1 A charming but quirky dorm-room outfit in 2013 when they competed in Vita.mn's Are You Local? contest and hit the Current airwaves, Bad Bad Hats have grown up into quite a sophisticated, no-nonsense rock band in time for their full-length debut on Afternoon Records, "Psychic Reader." Kerry Anderson's droll singing and knack for everyday storytelling sounds a bit like a Minnesotan Courtney Barnett, but her band's stylish, heartache-y pop/rock suggests they could open for either Death Cab or Tegan and Sara on tour.
2 The former Joe's Garage off Loring Park gets a serious upgrade as 4 Bells, which was quite the hot spot on a recent Friday night. The emphasis is on the cuisine of South Carolina's Lowcountry — and that means seafood, from several varieties of oyster, to a redefining snapper ceviche, to a barbecue-tinged baby octopus, to a massive shellfish platter. As if that weren't enough, there's a fearsome entry in 2015's fried-chicken sweepstakes, with buttery biscuits made from an exotic (to us) Carolina flour. It was hard enough to merely nab two seats at the well-stocked bar; we'll try for the rooftop on a weeknight. 1610 Harmon Pl., Mpls.
3 In Ottessa Moshfegh's suspenseful debut novel "Eileen," the title character — a prudish, frumpy young woman who works in a prison — falls under the spell of a co-worker. And when the co-worker takes the law into her own hands, Eileen goes from friend to accomplice. "Eileen" is a long, slow burn, and readers will be gripped until the explosive finale.
4 In the touching, locally shot film "The Public Domain" (at St. Anthony Main this week), regulars at a quintessential northeast Minneapolis bar are still coping with the consequences of the I-35W bridge collapse. Director/writer Patrick Coyle doesn't try to squeeze much symbolic mileage out of the tragedy, favoring character over circumstance. Each subplot intersects with the next unexpectedly, and even minor characters get entertaining attention. His well-crafted small-budget indie touches on some painful, funny truths.
5 "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" is as rewarding as it is squirm-inducing for its honesty, audacity and artful portrayal of adolescence from a girl's point of view. Based on Phoebe Gloeckner's largely autobiographical graphic novel, "Diary" concerns Minnie (magnetic newcomer Bel Powley), who drinks, does drugs and, uh, sleeps with her mom's boyfriend in 1970s San Francisco. It's a coming-of-age experience seen through the eyes of an awkward, unsure teen. Minnie is on a journey that's spectacular on the surface but universally relatable. Uptown Theater