Har Mar Superstar left Minnesota to party in Hollywood and Ibiza but still can't keep away, and Astronautalis kept coming to the Twin Cities to hang and finally decided to stay. The Owatonna-reared R&B panty-melter and the Florida-weaned sharp-tongued rapper don't have a lot in common musically but they share a fondness for our city. Both have also been running in similar circles to get new albums out in 2013, with recording sessions stretched between Justin Vernon's place and Spoon drummer Jim Eno's studio. (9 p.m., Triple Rock, 18 & older, $20.) Chris Riemenschneider

Nobody wants to celebrate New Year's Eve at their place of employment, which is probably why Dillinger Four fans won't catch the hard-blasting, harder-partying punks at their usual haunt, the Triple Rock. The change of scenery should add revelry to an already fun lineup featuring the Frozen Teens, L'Assassins, the so-called Girl Group Cover Band and Lady Heat Hot Soul Party DJ crew. (9 p.m., Turf Club. $10.) Riemenschneider

Last year's annual Lamont Cranston New Year's gala was such a rousing success that the band is moving to a significantly bigger ballroom. Pat Hayes and his troops seem rejuvenated by their first studio album in 15 years, and the holiday version of the Cranstons will double in size, expanding to an eight-piece with lots of old familiar faces. Bruce McCabe is on piano, Tim Wick mans a B-3 organ and there'll be a sax section with charter member Tom Burnevik and longtime blower Jim Greenwell (also of the Butanes Soul Revue). The hard-touring Reverend Raven and His Chain Smoking Altar Boys from Wisconsin once again do the opening honors. (8 p.m., DoubleTree Bloomington, $20-$25 show only or $75-$219 packages, 952-893-8435.) Riemenschneider

Apparently, even Mark Mallman only has nine lives. The constantly rejuvenating piano rocker is calling his ninth annual NYE show his last one, for reasons not quite clear, but you can be sure he'll make it count. This year was a wildly yin/yang year for him, as he went from pulling one of his wackiest stunts yet -- a weeklong, nonstop performance in a van driving from New York to L.A. -- to perhaps his most dramatic and straitlaced album, "Double Silhouette." He and the mighty fuzz-rock duo Bloodnstuff are pulling double duty with two sets in one night, while teen popsters Bomba de Luz open the early lineup and electronic revelers Umami kick off the late show. (5 and 9 p.m., 7th Street Entry. $10-$12.) Riemenschneider

Even jam bands have to adhere to bar closings, so Deadly boogie-rock stalwarts the Big Wu are stretching their familial Wu Year's Eve bash into a two-night affair with two distinct personalities. Sunday's lineup is an acoustic-based show with Alex Rossi & Root City and Boys 'n the Barrels. Monday's electric show will include God Johnson, recent "American Idol" contestant Reed Grimm, rapper Initial MC (aka Duenday) and more. (8 p.m. Sun.-Mon, Fine Line, $20-$25 nightly or $30 for both.) Riemenschneider

Year in and year out, the comfiest and jazziest New Year's Eve celebration in the Twin Cities is the Artists' Quarter soiree headlined by sophisticated singer Carole Martin. "Auld Lang Syne" gets swung just a bit at midnight, but her real New Year's Eve hits are "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Moondance" and "I've Got You Under My Skin," on which attendees get to huff and puff on their party horns. There are all the usual trimmings -- funny hats, balloons, buffet food -- but to keep things fresh there's usually a new musical twist to the proceedings. This time it's special guest saxophonist Pat Mallinger. (9 p.m. Mon., Artists' Quarter, $40-$45.) Tom Surowicz


After rocking the EDM arena at Summer Set, Dutch duo Bingo Players brings its manic mishmash to the intimate-by-comparison Epic. Plucking and pasting pieces of electro into their progressive house jumpers, Paul Bäumer and Maarten Hoogstraten helped pop-rapper Flo Rida score a hit this fall with "I Cry" (though BP originally boosted the chorus from Brenda Russell's "Piano in the Dark"). The duo landed on Beatport's top 10 in November with their latest pelvis-pushing single, "Out of My Mind." Lucky Date opens. (10 p.m. Fri., Epic, 18-plus, $25.) Michael Rietmulder

Whether or not "The Dwarves Are Still the Best Band Ever" (or ever were), as the opening track of their latest album asserts, is open to interpretation. Most narcissistic? Most prurient? You bet. After more than 25 years of spewing punk-rock party-rilers and bodily fluids, frontman Blag Dahlia and his San Francisco-based quintet still bring a deadly and devious live show. The Slow Death and local scathers Much Worse open. (10 p.m. Fri., Triple Rock, 18-plus, $13-$15.) Rietmulder

On the heels of a project as epic as their live score of the silent horror flick "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," it might be hard to get excited about a 7-inch single from ethereal art-rockers Brute Heart. But with "Wildfire," the left-brained ladies darkly delve into a groove-based bliss, lined with spectral vocals and tension-building guitar and bass lines. (10 p.m. Sat., Turf Club, $7.) Rietmulder

Brandi Carlile started her 2012 tour at the Minnesota Zoo. So it's fitting that she'll play her final shows of the year in the Twin Cities. After all, we are her biggest market. Will she focus on material from this year's homey and heartfelt "Bear Creek" album? Will we get her covers of Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette and Leonard Cohen? Whatever she sings, count on hearing her big voice with all those hiccups, high notes and near-yodels. It's a wondrous sound we've experienced regularly in concert since 2004. Filligar opens. (8 p.m. Sun. & 9 p.m. Mon., Varsity Theater. Sold out.) Jon Bream

Now a Red House Records artist and living in the Twin Cities again, Michael Johnson will showcase songs from his first studio album in 15 years, "Moonlit Deja Vu." In a long career, the ace guitarist and "Bluer Than Blue" hitmaker has amassed some colorful credits, including: living in a California garage with Steve Martin; studying classical guitar in Barcelona; touring with John Denver in the Mitchell Trio, and dueting with many a luminary (Leo Kottke, Alison Krauss). His latest duet hits closest to home, as Johnson shares the track "One Mile Apart" with his "long lost and newly found daughter," Truly Carmichael. (8 p.m. Fri., Cedar Cultural Center, $22-$25.) Tom Surowicz

One of the most ambitious and certainly the most heavily populated tribute projects from the Twin Cities music scene in recent memory, 69 different local acts recorded one track apiece for the new collection "Absolutely Cuckoo: Minnesota Covers the 69 Love Songs." The songs in question come from a cult-adored triple album by Boston-bred fuzz-pop band the Magnetic Fields, featuring wry, whimsical, often demented and occasionally sweet odes to romance. Only a bored, winter-lulled, record-geek haven like ours would think to re-create it in its entirety. The new recordings -- available online as a free download at -- were spearheaded by local songwriter Matt Latterell, who's also leading a tribute concert of the same name. Other performers will include Lucy Michelle, who kicks off the set with the song "Absolutely Cuckoo," and Bethany Larson, whose "Come Back to San Francisco" is one of the highlights, plus Maggie Morrison (ex-Lookbook), Actual Wolf, the Roe Family Singers, Al Church & State, Dan Israel, Me & My Arrow, the Chalice, Mayda, Jennifer Markey and dozens more. (6:30 p.m. Sat., First Avenue. $10-$12.) Riemenschneider

Together for two decades, the Bottle Rockets -- anchored by charter members Brian Henneman (vocals, guitar, songwriting) and Mark Ortmann (drums) -- consistently deliver high-energy roots-rock and cowpunk songs. Heck, even their album called "Leftovers" is full of gems. Lately, they've been playing with power pop hero Marshall Crenshaw, but this weekend's show is strictly a four-piece affair, and that'll be plenty good. (9 p.m. Sat., Famous Dave's Uptown, $15-$20.) Surowicz


The Bad Plus formed as a home-for-the-holidays band in 2000, when its New York-based, Twin Cities-rooted members Reid Anderson and Ethan Iverson met up with local hero Dave King to play the old Dakota in St. Paul. Twelve years and eight albums later -- counting the adventurous new one, "Made Possible" -- the piano/bass/drums trio still treat this time of the year as a focal point, going from a four-night stand at Chicago's Jazz Showcase last week to a full week at New York's famed Village Vanguard, whose New Year's gig the Plus took over from Dr. Michael White last year. They haven't forgotten the horse they rode in on, though, and usually kick it pretty hard at these annual gigs. (7 and 9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., the Dakota. $40.) Riemenschneider

Pat Mallinger's last CD, "Home on Richmond," was one of the fieriest jazz albums of 2011. What made the release special was his inspired interaction with pianist extraordinaire Bill Carrothers, his mate in the McDonald's All-American High School Jazz Band in the 1980s, and his occasional guest at a long-running house gig at the fabled Green Mill nightclub in Chicago. (That McDonald's All-American band graduated quite a few formidable future jazz "names," including Chris Botti, Harry Allen, Greg Gisbert and Jeff Parker.) To close out 2012, Mallinger and Carrothers are getting together again in St. Paul, where the sax man has a loyal cadre of relatives, friends and fans. Chris Bates (bass) and Kenny Horst (drums) round out what should be a "can't-miss" combo. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists' Quarter, $15.) Surowicz