Chris Riemenschneider
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Perhaps Zoo Animal should be spending the summer on tour with Heartless Bastards instead of Peter Wolf Crier. The fast-rising, college-aged trio is led by wee-sized, big-voiced howler Holly Newsom, whose throaty, fretful but determined singing style merits comparison to Bastards leader Erika Wennerstrom, or to Chan (Cat Power) Marshall.

Newsom and bandmates Tim Abramson (bass) and Thom Burton (drums) belie their youth and band size on their eponymously titled full-length debut, which they're touting with a party Friday at 7th Street Entry with mentors Red Pens (9 p.m., $6). At 15 tracks, the disc drags on a bit, but some of its best songs are actually its lengthiest, particularly the climactic closer "Muddy, Bloody." It's easy to ignore the fact that the group has -- gasp! -- Christian overtones, but to do so would be missing out on some of the power of other standout songs such as "A Word" and "Bad Seed."

Random mix

In conjunction with its sprawling photo exhibit, St. Paul's University Avenue Project is hosting a Community Cabaret Saturday at the projection site of Wing Young Huie's images, 1433 W. University Av., with music by Kristoff Krane and Erik Brandt, spoken-word artist Tou Saiko Lee and more St. Paulites (6:30 p.m., free). More shows will be held there each first Saturday of the month through October. ...

The after-party for Rhymesayers' Soundset fest has moved back to First Avenue this year and will feature the first and probably last performance by the Radio do Canibal All-Stars, named after BK-One's great album with guests such as Slug, Murs and Brother Ali (10 p.m. Sun., $10-$15). ...

Owatonna digi-pop star Owl City's latest surprise move: He's going out on tour as John Mayer's opener for much of the summer. Here's hoping Mayer doesn't corrupt the wholesome young'un. ... Paul Westerberg reemerged last week at perhaps the least surprising of places: Target Field. He filmed a segment there for a documentary/travelogue film, "40 Nights of Rock & Roll," featuring different rockers in different cities. ...

The hippies are headed back to Harmony Park: Another Bella Vida festival lands this weekend, May 28-30, at the campout music venue in Geneva, Minn., with Keller Williams, EOTO, Great American Taxi, Roster McCabe and even Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger (info at www.bellamusicfest.com). Also, WookieFoot will stage another of its Project Earth charity fests there June 25-26 with Xavier Rudd, That1Guy, Pert Near Sandstone, Dead Man Winter and more (www.wookiefoot.com). ...

R.I.P., Bill Hinkley. The West Bank folk hero, a "Prairie Home" regular along with his wife, Judy Larson, died Tuesday in hospice care at age 67. Sounds like his many musical friends sent him off in style.

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER