Friday, October 31, 2008

Frightened Rabbits 10/25 @ 7th Street entry

My review of last weekends excellent Frightened Rabbits show is up at Culture Bully HERE. If you don't want to read it, here is the summary:

Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps: Really cool up and coming local band worth keeping an eye on.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mad Decent showcase review

My reivew of the Mad Decent showcase last Friday at First Ave is now up over at Culture Bully. Check it out HERE.

Free Conor Oberst show tommorow

The boy genius is putting his money where his mouth is. Before his show tomorrow night at First Ave he will be playing a free show under the moniker "Concert for Change." The catch? You have to sign up for two Get Out the Vote (GOTV) shifts with the Obama campaign before election day, which you should be doing it should be no problem, right? The show is from 2:30-4 (what, no love for the working man? Seriously, how do you sneak out of work from 2:30 to 4?) and is at the venerable Dinkytown venue the Loring Pasta Bar. I imagine it is going to be crowded, so get there early. (Tip of the hat: Culture Bully)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Built to Spill Live Video

Some really awesome videos from a recent Built To Spill show in Italy. The first song is their classic "Car", which is one of my favorite songs ever. What they play after is a little but more off the beaten path as they bust into a cover of MIA's "Paper Planes." I am not a very big MIA fan, but it is a cool interpretation and Built to Spill kick ass, so this is cool. Also, is Paper Planes this years "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley? It seems like everyone is or already has covered it or rapped over it. (from p-fork)

Deerhunter Microcastle

My first thought when I saw the Deerhunter's CD Microcastle had been made Best New Music was......seriously, new? It seems like Bradford Cox's latest CD has been out for years. It has been floating around the Internet for what must be close to 6 months, but that doesn't diminish the great effort by Cox and the gang. The album is more of what he does best....droning psychedelic pop rock. Hints of the Beatles melodies and Spaceman 3?Spirtualized type freakouts are all over his druggy collage of sounds. Throughout all the posturing, he never loses focus of what makes his songs great, which is the mesmerizing sugar pop melodies hiding underneath the scuzz. If you have yet to hear this CD or it accompanying EP Weird Era cont., check them out.


My review of Ryans Adams Cardinology is up over on Culture Bully. Four of us take a stab at the album that is out in stores tomorrow. I didn't especially like the album, yet somehow my review seems to be the strongest endorsement of it, which is weird.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

TV on the Radio @ First Ave 10/21

I have realized at this point that I will not be doing a full on TV on the Radio write up, but I want to acknowledge that they were amazing Tuesday night. They played a very similar set list as Monday night (started with "Young Liars" and ended with "Staring at the Sun"). I went into the show thinking they were the best American band right now, and they did little to change my mind. They were both powerful and poignant. The newer material from Dear Science sounded really good, although some of the slower songs seemed to slightly drag the energy of the crowd down. Overall, they played songs from all three of their amazing LP's and various EP's and kept the crowd completely enamored over the course of their 90 minute set. One thing I had read elsewhere but still surprised me was the reception that "Wolf Like Me" got. Seriously, does TV on the Radio have a fucking hit single? It was crazy how pumped people got for that song.
One thing TV on the Radio will never be accused of being afraid of being upstaged by their openers. Last time they came through, they brought the amazing Grizzly Bear and this time they brought the Dirtbombs. Both bands are about as good as you could ask for in an opening band. The Dirtbombs had their scuzzy and soulful garage rock shaking the growing crowd throughout their set. They had 2 drummers and 2 "bass" players (a women who was playing bass style on her guitar) pounding out great rhythms behind Detroit legend Mick Collins, who grooved and shimmered and was the consummate front man playing soulful licks and singing his garage rock classics. They were a great opener and I was glad I got the chance to finally see them.

Friday Shows

It has been a long ass week and Friday is finally here. If you have any energy left, there are multiple really awesome shows, many featuring local bands, for you to check out. There are a few shows tonight that show the real strength of the Minneapolis music scene.

A really solid local show from top to bottom, this will be the record release show for the band the Millionth Word. Don't miss the openers Crescent Moon... as they are one of the most exciting local bands out there right now.

I have seen Mark Mallman more times than I can remember, and I can say that he never puts on a bad show. Opening for him are WHG favorites Gospel Gossip and out there electro rockers Mystery Palace. Another show that is solid from start to finish.

Various Artists- Acadia Cafe 6PM
This is a benefit show that features a wide variety of local musicians. Some of the highlights will be Military Special and Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles.

Two straight up pop rock bands will bring their shimmering rock to the U of M.

What's that? A Radiohead project- The Red Sea 9PM
Anything Radiohead is cool, so if you have never gotten a chance to see the legendary band, don't miss this opportunity.

Mad Decent showcase- First Ave 9PM
This show will feature many bands and DJ's, with the headliners being super-producer Diplo and up and coming indie punk band Abe Vigoda.

Henry Rollins- Pantages Theatre
The legendary former Black Flag singer will come back to Minneapolis for another spoken word performance.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday Night Shows

Lucinda Williams- First Ave 9pm $30
The alt-country Goddess is back for her first of two shows in the next month at First Ave. One of them (this one, I believe) is being streamed live for a webcast, so fix up and look sharp. You don't want to look frumpled for the masses out there on the interwebs.

Twin Town High CD Release Show-Turf Club 9pm
This CD celebrates the awesome Twin Town High release that every year features lots of great local music. Like the CD, the show features a diverse set of great local bands. Some of the highlights of this show will be Black Blondie, Muja Messiah and Lookbook.

The Rumble Strips/Birdmonster- 7th Street Entry 9PM
Two up and coming "indie" bands that take their genre in slightly different directions will be playing some rawk and roll for the kiddies at the Entry tonight.

Franki Valli & The Four Seasons- Orpheum Theatre
What is the opposite of kiddies? AARP members? Two up and coming "indie" old bands that take their genre in slightly different directions will be playing some rawk and roll for the kiddies AARP members at the Entry Orpheum tonight.

Culture Bully 60 Hour Marathon

I would like to give a big shout out and a hearty congratulations to Culture Bully for their unreal 60 Hour Marathon that just wrapped up. They posted a new blog every hour for 60 straight hours as part of the blogger challenge to raise money for public schools. They had lots of local muscians talk about music in their upbringing and brought some brand new and unreleased mp3's throughout the event. Check out the wrap up post HERE.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fucked Up/Mount Eerie

I will be the first person to call out bullshit when I think P-Fork is being pretentious or trying to be cutting edge instead of just rating albums, but they do occasionally hit the nail on the head, and they did just that on two of their previous Best New Music nods. The best part is that they are polar opposites and they are great in their own ways. Tip of the hat to Pitchfork.
Fucked Up- The Chemistry of Common Life
The second full length from this Toronto Hardcore outfit is a pummeling mess of a variety of influences. The music is dense and melodic and like the best hardcore has some great melodies underneath the massive walls of sound. The screaming vocals will turn a lot of people off, but like most music of this genre, it is worth fighting off the initial shock. Lead singer Pink Eyes tops off the schizophrenic music, which ranges from pretty piano melodies to slashing guitars and pounding drums with throat shredding screams. The music is very adventurous and the lyrics (if you can understand them) are highly political. The songs reminded me a of a rougher edge version of Jay Reatard mixed with Tim from Les Savy Fav covering Husker Du. This CD is definitely not for everyone, but it is a great disc that is as hard hitting as it is wide ranging and is one that I feel could (in fact should) be absorbed by fans outside of the hardcore community as it is a staggeringly powerful record.

Mount Eeire w/ Julie Doiron & Fred Squire- Lost Wisdom
Mount Eeire is the moniker used by Phil Elverum for one of his many projects. You may recognize the name as he is the genius behind the band the Microphones, the lo-fi pop band that made Neutral Milk Hotel sounding warped pop music who never got the notoriety that they deserved. If Fucked Up is a roaring tornado, this album is a soft fall breeze. The songs move along slowly and have a haunted sense of beauty to them. Elverum's and Doiron's voices blend together magically and create a rich texture that sails along smoothly with the subdued acoustic instrumentation (with a little bit of electric added in for flavor). The simple beauty and great arrangements reminded me of April, the latest Sun Kil Moon album. It is a perfect fall album that captures the longing of lost summers and the dread of the upcoming endless winter.

Department of Eagles Daytrotter

Department of Eagles, the side project for Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear, recently put out the wonderful debut album In Ear Park. What does one do to follow this up? How about creating a chill inducing and beautiful Daytrotter session. Works for me.

Still no word on the upcoming Grizzly Bear release, but I will post any and all news about what will surely be one of the best albums of 2009.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Classic Rock Band"

"Classic Rock Band" is how the new band featuring Scott Wells and Paul Spranglers from former MPLS band Hockey Night is being described. The band, being produced and assisted by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and his DFA mix partner Pat Mahoney. Readers of this blog know that I love all things LCD Soundsystem/DFA, but they may not know that I also am a huge fan of Hockey Night. Although I missed out on them while they were still a band, I have since fallen head over heals for the band, especially their LP Keep Guessin', which is an amazing blend of upbeat Pavement style jangly rock numbers.

These are honestly some of my favorite musicians from the last couple of years, so I am very, very excited to hear about this upcoming album. Find out more from the original Pitchfork report and look for more information as it comes out.

Wu Tang Clan @ First Ave Dec 15th

The venerable hip hop institution Wu Tang Clan will be coming back to Minneapolis on December 15th at the First Ave Mainroom. If I get some info on ticket availability or prices, I will let you know. This is also a good chance to bring back up the awesome website that gives you your Wu-Tang Clan name. If you missed it the first time, go HERE and check it out.

TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio, one of the very best bands in America, will be stopping by the wonderful First Avenue nightclub for a two night stand. They are playing behind their amazing new album, Dear Science, which is still at or near the top of my favorite records from 2008. Both nights they will be supported by scuzzy Detroit garage rockers the Dirtbombs, so get there early as they are not to be missed. The show tonight is 21 plus and starts at 9, with tomorrow being the all ages version that will kick off around 6. These shows come with the highest possible WHG recommendation.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Isobel campbell & Mark Lanegan

Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell continue their oil and water partnership that they began with their debut CD Ballad of the Broken Seas. I am a giant fan on former grunge hero/current sad sack Lanegan (who’s 1994 album is the namesake of this blog) and a long time admirer of Isobel Campbell and her work with Belle and Sebastian, so any release they put out is good news in my book.

There was a lot of initial shock in the pairing, and I for one was not initially receptive of their debut, but it is a disc that eventually grew on me. The duo has just released two new albums, the full length Sunday at Devil Dirt, and the EP Keep Me in Mind Sweetheart. Sunday at Devil Dirt has hit me instantly as something that is a great success and a common link from the best work Lanegan has done with his solo works. The songs walk the tightrope between a breezier acoustic feel and the dark, pop-apocalypse that Lanegan does so well. Like all of his best work, the dark songs always offer a slight hint of redemption, but not too much. Lanegan brings the songs a certain level of heaviness with his cigarette and whiskey voice and somber lyrics. Belle and Sebastian were no KC and the Sunshine Band themselves, and Campbell helps with plaintive vocals that are equally beautiful and crushing on many of the songs.

The EP, Keep me in Mind Sweetheart, has a few cross over songs from the LP, but has a more laid back, old time feel. The acoustic guitars are brought to the forefront and there are more upbeat (for these two) arrangements, including some strings. Lanegan does his best folk voice and these are some of the most straightforward songs that Lanegan has ever made. The duo stated that these songs were recorded at the same time as the LP, they just worked better as a standalone album, which I agree with 100%.

Lanegan and Campbell have created some striking and beautiful music with the two releases. I personally like the Sunday at Devil Dirt album as it comes closer to recalling the great early decade solo albums that Lanegan put out, but I can see more people being receptive to the smoother edges of Keep me in Mind Sweetheart. For fans of the either artist in the duo, I would recommend both of these records. If you are unfamiliar with them, I would recommend either of these records along with any early Belle and Sebastian and Mark Lanegan’s Field Songs, which is one of favorite records of all time (thanks Ben). I will let you know if I hear any rumblings of a tour that may come our way.

Friday Shows

Wire- First Avenue 9PM
This legendary post-punk band has cast a wide shadow over almost all of what is considered "indie" these days. Although they have never received the mainstream popularity that they deserve, their place in history is cemented by their consistently great efforts and by their genre defying works including Chairs Missing and Pink Flag. This band, like Neil Young, could have quit/began coasting many years ago and left a huge footprint, but have continued to make new and challenging music and never relying on their accomplishments. Highly Recommended.

Draw Fire Records Showcase- Turf Club
This show will featuring some of the best Alt-Country/Americana/Indie bands in the cities sharing the stage for one night only. Some of the bands include Aviette, Stook!, The Glad Version and Sam Keenan.

These two innovative local bands will be playing an all ages show at Eclipse Records, the very cool St. Paul record independent record store that hosts lots of great local music. FHTB is a noise garage rock outfit while WHG favorites Gospel Gossip are a punk/New Wavy hybrid that have been gaining steam in the local scene over the last year. Check out this cool show (it will be over in time to check out most of the other shows) and buy some music from this awesome record shop!

ZZ Top- Orpheum Theatre
I would be lying if I said that ZZ Top has been like Wire and not coasted on their early work, so I won't even try. Apparently they are working with hip Carree rejuvenater Rick Rubin on their new album, so maybe they are about to pull an about face and prove me wrong. Either way, this should be a fun show and I don't think anyone will complain if this three piece institution "coasts" through hit after hit tonight.

Ben Folds- Myth
Quirky piano popper Ben Folds has always been consistent at what he does best, which is tongue in cheek, heart on his sleeve piano rock. If that is you thing, get your ass to Maplewood tonight.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


To any hip hop fans, the name Madlib is pretty much synonymous with beat-making genius. The massively creative DJ/producer/MC has had a busy summer that are yielding some great results for music fans this fall. First, he did a remix album of his classic work with MF DOOM, Madvilliany, titled Madvillany 2: The Madlib Remix. Now, it is never advised to mess with a masterpiece, and he does little to dispell this theory. Although it is still cool, it is the weakest of the "new" Madlib material.

Starting last month, Madlib has (or will) release three separate albums in a short period of time. The first one is his turn for the BBE record labels ongoing "Beat Generation" series titled WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip. The album features some guest vocals but still displays his strong and well though out production style. It is my least favorite of the three new albums, but that is not a dig on this album with how much I like the two I will talk about next.

The last two are actually part of a series and will be released together next year, but for now are coming out digitally in separate locations. These two discs are volumes 5 and 6 of his stunning Beat Konducta series. The first two volumes were names "Movies Scenes" and volumes 3 and 4 went out under the title "Beat Konducta in India". Volumes 5 and 6 are a tribute to Madlibs friend and fellow hip hop legend Jay Dilla, who passed away last year. Volume 5, my favorite, is called Dil Cosby Suite and Vol. 6 is called Dil Withers Suite. Both are the lush and sweeping instrumentals (with occasional vocals) that show off his magic touch of making music that is both lush and melodic and still has that hip hop swagger and bounce. His rich tapestries of sounds are both meticulous and easily consumed. They walk that perfect line of music that can be enjoyed as background music during work, on headphones soaking in the crazy ideas and at a party where the only requirement is something that gets people going. One of the things I have always loved about Madlib is his dynamic versatility.

If you have never heard Madlib, check out any of the albums that I have mentioned in this post. His instrumental work is downright magical and his has superb taste in rappers that he puts on his discs. I just hope that he can keep up the quality and quantity of work that he has put out year for a very, very long time.

Thursday shows

Some more cool shows tonight:

Afternoon Records Showcase @ the Walker Arts Center 5PM-9PM
This cool (and free) show will feature We all Have Hooks for Hands, Now, Now Every Children and WHG favorites Crescent Moon is in Big Trouble. It is a great event and more than worth the trip just to see CMIIBT, who put out one of my favorite albums of the year.

Crooked Fingers @ the Turf Club 9PM
The Crooked Fingers are the new band for Eric Bachmann, the former front man of the Archers of Loaf and will bring their melodic slacker-ish rock to the Turf Club.

Against Me! and Ted Leo- First Ave
These two bands are at the forefront of political "punk" music these days and both combine great lyrics with pounding music. Expect politics to be front and center for this high energy show.

Jackson Browne- Orpheum Theatre
Jackson Browne's music has been consistently good throughout the years and it is not like he has had to make any major stylist changes as the years have piled on. He still delivers smart and highly melodic singer/songwriter tunes.

Rufus Wainwright- State Theatre
I have never gotten into Rufus, but I have always respected his musical output and he is by all accounts a great showman.

This is an ongoing series that brings in different people from the local music community. Tonight will be hip hop producer Lazerbeak, the mad genius behind the Doomtree Collective. In his former life, he was also the guitarist for the really great angular rock band Plastic Constellations, so he should be an interesting subject to hear from.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hear ye hear ye

I hate being the lemming, but when I see a great idea, I can’t help but follow along. I have been thinking that I wanted to reach out and get in contact with even more local bands/shows, and when I saw the shout out on the always awesome Switchblade Comb website, I decided it was a great idea, so here it goes.

If you are a local (or national) band who thinks I may like your music, send me a link or a disc (or whatever form of music works best for you) fr me to check out. I will listen to every single piece of music I get and will work as hard as possible to write reviews for each one. I also would love to hear about great shows around the Twin Cities that I may be interested in going to (or at least promoting). Like the guys at SBC, I would be forever indebted to you if you have free tickets/spots on guests lists to any shows in the area.

As much as I love music, I also love paying my bills, so any music (CD’s/Shows) that gets sent to me is very helpful so that I can keep writing about all the new music out there. Big thanks to all the people who have contacted me so far and I am looking forward to hearing from lots more!
For any questions, comments, stock tips….send me an email:

I also have started one of those fancy Myspace pages and I try to keep up with it, so add me as a friend and send me a message if that is easiest for you.

WHG Myspace

Hope to hear from you soon.

The Week that Was

The Week that Was is a one of the bands that rose from the ashes of the English band Field Music. After his former band mate (and brother) David Brewis went out and formed School of Language, Peter Brewis used the TWTW moniker to release his debut self titled record. Like his old band, TWTW work in various forms of shimmering pop music. The disc has moments that sound like the New Pornogrpahers, Apples In Stereo and even some pre-really crazy Of Montreal*. The music is more deftly arranged than a lot of Field Music, but is still a lush and shimmering and is a great CD from start to finish.

If you live in the UK, you have some chances to check them out live in the coming months. If you live elsewhere, you can pick up their CD at any local record shop.

*I would like to acknowledge that this was not a dig at Of Montreal, in fact I greatly prefer their Hissing Fauna/Skeletal Lamping freak/synth pop to their psychedelic, very E6 sounding pop music of their past. I just didn't want people to expect "id engager" and be suprised to hear some more Gay Parade style Of Montreal. That is all. Cheers.

Neil Young

So I already was moderatly mad at myself for skipping Neil Young and Daivd Byrne, but this glowing review (and amazing setlist and videos) from More Cowbell is just salt in my wounds.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shows Tonight

The beat goes on. Some really great shows tonight in MPLS.

Neil Young/Death Cab for a Cutie- Xcel Energy Center 7PM
Although I would argue with his choice of openers, he still is Neil-Freakin-Young and he has more stage presence in his 60's than most artists a third his age. If you have never seen Neil Young, this would be the perfect chance. He will be playing songs from his all areas of his storied career.

David Bryne- State Theatre
The Talking Heads legend will be highlighting songs from his work with producer Brian Eno on this tour. He will play from their new electro gospel CD, Everything that Happens will Happen Today, and from their previous work together. Apparently this show involves dancing and all sorts of theatrics, which should be interesting.

Deerhoof- First Ave 5:30 All Ages
These SF based pop weirdos are on tour promoting their newest, more pop friendly release Offend Maggie. Check out the time, as this is an all ages show that will be starting early.

Broken Social Scene @ First Ave

Like many great “Super Groups”, Broken Social Scene offer a wide and varied scope of music on any given disc or show, which can lead to magical highs but can leave the door open for some inconsistencies. The bands show last night at First Avenue provided both movements, with the magical highs coming out slightly ahead.

The band, which fluctuated at times to 10 members, was led by their charismatic co-frontman Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew. They played songs spanning the different Broken Social Scene discs, but the large chunk of the attention was placed on the last two CD’s by the group under the title of “Broken Social Scene presents”. I have enjoyed Canning’s release, Something for all of Us, more than Drew’s Spirit if…, but live I found the Drew’s amazing voice really put his songs over the top. Within the context of his CD, Canning made some excellent songs, but live his voice often sounded strained and never could keep up with Drew’s stunning pipes. Neither of these releases offered seemed to me to offer the strength of the songs that have come off of their self titled CD and You Forgot it in the People. Whenever they played these songs, the band seemed invigorated and the crowd more receptive. The band, who in the past has brought some talented ladies on the road with them, sounded especially good when Liz Powell from the wonderful opening act Land of Talk, joined them onstage.

In the end, the show was very good. Like I said before, there were moments were the momentum sagged a bit and they were losing the audience’s attention, but this is to be expected when you have 5 different people singing songs from various bands and releases at various points of the show. That being said, the majority of the show was strong with the bands sweeping anthems being fired out by an excited live band who obviously love what they do.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Broken Social Scene were being held up by soundcheck at 1st Ave and are running about an hour late from their original 5PM start time. If you are interested, Broken Social Scene should be at the Electric Fetus for their free "In-Store" at 6. When I left, the word was that they would still be showing up, but it was unknown if they would be playing any songs.

Fleet Foxes

What a difference a few months can make, huh? The last time I saw Fleet Foxes, they were an opening act at the 7th Street Entry. I was really excited to see them, based only on their original EP, Sun Giant. Needless to say, I (and everyone in attendance) was blown away by what we saw. The only downside of the experience was that they were so good that they made another band I love, Blitzen Trapper, go onstage after them while everyone in attendance was still scraping their jaws off of the dirty floor.

I made the mistake of waiting to get tickets to their return trip (as headliners) to the 7th Street Entry, but by that time I had their great debut self-titled LP to hold me over. When I heard they were coming back, to the perfect fit tailored Cedar Cultural Center, I knew it was something I could not miss.

The show, like their one at the Entry, was a wonderful mix of their breezy old time harmonized folk and some more energy and stomp behind their more upbeat numbers. It was all very beautiful, but it honestly felt like it was 95 degrees in the concert hall (between the beer and the heat, I am just happy I made it out alive). I am confident I could have rang out my shirt as I left the show. That being said, the crowd was respectful (although maybe a tad annoying) and made the sold out room work for everyone. Where ever Fleet Foxes land next they are in town, I would recommend that you, they are an amazing live band. If you still don't have their stunning debut CD, do yourself a favor and pick it up.

The Magnetic Fields @ State Theatre

The Magnetic Fields at the State Theatre was one of those shows that was so good I am going to have a hard time capturing in words. The 5 piece band was loose in joking with the crowd but still sounded tight throughout their 90 minute set. The show was an all acoustic event, which I could not have been more excited about. Although I really do like their new album, Distortion, I felt like live it would have been overwhelming and would have covered up the amazing lyrics of their resident pop genius Stephin Merritt.

The band played a great mix of songs from not only many Magnetic Fields albums, but from Merritt’s other bands as well. No matter if it was a song I had heard a million times from 69 Love Songs or a song I was hearing for the first time, it was magical. The sound was great and the crowd was very appreciative of the band. The artist I thought of many times over the course of the night was John Prine. Like Prine, Merritt has a biting sense of humor that is often so cringe worthy you have to laugh. His songs are so sad and skeptical of everything that I believe most people would assume he was joking…..although I am fairly confident he is not. When the crowd was not laughing at his love/life musical miscues, you could hear a pin drop when they were playing, which is always a cool experience.

Overall, Friday was one of the affirming shows that remind me what I love so much about music. I really cannot think of one negative thing to say about the show, other than that I wish they would have played for many hours longer. If you ever have the chance to see a Stephin Merritt show (any of his bands), I would HIGHLY recommend it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

BSS @ the Electric Fetus

Some exciting (if tenitive) news arrived in my inbox this morning.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading is the newest "comedy" from the Coen brothers, and like most of their work, it is excellent. The reason comedy is in parenthesis will be obvious to anyone who has seen any other of the Coen Bros movies. If you have not seen their movies, be warned that their dark senses of humor come out in full force in this action filled movie. The movie will draw people in with its star power (mostly Pitt and Cloney), and the assembled cast dives into their quirky and damaged characters with reckless abandon. The film succeeds on many levels and adds to the Minnesota brothers winning streak.

While on the subject of movies, I want to give a huge shout out to the Heights Theatre in Columbia Heights. It is in my neck of the woods (by NE Minneapolis) and it a one screen theatre that is similar to other independent theatres in MPLS (Parkway comes to mind). It has the old style seats and the classic decor which adds to the ambiance of experience. Seats are $8 ($6 before 6PM). If you get a chance, check out this great theatre!

Beastie Boys + Obama + St. Paul= Awesome

The Beastie Boys are leading the charge this year for bands trying to use their influence to get people to vote for them. I am all for voting and love the Beastie Boys, so this should be sweet. They will be playing at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium on Nov. 1st. Check out their website for more info. (info from more cowbell)

Thursday, October 9, 2008


So after I go on a stupid rant about cool electronic music and get myself all worked up, I find myself back peddling in very quick fashion. After reading some good reviews, I got the CD Lateral by the band Growing...........and I fucking hate it. It is grimy, bullshit noise that does little other than give me a headache. It falls into all of the pitfalls that make it easy for people to not want to try out any electronic music. It is droning to the point of grating, there is little to no discernible melody that develops and it is repetitious to the point of madness. It reminds me of the new Fuck Buttons CD if it were void of the pretty melodies that they fuzz away. Either way, this record is a shining example as to why I don't put all of my eggs in one basket and I try to be open to any genre of music, as long as it doesn't suck ass. Unfortunately for Growing (and for me and my half hour I will never get back), if you ask for my two cents, they do not pass that test.

Magnetic Fields!

Tomorrow (Friday) brings a band that I have loved for a long time, the Magnetic Fields, to town. I was first introduced to them a few years ago by their timeless classic 69 Love Songs. I had heard some of the songs and found a copy marked down to $25 (it is 3 discs) at the Electric Fetus, and I have never looked back. That is still my favorite album of theirs, maybe based strongly on posterity, but it is such an amazing album. Their latest album, Distortion, is the biggest left turn of their career as they have taken away the ukes, banjos and other acoustic instruments and replaced them with Jesus and the Mary Chain style distortion. Although the sound is notably different, the lyrics are still all Stephan Merritt. His usual dark humor and sad sappy sucker wit are in full force. You learn quickly that he has what can only be described as a dour outlook on his (and our) existence.

I will be back this weekend with a review and hopefully some photos. If you are unfamiliar with the Magnetic Fields, check them out asap. Tickets are still available for the show tomorrow at the State. Music starts at 8PM

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Come on down to the Turf Club

Two really cools shows that were announced recently will have me dragging my ass across city lines to head into St. Paul. It will be my first time seeing both bands and I am very excited to say the least.

Sloan- Oct 28th 9PM Turf Club
Weezer get the Xcel Energy Center and these guys get the Turf doesn't seem fair. Not that I would want to see them in a giant arena, but it still is weird to me how some bands make it big and others just never quite catch on with the proletariat (or whoever it is who dictates record sales and such). If you want to hear some great power pop, check this band out.

The Rosebuds- Nov 16th 9PM Turf Club
The Rosebuds will be playing at the Turf with old friends Megafaun (Justin Vernons old band) for what should be an awesome show. It is the day after the Hold Steady/Drive By Truckers show, so hopefully I will be able to have myself on my feet by 9PM to get to the Turf. The Rosebuds will be touring behind their excellent new CD Life Like. Highly Recommend.

Wednesday Shows

Radio K 15 Year Anniversary- 1st Ave 8PM $15
One more year till you can drive, Radio K! The venerable U of M Radio Station will be hosting a party to celebrate their 15 years of bringing MPLS the most diverse music on either dial. This should be a great show with Low, Dosh, Vampire Hands and Sims of Doomtree. You won't find a more solid or wide ranging lineup very often.

Silver Jews- Triple Rock Social Club 9PM $15
The Silver Jews are the legendary indie rock band spawned from poet David Berman and some of the slacker kings from Pavement. The band, which finally started touring in 2006, will be supporting their newest effort, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea. Hopefully you will be in better shape at this show than I was when I saw them at Pitchfork a couple of years ago. Pretty much if you are upright and capable of moving, you will have me beat.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

CD's hitting record shelves today 10/7

Jay Reatard- Matador Singles ‘08
My love and affection for Jay Reatard has been well documented on this blog, and his new record does little to dampen my enthusiasm. For the last couple of years he has been building up his indie cred one 7” single at a time, with his label collecting them for CD release. His last collection, Singles ’06-’07, was an absolute blast and was a great primer for how this young talent was growing. He had shed some of the abrasiveness of his debut, Blood Visions, and was creating unique garage rock-new wave-punk songs that were held together by his air-tight pop song writing. Not unlike Husker Du, he seems to have a desire to hide his melodies under a rough aesthetic, but like Husker Du, the songs are simply too good to be hidden and the extra layers only further how great they are. His new disc, Matador Singles ’08, keeps on with his strong track record. It combines both tongue in cheek fun and some serious song writing chops. Now if only he would tame down his live shows so that people can hear his great songs.

Of Montreal- Skeletal Lamping
When I first heard the new Of Montreal album, I will admit I was a little surprised. Even for someone with a reputation like Kevin Barnes, the lyrics were pretty damn forthright. There are some lyrics on here that would make pre-Jehovah's Witness Prince blush, and they are pretty constant. They often made me think of a more horny George Clinton. Lyrics aside, this album continues in the electro pop funk vein of Hissing Fauna….., which is good news for me. Of Montreal have always been good, but I thought they really hit their stride with their new sound. The CD is not as good as Hissing Fauna, and often suffers from too many ideas being crammed into each song, but it is still a very strong release. The Streets- Everything is Borrowed
Mike Skinner is great. He may have already hit his natural peak in his record making lifespan, but he still manages to make fun and enjoyable music (to me, at least). Maybe I just love the slacker English wit and accent, but whatever, I think the Streets kick ass, end of story.
Oasis- Dig out your Soul
If anyone believes that at this point Oasis is not coasting on their own spoon fed bullshit, please let me know. If there are die hard Oasis fans out there who still think this band is doing something relevant, by all means show your teeth in the comments section and preach me the truth, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Tuesday Night

It is starting.......the next couple of weeks bring insane amounts of good live music to Minneapolis, so get some Red Bull and your ear plugs and plan on some slow mornings at work.

Tuesday Oct.7th
Robert Pollards Boston Spaceships- Turf Club
The legendary singer of Guided by Voices returns to St. Paul to promote his 426th CD. He apparently still has the goods and plays some GBV hits, and you really can't get much better than the Turf Club for seeing him, so this should be a great show.
The Black Kids-7th Street Entry
Here is a band who is overrated to the extreme and puts on a lazy and uninspiring show. Go at your own risk, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Jamie Lidell-Varsity Theatre
A guy (band?) that I have never fully taken to, although I think he is good and have heard excellent things about his live show when he decides to stop screwing around. If nothing else, it should be fun.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lindstrom- Where You Go I Go Too

I understand that some people don't like electronic music. In fact, at one point a few years ago we could have bonded over some Hold Steady and PBR and hatred of all music with no lyrics, but the times have changed (except for the Hold Steady and PBR parts, I will always love them). I now count many bands, ranging from Steinski to Ratatat to Jay Dilla and Explosion in the Skys (to name just a few)as some of my favorite bands. Often these bands are perfect as music for working or relaxing, as they demand less direct attention because of the lack of lyrics. This isn't to say they are background music, but they can more easily alter to your mood and surrounding and offer up each person a more personal interpretation.

This totally unnecessary personal coming of age story aside, I do have some music to pass on to you. While working on solidifying my resume tonight (don't ask), I was listening to the new CD by Norwegian based sample/electronic/instrumental kingpin Linstrom titled Where you go I go too. It is has only three songs that span the entire 55 minute CD (not unlike the awesome LCD Soundsytem mix for Nike), with the separation probably unnecessary as the CD could be one long jam. The disc easily moves back and forth from headphone grooves to electro dance rhythms over the course of the CD. It is really a stunning piece of work that can be enjoyed on so many levels. What is even more amazing is that apparently Lindstrom started playing this type of music simply because he wanted to figure out how people made it. These songs are the type of songs that can be equally enjoyed during your next party or the next morning in your headphones hearing his mastery unfold with the smooth slides and the dense instrumentation. This CD is highly recommended.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Yer Cronies/First Communion Afterparty/Talkdemonic

Robyn and I took in some great music last night at the 400 Bar, which is a great venue when it is not packed to the gills trying to host shows that should be in a bigger venue. Last night there was a decent crowd for two great local bands and one very cool national band.

The show began with local commune enthusiasts First Communion Afterparty. Robyn had not seen them in over a year and noted how they had changed. Not only their personnel lineup, which has had more changes that their heroes the Brian Jonestown Massacre, but their overall sound. They have tamed down the late sixties ringing psychedelic rock and ramped up heavy droning, almost Black Sabbath like rock. They still have the swirling drones, but newish member Joe Wener really adds the thunder as they have become a more intense, focused band. I will be reviewing their debut CD soon, but like their CD, they extreme highs that are often stretched too far and lead to some repetitious moments, but when they are hitting on all cylinders, they are one of the most powerful bands in Minneapolis.

Next up were the only non-local band on the bill, Talkdemonic. Talkdemonic were a duo that combined the electronic hip hop instrumentals of RjD2 and Madlib with the pulsing orchestration of Explosions in the Sky. One member set up the samples and played crashing, propulsive drums while the other played haunting viola parts that created a very cool sound that fit in perfectly between the two great local bands.

Last up were the band that I was most excited to see, Yer Cronies. I saw them recently at the Uptown Bar, but I couldn't stay for their whole set. Shortly after that night I picked up their debut CD, When I grow up, and it blew me away (another review that is forthcoming). The band played their excellent Radiohead meets My Morning Jacket brand of quasi electronic quiet-loud swirling rock and roll. The two lead singers did an excellent job of trading off singing, switching from Thom Yorke esqe plaintive howling to more straight forward indie rock vocals. The band was all over the stage, switching instruments and keeping the crowds attention for their whole set. They seemed extra animated due to the crew that was videotaping their set and the last song melted down into jumping around stage and throwing guitars. The show was very impressive and set them up as one of my new favorite local bands and I band that I can HIGHLY recommend for music fans of all stripes. Check out their really great CD and definitely see them live the next time they are playing, you will not be disappointed.

Movie Reviews

Shine A Light
So you combine one of the best rock and roll bands ever (Rolling Stones) with a legendary movie Producer (Martin Scorsese) who has made my favorite music documentaries of all time (The Last Waltz) and you will have some high expectations. Like The Last Waltz, Shine a Light follows the band for one concert with footage mixed in between songs. Unlike The Last Waltz, it is not a band in its prime playing a once in a lifetime concert. It is a band way past their prime playing one of 150 shows they will be playing that year. The sense of urgency and poignancy are missing and that make this movie very ordinary an uninteresting. I would only suggest this movie if you are a huge Stones fan (and if you are, you've probably already seen it), otherwise, the only telling aspect is that someone thought that following around living artifacts who should have retired a long time ago would produce an interesting movie. My recommendation? Put in their one of their four great LPs from 68-72 and remember them for what they once were.
Grade= C-

Guided By Voices- The Electrifying Conclusion
Guided By Voices are a legendary band, and rightfully so. Led by Robert Pollard, they put out an amazing amount of music at a breakneck pace for their 21 years, with their magnetic live shows adding to their legend. This DVD chronicles their four hour, 60 song final show that they played on New Years Eve 2004 in Chicago at the Metro. For their fans who missed the show, it is brought to you in all of its piss and puke bucket glory. You can see them play their greatest songs to a packed house of their devoted fans, with a bar tender on stage to boot. Be warned, this is a straight concert footage movie, which is not every ones thing, but if nothing else, put it on loud and hear their great songs.
Grade= B+
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- God is in the House
Like the Guided By Voices DVD, this Nick Cave and the Bad Sees movie, God is in the House, is a concert footage only disc, but it also is recommended for fans and non fans alike to see what everyone is talking about when they mention the wonderful Nick Cave. This film, shot in Lyons, France, shows Nick Cave at his best playing the songs from No More Shall We Part as he prowls around stage with the mighty Bad Seeds pulsing behind him. The dark stage and the classical venue only add the mystique and really shows why this band is so great.
Grade= A-
You're Gonna Miss Me- A Film about Roky Erickson
You're Gonna Miss Me is the heartbreaking story of Roky Erickson, the legendary singer of the 13th Floor Elevators. His otherworldly yelp made the Elevators one of the best bands of the 60's and Erickson and the Elevators are credited with bringing the world Psychedelic into the popular lexicon. His story is sad because after becoming known as one of the voices for the drug taking counter culture, he was targeted in a drug sting and arrested for having one joint. He ended up spending 3 years in a tough prison, only to come out a shattered version of his previous self. The story has many different things going on, with each being equally sad. It is a tale of a fall from grace and a legend who has influenced people who lives in a personal hell that no one could understand. It reminded me a lot of the Devil and Daniel Johnston, which really brings the reality of these artists illness to light. They have so much talent, but it is something that I believe they would trade in a second for being able to quiet the demons that haunt them. I highly recommend this movie for fans of Roky Erickson and for no fans who just want to see a fascinating documentary.
Grade= A

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday Night

If you are not going to be glued to your TV watching noted polymath Sarah Palin, there are some really great shows tonight in MPLS.

My Morning Jacket- Orpheum Theatre 7:30PM $33
One of the best live bands that you will see, this Kentucky based band will have no openers. They will command your attention for what will be a 3 hour marathon that will surely melt faces and blow minds.

Chuck Klosterman/EL'nO- Triple Rock Social Club 7PM 18+ $8
Chuck Klosterman is one of my favorite authors and he will be here to read from his new book. The book, titled Downtown Owl: A Novel, is his first novel. Also playing will be local ELO cover band EL'nO. Should be awesome.

Brother Ali/Big Quarters-Coffman Great Hall $12 7PM
Some great local rappers will be teaming with the Keith Ellison campaign to promote an event called "Explode the Vote". Good music and a good cause....what is not to like?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Have Always Been Here Before

I am officially in a Roky Erickson kick right now. I have always been a fan, but right now Netflix is sending me the documentary "You're gonna miss me" and I just checked out the his anthology titled I have always been here before, which stretches from his days with the legendary 13th Floor Elevators to his great solo material. I have only heard good things about the movie, so I am very excited to finally see it. I will report back to you with my review.

If you are unfamiliar with Roky Erickson, check him out, you will not be disappointed (in fact, you probably already know some of the songs). One of my favorite scenes from High Fidelity is when John Cusak is listening to "You're gonna miss me" on his headphones.....I'm not sure why, I just always thought that was awesome.