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Tonight’s Concert Pick: Cloud Cult at World Cafe Live

They might look like a fun-loving group of carefree musicians, but the members of Cloud Cult are actually a pretty serious bunch. The Minneapolis, MN-based band crafts complex songs with enough string arrangements and sweeping choruses to earn more than a few comparisons to Arcade Fire. They release their albums via lead singer Craig Minowa’s environmentally conscious label Earthology (which operates out of a geothermal-powered building and exclusively uses recycled materials) and donate the proceeds to green charities. Meanwhile, during live performances, artist Connie Minowa (Craig’s wife) appears on stage to paint while the band plays. Cloud Cult has released eight studio albums since 1994; the band’s 2003 release, They Live On The Sun, dealt with the Minowas’ grief over the death of their two-year-old son Kaiden in 2002. All of which goes to say this is not indie-rock for a light-hearted, sunny afternoon; it’s better suited to the kind of day where it rains without stopping. Cloud Cult may be bleak at times, but the emotional heft and buried details make them more than worth the melancholy they invite. Cloud Cult performs with The Wilderness Of Manitoba at 8 p.m. at World Cafe Live; tickets to the all-ages show are $13. —Kiley Bense