Thursday, July 31, 2008

CSS/Go Team/Matt and Kim

Wednesday night is not a night you would normally associate with drunken dancing in Minneapolis, but then most nights don't have line-ups like the one at First Ave this last Wednesday. With CSS and The Go! Team headlining a all out dance rock bill, this night was definitely fun, but it left me wanting something that I was not getting from these bands.
I got there right as Matt and Kim were getting on stage, which is a good thing, since they didn't play very long. The poppy duo tried their best, but Matt was having electrical problems with his keyboard from the first note. This was really too bad because they have a great stripped down sound that is very infectious and they were not holding back at all with their live show. They eventually had to succumb to their equipment malfunctions after 4 songs, which was very disappointing. They sounded really good and I would love to see them again.

Next up was the Go! Team. Go! Team are a really great dance rock/pop band that would force even the most crotchety among us to smile and bust out our favorite dance moves. They came into their own with their last CD, Thunder, Lighting, Strike, with their amazing blend of indie, dance and hip hop. Their newest CD, Proof of Youth, is not as instantly gratifying, but it still is a very fun CD. Their songs were that perfect mix of indie dance and indie rock, not unlike Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem. After seeing both of the previously mentioned bands in the last year and being blown away by both their musical prowess and ability to get even me moving my ass, I was very excited to see The Go! Team. This made it even more disappointing when they were a let down. The six piece band did not lack for energy, but I felt like the samples that they relied on (especially the funky horns and piercing keyboard stabs that are the glue that holds their songs together) made the performance feel canned and artificial. It felt more like a hip hop show that is tightly regulated in order to keep with the recorded samples that dictate the show than the great dance rock shows I had seen recently that had the freedom to explore songs and stretch them out. The show was still fun, and they had the crowd dancing, especially whenever uber fun frontwoman Ninja coaxed the crowd to sing along or did her crazy dance routines. Maybe I had set my standards too high, but I just felt a little disconnected from their performance. I am not sure what I would change if I could. I would not want them to reduce their studio wizardry, since their records are air tight and sound so great, but what they create is obviously more than the band is prepared to present live, so it seems like a "Damned if you do, dammed if you don't type situation."

CSS was up next and they offered up a similar situation. Their show was fun, but did not feel like it made the connection with the audience. They played on a larger portion of their songs than Go!Team, so it wasn't that, but they just did not have the electricity that I had heard they provided in a live setting. It may have been the more subdued nature of their latest release, Donkey, or the fact that the crowd for the Wednesday show had thinned out after Go! Team, but the band offered very few sparks, even on the catchy and fun tracks from their more danceable debut album.

The show was one of those concerts where at a minimum you were going to get a "fun" show, but this show did not prove to be much more. Both headlining bands seemed ill suited to be presenting their songs live and made me pine to hear their excellent albums in all of their glory. Both of these bands have been central components to many a late night drunken dance parties around my neck of the woods, so at least I will always have that to remember them by, even if their live shows are not something I would see again.

Batman Begins/The Dark Knight

Being a self admitted comic book/comic movie neophyte, I had skipped Batman Begins, simply because, well, I skip all comic book/action movies. After the deafening roar of critical praise for the Dark Knight finally pulled me in, I decided I should see Batman Begins first. Not as easy as it sounds. Apparently I was not the only person in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area looking for this movie, because every single movie store within 20 miles of my place had their copies checked out. Once I finally got a copy, I was not let down. The movie was dark and well thought out, yet it still was very entertaining and attention grabbing. My interest for the Dark Knight had been piqued.

With all of the media chatter, it was hard to determine fact from hyperbole about the true greatness of the Dark Knight. You would have to have lived under a rock for the last 3 months to have not heard about Health Ledgers masterful turn as the Joker, and he honestly lives up to the hype. His character is one of the most fascinating and engaging characters I have seen in a long time. He is magnetic when he is on the screen, and when the focus of the movie shifts towards other characters, your primal desire is to want him to come into the scene. The movie was even darker and more intense than Batman Begins, and leaves the viewer with very little time to breath. It plays out at a fairly long 2.5 hours, but it keeps you on your seat for the whole time. I agree with some of the reviews I have read that this movie is the ultimate summer/action/blockbuster movie and it will be hard to top it as far as that genre goes. It is a lethal combination of action, suspense and exciting visuals that allow these types of movies to be great.

I would suggest this movie to virtually anyone (except small children I suppose, which is weird since it is Batman) and think that it would be even more exceptional on the Imax, which might force me to do the unthinkable and see a movie in the theatres for a second time (I rarely see movies in the theatre even one time).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yeasayer/War on Drugs/The Current

Yeasayer is playing a free "show" tonight at Urban Outfitters in Uptown(print out your ticket HERE). Expect long lines of burgeoning under age hipsters (and older hipsters too) for his band that has been played into the ground by 89.3 the Current. Seriously, we get it, they are playing a benefit show for you, but c'mon. I listen to the radio maybe 30 minutes a week when I forget to bring CD's for my drive to work, and honestly, the last 10 times I have turned on the Current I have heard a song by them. I do really like them and enjoyed them live and would not mind seeing them again, but the whole over saturation thing has really put a sour taste in my mouth.

Along those same lines comes my review of the band The War on Drugs. I got their CD, Wagonwheel Blues, and have really enjoyed their rusty indie folk sound. I think they crafted a cool album that sounds like an updated version of Dylan playing with the Band (a la Before the Flood), but again, in my mind they have been turned into the indie version of Lil' John, with me being inundated with their songs. Like Yeasayer, it is not a bad thing to hear their well crafted songs many times, but not when it feels forced and contrived. As far as the band goes, check them out if you are interested in a folk-rock take on the indie paradigm.
The common thread of these two posts has been my recent chagrin to the fact that the Current is consolidating their playlist. To be fair, they are still an awesome station that does a great job of mixing eclectic tastes, but they seem
to be going in the wrong direction. I understand they will never have the freedom bestowed to truly independent stations like Radio K, they still came out with a band a couple years ago. It was so cool to hear TV on the Radio followed up by Stevie Wonder and then Brother Ali and on and on. After spending time interning in the radio business, I understand the ugly underbelly that flares up when advertisers want the familiarity that comes with smaller playlists, I guess I just got spoiled by the initial scope of the Currents playlist and now am disappointed to hear even the slightest repetition. In true fairness, The Current is still heads and shoulders above other radio stations in this market and I do enjoy listening a majority of the time, but like many things in my life, I initially put them on such a pedestal that it would be nearly impossible for them to stay at that level (if they were ever even there in the first place). If you are in the Twin Cities area, listen to the Current at 89.3 FM, or stream the Current for free HERE.

TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio, who are dropping their highly anticipated new album Dear Science in September, will be returning to Minneapolis. Like last time they were here, they will be playing the First Avnue mainroom on back to back nights. They will play on Oct 20/21st and have great scuzz/garage rockers The Dirtbombs opening for them. They put on an amazing show and they are giving you two chances to see them, so do not miss out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Two new shows @ 1st Ave

The week of October 13th is going to be an unproductive work week for hipsters in Minneapolis. Broken Social Scene are playing with Land of Talk Monday night with Deerhoof playing Tuesday night. Both shows are at the First Avenue Mainroom.

Doomtree In Store

Everyones favorite Minnesota rap collective Doomtree will be celebrating the release of their excellent self titled debut CD tonight at Fifth Element. Get their early, as the all ages extravaganza will get started at 5pm.

They will follow this up with a big kids celebration at First Ave this Friday, August 1st, where they unfortunately will be charging people money to see them (greedy, I know). Check them out at their Myspace page HERE.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Crescent Moon is in Big trouble

After seeing the NE Folk Festival in the afternoon, I did a musical genre 180 and saw some local indie rap Saturday night at the Triple Rock. The band I was most excited to see was a group called Crescent Moon is in Big Trouble. The group, comprised of rapper Crescent Moon (aka Alexi Moon from Roma Di Luna and Kill the Vultures), with the musical accompaniment of Big Trouble. Big Trouble is the guys from Heirospecs who moonlight as a funk/rock/rap instrumental group. The band put out a self titled EP earlier this year, which is one of my favorite hip hop releases of the year. My friends and I got a late start (and they played first, when I was under the impression they would be headliners, which was a huge bummer), so I didn't get to see the whole set, but what I did see was great. They don't play many shows, but if you get the chance to see them, I highly recommend it.

The other two bands to play were Mel Gibson and the Pants and City on the Make. MG&TP were very underwhelming to me and seemed to pale in comparison to CMIIBT. I got their latest CD, Sea Vs Shining Sea, after reading some good reviews and have never warmed up to it. City on the Make leaned more rock than the other two bands and were pretty entertaining to see, but it may also have been the amount of alcohol in me at that point. They have a new EP out titled $1,000,000.

Northeast Folk Festival

Saturday afternoon was a beautiful day, so I decided to be a good earth citizen and hop on my bike and head over to Grumpy's for their annual Northeast Folk Festival. I only stayed for an hour or so, but I got to see two really great bands. The first of the two bands was the always enjoyable Charlie Parr. Although the crowd was a little bit loud, I was able to move to the front to watch him manically pick away at his banjo and resonator. His folk songs were both dark and haunting and he seems to epitomize what it is to be a folk singer (it doesn't heart to look like he fell out of a time machine from the Grapes of Wrath).

Next up was the Bitter Spills, a band I was very excited to see. The band, consisting of Ol Yeller frontman Rich Mattson and Baby Grant Johnson, played earnest folk music the blended their voices to create a great sound. With Ol' Yeller calling it quits, maybe this will be Mattsons main focus, which is a promising idea.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Li Wei

I have no pretense as a photography expert, but this stuff was too cool not to post about. I don't know anything about this guy, but I think he may be famous for non-photography neophytes. He says none of pictures are doctored, which is amazing(if it is true). He says he uses acrobatics, wires, mirrors, etc. Check more out here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Old Kentucky Blog

Who would have thought? Maybe Ben Folds and I are two peas from the same pod and we could be best friends for all of eternity. Among the multitudes of things we probably have in common, first and foremost will be our affinity for the Indianapolis based blog My Old Kentucky Blog. This is not just free advertising for MOKB or my opportunity to make a joke about Ben Folds (which failed, I know), but I wanted to point you all to a series starting on this particular website that is near and dear to my cynical heart.....assholes ruining concerts for me. I thought I was the only one who has come near to committing a Le crime de Passion at a concert, but alas, I have prestigious company! The proprietor of MOKB is starting a series about concert etiquette that, if it turns out as good as I hope, should be a prerequisite to attending any show that I will be attending(especially since I just recently toured a prison and came to the concrete conclusion that I would last less than an hour inside, so I can't be tempted to take vigilante action at a concert.) You can check out the first "commandment" here. I will be anxiously awaiting the rest.

Get off yr ass for these weekend shows

Some great local music this weekend if you are looking to go out (and why wouldn't you be?)

Themes/Lookbook- 331 Club FREE 9PM
Two great newer indie bands who are sure to put on a great show at the always cool (and always free) 331 club.

Roma Di Luna- Lee's 9PM/The Pines-Nomad 9PM
Two of the better folk groups from the MPLS scene will play shows at two cool small venues.

Earlimart- Triple Rock Social Club $10 9PM
Indie pop band Earlimart just released their newest CD, Hymm and Her, and will be stopping in the Twin Cities at the Triple Rock. Openers are local up and comers Western Fifth & The Wars of 1812.

Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles- Bedlam Theatre 7PM (all ages) $10
Quirky local popsters LMVL will celebrate their new CD, Orange Peels and Rattlesnakes, with a show at the Bedlam Theatre.

NE Folk Festival- Grumpys NE Starts @noon FREE
A free event at a great local bar that starts at noon and goes all night.

Now Now Every Children/One for the Team- 7th Street Entry 5pm (all ages) $7
Two local pop bands representing the Afternoon Records label will play this early show (probably so the youngsters in NNEC's can have their friends see them.).

Another solid local bill that should be very fun from top to bottom if you are in the unfortunate situation of being in St. Paul (just kidding St. Paul, we love you)
Ol' Yeller/Kruddler- Uptown Bar 9PM $5
Ol Yeller will play their swan song at the Uptown bar. The great local alt-country band will go out in style with local pop jokesters Kruddler. Should be a great show.

The Evening Rig-331 Club Free 9PM
Local Alt-country rabble rousers will play another free show at the 331 Club. Don't miss it!

Crescent Moon is in Big Trouble- Triple Rock Social Club 9PM $5
A show I have been looking forward to since I picked up their excellent EP, this local hip hop "supergroup" will be sharing this bill with two great local bands. Mel Gibson and the Pants are also rock leaning rappers, while newcomers City on the Make bring rough edged indie rock/rap. Highly recommended.

Muja Messiah CD Release Show- 1st Ave 9pm $10
Up and coming rapper Muja Messiah will be joined by a who's who of local rap scensters for his record release show celebrating his new cd, Thee Adventures of a B-Boy D-Boy.

Some Movies

I recently got Netflix as a gift (thanks Nikki and Chris!) and have started out with some pretty good movies. I am not a movie aficionado by any stretch of the imagination, but that may be because I really hate lame/contrived commercialized movies that strive to waste 2 hours of my life. Unfortunately I am generally too lazy to search out new good movies which could change my perceptions (damn you music and politics, you monopolize my time). I had heard about these two movies, 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days and The Savages, and thought they sounded like something I may like. It turned out to be true. Both were very entertaining and poignant in bringing to light some very serious issues.
4 months... is a story about two girls struggling to get an illegal abortion in tail end of the Communist regime in Romania during the late eighties. The movie is dark (as would be expected with the story) and the camera work is amazing. In moments of solitude or isolation, the camera will stay fixed in a spot and leaves you begging for a chance to escape. During the more frantic moments the camera flails around and causes the viewer to frantically want more control, a feeling that is shared by the characters on the screen. The movie has many painful moments, but is overall a stirring statement on many issues (repressive regimes, the ability to get a safe abortion, friendship) that leave the viewer shaken and with many personal questions to answer when the credits roll.
The Savages is less of a direct shock piece like 4 months... and more of an easy viewing experience, but there is just as strong of message in the arc of the movie, albeit more subtly presented. The preview I saw presented it as a drama-comedy of sorts, but it ended up being much closer to the indie-drama genre in the end. The story centers around two siblings who have drifted apart and are living their lives in different unhappy ways when they get a call about their estranged father. He is suffering from dementia and needs help from the two children he treated horribly during their childhood. The story is both crushingly sad yet tinged with hope. While not a direct jab at your senses like 4 months, The Savages shines a bright light on how we in America treat our elderly. The story shows the emotional toil and guilt that is left on families when they have few choices but to put their loved ones in nursing homes. Like 4 months, the ending left you with a somber feeling for both the characters and for the fact that it portrayed death in a very realistically sad and lonely way.

FUCK YOU pitchfork

These pompous assholes gave Dr. Dog's new (very good) CD Fate a 5.5 and the new Dresden Dolls CD a 7.1. Fuck off.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Two Weeks

Here is the audio from Grizzly Bear on Conan last night. Not quite the video before breakfast like I predicted, but still something for those of us who aren't TV watchers. For those of you who want some visuals, you'll just have to wait.

Grizzly Bear- Two Weeks (from Gorilla Vs Bear)

Apples in Stereo w/ Poison Control Center @ Turf Club

One night after seeing the sonic assault that was Jay Reatard, I was in St. Paul at the wonderful Turf Club to see a show that highlighted the opposite end of the pop music spectrum.

The Apples in Stereo are as bright and sunny as any pop purveyors out there. They sprang from the Elephant 6 collective that also brought us the Circulatory System, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal and the Oliva Tremor Control. Like most of those bands, they seem hell bent on showering the world with 60's influenced psychedelic pop music. Unlike most of the bands (sans Of Montreal, who have done quiet well for themselves) they are still hitting the pavement for nationwide tours. I was not sure if I should feel a innate sense of luck or a deep sense of pity for the fact that I saw the Apples in Stereo at a three quarters filled Turf Club. The band was very solid and seemed like they were having a good time onstage, but I couldn't help but feeling like I was watching a really good band on its downward trajectory(not in terms of talent but in popularity). They mixed in older songs with songs from their newest record, New Magnetic Wonder, an album which continued them on their winning ways of crafting insanely catchy and well crafted albums.

Openers Poison Control Center, on the other hand, seemed like they were heading in the opposite direction. I have seen the Ames, Iowa based band a couple times, but this was the best show of the bunch. It may have helped finally playing for a crowd that was receptive or the fact that they were part of a tour with Apples In Stereo, but whatever it was they were firing on all cylinders. They played new songs plus many songs from their excellent debut album A Collage of Impressions. The band spends a good portion of the show flailing around and rolling on the floors/doing the splits. They are great entertainers (with a perfect mix of in your face antics that may have been too much for some of the unsuspecting people in the front) that helps elevate their Pavement sounding alt rock songs to the next level. Check out of (quasi) local band if you ever get the chance and support them by buying their record out on local record label Afternoon Records.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear announced that they will be gracing our ears (and eyes) with a new song tonight on the David Letterman show. The new song, titled "Two Weeks", comes as they are taking a short break from recording their sophomore album in upstate New York. If it is anything like the last song they debuted on a talk show/radio program (the unbelievably beautiful While you wait for others), then we are in for a treat. If you miss it, I have a sneaking sense someone might post it on the old interwebs before you get your first cup of coffee tomorrow morning.

Immortal Technique

I wasn't able to catch Immortal Technique at 1st Ave Monday, but as luck would have it I had Tuesday off and he was doing a free In-Store at Fifth Element. A couple things of note.

1.Technique may be my favorite rapper right now. I am sure it is because his rap is so heavily influenced by political rhymes, which is right up my alley, but he also has great beats and a very smooth flow.
2.He brings a mean looking posse. At least half of his group could have picked me up by the neck with one hand.
3.I can never get over the fact that a rapper who speaks so strongly against white based power draws a predominantly white crowd. I wonder if that ever disappoints him? I suppose fans are fans and people are supporting him, but still.
4.I love free shit. Even though he only played 3 songs I felt satisfied. I actually enjoyed seeing a shorter rap show. Sometimes I lose focus when it is one person strutting around stage, so 15 minutes didn't seem that bad to me. I can't say the same for the guys behind me who came in as his last song was fading out and were bummed because they took to long smoking the joint. Gotta have priorities, fellas.

Check out his new CD, The Third World, in stores now.

Jay Reatard @ Triple Rock

Jay Reatard is a three piece band (two guitars and drums) that hail from Memphis, Tennessee. I would describe them as a punk/garage rock/new wave hybrid. Their latest CD, Singles '06-'07, has been in heavy rotation for me, so I was very excited to see them at the Triple Rock Monday night. His music is highly melodic and catchy, but still aggressive and earnest. His songs constantly straddle the border of pop music, but he always adds in an element to challenge the listeners.

Unfortunately, performing live he seemed hell bent on stripping away an pretense of pop music. The band walked on stage and hit with a full sonic assault of the song "Blood Visions" from their debut album of the same title. The band never let up and played full throttle for the next 40 minutes before leaving the stage without ever uttering so much as a hello between songs other than a quick scream announcing the song titles. While it was very impressive to see the mayhem on stage (especially long haired lead singer Jay Lindsey fighting unsuccessfully to keep his long hair from covering his face), I was still disappointed to not hear the more versatile artist that he is on record. While I am sure his show was perfect for many of the crowd (who would probably have choice words for me wanting him to be less punk/aggressive), I just think that he has an amazing knack for writing air-tight songs (not so different from local boys Husker Du, but then again, they never really slowed down much, huh?) that would benefit from him slowing down and screaming a little less. Someone said to me as I was leaving that they were surprised at the large crowd since what he was doing is being done by so many bands, which brought the point home even more that I wished he had shown how he is different than other "punk" bands out there.

Overall, the show was still very good, it just left me wanting something more. I would still highly recommend his new CD, Singles '06-'07 to anyone looking for some melodic and massively energetic music. If you put it in on your way to work, I can guarantee it will catch you attention.

Jay Reatard- I Know A Place (MP3 from Sailor Jerry website)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dr. Dog Fate

I have talked about Dr. Dog and their new album a couple times before and now you have a chance to see if my praise was warranted or simply my whiskey soaked hyperbole. Fate is sitting pretty close, if not at top, of my current list of favorite records of the year. I recommend it as high as I can possibly recommend something. What are you waiting for? Go to a local record shop and pick up this album!

Dr. Dog Myspace

New Shows

Two more great indie electronic bands just announced shows for later this fall.

11/22-M83- Triple Rock Social Club
M83 returns only a couple months after his very well received show at the Triple Rock this spring. He is on the second leg of a pretty massive tour to support his rousing new CD Saturdays = Youth.

9/19-Ratatat- First Avenue 9PM
Ratatat will be showing off the smoother sounds of their newest disc LP3. Hopefully their layered instrumentals don't lose their magic in the bigger room.

Cut Copy

Cut Copy will be returning to Minneapolis with labelmates The Presets. Although I am not the biggest fan of the Fine Line, Cut Copy were great the last time I saw them at the Entry and there CD, In Ghost Colours, has only grown more on me since then. If you like indie electro-rock/dance music, this is a show that you should not miss.

9-16-2008 Cut Copy/The Presets- Fine Line Music Cafe 9Pm $17

Tuesday Shows

Some more good shows to keep the front end of your week very merry.

Hold Steady- First Avenue 9PM SOLD OUT
If you don't already have tickets to see America's (and formerly MPLS) best bar band, you are out of luck. The seminal band will release their fourth studio album, Stay Positive, today and will be celebrating in style at the venerable Minneapolis club. After their last couple of shows in theatres (which still rocked, I must say), it is good for them to be back in a more comfortable venue. I, unfortunately, was an idiot and paused for a couple days at the $25 price and now am paying for it by missing one of my favorite bands. For all of you who were smart (and prudent ticket buyers), enjoy...I can say that they are one of the best live bands around.

Apples in Stereo/Poison Control Center- Turf Club 9PM $12
For all of us who were dumb asses and missed out on Hold Steady tickets, there at least is a great consolation prize in the form of this quirky double bill. WHG favorites Poison Control Center are always very entertaining live as they play their Pavement influenced songs from their excellent debut album A Collage of Impressions. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you should get to the Turf Club in time to see this great (semi) local band. Apples in Stereo are one of the last of the sunny/psychedelic bands that was the legendary Elephant 6 record label. It is hard to not enjoy their 60's influenced Beatles esqe tunes and they should be great live.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bon Iver Daytrotter

Bon Iver was seemingly custom made for the Daytrotter website, so it comes as no surprise that he finally has an edition and it is great. Check it out HERE.

Bon Iver will be back in the Twin Cities on August 15th at the First Avenue Mainroom. If history is any indication, get tickets early as Bon Iver tickets are hot commodities around these parts.

Monday Shows

Some great shows tonight if you are in the Twin Cities area.

No Age- Triple Rock Social Club 5PM $8
Electro popsters will layer some of their noisy rock to the early crowd at this all ages half of the double bill at the Triple Rock.

Jay Reatard- Triple Rock Social Club 10PM $10
In a twist from the first half, Jay Reatard will attempt to melt faces with his fairly straight forward garage/punk/new-wave show.

Immortal Technique- First Avenue 9PM $12
One of the best political rappers alive (in my opinion) will bring his 3rd World tour to MPLS. Also check him out Tuesday for free at Fifth Element at 2PM.

Titus Andronicus- 7th Street Entry 9PM $8
If indie/political rap is not your bag, you can go next door and see some good old fashined indie rock from newcomers Titus Andronicus.

M.anifest/The Senetor was Indescreet 7PM FREE
Another free show at the Walker Art Center's Sculpture Garden as part of the Movies in the Garden series. M.anifest will bring his world influienced rap before the movie screening at dusk.

TV on the Radio

VERY Exciting news from Pitchfork today.
Over two years since their astonishing 2006 album Return
to Cookie Mountain
, New York avant garde standard-bearers TV on the Radio have announced the title and release date for their third album. Dear Science, is due September 23 on Interscope and yes, the comma is indeed part of the title.
Return to Cookie Mountain was one of my favorite records of 2006, so I have
high expectations for this one.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Local New Releases

Seeing First Communion Afterparty and Roma Di Luna this week helped renew my belief in the strength and diversity of the ever expanding local music scene. First Communion Afterparty played a great record release show at the Entry with psychedelic noise rockers Flavor Crystals and fuzz popsters (and WHG favorites) Gospel Gossip. Roma Di Luna played a free show at the Mill City Museum. Unfortunately, inclement weather forced the show inside, which took away from the great scenery by the river and made the large (and talkative) crowd seem bigger and more annoying than it usually is outside, which could still not damper the great music on the stage.

First Communion Afterparty bring their Brain Jonestown Massacre meets Spaceman 3 spaced out neo-garage rock to their debut album Sorry for all those Mondays and to those who cannot sing. After a couple of years on the scene (and more than a couple lineup changes), the band comes strong with this confident record of swirling soulful songs. Led as ever by rich voiced lead singer Mama Carin and Anton Newcome loving ringleader Liam Watkins, the group can't promise you will see the same members on stage twice, but you can be promised a great show that has finally been captured on record. Check them out at their Myspace page HERE.
Roma Di Luna are husband and wife duo Channy Moon Casselle and Alexi Moon Casselle. They had released two previous records of sparse folk that would not have sounded out of place on a depression era compilation. Up until this point, the band consisted of Channy of lead vocals and violin and Alexi on guitar and vocals. You may also know Alexi from his other gigs as rapper Crescent Moon from Kill the Vulutres and other great hip hop groups. Their newest CD, Casting the Bones, is a full band affair that fills in the spaces with banjos and electric guitars. Despite the new arrangements, the songs are still lead by Channy Moon's Joanna Newsome esqe bright falsetto. The CD is filled with down home folk songs that are both soothing and moving. Check out the band at their Myspace page HERE.

Both bands have shows coming up and CD's for sale. SUPPORT LOCAL BANDS AND RECORD STORES!

Fleet Foxes @ the Entry

If you don't have a ticket to Fleet Foxes at the Entry tonight, you are like me and out of luck(damn you procrastination). If you do have a ticket, consider yourself lucky. When I saw them last time, they blew me away. Their neo-folk was both beautiful and rousing, leading to one of my favorite shows of the year. I also just talked to a friend at Pitchfork who said they were great there too this weekend. If you haven't checked out their warm folk gems, pick up their debut CD Fleet Foxes at a local record shop, you will not be disappointed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

First Communion Afterparty CD Release

A couple of my favorite local bands will be joining together this weekend for a great show at the 7th Street Entry. First Communion Afterparty are finally releasing their debut full length CD (just now?! it seems like they have been on the scene for 10 years) and they will be playing to support it along with Flavor Crystals and Gospel Gossip Saturday night. Their droning psychedelic garage rock (think the Brian Jonetown Massacre even more influenced by My Bloody Valentine) always sounds good coming from their small army of ever changing band members, and they have brought along some of their most talented friends from the local scene. For only $6 on a Saturday night, you are not going to find a better deal in town.
In other news, Gospel Gossip will be embarking on a national tour in August. The first show is a send off at the Triple Rock on August 1st. Don't your chance to see this rising local band before they make it big and forget about us here in flyover country.

Gospel Gossip - 2008 Tour Dates:
08.01 - Triple Rock Social Club - Minneapolis, MN
08.02 - The Project Lodge - Madison, WI
08.03 - The Borg Ward - Milwaukee, WI
08.06 - Now That’s Class - Cleveland, OH
08.07 - Dayton Dirt Collective - Dayton, OH
08.08 - New American Music Union - Pittsburgh, PA
08.09 - New American Music Union - Pittsburgh, PA
08.10 - Cake Shop - New York City, NY
08.12 - Velvet Lounge - Washington, DC
08.14 - The Gypsy Hut - Cincinnati, OH
08.15 - Athens Popfest - Athens, GA
8.16 - The Drunken Unicorn - Atlanta, GA
08.18 - Kerry Irish Pub - New Orleans, LA
08.19 - Notsuoh - Houston, TX
08.20 - Heathunters - Austin, TX
08.21 - Zeppelin’s Underground - El Paso, TX
08.22 - The Red Room - Tucson, AZ
08.24 - Beauty Bar - San Diego, CA
08.29 - The Tonic Lounge - Portland, OR
08.30 - Le Voyeur - Olympia, WA
09.02 - The Badlander - Missoula, MT

Wolf Parade 1st Ave 7/9

You cannot really complain when you see two awesome shows on back to back nights. Less than 24 hours after leaving the Triple Rock shaking my head at the amazing Dodo's show, I was back in action waiting for my first chance to see Wolf Parade. I am not sure how I have always missed them, but I had deftly been able to have commitments or be out of town every time they have graced our fair city. Not this time.I have gotten to the point where I feel like I am getting too old to be down in front for these 18+ shows, but I made a point to get a good spot for Wolf Parade. They are one of my favorite bands of the last couple years, and I was not going to listen to them while staring at the back of a hipster haircut. The show did not disappoint. Their were many reasons to like the show, but I always enjoyed prototypical "rock and roll" bands. I want at least one guy onstage to be more drunk than me and to have the stereotypical rock and roll aesthetic. Wolf Parade offered me those things in the form of Dan Boeckner to be the accompnying visual to their great indie rock songs which resulted in an amazing show.

Dan Boeckner was everything I hoped for and more. He strutted out in all black (with a dirty unkempt beard) and played rock and roll with no pretensions and reckless abandon. He seemed totally invested in playing his music and he went all out accordingly. The veins in his neck were wrestling out when he sang and he wildly marched around slashing his guitar when co-frontman Spencer Krug sang his songs. He had that magnetic aura that takes a run of the mill band member and morphs them into a rock and roll STAR. He overshadowed his other band members (all of which are talented and on any other night would have had my undivided attentions) and commanded the audience from his perch on the stage. There was an especially strong contradiction with Dan and Spencer. While Dan was the manic guitar player barley standing after each song, Spencer was the calm keyboard player who politely told the crowd we were "sweet" for cheering. He also looked like he could fit the appearance criteria to be a member of Vampire Weekend. As I have said before, I think Dan's singing/songwriting/guitar playing are top notch, and now I can add in first class performer. He may have been a little out of it by the end (he fell on his ass after he tripped over the drum riser), but his energy was contagious for the sold out crowd. This makes me even more excited for the Handsome Furs show in August. (/rant about coolness of Dan Boeckner)

Maybe it was just the 18 year old drunk kids I was surrounded by, but from where I was standing the crowd was rapturous and was eating out of the bands hands. The new material sounded great live, although they definitely played second fiddle next to the towering songs from their debut CD Apologies from the Queen Mary. Whenever a old song began, the crowd would go nuts. I think it is a similar situation to the Arcade Fire and their constant battle with dealing with the albatross of Funeral. While having a groundbreaking and nearly universally loved album is not a bad thing, it may cause stress in the long term as people will never let you forget (or give you a fair chance to top) your seminal debut album.
The only song that stood above the older material was the main set closer "Kissing the Beehive." The first song co-written by Boeckner and Krug was the highlight from At Mount Zoomer and was even better live. The 10 minute plus spaced out jam sounded absolutely epic live.
The only two complaints I had about the show were that Spencer's keyboards were turned down way too low (there are songs like "Call it a Ritual" which his keyboard is the main instrument and I could not hear it over the guitars and bass) and that my favorite song from Apologies ("Modern World") was not played. Other than that, I have NO complaints and left the show with that great feeling you can only get watching transcendent live music.

Why? tour

Maybe I can rectify my boneheadedness the caused me to not buy tickets in time for Why? the last time they were here at the 7th Street Entry. They are returning (still supporting their excellent new(ish) CD Alopecia) and playing at the Triple Rock Social Club. I must say that I prefer the TR to a packed Entry any day of the week, so maybe it will work out in my favor in the end (wouldn't that be nice for once?!).

WHY?- Sept. 27th, 2008 Triple Rock Social Club

Mr. November

A short list of things I enjoy:

1.The National
2.The song "Mr. Novemeber" from the Nationals excellent CD Alligator.
3.Barack Obama

Now, I bet you are wondering what happens when you combine these 4 great things, right? is your answer:

Order yours today from the National's Website. All the proceeds will go directly to "Mr. November's" coffers. Now lets hope the National are right and he won't fuck us over. I haven't bought a shirt that was this expensive in a while, but they pigeonholed me on this one....I could not resist the allure.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Dodos

The Dodos show at the Triple Rock last night was one of those shows that reaffirmed to me my love for (live) music. The 2 piece (with an occasional third member) band played with a perfect mix of skilled and unbridled passion while performing their magnetic folk influenced pop jams. Their second CD, The Visitor, released this year on French Kiss, provided them with amble material to show off their enormous chops through their splendid tunes.

The songs, ranging from Animal Collective esqe folk screamers to classic reverb drenched finger picked blues numbers were all driven along by the manic drumming of Logan Kroeber. His drumming kept your attention, but was never over the top. Lead singer Meric Long could barley stay in his seat as he bounced and hollered his way through his amazing collection of post folk indie rock numbers. His guitar playing can only be described as mesmerizing. His fingers must be like barbed wire with how hard he hammers his acoustic guitars. His precision on finger picking and gentle interludes created a highly engaging dynamic that had the Triple Rock crowd eating out of his hands.

The band was more wild and abrasive live than on record, and it worked perfectly. I would HIGHLY suggest picking up the Dodos newest record The Visitor (as I have said before) and if you get the chance to see this great young band live, do not miss the chance.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

White Winter Hymnal

One of the best songs from one of my favorite records from the first half of the year now has an official video. Check it out right HERE.

Subtle- Exiting Arm

The term "alternative rap" is one that I never have quite understood. Without a good grasp on what it means, it made me skip over bands that had been recommended to me because I had no reference point to what they would sound like. I hear about enough music that if something is mentioned in this mysterious genre, it does not make my ears perk up. The first band that I found to be awesome after years of ignoring them were Why?. After hearing their great new CD Alopecia (and in particular the crazy good "The Hollows"), I worked my way back through their solid catalog and found that I had made a mistake in dismissing this band. I should have known that it was solid as it is on the Anticon label with Dosh, but I made a foolish mistake.

The most recent band I have pulled out of the mysterious "Alt-rap" haystack is the Oakland (oops) based band Subtle. Like Why?, Subtle definitely rap on some songs, but I would not call them a rap group. The two bands that I would use as reference points were Cloud Cult and TV on the Radio. They have the chamber pop exuberance of Cloud Cult and the noise rock aesthetic of TV on the Radio, with a little more emphasis on the beats (and obviously the rapping). The CD is a great mix of dense layers of sound and pretty pop noise, with dark lyrics that add the aura of the songs. Their new cd is called Exiting Arm and is very good if you are looking for some noisy pop with some indie rapping. Or if you want some good old fashioned "alt rap", right?