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October 17, 2005 // UPDATED 1:58 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Michael Metzger
Michael Metzger

Spirogira

As everyone knows, some algae, such as spirogira, are haplobiontic meaning, of course, that they have both gametophyte and sporophyte. Naturally, we can’t really say for sure that one is dominant over the other. Duh.

What fewer people know is that the mellow jazz-rock fusion band Spyro Gyra was named when, way back in 1974 or thereabouts, a club owner asked saxophonist Jay Beckenstein what the name of his group was — the altoist told him “spirogira.” The owner, being somewhat bereft of knowledge of biology (unlike you and I), misspelled the word, and the band had its name forever and ever.

Thirty-one years later, the group has survived decades of critics’ barbs and 20-something album releases resulting in sales rapidly approaching a gajillion or more.

They’ll be playing their “Morning Dance” hit (from the 1979 album of the same name) and a whole passel of lightweight, easy listening jazz fused with soft Caribbean rhythms and delicate touches of R&B and pop.

• M Oct. 17, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Mall. $40 at 7 p.m.; $25 at 9 p.m. 332-1010, www.dakotacooks.com.

Chanteuse and comic

If you have a really, really expensive cable or satellite TV package, you might recognize Juana Molina as the star of her own Argentinean sitcom. If you have just regular ol’ TV, you’re likely wondering who Molina is.

The former comic star of “Juana and Her Sisters” released her first album, “Rara,” in 1996. Imagine if Roseanne Barr’s celebrated version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” had actually sounded good. And imagine if she hadn’t grabbed her crotch and spit afterwards, to the horror of millions. That would be nothing like what Molina does.

The comic actor turns off the laugh track when it comes to her darkly intimate folk-cum-Stereolab contemplations. She’s got some of those Bjrk atmospherics going on, though her luminous, eerie music is more recognizably structured than the Icelandic goddess’ most recent bliss-ululations.

As opposed to the long knives drawn out for Spyro Gyra, Molina gets the hot, rapid breath of heavily salivating critics:

“...Molina’s delicate ballads recall the ambient music of Euromasters Brian Eno and Robert Fripp or even American modernist John Cage.” (Chicago Sun Times)

“...Molina created her own minielectro-folk symphonies. Swaths of gauzy ambient noise draped her nimble finger-picking and breathy, humid vocals throughout the set.” (Boston Herald)

Sam Prekop (of Chicago’s indie pop gods, Sea and Cake) performs a set before Molina, as does Sea and Cake guitarist Archer Prewitt.

• Sa Oct. 22, 8 p.m. Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave. S. $15. 375-7600, www.walkerart.org.

The latest smut

Vancouver’s indie power pop favorites, The New Pornographers, are in town touring behind the bright, gleaming, tuneful ‘n’ tight CD, “Twin Cinema” on Matador Records.

Enjoy singer Neko Case’s smoky vocals before the music biz wakes up and crowns her the star of the moment.

Destroyer and Immaculate Machine open the show.

• Sa Oct. 22, 6 p.m. First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N. $15. 332-1775, www.first-avenue.com.

Michael Metzger can be reached at mmetzger@mnpubs.com.