There’s a terrific Christmas-themed song on twangmeister Erik Koskinen’s new EP, but that’s not why the six-song collection seems so well-timed near year’s end.

Its title, “Cruising Paradise,” comes from a collection of Sam Shepard stories, and much of its imagery and writing style also sound inspired by the iconic playwright/actor, one of many inspiring greats lost this year. There’s a wonderful raggedness and weary white-flag-waving to the EP that seems to sum up 2017 pretty well, too, starting with the slow-drawling first song, “Broke Down,” and including “On Christmas Day,” both of which carry a softer, more acoustic tone than previous work by the groovy countryman, who just wrapped up touring as the guitarist in Dead Man Winter.

Koskinen and his own primo band will promote the mini-album with a free Electric Fetus in-store set Friday at 2 p.m. and then a full show later that night with Dana Thompson at the Hook & Ladder Theater in Minneapolis (8 p.m., $15-$20). …

You don’t have to know who drummer/vibraphonist/composer Joey Van Phillips is to be impressed by his first-ever solo album. Titled “Punch Bowl,” the playfully hypnotic and jaggedly rhythmic collection — file under: neoclassical hip-hop — includes vocal contributions by Open Mike Eagle, Aby Wolf, Omaur Bliss, Felix of Heiruspecs, Mally, Joe Horton, Kristoff Krane, Medium Zach and four of the five Doomtree rappers including Dessa, who keeps Van Phillips busy in her band. He’s stepping out with a release show next Thursday at Icehouse (10 p.m., $8). …

Soulful hippie jammers Frogleg take over the Ballentine Uptown VFW on Friday to herald the arrival of their latest record, “Busy Checkin’ In,” on double vinyl (9 p.m., $12-$15). … Frogleg’s forefathers the Big Wu are following their annual Thanksgiving show at the Cabooze with a string of Midwestern tour dates, including one Saturday at the Brickhouse in La Crosse, Wis., and a Dec. 30 return to First Ave. … The Warming House hosts another of its double tribute nights on Saturday, this one a gossip-eschewing pairing of Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams covers by strummers including Brad McLemore, Brianna Lane and Jim Walsh (8 p.m., $5-$20). …

About time: Andrew Broder and the Cloak Ox play their first show since March at Icehouse on Friday with Chicago pals Dead Rider opening and DJ-ing by Channy Leaneagh (10:30 p.m., $8-$10). … Monday’s Jazz Implosion series at the Icehouse sees another overdue return, this one by former Clown Lounge resident jazz trio Fat Kid Wednesdays, with Mike Lewis, Adam Linz and JT Bates (9:30 p.m., $16). …

Ahead of his gig that night at First Avenue, Grieves will sign albums at noon Friday at Fifth Element in Minneapolis, one of many independent stores around town with special stock, activities and sales planned for Black Friday and/or Small Business Saturday. That includes the Electric Fetus, Barely Brothers, Eclipse, Down in the Valley, Road Runner, Hymie’s, Know Name, Mill City Sound and Flashlight Vinyl. Meanwhile, Treehouse Records in Minneapolis is in the process of unloading its great stock in time for its closure at year’s end.

 

@ChrisRstrib