Throughout their 20-year career, Canada's Tragically Hip has managed to be both critically acclaimed and extremely popular with the masses.
The five-piece group of childhood friends from Kingston, Ontario has accomplished this remarkable feat by producing raw, uncompromising music and lyrics that fearlessly "document the indigenous" -- or so front-man Gord Downie refers to his explicitly Canada-centric lyrics.
Recently, however, the contemplative rockers have branched out into international territory. While songs such as "It Can't Be Nashville Every Night" and "Are We Family," from their 10th and newest album, "In Between Evolution," never refer directly to the war in Iraq, they certainly call into question our collective sense of fear and the things it drives us to do.
Rather than sounding preachy, however, these songs about the problems of a world at war manage to be both disturbing and beautiful at the same time -- successfully walking that fine line in true Tragically Hip style.
Friday, Oct. 15, 6:30 p.m. The Quest, 110 N. 5th St. $25 in advance, $27 at the door. 338-3383.
Cheaper than an airline ticket
Getting to see and hear bands from faraway places always makes the world feel so much smaller and friendlier to me. And when it's a line-up like this one -- Solex, On!Air!Library! and Worm Is Green -- it promises to be a night in Downtown Minneapolis unlike most others.
Amsterdam-based Solex is the brainchild of record-shop owner and songwriter Elisabeth Esslink, formerly a member of Dutch indie pop group Sonetic Vet. Esslink's music combines samples from old records from her store, spliced together to create fun, kitschy music that's impossible not to smile along with.
New York's On!Air!Library!'s music is also refreshing and interesting. Twin sisters Claudia and Alley Deheza create moody pop songs that are dreamy and soothing, yet creepy, turbulent and agonizing, all at the same time. They blend guitars, programming, keyboards and vocals in an unconventional, abstract manner.
Iceland's Worm Is Green is definitely the highlight of the night. Hailing from the city of Arkranes, female vocalist Gudridur Ringsted and a whole bunch of other people with long, unpronounceable-to-most-of-us names make up this hypnotic, dream-pop five-piece. Together, they mix sparse electronic beats and bright trip-hop for a stylish experimental sound.
Saturday, Oct. 16, 8 p.m. First Avenue's 7th Street Entry, 701 1st Ave. N. $8. 332-1775.
Here's your chance to see where music in the Twin Cities (and perhaps beyond) is going. For the first time in awhile, a fresh, new scene is emerging from the local music underground, and it's guaranteed to freak out stodgy audiophiles and damage the ears of willing fans.
Noise Quean Ant, Falcon Crest, Ova!, Diamonds and the rest of the bands performing this night are all about noise -- from loud, piercing wails of feedback to random and tandem guitar noodling to broken clips of talk radio pieced together to make "songs."
Be the first on your block to talk about the revolution! (Earplugs are available at the bar.)
Thursday, Oct. 14, 9 p.m., First Avenue's 7th Street Entry, 701 1st Ave. N. $6. 332-1775.
Holly Day can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.