Tonight: Mini Mansions at the Comet, Dwele at the Triple Door, Portland Cello Project at Neumos

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Mini Mansions, with Ships, Paris Spleen, Mars Accelerator. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 8 p.m. $7. Mini Mansions is the side project of Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman, and as far as offshoots go, it ranks up there with Jack White's The Dead Weather. The band is a three-piece in which Shuman handles the drums, guitar, and vocals; the result sounds like if Elliott Smith had fronted a psychedelic pop band - kind of gothy, but also smoothly melodic. Mini Mansions just released a 7" single called "Monk" - an absolutely irresistible song with a dark, bluesy melody and sleek, finessed vocals carried along by a bouncing bassline. The single also contains a re-envisioning of "Heart of Glass" - the original's jittery, high-strung elements are replaced by a slowed-down tempo and steady kick-drum that transform it into a surprisingly emotive and soulful track. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Dwele. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7 (all ages), 9:30 (21+) p.m. $30. Many musicians profess their art as an emotional release, but very few claim witnessing the fatal shooting of their father as the cause. Dwele does, and while he may best known for his guest appearances--especially with Chicago emcees Kanye West and Common, most recently on the former's single "Power"-- the Detroit nu-soul vocalist has released four studio albums of his own. Featuring the likes of Slum Village, last month's W.ants W.orld W.omen is at times gritty and sensual, confident and insecure, and always powerful. Drawing on influences from Stevie Wonder to A Tribe Called Quest, his music reflects the essences of soul tradition updated to sport a sharp hip-hop edge. NICK FELDMAN

Portland Cello Project, with Shenandoah Davis, Mighty Tiger. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $8. Of all the musicians the Portland Cello Project has collaborated with--Horse Feathers, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, the Dandy Warhols--there's no smarter choice than Shenandoah Davis. Davis is a classically trained opera singer and pianist; the Cello Project is a collective of ultra-skilled cellists that perform everything from Bach to Britney Spears. Davis's ragtime-influenced songs and warbling voice are carefully arranged and near-perfectly layered. A dozen cellists backing her up with their charming arrangements couldn't be a better complement. This is a show where the cellos and musicians seamlessly blend together into one musical unit - the kind of show the Cello Project was designed to play. PAIGE RICHMOND

 
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