After dropping the online single "Minnesota Nice" to hype next week's Welcome to Minnesota Tour, Atmosphere announced details of its first full-length album in three years.
Titled "The Family Sign," the disc will land April 12 and reportedly touches on "themes of fatherhood, loss, love, disappointment and jubilation." Pretty much Slug's life story of late, then. Guitarist Nate Collis and keyboardist Erick Anderson are once again all over the record alongside Ant. The group is planning its most ambitious tour itinerary to date, including another Soundset festival, scheduled for May 29 at Canterbury Park.
At press time, the only stop not sold out on next week's exclusively in-state tour was Rochester (Feb. 25). Those slackers.
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Former Greazy Meal cohorts Julius Collins and Brian Gallagher will debut their new band, Smart Mouth, at the Cabooze on Friday with fellow vets Michael Bland and Yohannes Tona (9:30 p.m., $10-$12). They describe the music as "conversational soul," inspired by Stevie, Marvin and Seal. Also a Prince & NPG alum, sax man Gallagher has been gigging with "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks in recent years.
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Saturday and Sunday at the Cabooze find the always-welcome return of the Jug Band Contest, blowing into its 24th year and benefiting a great cause this time, the Bill Hinkley and Dave Ray memorial fund at West Bank School of Music ($5 cover). Each show opens with the winners of last year's competition, which means the Barehand Jug Band on Saturday (6 p.m.) and the Roe Family Singers on Sunday (1 p.m.), after which comes a steady stream of all-acoustic sets by such promisingly named acts as the Hope We Get to Play Jug Band and the Slipped a Mickey Jug Band.
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Puny ski resort Trollhaugen -- just 45 minutes from St. Paul in Dresser, Wis. -- has a couple of big local names on the lineup for its second annual Moonlight Madness concert Feb. 18: Trampled by Turtles and Dave Pirner. Info at Trollhaugen.com. ...
Set to play in Dresser this Friday (at the Boulevard Bar; when did Dresser become so cool?), drum-kicking twang-rock quartet the4onthefloor issues its debut album, "4 x 4," on iTunes this week but is putting off the vinyl/CD release until April 4. Yes, as in 4/4. ... The4onthefloor also headlines the latest installment of Gastro Non Grata at the Triple Rock on Sunday, featuring delicacies by Chowgirls Killer Catering, Haute Dish and Southern Tier Brewing (6 p.m., free).
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Postponed by December's big snowstorm, the tribute to Texas' late metal guitar god Dimebag Darrell lands Friday at the Triple Rock with two sets of Pantera tunes by tribute band Lesser Known Saint, plus the Sabbath cover band Black Garden and Iron Throne's all-Mastodon offshoot Cooliopeth (9 p.m., $5, benefits VH1's Save the Music Foundation.)
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Minneapolis' favorite rock-star transplant Brian Setzer had a great idea for his next record: an all-instrumental collection spotlighting his Gretsch-branded rockabilly/swing guitar work. With Trailer Trash's Noah Levy on drums, the Stray Cats leader's "Instru-MENTAL" lands April 19.
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After a decade of playing sax at the Loring Pasta Bar (and the original Loring Cafe before that), John Devine is moving over to the Varsity Theater on Wednesday to tout a new album, "A Little of That." Devine said the title reflects the music, which includes some improv pieces and other originals plus a cover of Thelonious Monk's "North of the Sunset." Said Devine, "If you don't like what you're hearing, just skip to the next track, because it will be something totally different."
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658 • Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisRstrib