Winter Guide: Iron & Wine Hop on Pop

Your fake name is good enough for him--Sam Beam chats about his new album

December 14, 15, 17, 18, and 29
“Best described,” sayeth Prince, “as what we’ve all been waiting for,” the Purple One’s five-night tri-state stand is set to feature guest appearances by a host of grown-and-sexy MFs including Cassandra Wilson, Maceo Parker, Mint Condition, Sheila E., Esperanza Spalding, Sinbad, and Janelle Monáe, the last of whom Prince singled out as his favorite new artist at an Apollo Theater press conference announcing these shows. Even without those pals, “Welcome 2 America” (as Prince is calling the run) would be a must-see—provided he’s not in one of his hotel-jazz moods. Which is totally possible. Madison Square Garden (December 14, 15 & 17), 4 Pennsylvania Plaza,; Izod Center (December 18 & 29), East Rutherford, New Jersey,

December 17 and 18
Weezer have had an exceptionally busy year even by the standards of the young indie bands they’ve influenced: In September, they released their first album for Epitaph, then followed it up last month with a two-disc reissue of 1996’s Pinkerton and an odds-and-ends round-up called Death to False Metal. (Rather improbably, the latter includes a tortured-grunge cover of Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart.”) Now Rivers Cuomo and company are rounding out 2010 with the Memories Tour, playing Pinkerton and Weezer’s self-titled debut (a/k/a the Blue Album) in their entirety over back-to-back shows. Anyone else hoping for “I’m Your Daddy” in the encore? With Free Energy. Roseland Ballroom, 239 West 52nd Street,

December 27
The American Idol winner turned r&b star turned Broadway belter ran into trouble earlier this year when she was hospitalized following a suicide attempt in North Carolina. (Check out her post-incident Behind the Music for a rare instance of pop-star straight talk.) Fantasia appears to be faring better these days—she’s got an album, August’s solid Back to Me, to promote—but there’s no doubt she’ll tap back into her pain tonight. Six years after Idol launched her to stardom, she remains a performer most comfortable on the dark side. With Eric Benét and Kandi. Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway,

The Dismemberment Plan
January 29 and 30
On January 11, Seattle’s Barsuk Records is set to release a vinyl-only reissue of Emergency & I, the 1999 breakthrough by Washington’s Dismemberment Plan, and to mark the occasion the group are reuniting for a brief run of shows on the East Coast and in Chicago. Never an easy outfit to describe during their original run, the Plan bend no more readily to classification nearly a decade after their killer swan song, Change. Steely Dan with Fugazi’s rhythm section? Paul Rudd fronting Talking Heads? How about the best brainy-sadsack band from the age before LCD Soundsystem? Webster Hall, 125 East 10th Street,

February 8
California’s Deerhoof will have taken a relatively epic two and a half years between studio discs by the time Deerhoof vs. Evil drops on January 25. (Between 2002 and 2008, the band released no fewer than six full-lengths, including the excellent Friend Opportunity, which drummer Greg Saunier has said was informed by Deerhoof’s travels as an opening act with Radiohead, Wilco, and the Roots.) Fortunately, Evil was worth the wait; no other indie act pivots as confidently between hard rock and soft pop. In “The Merry Barracks,” they even crib the fuzzy Morse-code guitar riff from “Spirit in the Sky.” Ridgewood Masonic Temple, 1054 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn

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