Indie stalwarts Minmae come to Thee Parkside; Swedish trio E.S.T. updates altrock for the jazz set

It's hard to get a read on Minmae. Give I'd Be Scared, Were You Still Burning a couple of spins, and you may hear yet another band picking Pavement's corpse; but give it a few more, and you'll notice that ideas and hooks keep spilling out of the lo-fi production. The Portland trio's eight-year back catalog is a mishmash of ideas -- a little post-punk here, a droney CD-R there, and some four-track noise-pop to keep it catchy -- picked up or discarded by frontman Sean Brooks, who sings with the posture of a Lou Reed and who knows when a few seconds of guitar squall can say more than words. The worthy group headlines this Friday, Jan. 6, at Thee Parkside; call 503-0393 or visit www.theeparkside.com for more info. -- Chris Dahlen


After stringing together a handful of '70s smashes (Late for the Sky, The Pretender) that helped put Southern California's burgeoning folk-rock scene on the map, Jackson Browne spent much of the next two decades running on empty, offering political manifestoes masked as pop records to a largely indifferent public. Now, on the strength of his 2004 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a warmly received greatest-hits compilation, and a subsequent world tour that yielded the independently released Solo Acoustic, Vol. 1, Browne is back, this time to support the Bill Graham Foundation at the legendary promoter's 75th birthday bash. And while cynics could easily, and somewhat justifiably, dismiss this latest foray into the spotlight as yet another nostalgia trip, Browne continues to vigorously rework his catalog of classics, from early hits like "These Days" and "For Everyman" to the righteously indignant title track from 1996's Looking East. He will join the Dead's Mickey Hart, the Neville Brothers, and assorted special guests on Saturday, Jan. 7, to toast the late Mr. Graham at his beloved Fillmore; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com for more info. -- Rossiter Drake


The latest jazz-pop piano trios have a few things in common. Like the old masters, they leverage the pop music of their day (though as standards go, "Paranoid Android" ain't exactly "I Loves You Porgy"); they bring enough sparks to their flights of improvisation to disrupt the pleasing, cocktail-bar connotations of the format; and they're actually creating a demand for the technique-rich jazz players our music schools keep supplying. Here in the States we've got the Bad Plus and Brad Mehldau, among others, but Sweden's E.S.T. -- aka the Esbjörn Svensson Trio -- has a polished, less showy style that shines on its latest disc, Viaticum. Catch the group next Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 11-12, at Yoshi's in Oakland; call (510) 238-9200 or visit www.yoshis.com for more info.-- Chris Dahlen

 
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