat” — Stephen Malkmus is back with his second Jicks record since the 2010 reunion by his old band, Pavement. Titled “Wig Out at Jagbags,” it’s a rather standard outing for the ’90s vet, stacked with idiosyncratic but jangly guitar parts and more fun wordplay. Scrappy Detroit noise-punk band Tyvek opens. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Cedar Cultural Center, all ages, $20.) Riemenschneider

 

The best country songwriter in Minnesota, Erik Koskinen doesn’t talk about tailgating, partying with babes and driving down dirt roads. He’s more old school, with a focus on working-class themes, whether it’s about the effects of oil in “Boomtown,” the calling of a musician in “Six Pack of Beer and a Pack of Cigarettes,” or the challenges of being unemployed on Independence Day in “Slow Burn.” Those tunes are on his splendid second album, “America Theatre,” which will be celebrated at this month’s Real Phonic Radio Hour. Koskinen, an ace guitarist with a dry, low-key voice, leads the show’s house band. Also appearing is the Chastity Brown Duo. (8 p.m. Thu., J.J. Hill Library, 80 W. 4th St., St. Paul, $20) Bream

  • related content

  • Ruthie Foster performs with Eric Bibb at the Dakota on Monday.

  • Erik Koskinen celebrates his new CD Thursday at J.J. Hill Library in St. Paul.

  • Sufjan Stevens, center, performs with Sisyphus Friday at Walker Art Center.

  • Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin plays the Dakota Wednesday and Thursday.

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