Sunday, November 30, 2008

White Denim- Workout Holiday

Anyone who frequents Gorilla Vs Bear will recognize the name White Denim as they are one of the bands that get featured on the prominent website more than any other bands. Part of the reason is that they are hometown (Austin) boys done well, but the praise is not without merit. The band, who play scuzzy garage rock with some indie pop and psychedelic elements, put out their debut LP, Workout Holiday, a few months ago. The CD is consistently good from start to finish and features some of the previously mentioned influences along with some guitar noodling and some good old fashioned punk rock. The singing is often off kilter but fits the bands aesthetic perfectly. The band is definitely worth checking out and have a very bright future.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shows Saturday night

Some cool stuff going on around the Twin Cities tonight.

Electric Arc Holiday show- Fitz Theatre 7PM $20

Faux Jean- Hexagon 9PM Free

Haley Bonar/The Owls- Cedar Cultural Center 7PM $18

Alpha Consumer/Gospel Gossip/First Communion Afterparty Turf Club 9pm $6

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Raveonettes Christmas EP

Just got an update about the latest installment of the Raveonettes EP series, this one being a Christmas theme disc titled Wishing you a Rave Christmas. You can listen to the EP for free at AOL Spinner HERE. If you like what you hear, but the EP HERE.

The great folks at Vice sent over an MP3 from the record.
The Raveonettes-Come on Santa (yes, I'm doing my best) MP#3
The other news coming from the Vice Records camp is that there is a new Japaneese Motors video out for the song "Better Trends." Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Change is Gonna Come

"A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke is one of those songs that I never get sick of. I am always weary of bands covering sacred songs, but Bonnie "Prince" Billy gets a free pass based on his unreal back catalog and the fact that he has redone his own music in glorious fashion. This video is from a recent show in Lexington where he played the song in honor of our new president elect. (Hat Tip to You Ain't No Picasso)

Don't forget the he has a show scheduled next March at the McGuire Theatre at the Walker Art Center. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Visitor

The Visitor is a heartbreaking story of the life and times of immigrants in America and the crazy draconian laws that we place on them. The story follows a widowed, tired and old college professor who has basically given up on life. When he gets to his New York apartment, he finds a young immigrant couple are living in his place. Their stories become one and the movie is brilliant in showing the human costs of treating people like objects. The movie is drawn out (sometimes slow), but I felt it captured human emotions and difficult situations excellently and was an absolutely amazing movie.
For whatever it is worth, I highly recommend this movie.

Coldplay EP

My glowing review of the new Coldplay EP is up over at Culture Bully HERE.

The Man in the High Castle

Just got done reading a really interesting book by Phillip K Dick titled "The Man in the High Castle." It was originally billed to me as a "science fiction," which is not my thing, but I soon found it was "science fiction" the loose, Kurt Vonnegut sense of the term. I later found it described as an "alternate history novel."

The premise of the story is that it is the mid 1960's in the United States, but the Axis Powers won World War Two. The story follows many different characters as they wander through the Germany and Japan occupied United States of America. There are lots of interesting twists and turns and the book is fairly well written, although I think the main selling point is the mind bending ideas more than some breathtaking prose.

It is a pretty good book that is interesting and may be a good book to pass some time during these upcoming winter months if you are so inclined.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Awesome Shows Friday in MPLS

Tonight provides an embarassment of riches for local live music fans in Minneapolis. There are 5 solid shows that will give you an amazing amount of bang for your buck. If you are willing to brave the cold, there is something for you at one of these shows.
Absent Arch (CD release) + A Paper Cup Band + The Glad Version- Triple Rock 9PM $6
Absent Arch is a band that is rising fast through some pretty feverent word of mouth in the Minneapolis scene, and tonight may be their coming out party. They play dramatic lo-fi indie folk music that is heavy on dramatic vocals and has some great songwriting.
Three really strong bands play at the Hexagon, one of the best venues to see local music. They constantly bring great and diverse lineups in and never charge a cover. Military Speciail are slinky electronic rock, Gosepl Gossip are a drony, female led indie Rock and Roll group with a new wave edge and Ouija Radio are balls to the wall classic rock with an amazing frontwoman.
Vampire Hands are one of my favorite local bands. Their music is abstract but still functions within the pop realm and is a glorious mess live. Their last CD, Me and You Cherry Red, is one of my top local releases of 08 and is highly recommended.

A really solid line-up top to bottom. The Evening Rig and Western Fifth both play rough around the edges alt-country rock. Kid Dakota play more dramatic indie rock, but they will fit in nicely with this great bill.

Dance Band (EP release)/Lucy Michelle & VL- Cedar Cultural Center 7PM $10
Dance Band make joke-y dance music and have a Har Mar Superstar sense of humor (i.e fat guys in no shirts). Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lappells are nothing like them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Well, count me in with the people who think Chinese Democracy blows. I was never a big GNR fan; in fact I have always kind of thought Axl was a blowhard, but I just can't get this CD. After reading a couple good reviews I thought I should give it a shot, but I could have probably described what I thought of it before I even heard it. Axl never seems to stretch himself too far from my pre-set expectations. It is unnecessarily bombastic, forced down your throat simple, stylistically out of date and his voice still pisses me off. I know this band is lots of 30 somethings Rolling Stones, but I hope this album makes people realize that they made one good album, and that was "good" in the context of the shit hole vortex that was popular music in the late 80's. I would like this album a lot if I thought he was joking, but after 17 years, you have to realize this is his clear vision of good, which is scary. Hopefully this album bombs and he goes away. Stream the album for free HERE if you are a glutton for pain.
One good thing did come from this disaster of an album, which is that I got to read some new Chuck Klosterman. He is an author I have always really liked and I think I could read him argue for the merits of the Franco government in pre World War 2 Spain and find it funny and entertaining. I am excited to read his new (and first) novel, Downtown Owl, when the assholes who have it now finally return it to the Minneapolis library. I can honestly recommend any and all of his previous non-fiction work to anyone who enjoyed the review or anyone who likes snarky commentary written by an opinionated jerk (are there any other types of opinionated people?) who has an interesting way of framing just about every situation. It doesn't even bother me that he gave the album an A-, I am still laughing at him comparing the album to a unicorn.

First Ave Thanksgiving Event

The wonderful folks at First Ave just sent out an announcement about their second annual Too Much Turkey event that they will be having on Thanksgiving day. I will let their press release explain this really cool event.

Can’t make it home for the holiday? First Avenue has got you covered as we team up with Radio K to present the 2nd Annual Too Much Turkey free Thanksgiving dinner at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry on Thursday, November 27, 2008.
Please join us in the mainroom for a full Thanksgiving dinner catered by The Meadows Café and our friends at Rock Bottom Brewery. We will be spinning the music of our Too Much Love DJ, Sovietpanda, while you eat to your hearts content.

WHAT: The 2nd Annual Too Much Turkey free Thanksgiving dinner at First Avenue WHO: All Ages-Open To The Public
WHEN: Thursday, November 27, 2008 5-8pm
WHERE: First Avenue, 701 First Avenue North, Minneapolis
HOW: or just show up!
WHY: It’s a completely FREE dinner! Why not?!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Horse Feathers

Here is a new video from the band Horse Feathers playing their song "Curs in the Weeds." For those of you at their show with Blitzen Trapper a few weeks ago, now you can hear what they sound like without the ocean of noise washing over them.

Cool Benefit Show

Gotta love the benefit shows. You get the dobule whammy of seeing some great live and local music and you can feel good about yourself by donating to a great local cause. I will drink to that. (Thanks for MFR for the tip)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rosebuds/Magafaun @ Turf Club

My review of the Rosebuds/Megafaun show is now up over at Culture Bully. Check it out HERE. There are some very cool pics/videos from Jon and Brody that do a great job capturing the amazing show from Sunday night.

Deerhunter @ Triple Rock

Who would have thought that missing a band member could end up being a good thing? Last night Deerhunter were missing a member due to a stomach flu, and they came out sounding strong and played a great show.

The show started off with some monitor issues for lead singer Bradford Cox, which had me a little nervous that the whole show would fall off the rails based on some crazy stories I had heard, but that was not the case at all. Without their fifth member to do more sound manipulation, the band had an even stronger Sonic Youth type sound than they do on record. They still had their Spaceman 3 type psychedelic noise explosions, but it was in a more restrained, focused fashion. Their musical arrangements were streamlined and sounded both lean and massive at the same time. After he got his monitor situation figured out, Cox was a great frontman and was very receptive to the audience and seemed to be buoyed by the warm reception that crowd was giving them. The band played material off of their last two LPs, Microcastle and Cryptograms, and their two kind-of EPs, Weird Era and Florescent Grey, that have been released during that time or as add ons to their albums. Cox was a wizard with his pedal board and had both his guitar and vocals sounding like whirling ghosts interpreting the best of indie rock from the last 20 years. The rest of the band was rock solid and definitely lived up to the enormous hype that surrounds that band.

Openers Time New Viking, another highly lauded indie rock band, did not fare so well. The last time I saw them was an in-store at Treehouse Records, which they arrived late for and their performance had a underwhelming feel to it. I blamed that show on the fact that they had to jump out of their van right after driving and were expected to wow us with a show. This time they did not have that excuse. Like last time, they came across as simply boring and unimaginative. For a band that can sound so explosive and bombastic on CD, they come across with a whimper live. Their guitar/drums/keyboards minimalistic set up combined with some lackluster stage presence left me wanting much more. Even on the upbeat songs they seemed to lose the attention of the majority of the crowd. In the opposite manor of Deerhunter, they showed how it is possible to mine your influences and come across flat footed and completely unimaginative.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Pitchfork Darlings Deerhunter will be headlining a show tonight at the Triple Rock Social Club with openers Times New Vikings. Deerhunter will play their broken pop/ambient noise mix in what should at worst be an interesting event and at best be really sweet. Times New Vikings are more striaghforward noisy garage rock a la Guided by Voices. Doors at 9.

Drive By Truckers/The Hold Steady @ 1st Ave

(Photo by Tom Wallace @ the Star Trib...the rest of the set HERE)

I feel it would be ingenious to write a review of the Drive By Truckers/Hold Steady show on Saturday night for multiple reasons, not least of which was the fact that I was drunk at the show. That being said, Hold Steady were good as usual, although it was not one of my favorite shows by them. This wasn't completly suprising since their latest CD was my least favorite they have made, but it was still a Hold Steady show. Craig Finn bounced around stage and the rest of the band churned out their gloriously messy rock and roll.

Like the Hold Steady, it was not the best show I have seen by the Drive by Truckers, but it was still really good and the band seemed energized by the very receptive crowd. The encore was great with the Hold Steady coming out and playing with the Truckers ending with a rousing version of "Rocking in the Free World" which really brough the house down. Some shaky video can be seen HERE. With the amount of heavily intoxicated people at the show, maybe the shaky, out of focus video is the best representation of the show you might find. Do you think Craig Finn is having fun up there?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sat Night Shows

I had every intention of putting up a Friday night shows thing yesterday with all of the great shows around the city last night, but alas, it never came to be. Saturday night isn't too shabby either.

Hold Steady/Drive By Truckers- First Ave SOLD OUT
The first night of the "Rock and Roll Means Well" tour brings two of America's best live bands to the best live venue in Minneapolis. Should be great.

Brian Wilson-State Theatre
The Beach Boys legend will be playing supporting his latest release, That Lucky Old Sun.

Lookbook- 7th Street Entry
This great local electronic duo will be playing a show to celebrate the release of their new EP.

One of my favorite local poster spots will be opening their doors and letting people in for a gathering celebrating their work.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blitzen Trapper/Horse Feathers/These United States

So I may be a day late and a dollar short on this review, but even a week after the show I am going to get my review up, damnit. The show, featuring headliners Blitzen Trapper and openers Horse Feathers and These United States, was too good not to be documented with my two cents.

The show started with the boisterous alt-country of These United States. Their music was an infectious blend of Americana lyrics with driving rhythms from the three piece band. Their songs had the haunted air of classic folk numbers but never felt like retreads and they left everything they had up on the stage. They were an exciting and engaging band and I look forward to checking out their CD's.

Next up was an equally talented band, although they did not translate so well live at the sold out Turf Club. Horse Feathers are a west coast band with a laid back, Bonnie "Prince" Billy/Iron and Wine type sound. Their hushed ballads are crushingly beautiful and their music swells and crashes on their gorgeous new record, House with no Home. Unfortunately, at 10 PM on a Saturday night, after a racus set by TUS, their sound got lost in a sea of voices. The Turf Club is just small enough that if the back quarter of the room feels like talking (or is too drunk to know they are talking), it can be pretty loud. That being said, they still sounded good. They are a three piece with acoustic guitar backed by two string players. I hope to see them again soon, hopefully in a better, more welcoming setting.

Last up were the band that caused the place to sell out. Last time I saw Blitzen Trapper, it was at the smaller 7th Street Entry and they ended up getting blown out of the water, performance wise, by openers Fleet Foxes. This time was much different. What changed? Was is simply that Fleet Foxes are such an amazing band that seeing them for the first time in a tiny room was a transformational experience for everyone and there was nothing Blitzen Trapper could have done to top it? I think this may be it, but a lot of the praise should lay at the feet of their great new album, Furr. I have been a big fan of their previous work, but a sober look at the new record compared with their previous work shows a great improvement and a stirring growth. The songs have more depth and play out in a more dramatic fashion. I think this confidence has translated to their live show as well. They know they created a great disc and the fans Saturday night really showed their appreciation to their music. Of course their "hit", "Furr", which is played to death on the Current, may have brought people in, but that is OK since it is such a great song. They relied heavily on their new disc and through in a couple of the best songs from their previous disc, Wild Mountain Nation. The band really played to their strengths, which are melodic, alt country leaning Pavement jams. They had the audience completely engaged for their hour-plus set and even threw in a Dolly Parton acapella cover for their encore. They had the look of a band who had finally hit their stride and will be in a position to be creating great music for a long time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Upcoming Music

Two great bands announced today that they will be releasing some new music in the near future. The funny thing is that they are two bands that I saw right next door to each other on a warm August night this fall, which you can read about HERE.

First up is quasi local act (and full throttle local hero) Bon Iver releasing news via his website that he will be releasing a 4 song EP titled Blood Bank. The EP will be his first released material since his amazing For Emma, Forever Ago, which as you know catapulted him to fortune and fame ( least the fame, but hopefully fortunes too). The disc will be out on Jagjaguwar January 20th, a day which is already going to be awesome.
Blood Bank EP:
1. Blood Bank
2. Beach Baby
3. Babys
4. Woods
The other news comes courtesy of my current hero Dan Boeckner and his wife, otherwise known as the Handsome Furs, who announced they will be releasing their sophomore album on Sub Pop in February of 2009. Their debut album, Plague Park, was excellent and their live show featured many new songs that sounded really good and have me very excited to hear the new record.

Concert News

Hot-shot indie pop singer Lykke Li will be coming to Minneapolis in a few months. The show will be on Sunday, Februrary 8th at the Varsity Theatre. It is 15 plus (yes 15) and it will set you back a cool $20. I would imagine, even at that price, the show will sell out, so get on the tickets when they go on sale tommorow at 11 am.

Patterson Hood In-Store

If you missed out on tickets for the Hold Steady/Drive By Truckers extravaganza commencing this weekend, you have another chance. Patterson Hood, lead singer of the DBT will be playing a free In-Store at the wonderful Treehouse Records in Minneapolis. The free event is taking place Sunday at 2PM.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thursday Show

The latest installment of the Minneseries, an ongoing event where one band headlines each Thursday for one month at the Nomad Pub, features the local talents of Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapells for the wonderful month of November. Each free show will offer different sets of opening bands, and tonight's show is one of the strongest of this month with Sarah Johnson, Bouncer Fighter and Military Special opening. I saw Military Special and LC& VL a few months ago at the Hex and it was a really fun show. Should be a great time and you can't beat the price.

Gang Gang Dance with Marnie Stern at the 7th St Entry, Nov 4th

This review was written by Chris Hontos.
Few bands are eminently qualified to perform on election night. Or rather, few bands are qualified to perform on the most recent election night, in which the streets of Minneapolis (and everywhere else) were awash with hugs, cheers, yells and impromptu celebrations of all varieties. Sure, Bob Dylan or whatever was playing at Northrop but who really cares about him still?
Marnie Stern's manic positivity was the perfect jumpstart for an evening of unprecedented mass joy. She played after the free champagne was handed out, which came after the announcement that Barack Obama had officially been declared president.The crowd's elation was matched by Stern's incredible sense of positivity; when she plays her songs it is with great enthusiasm and a boundless sense of positivity. Her songs are shredfests made in homage to the happiness and wonder of life; and also to the inhuman capabilities of one woman and one guitar. The set was done up Ramones-style, 1-2-3-4, no breaks - just a seemingly endless melange of uplifting part after part of intricate fingertapping and manic drumming. "Fucking OBAMA Right?" she said at one point, all smiles, to volumes of cheers and whistles. On any other night it would have seemed strange that she was so happy, and perhaps her songs wouldn't have felt so right, but that night it was the perfect soundtrack.

There are two types of jam bands - the ones that "noodle" for hours on end and the ones that use improvisation as a jumping point for truly mindblowing exercises in musicianship. Gang Gang Dance is one of the latter, but lest anyone have any illusions - they are indeed a jamband. A very good jam band. Eschewing the more structured, glossy incantations of their newest and most accessible release "Saint Dymphna", for the powerful tranced out jams of this live session was a good choice. The album is inconsistently weak due to its lack of experimentation but this live set had incredible power as the songs would alternately form, rise out of nothing and materialize, then be deconstructed into a globby mass sound as it rose again into another song. Much has been made of GGD's world-music aesthetic, but beside the vaguely tribal drumming and Bjork-like wordless (worldless?)shriek of Lizzi Bougatsos, it was clear that the only aesthetic these Brooklynites adhere to is the sound banks on their numerous keyboards. At times it was like a demonstration of what can be achieved through the use of modern effects boxes, samplers, laptops, drum pads and synthesizers. But at other times, when it all came together, it was totally amazing. GGD probably want you to think they're from another planet where all musics are one and weirdness is a universal truth, but they were particularly down to earth on that night. For an encore set they played a raucous dance rave-up that lasted about 10 minutes.The remaining audience loved it.

Kick Ass T-Shirt

Check out my new threads. This exquisite piece of art was made for me by my talented friend Adam. Maybe someday when I get my shit together I will have him make some more and then I can spread the word about this blog one t-shirt at a time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Backyard Tent Set

My review of the new Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps album Backyard Tent Set is up over at Culture Bully HERE.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Very Best Mixtape

So after hearing Chris from Gorillavsbear talk about all things Esau Mwamwaya for the last couple months, one could feel a little burnt out. Luckily for him (and us I suppose), the music he has been putting out has been really good. His latest stuff, with the DJ team Radioclit, is under the title The Very Best. They recently released a free Mixtape called...wait for it....The Very Best Mix Tape. It can be best described as an indie Afro pop version of the popular hip hop mix tape genre. What that means is that there are a few originals, some cover songs and a overall collection of songs that range from breathtakingly great to some tracks that sound rehashed and thrown together. Like all great artists who put out mix tapes, The Very Best has enough strong material to carry the weaker, more repetitive songs across the finish line to create a great collection that is probably stronger than most bands real albums. The songs have a strong pop sense and have a great warmth to them. The cover obviously bears influence to the movie Lion King, which could come across as cheesy, but on a sincere album like this that is full of uplifting music, it somehow works perfectly.

The covers (in a loose term) come from every genre and include music from the Beatles, Vampire Weekend, Architecture In Helsinki , Michael Jackson, MIA and more. The three members of the Very Best are joined by artists including MIA, the Ruby Suns and Santagold over the course of the album. One of the very best (no pun intended) songs is the first single that GVB put up titled "Dinosaur on the Ark". The song is a brimming pop song that is both surreal and uplifting. I have had a few days at work where I put this song on repeat and just check out mentally for a few minutes. The whole album is really good and well worth your time to check out (it is also that is cool too). Click the link below to download the entire mix tape and check out "Dinosaur on the Ark" below too. (Both from the original GVB post from a few weeks back)

Local Band Showcase

Last Thursday four up and coming local bands took the stage at the 7th Street Entry in a show that highlighted the many strengths of the local music scene. Since I am already late in writing about the show, I am going to keep it short and sweet.
  • First up were Daughters of the Sun. Daughters of the Sun are a 4 piece band that sound like a more psychedelic Animal Collective. They are structured in the classic guitar/bass/drums set up, but they do it in a unique way. They were at their best when played were pounding floor drums and guitars were swirling and their mad cap vocals were spinning through the speakers. They are always a fun act to see live.
  • Next up was WHG favorite Private Dancer (pictured above). I have been spinning their debut CD a lot in the last couple months and their set was mostly songs from that CD, so I was happy. They range from bombastic , almost Les Savy Fav type rock to moody, Explosions in the Sky esqe instrumental tracks. The band is one of my favorite new MPLS bands and it is worth checking out both their CD and their live show.
  • Third up were His Mischief. His Mischief are a British rock centric three piece who played the most straightforward music of the night. Their myspace page lists them as sounding like Spoon covering Queen, which is pretty much dead on. They also had the most energetic set and the crowd seemed to really enjoy them. I am looking forward to checking them out even more.
  • Last up were garage revivalist France Has the Bomb. Minneapolis's answer to the Black Lips, France Has the Bomb played grinding and angular rock and roll that was a perfect end to the night. Their music takes a simple form of music and adds buzzing layers to create some great music. They are a band that has rightfully earned a spot as one of the best Minneapolis rock bands.

Overall, you could not ask for much more on a Thursday night as far as a rock show goes. The show is just the tip of the iceberg as far as MPLS talent goes and shows how many great bands there are right now in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Make sure to check out live and local music whenever you can, I will be you won't be disappointed.

Solid Gold @ the Varsity

After leaving Little Joy Friday night, I headed over to the Varsity to check out the CD release show for local group Solid Gold. It was a great show and you can read all about it at CB (HERE) with some excellent photos (including above) from David de Young of How Was The Show fame. Enjoy.

Little Joy @ Station 4

My review of the Little Joy show last Friday is now up over at Culture Bully HERE with some great photos (including the one above) from Brody from the great local blog British Rock is Always Top . The band, featuring Strokes drummer Fab Moretti and Rodrigo Amarante from Los Hermanos, played a spirited 45 minute set with openers Dead Trees and local group Spiritual Mansions.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Solid Gold

My review of Solid Gold Bodies of Water is up HERE at Culture Bully. Check it out. The album is great and is on its way to being one of my top ten local release of the year.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Night Shows

If you haven't heard, there is apparently some election or something tomorrow, but don't let some silly event like that get in the way of seeing some great shows Tuesday night.

Bob Dylan- Northrup
Some folk singer is playing a show on the U of M campus. Probably some hippie bullshit.

Marnie Stern/Gang Gang Dance- 7th Street Entry
The most interesting and eclectic show of the evening features recent Best New Music recipient and newly minted "shredder" Marnie Stern with the always interesting and noisy Gang Gang Dance. Should be awesome.

Von Bondies- Turf Club
The lead singer of the band, best known for having his face used by Jack White as a punching bag, apparently also fronts a garage rock band. Good for him.

Dungen- 400 Bar
Really, what celebrates American democracy better than some stoners from Sweden rocking out to face melting psychedelic music on election night? Add in WHG favor ties Vampire Hands and Gospel Gossip and you have my vote.
All joking about the election aside, remember to vote people......I am not here to lecture you about who I think is best, although I have not hid who I support. No matter who you are supporting, don't be a jackass and not vote. If 8PM rolls around tomorrow night and you have not punched a ballot, you lose all privileges to bitch and moan for the next four years and I will punch you in the go vote.

Thrift Store Finds

Shopping at Savers recently for my costume (ended up on gym teacher), I picked up a couple of really good CD's for a couple bucks each. Robyn and I go to Savers a couple times a month, and even though they are tucked into the corner, I can always find at least one CD that is worth adding to my collection for the $2.99 they charge. This time it was Parade, the last CD by local band Vicious Vicious and Gentleman, the classic Afghan Whigs album.
I have always like Vicious Viscous, with their interesting soul-funk-pop hybrid pop songs sung by front man man abot town Erik Applewick. I still occasionally come back to the great debut CD by the (Olympic) Hopefuls, Fuses Refuse to Burn, and really love his songs on that CD. I have always thought Applewick put out consistently rewarding discs, and wonder why his main work seems to fall so fall under the shadow of his other band. Either way, this is a light and fun CD that shows a great MPLS talent doing his thing.
I won't try to wax poetry about what makes the Afghan Whigs so great, but if you have any questions, I am sure my friend Bill from Sarcastic Tears (and avid AW fan) would be able to answer them much more eloquently then myself. All I know is that I finally have a physical copy of this unbelievably sexy and funky CD that in a just world would be one of the most well known and respected CD's of the 90's. It never ceases to bring a smile to my face when I hear the immortal line from Whigs front man Greg Dulli when he so delicately croons the line that every woman would love to hear.... "I got a dick for a brain, and this brain is going to sell my ass to you." He is a hopeless romantic. If you have not heard this amazing CD, check it out asap.

Solid Gold/Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps

I just recieved copies of both the upcoming Solid Gold CD, Bodies of Water and the new Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps, Backyard Tent Set, and both are excellent. Full reviews will be coming shortly (probably on Culture Bully), but there may be two new additions to my year end best of local music list. Check them out.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mucho Mojo Baby

Mucho Mojo Baby, the debut CD by the Smoking Rolo Sideshow, is a winding experience that encapsulates many different genres in its 60 minute life span. The sonic landscape of the CD is littered with a conglomerate of influences that come together to create a cohesive and powerful CD. For a majority of the disc, the guitars are slicing buzz saws, with a strong rhythm sections driving the Queens of the Stone Age like songs forward. Ben Greener takes lead vocals on most of the songs, putting his Nick Cave like gallows humor wit to good use.

Many of the best songs, including songs like “Get over it” and “eL rO shambO” are rumbling time bombs that draw out the strengths of the band, leading with the almost Sonic Youth like guitars and Greener’s commanding vocals. Songs like “Torn to Pieces” bear a resemblance to mid nineties alternative rock and offer a good change of pace from the harder rocking other numbers. One of my favorite songs from the album, the unnamed number that comes at the end of the disc, is also one of the most straightforward songs on the album and has a simple guitar part with Greener’s vocals sounding great.

The CD is a great success and really keeps the listeners attention for the duration. Harder edged indie rock is not always my favorite genre, but this CD brings the elements I love in music (great lyrics, lots of guitars and propulsive rhythms) and presents them in a unique and challenging way that should bring in listeners from genres across the board to appreciate the great songs that the Smoking Rolo Sideshow have put together on Mucho Mojo Baby.