Mary Bue is finally ready to unpack.
Over the past two years, the singer/songwriter's life has been as unsettled as a canoe on Lake Superior. She got a divorce, moved from Duluth to south Minneapolis and opened her semi-namesake Imbue Yoga Studio, only to be awarded a Wurlitzer family artists grant that allowed her to spend this past winter writing and painting in Taos, N.M.
Before she left for the desert, Bue also traveled to Nashville to record her new EP, "The Majesty of Beasts," a stunning collection that covers thicker personal terrain in four quick songs than is found on most full-length albums.
Now back in Minnesota, she's ready to promote the EP with a new band, Friday in Minneapolis and Saturday in Duluth.
"It feels good to finally get these songs out there," Bue said with an understated laugh.
Built on the '90s alt-rock oomph and evocative lyricism of her well received 2015 album, "Holy Bones," "The Majesty of Beasts" kicks off with a bluntly titled, snarly gem based off her heartbreak-filled retreat from her former hometown, "The Sh-- I Left in Duluth." Then it downturns into a somber riff on scenester bar life in "Minnesota Goodbye," which Bue said came to her one night while hanging out at Duluth's Red Herring Lounge.
"Especially as you get a little older, some nights you go out and you're just like, 'Oh, God, get me out of here!' " she said.
The album's stormy centerpiece song is as musically breathtaking as it is socially vital: Titled "Petty Misdemeanor," it recounts in vivid detail a sexual assault that Bue survived in her early 20s, and the lingering hurt over her attacker's meager punishment. "Ten years later, he's still forgiven," goes the song's bombastic refrain.
Bue said she didn't even talk openly about the incident until a few years ago, so for her to take it on in a song — proceeds from which will be donated to assault victims' groups — was an especially bold assignment.
"When I finally told my parents about it, I felt like I had the freedom to speak out more, which I think is especially important now in our current political environment," she said. "One in three women report being sexually assaulted, so unfortunately it's a pretty universal song."
It's high time Bue's talent becomes more universally known in her newly adopted hometown. She plays Icehouse on Friday with Gabriel Douglas and Timbre Ghost opening (10:30 p.m., $10-$12), then heads back to the Red Herring on Saturday.
Not only did they serve as the backing band on Kinks legend Ray Davies' new album, "Americana," but the Jayhawks are also all over the latest LP by late-'80s alterna-strummer Wesley Stace, aka John Wesley Harding — confusingly titled "Wesley Stace's John Wesley Harding" but straight-ahead enjoyable. … Hippo Campus has been tapped to fill in for Trampled by Turtles as headliners of the annual First Ave-promoted, all-Minnesotan concert at beautiful Bayfront Festival Park Amphitheater in Duluth on July 8, also featuring resident heroes Low, Poliça, Remo Drive and J.S. Ondara. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. ($25, eTix.com).
One of the best annual shows for attention-span-challenged rock fans, Ramones Mania is back at the Ballentine Uptown VFW on Saturday benefiting the American Cancer Society and featuring the Capitol Guitar All-Stars, Red Flags, GST, Flamin' Ohs, Silverteens and more (7:30 p.m., $6-$10.) … Emo-flavored bluegrass upstarts Kind Country are touting an energetic and earnest new EP, "Mountains," with the Ginstrings and others at the Turf Club on Saturday (9 p.m., $12-$15).
Allan Kingdom just dropped a wild new single and video, "The Fusion," featuring his recent tourmate Denzel Curry, the Florida rapper who generated a sizzling buzz at SXSW and is likely to do the same here during Soundset on May 28. … Mr. Kingdom's frequent stage partner, DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip (Taylor Madrigal, also performing at Soundset), was the subject of a fun and insightful interview this week on Forbes.com about being a professional DJ.
Mason Jennings and the Pines' Benson Ramsey are putting their artwork — drawings and photography, respectively — on display through July at Gallery 122 at Hang It, starting with a free opening reception Friday, 7-9 p.m. (122 SE. 8th St., Mpls.). … Congrats to Ramsey's bandmate David Huckfelt, who was named artist-in-residence at Isle Royale National Park and will spend the summer there. That gig comes with a helluva greenroom.