Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Liars - "Houseclouds" Video


Just got this Liars jame in video format.

(Ian Anderson)

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The Glad Version - "Ambulance"


Minneapolis-locals The Glad Version made an endearing video for "Ambulance," their first single off of "Make Islands," which came out this week. The best part is when they jump up the stairs, classic.

MySpace

(Ian Anderson)

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Video: The Octopus Project, "Truck"



(YouTube, via Pitchfork)

(Jonathan Graef)

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RIP Robert Goulet


(Bobby Darin and Robert Goulet on "The Andy Williams Show")



(Will Ferrell doing "Robert Goulet Raps" on "Saturday Night Live")


Details here. Goulet was 73 years old. Up top is a video of Bobby Darin and Robert Goulet live on the Andy Williams and below that is a classic satirization of Goulet by Will Ferrell.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: The Mountain Goats At The 400 Bar

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Live Review: Tartufi, Lion's Pause, Northfield, MN



(Photo by Ryan Kitson)
Download: Tartufi - "Ebenezer You Are Rotten"
Download: Tartufi - "Until The Ocean Swallows Stars"

I lived in San Francisco for the summer. While I was there, I tried to see Tartufi a bunch of times. But I never got to, considering the Bay Area is the worst place ever to be under 21.

Good thing St. Olaf College is a hotspot for random independent talent, because I got to check out Tartufi for free, without getting bounced for being too young. I don't say it enough: College is marvy.

Now, Now Every Children was booked to open the show. They had to drop due to a couple of their members being in high school and not being allowed to stay out late on school nights. As disappointing as that was, their sound would have been totally complementary to that of Tartufi, but I know how it goes. No one wants to get grounded before the big Sadie Hawkins dance.

But whatever. Another blog buzz band might have been a little too hip. Tartufi was, after all, voted San Fransisco's Best Independent Act by the San Francisco Bay Guardian reader's poll. It's a big honor, considering the vibrant cultural scene in the Bay Area.

So do they live up to the hype? I think so. I can be hard to please (just a little, honestly), but there's nothing I love more than a band with a good sense of mayhem. And Lynne Angel and Brian Gorman were two of the most entropic performers ever.

You know a show is going to be chill and wacky when the band asks everyone to whip out their cell phones and call a buddy to come to the show. After a couple minutes of chipper stage banter, the silence broke and Tartufi unleashed a blitz of twisting, turning schizophrenic rock songs.

Drawing heavily from 2006's Us Upon Building Upon Us, Gorman and Angel forced ther way through epic masterpieces that would please everyone from fans of jangly, Modest Mouse-like pop rock to the precisely calculated pseudo prog rock of The Mars Volta. Lead singer/yodeler channeled a little bit of Animal Collective's acid freak camp counselor style vocals, while drummer Brian Gorman slammed away on his drums and got totally Jeff Mangum on a megaphone.

I think what really kept the duo afloat was the fact that they each do so much. Angel would riff on one guitar, record it on a guitar pedal, drop the guitar, grab a bass and do it all over again. I admire their ability to do so much without having a large band. Gorman busted out the glockenspiel and megaphone at several junctures, which generally guarantees either a good time or an absolute musical failure rivaled only by the inclusion of pan flutes in a rock song. Luckily for the audience, Gorman knows how to rock the glock, and we were treated to some whimsical little interludes in between fast-paced flurries of notes.

The two of them have an absolutely darling dynamic (they hugged after the show, and I was pretty much cuted-out), and that's something worth preserving – even if you have to play two or three instruments in one song.

There was a little bit of drag in the middle of the show owing to the drawn-out wails of Angel's vocals that start to blend together a little bit after a while. The set was also a bit short, clocking in at about an hour. But it was a really good hour, so I can't really complain.

Tartufi currently has two full-length releases, Us Upon Building Upon Us and 2005's So We Are Alive, as well as two E.Ps. I highly recommend Us Upon Building Upon Us, which showcases tighter songwriting and more excitable jams than its predecessor. All their releases can be ordered through their website.

MySpace Page

(April Wright)

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Dethklok - "Duncan Hills Coffee"



The popularity of this genius ruse is just glorious. The most interesting aspect of this metal experiment is that it simply proves that if you rock, you will win people over -- even if you sing about coffee.

Dethklok on MySpace

(Ian Anderson)

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Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - Scotland Yard Gospel Choir


Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir (Bloodshot, 2007)
Grade: B+

Download: Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - "Aspidistra"
Download: Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - "I Never Though I Could Feel This"

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the self-titled second album by Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, a chamber-folk-punk band based in Chicago that owe quite a big debt to groups like Bright Eyes and Belle and Sebastian, should be considered as the most complimentary album of the year. That may sound like backhanded praise, but all one has to do is listen to the ecstatically bright opening chords of “Aspidistra” to know that while Scotland Yard Gospel Choir may not be reinventing the indie-pop wheel, they’re doing their part to make sure that the world has plenty of highly melodious, intelligently written songs.

This self-titled record is their first album in four years, so it’s no surprise that Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, both the album and the band, decide to put their best foot forward. The first five songs off of Choir are spunky blasts of energy in the form of the most concise songs one could possibly hear. Furthermore, group leader Elia Einhorn writes savagely self-deprecating lyrics such as “If something went wrong/well, it was always my fault/and if something went right/then I was never involved”.

However, when Scotland Yard Gospel Choir tries to strive for the twee introspection, a la Belle and Sebastian, the record falters, mostly because songs like "Pins and Needles" do all to well of a job reminding the listener of their inspirations. After a little while, listening to the band begins to feel like listening to a copy of a copy, and we all know how well those turn out.

Fortunately, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir doesn't wear out its welcome, coming in at a brisk nine songs in 25 minutes. With their second album, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir show that they are quite capable of preaching to their own, so long as they do not revel too much in their inspirations. and stick to keen songwriting over melancholy wistfulness.

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir will be playing a 21+ show at the Triple Rock on Dec. 10th. Show starts at nine and tickets can be purchased here

(Jonathan Graef)

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Math and Physics Club/The Hermit Crabs


Math And Physics Club

Download: Math and Physics Club - "Baby, I'm Yours"

I'm going to be honest: I got interested in Math and Physics Club because of they're name. Kind of like I started liking We Are Scientists before I even heard their music because nothing could ever be better than a band of science nerds.

Good thing they live up to the name. MPC plays way-cute twee pop that belies the fact that they're from Seattle. Their new E.P., Baby, I'm Yours hit stores last week. This is one of those situations in which I wish I could say that it exploded and everyone bought the E.P. and all was right in the world, but that didn't happen.

But you should buy Baby, I'm Yours. And you should play it for every cute boy or girl you meet. The title track is great fun; it's a little Belle & Sebastian and a little bit swing dance (minus swing nerds in fedoras and full 1940's garb). "Darling Please Come Home" is the other new track on the E.P., and it's pretty much the sonic equivalent of a really sweet, unexpected kiss on a pretty day. Reading back over that, I think I might be going a little DiCrescenzo in my old age. Ouch.

The E.P. also features two older songs ("In This Together" and "Nothing Really Happened") that never made it on to their previous albums.


The Hermit Crabs

Download: The Hermit Crabs - "Friend's Folk Festival"

I'm going to be honest again: I got interested in MPC's labelmates The Hermit Crabs because of their name, too. And they don't disappoint, either. The Hermit Crabs are another twee band, but I think they're even cuter than Math and Physics Club. Their songs jangle along super sweetly, and lead singer Melanie Whittle has a gorgeous voice. Fans of Camera Obscura and The Essex Green will find something to love in this Scottish quintet (alternatively, they might totally hate them for sounding too similar).

Their first full-length, Saw You Dancing, was released last week and can be ordered here.

The Hermit Crabs MySpace Page
TMC doesn't have am official MySpace, so here's their label's MySpace: Matinee Reocrdings MySpace Page

(April Wright)

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New Annuals - "Nah Keyseyi"



(Photo by Sarah Wilmer)

Download: Annuals - "Nah Keseyi"

Annuals have a digital-only EP called Frelen Mas coming out a week from today (Nov. 6th). The record is a collection of 8 B-Sides from the Be He Me sessions. Earlier in the year, the North Carolina sextet posted their cover of the standard spiritual "Sweet Low, Sweet Chariot". Last night, the band posted a new MP3 from the set. The track is called "Nah Keyseyi" and it's a great example of the kind of accessible genre-experimentation that the band does best.

With regard to "Nah Keyseyi", the genres are world music, country-western, alt-rock and marching band. The track begins with some atonal sound collages before settling into Adam Baker's chants of the title, under slide pedal guitar. From there, Annuals settle into rat-a-tat horns and a driving two-step beat, along with the layered production that characterized Be He Me songs like "Dry Clothes". Ultimately, "Nah Keyseyi" sounds like something Devendra Banhart might have written for his high school pep rally.

You can listen to the song at the top of this post or at the band's
MySpace Page. Furthermore, Annuals will be playing the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis with touring pals Manchester Orchestra on Nov. 7th. The show is all-ages and starts at 6:30. Tickets can be bought here

MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Video: Butterfly Explosion - "Next Year"



Dublin-based shoegazers Butterfly Explosion have posted the new video for their track "Next Year" on YouTube. The video does a good job of balancing humor and pathos - the whole video suggests absurdity on the level of Monty Python, particularly when the runner goes to fill himself up on diesel. And yet, there is a great deal of sadness in that final shot where the runner realizes he can't keep running. All the way, the band appear to be in the middle of a junkyard rocking out randomly. That part of the video doesn't work so well, but this was clearly made on a low budget. Still, the clip is funny and imaginative, sort of like the video for "Karma Police" re-imagined as a quirky comedy like Stranger Than Fiction. See for yourself at the top of the post

MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Ponys on "All Things Considered"


Speaking of The Ponys, the band, currently touring with Spoon, had their concert recorded by NPR's All Things Considered. The set was recorded at Washington D.C.'s the 9:30 Club. Listen here.

(Jonathan Graef)

*If you are in a band (Minneapolis/Chicago-based or otherwise) and want to send out a record or MP3, please contact me at jon@minneapolisfuckingrocks.com.

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Chin Up Chin Up and The Ponys Hit the Road Hand-In-Hand


Download: Chin Up Chin Up - "This Harness Can't Ride Anything"
Download: The Ponys - "Double Vision"

Chicago power-houses Chin Up Chin Up and The Ponys are taking to the streets starting Nov. 2 with a few weeks of shows. Granted, they are missing Minneapolis, but if they are gracing your town with their jingle jangle jangle, don't miss them, because both bands will be retreating into the studio after the trek.

11.02.07 - Kansas City, MO (Record Bar)
11.03.07 - Denver, CO (Larimer Lounge)
11.04.07 - Salt Lake City, UT (Urban Lounge)
11.05.07 - Missoula, MT (The Badlander)
11.06.07 - Seattle, WA (The Crocodile)
11.07.07 - Vancouver, BC (Richards On Richards)
11.08.07 - Portland, OR (Dante's)
11.09.07 - San Francisco, CA (12 Galaxies)
11.10.07 - Los Angeles, CA (Echoplex)
11.11.07 - Las Vegas, NV (Beauty Bar)
11.14.07 - Austin, TX (The Mohawk)
11.15.07 - Denton, TX (Rubber Gloves)
11.16.07 - Memphis, TN (Hi Tone)
11.17.07 - Bloomington, IL (Paulies)

Chin Up Chin Up on MySpace
The Ponys on MySpace

(Ian Anderson)

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Andrew Bird Daytrotter Session


Sean at Daytrotter just posted a great piece and session with Andrew Bird. Here's how it begins.

"There’s a farmhouse somewhere out amongst the harvested, chewed up and spit out corn and soybean stalks and stems just an hour north of here, near the tri-state area of northwestern Illinois, where Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin meet, with Andrew Bird’s name on it."

Here's where it continues: Daytrotter.

(Ian Anderson)

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New St. Vincent Video - "Jesus Saves, I Spend"




YouTube, via Pitchfork)

Check out this video for one of my favorite tracks of Marry Me.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: Octopus Project At The 7th Street Entry



Download: The Octopus Project - "I Saw The Brigght Shinies"
Download: The Octopus Project - "Snow Tip Cap Mountain"
Download: The Octopus Project - "Vanishing Lessons"

Tonight at the 7th Street Entry blog buzz band
The Octopus Project will be playing a 21+ show. The band is touring behind its just-released third album, Hello, Avalanche. Look for an MFR review tomorrow. Tickets are 8 dollars, both in advance and at the door. Opening will be Beatrix Jar and Unicorn Basement.

MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

*600th post!

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Drunk and Exhausted Mix




Download: Wilco - "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart"
Download: The Hold Steady - "Stuck Between Stations"
Download: Gogol Bordello - "Alcohol"
Download: The Mountain Goats - "This Year"
Download: We All Have Hooks For Hands - "Elvis _MF_ Christ"
Download: Neutral Milk Hotel - "Holland, 1945"
Download: A Night In The Box - "The Hustler"
Download: Flogging Molly - "Tobacco"
Download: Willie Nelson - "Whiskey River"
Download: Modest Mouse - "Dukes Up"

Midterms are over and Halloween is right around the corner, but that doesn't mean any of the following cease to exist:

Drama at work
Drama with friends
Drama with significant others
Drama with your parents
Drama with this soggy-ass sandwich the school tricked you into eating
Drama with your landlord
Invasive European Starlings propagating in your front yard

But you know what? You're exhausted. You deserve a drink. Leave me a comment, I'll critically acclaim you, and you can be well on your way to being a character in a Hold Steady song.

So, go ahead, get a little light in the heady with these songs.

(April Wright)

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Modest Mouse - "People As Places As People" Video



I'm super weirded out by this video. I mean, at the heart of it, it's the same old "Girl falls in love with tree, jealous Dad kills tree, girl goes nuts" story, but doesn't Modest Mouse realize that you don't drink the sap of conifers? While I'm not so big on Maple syrup, pine tree syrup would be vom-worthy.

This is the fourth video off of We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. The others were "Dashboard," "Missed the Boat" and "Little Motel." Check 'em out below.



"Dashboard"



"Missed the Boat"



"Little Motel"

Thanks to Stereogum for the heads up.

(April Wright)

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Natalie Portman Curates Charity iTunes Mix


Download: Antony And The Johnsons - "Fistful Of Love"
Download: M. Ward - "Chinese Translation"
Download: Devendra Banhart - "This Beard Is For Siobhan"
Download: Beirut - "Cliquot"

Natalie Portman has good taste and a big heart

Natalie Portman is putting together a 16-track compilation to benefit FINCA International. The net profits from the iTunes-only mix will go to help low-income entrepreneurs in other countries, the idea being that the grants will create home-grown solutions to poverty.

Yeah, ok, money and numbers and stuff. But who's on the mix? Just some little bands, you know, people you probably haven't heard of…like, oh, Beirut, Antony, Devendra, and M. Ward.

Bitchin.'

Up top is Natalie as I'll always know her.

(April Wright)

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The Cotton Jones Basket Ride - "Had Not A Body"


Download: The Cotton Jones Basket Ride - "Had Not A Body"

Page France frontman Michael Nau has taken a step back from his two years of paging duties to focus on his side project The Cotton Jones Basket Ride. With the support of indie label Quite Scientific, his new album "Paranoid Cocoon" will be out next Spring. Here is "Had Not A Body," a slow jam for the ladies off of that album.

MySpace Page

(Ian Anderson)

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CD Release Parties: Jenny Dalton At The Kitty Cat Klub; Dan Israel At The Varsity



Download: Jenny Dalton - "Bad Day Vs. Nytwowl"
Download: Dan Israel - "News To Me"
Download: Martin Devaney - "Mockingbird Wish Me Luck"
Download: Stook - "When It All Comes Crashing Down"

Two of Minneapolis's premier singer-songwriters,Jenny Dalton Dan Israel, are going to be having CD release parties tonight. Israel will be playing the Varsity Theatre, along with Martin Devaney and Stook, and celebrating the release of his ninth album Turning. Dalton will be playing at the Kitty Cat Klub in support of her CD titled Carbon Lily Remixes.

Furthermore, Dalton's show doubles as a costume party, since its near Halloween and everything. I'll be going as "guy who lives 400 miles away and logistically cannot make the show". What are your costume ideas?

Details about the Israel show here and details about the Dalton show here.

Dan Israel MySpace Page
Jenny Dalton MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Saturday: To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie At Castle Greyskull

Scout Niblett - This Fool Can Die Now


Download: Scout Niblett - "Kiss"
Download: Scout Niblett - "Let Thine Heart Be Warmed"
Download: Scout Niblett - "Dinosaur Egg"

Scout Niblett
This Fool Can Die Now (Beggars/Too Pure, 2007)
Grade: B+

Scout Niblett is a hobo.

I'm sure of it. I'd be sure of it even if I didn't see her open for St. Vincent wearing a straight-jacket like most people wear hoodies. Now, I've only recently become schooled in the ways of the hobo, due to my exhaustive reading of John Hodgeman's The Areas Of My Expertise. But I think I that, in listening to Scout Niblett's fourth album, I've determined that the only way for Niblett to capture the kind of slow-burn wanderlust and aching solitude (moods which permeate Fool to a great degree) seemingly inherent in the hobo lifestyle would be if you actually spent your time riding in the back of locomotive trains with no one to talk to but a can of beans.

If you don't believe me, then listen to the weariness in Niblett's voice as she delivers the line "And how the hell did I live so long/without you by my side?" in album opener "Do You Want To Be Buried With My People?", her duet with collaborator Bonnie "Prince" Billy. The only way you can feel that desperation is if you're colloquially known as "Stewbulder Dennis."

Another reason why I believe Scout Niblett is a hobo is because in This Fool Can Die Now's quieter moments--moments where the music is disarmingly quiet, as if Kurt Cobain reinvented himself after hearing What Would The Community Think?--you feel as if she is singing right beside you. The timbre of Niblett's voice simply sends shivers down the spine, and she puts that unique talent to great use on songs such as "Kiss", "Elizabeth (Black Hearted Queen)" and "Dinosaur Egg". That last song in particular is an album highlight because of how it is humorous--the absurd image of a dinosaur serving drinks on a Friday night is worth the lyrical price of admission alone.

If there's anything to complain about This Fool Can Die Now, it's that there aren't many moments of levity like that. The album becomes a bit monotonous, though still engaging, around the middle, where a series of more introspective songs dominate the section. However, tracks like "Let Thine Heart Be Warned" make sure that the guitars are plenty heavy.

One doesn't have to carve their own currency into already-existing currency to know that Scout Niblett has a value all her own, and she lets it show on this praiseworthy album.

One last hobo reference:
Marge: Oh, Homer you're not going as a hobo again?
Homer: Going where?


MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: Bon Iver At The Uptown


Download: Bon Iver - "Flume"
Download: Bon Iver - "For Emma"
Download: Digitata - "Spring Fever"
Download: Digitata - "2 2 Tail"

Bon Iver, the Eau-Claire, WI, singer-songwriter and MFR favorite will be playing a show tonight at the Uptown Bar. Bon, or "Ben" as he is referred to on the Uptown Bar's shows page, will be opening for Minneapolis electro-poppers (sounds like a fast-food dish, no?) Digitata and Raleigh, North Carolina folk act Megafaun.Unfortunately, the rest of the Autobots cannot make it to the show.

Show is 21+ and starts at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are 5 bucks, so none of you cheap bastards have an excuse for not going.

Directions

MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bands With Extremely Distinctive Names To Play Turf Club Tonight

Download: Weedeater - "God Luck and Good Speed"

Namely, Weedeater, Minneapolis sludge-rockers Gay Witch Abortion, Count Vesuvious and St. Paul-based The Repulsors all play tonight at the Turf Club. Tickets are 6 dollars. Show starts at 9 p.m.

(Jonathan Graef)

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In Which I Make My Obligatory Remarks Regarding The Black Kids And Proceed To Get On With My Life


The Black Kids
Wizard Of Ahhhs (Self-Released, 2007)
Grade: C+

Download: The Black Kids - "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You"
Download: The Black Kids - "Hurricane Jane"

And I, for one, welcome our new precocious indie-synthpop overlords.

So I'm a bit late to The Black Kids party. But when a band such as this has been so capital-H Hyped before even putting out a record proper, I think some space is a good thing. Distance, in addition to making the heart grow fonder, does wonders for clearing one's head free of influence.

The Black Kids, for those of who do not know, sound like what would happen if you put the best of 80s synthy mope-rock - The Smiths, The Cure, New Order, et al - and put them into a blender. The band formed in March of 2006, and shortly thereafter were opening for the likes of Tilly And The Wall and Elf Power. In August of this year, the Kids played at the Athens Popfest and the band's live show was rapturously received. Since then, there have been loads of hype piled on by the music blogosphere and webzines and, since the band's CMJ performance, anti-hype. Again, this is all before The Black Kids have signed a record deal or even put out a full-length.

Which bring us back to the actual music. Is it any good?

Here's the thing about The Black Kids: The blender approach which I mentioned earlier is what gives the band's material its immediate appeal, but it also serves as Wizard of Ahhhs's ultimate downfall. While The Black Kids write some fantastic choruses--bon chance on getting "Hurricane Jane" out of your head once you hear it--it's during the verses that The Black Kids's weaknesses are revealed. Namely, that their music--which consists, for the most part, of Robert Smith-like yelping vocals, New Order style synth-and-bass driven sound, and The Smith's miserable/tongue-in-cheek lyrics--is really derivative. Not helping are trite lyrics. "Hit The Heartbrakes"? Seriously? And, from a lyrical standpoint, the less said about "I've Underestimated My Charm (Again)" (oh, tee hee hee), the better.

But we shouldn't be too harsh about the band's songwriting. The Black Kids have a good command of dynamics, which are the foundation of any great song. Tracks like the aforementioned "Hurricane Jane" (which begins like a shuffling disco song) start off quiet and gradually build to their cathartic and effective climaxes. But getting there is a chore, because when you're listening to the music, in your head you're putting together a playlist of all elements of New Wave the Kids crib from.

Which is fine for a band that's starting out, which The Black Kids are most definitely. While there's a lot of potential here, there's much more on Wizard Of Ahhhs that reminds us all to keep Public Enemy's adage of "Don't Believe The Hype" close to heart.

MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Trent Reznor Kicks It In Rainbows Style With Saul Williams Record



Download: Saul Williams - "Telegram"
Download: Trent Reznor and David Bowie - "I'm Afraid Of Americans"

Idolator's got the scoop. From the article:
Trent Reznor announced today that he'd be distributing an album via the Internet--not a new Nine Inch Nails record, but the next album by Saul Williams, The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of NiggyTardust!, which Reznor says is the "most involved I've been with any project outside NIN since Antichrist Superstar." The album's official site launched today and is now taking pre-orders for its Nov. 1 release, and in a move that bears some similarity to In Rainbows' pay-as-you-go model, people can either get it for free or "directly support the artists involved in the creation of this music" and throw Williams five bucks.


Basically, the more you pay, the better quality of MP3 you get. As far as the concept behind The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of NiggyTardust!, I'll leave that to Saul himself.

From his website:
The wall of sound that we've created is tagged with such graffiti that a passerby would seek out doors and ways to ENTER. Once inside a world defined by dreams come true they'd find aligned with the simplest act of sharing what we treasure. Most people aren't aware of the world of art and commerce where exploitation strips each artist down to nigger. Each label, like apartheid, multiplies us by our divide and whips us 'til we conform to lesser figures. What falls between the cracks is a pile of records stacked to the heights of talents hidden from the sun. Yet the energy they put into popularizing smut makes a star of a shiny polished gun. The ballot or the bullet for Mohawk or the mullet is a choice between new times and dying days. And the only way to choose is to jump ship from old truths and trust dolphins as we swim through changing ways. The ways of middlemen proves to be just a passing trend. We need no priests to talk to God. No phone to call her. And when you click the link below, i think it fair that you should know that your purchase will make middlemen much poorer...

NiggyTardust!

love,

Saul


Saul is encouraging blogs to help spread the word by copying and pasting this application here:



You should do so as well. Let's see where this experiment can go.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Pitchfork Interview With Tapes N' Tapes


(via P4K)

Download: Tapes N' Tapes - "Insistor"
Download: Tapes N' Tapes - "Omaha"

Pitchfork checks in with Tapes N' Tapes to see how album number two is coming along. Read that bad boy here.

(Jonathan Graef)

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CD Release Party: The Owls, Nov. 8th, At Cedar Cultural Center


Download: The Owls - "Peppermint Patty" (from Daughters and Suns)
Download Sample: The Owls - "Baby Boy" (from Our Hopes And Dreams)
Download Sample: The Owls - "Forever Changing" (from Our Hopes And Dreams)
Download Sample:The Owls - "Drop Me A Line" (from Our Hopes And Dreams)

This past Tuesday, Minneapolis-based folk-pop act The Owls released their second album, entitled Daughters and Suns (zing!) via Magic Marker Records. Boy, this is getting more twee by the minute, isn't it? To celebrate the occasion, the quartet will be having a CD release party on Nov. 8th at the Cedar Cultural Center. Tickets are 10 dollars through Ticketweb in advance and 12 dollars on the day of the show. Doors open at 7 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m.

For those of you who don't know The Owls, Daughters and Suns represents their first release in three years. The group combines elements of The Velvet Underground (the latter albums), Belle and Sebastian and Love (how could a song called "Forever Changing" not be an homage to Arthur Lee in some shape or form?) to create bittersweet pop music that's begged to be dotted over by adorable hipsters. This means you and me.

At the top of the post, you can download samples of three songs from Our Hopes And Dreams and one complete download from Daughters and Suns, the single "Peppermint Patty".

MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kurt Cobain Bio-Pic Casting News




Joe Anderson



James McAvoy

Download: Nirvana - "Stay Away"
Download: Nirvana - "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle"


Next up in the seemingly never-ending stream of actors supposedly set to play Kurt Cobainin a new biopic is James McAvoy. If you haven't been following this story, Courtney Love has been pitching the idea of a biopic of his life based on Charles Cross' Heavier Than Heaven, and a parade of A- and B-Listeractors have had their names attached to the project.

The McAoy rumor crops up following reports that Ewan McGregor and Joe Anderson ("Across the Universe") were in the running for the lead. Most of the sources for this story are Australian or are US gossip blogs, so I'm not sure this rumor is terribly legit.

I think once they're all grunged-up McAvoy and Anderson come closer than McGregor to having the right look, but can they become him? I'm also not sold on the idea of a Cobain biopic in the first place. If it's based on Heavier Than Heaven, it'll probably be over-sanctifying with regards to Cobain's suicide and I still have my doubts that being put up on movie screens across the nation is what Cobain would have wanted.

(April Wright)

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The Hold Steady, Live On KEXP




Check it out here. The band performs four songs from Boys and Girls In America and one from Separation Sunday. At the end of the segment, Craig Finn reveals that the new Hold Steady album should be out by next year, either in the spring or summer.

Bitchin'.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Springsteen Tops Billboard Charts In Incredibly Depressing Sales Week



(YouTube, Via You Ain't No Picasso)

Bruce Springsteen's latest album Magic regained the top spot of the Billboard charts after slipping to number 2 last week. That's not depressing. In fact, it's probably expected. What's depressing is that the record sold only 77,000 copies, which itself was a 42 percent sales drop from last week's total. Granted, there weren't any huge releases scheduled last week, but still, wow.

What's even more mindblowing is that around this time 5 years ago (Oct. 30th, 2002), former Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland solo debut Simply Deep sold 77,000 copies in its first week. That album's chart position? #12.

You know what's not depressing and, in fact, quite hilarious? Ben Stiller's imitation of Bruce Springsteen, specifically, his counting. Watch the video at the top. It's an old favorite of mine, one that I imitated so often that threats of violence if I didn't stop came my way. Thanks to You Ain't No Picasso for pointing out the video.

(Jonathan Graef)

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R.E.M. - Live


Download: R.E.M - "Cuyahoga" (Live In Dublin)
Download: R.E.M - "Losing My Religion" (Live In Dublin)

R.E.M
Live (Warner Bros., 2007)
Grade: C+

I had a hard time deciding what to say about R.E.M. Live. So I didn't say anything for almost a week. But I think I have it now, so here goes:

There are some major disappointments about this set. It's two CDs and a DVD, which is phenomenal. But there is just so much stuff from their R.E.M.'s most recent studio album, Around the Sun, on it that it's hard to get excited about. R.E.M. is a great, great live band – one of the few that I'll gladly pay 75 bucks to see. And they somewhat resuscitate the ATS material with faster, rockier arrangements, but honestly, nothing short of completely rebuilding that album can save the likes of "Electron Blue" and "I Wanted to be Wrong."

Aside from the weak material, the band sounds great. I can find no faults in old gems like "Cuyahoga." The rapport Michael Stipe has with the audience just adds to the intense emotional evocativeness of "Losing My Religion," and Mike Mills' and Peter Bucks' reservedly badass performances bring out the cool in "What's the Frequency, Kenneth." The trio radiates awesome on film. It's just too bad that songs off of ATS keep cropping up to interrupt the flow.

With how close to the nerve R.E.M. is capable of hitting, I'm constantly confused as to why they left out their most powerful and moving songs, such as "Nightswimming," "Camera" and "Find the River" in favor of superficial crap like "I'm Gonna DJ."

I think that's the best way to sum up my feelings, not just on this release, but also on R.E.M.'s current state. They pack a powerful punch, but, for some reason, they've put the gloves down recently. I don't know if its that they're trying to reach out to a wider audience or if they're just getting old, but they need to get back to a place where they're writing the songs that got them famous: earnest songs that don't try to be anything but snapshots out of the band's life. R.E.M. once rivaled U2 as the biggest alt-rock act in the world. It wasn't because they're albums were produced to hell and back or because they layered on the effects. It was because they were honest, passionate and a little bit enigmatic. I can see that band peeking out on this DVD, they just need to embrace it. R.E.M. is a band that rallied the disaffected and showed them a light in an alienating political climate. The stage is set for them to do that again, they just need to get out of their funk.

I still can't figure out why they picked this concert for release. This CD/DVD set has been built up massively as the FIRST EVER R.E.M. live CD. But instead of giving the fans footage and audio from this year's working rehearsals in Dublin, they give us a set from a Dublin show two years ago. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have this set, but the Dublin rehearsals are hot bootlegs, and fans have been waiting three years for a new album. Considering as the album is still some months off, and interest among the fan base is waning, it would have been a really smart move to put that concert on DVD.

So, if you're looking for a single word answer to whether or not R.E.M. Live is worth buying, my answer is nyeao. R.E.M. is a fun band to watch but there is kind of a lot of crap to wade through in this set. I guess I'd recommend it if you already have a hearty respect for the band and their legacy, but I think new fans will probably be a little turned off by it.

MySpace Page

(April Wright)

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Ladyfest Chicago 2007 (With A New Track From Unicorn Basement)


Download: Hey There Cowboy - "Beholden Foresaken"
Download: Hey There Cowboy - "XOXOXO" (Minneapolis pop-punk. Read the Star-Trib story about band member Kate McNulty here)
Download: Kitten Forever - "KITTEN FOREVER"
Download: Kitten Forever - "Fat Crush" (Minneapolis Riot-Grrl act with loads of charm and sass gearing up to record a new record at Pachyderm Studio)
Download: Unicorn Basement - "Oh God!" (MFR Exclusive, MPLS electro-punk duo)
Download: Aleks And The Drummer - "SZCZ" (Chicago Duo with Electronic Textures and utterly unique sound_
Download: Anni Rossi - "Wheelpusher" (Chicago Pop/Classical Violist Who Recently Signed To Too Pure)
Download: Condenada - "This Fight Is Ours" (Hardcore)
Download: Glass Candy - "Digital Versicolor" (Not an MPLS or Chicago band, but they are opening for Architecture in Helsinki at the 400 bar tonight. Show at 8, doors at 7)
Download: Sly Fox - "Worry Song" (Happy Salmon is ann offshoot of this band)
Download: Parsley Flakes - "Remember Forget" (Electro-punk trio from Chicago)
Download: The Pussy Pirates - "Stickboy Lullabye" (Chicago Post-punk/Free jazz)
Download: Slutbarf - "Get To Know Her" (Chicago Noise-Rock)
Download: The Wild Leopardz - "Heartbeat" (Chicago teenagers playing melodic punk well beyond their years)

Over the weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending LadyFest Chicago. For those of you who do not know what Ladyfest is "arts festival celebrating the achievements of women in music, film, visual arts, and spoken word." The very first Ladyfest was held in Olympia, Washington, back in 2000 and since then has been spread to over 50 cities. In addition, all of the proceeds of Ladyfest go to very worthwhile organizations. In this case, the proceeds went to the Chicago Women's Health Center and Rape Victim Advocates.

The festivities consist of events like showings at art galleries, short films and, relevant to this blog, music, music, music. In fact, Saturday, the 21st, was an all-day music extravaganza, with bands starting at 2 and then ending well into the night. Men and women were all united under the cause of helpin' a sista out, and it was pretty excellent.

And so, in honor of the occasion, I've decided to do a playlist of all the bands from Chicago and Minneapolis who participated in Ladyfest this year. The best part was that all of the bands involved were up-and-comers and seasoned veterans, with riot-grrls such as Hey There Cowboy and Kitten Forever and electro-punk duo/dear college friends of mine Unicorn Basement (who were kind enough to send me an exclusive, unreleased track titled "Oh God!") representing Minneapolis and post-punk electronic trio Parsley Flakes, bilingual hardcore feminist punk group Condenada and Electric Ukulele/Snare drum duo Happy Salmon (who don't officially have a website yet, so I posted a track from their other band, Sly Fox) doing Chicago proud.

I've written basic descriptions beside each MP3, so you know what you're getting into before you listen.

So what do you think, Minneapolis? Should Ladyfest 2008 be in your future? Based on this article from City Pages, I'd say yes.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Thermals Melt My Face Off



Download: The Thermals - "St. Rosa And The Swallows" (via Indietastic)
Download: The Thermals - "No Culture Icons"
Download: The Thermals - "A Pillar Of Salt"
Download: Superhopper - "New Fresh Midwest"
Download: Reporter - "Green Death"

The illustrious, magnificent Portland-based rockers The Thermals were back in town again last night. And, once again, they melted my face off.

Superhopper opened up the show. I was pretty prepared to hate them, since they stalled their set, waiting for more people to show up, which I think is vain and silly, especially on a Monday night. But then they came out and were sweet and bubbly. And they played so well. The St Paul based pop-rockers pulled out all the stops in a half-hour non-stop blitz of rock passion. Very fun stuff.

I actually feel kind of bad for Reporter having to follow them. It was the groups 6th show ever and they were still obviously getting used to being in front of a crowd. They sounded fine, but kind of fell into the generic alt bin. There's a definite Modest Mouse influence to them on record, but that impact is greatly minimized live. They sounded good for only having 5 shows under their belt. I never would have noticed if they hadn't said anything. They were entertaining, but nothing to write home about.

And the Thermals. I've seen them three times, and this one was kind of middling. But still, middling for the Thermals is pretty awesome. They blitzed on through most of the new album, plus a smattering of crowd favorites from Fuckin' A and More Parts Per Million. And, they busted out the Built to Spill and the Wipers covers. It was a really strong setlist, I think, and captured a lot of aspects of their songwriting. Not to mention, Kathy did a killer Craig Finn impression that had everyone, especially Hutch, in gigglefits.

But the presentation of the songs was the show's weakest point. The Thermals have great rock songs, but to just push through them really downplayed their strength in melody and subtlety. It was still a phenomenal rock show and my face is going to take days to solidify, so I can't complain too hard.

MySpace Page

(April Wright)

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There's Only Two Things I Hate In This World: People Who Are Intolerant Of Other People's Cultures And The Dutch.

MFR has got all of your one-stop shopping needs regarding stories about the shutdown of popular internet pirate torrent site OINK by British and Dutch authorities. Here they are in three different categories:

Objective:
Reuters
Speed of Silence
MTV
BBC
Pitchfork
NME

Snarky/Irreverent:
Idolator
AV Club
Idolator Twice
Mock Oink Memorial Site


Mournful:

Stereogum
I Guess I'm Floating
Oh No They Didn't
Zeropaid (via DIGG)

I never got an invitation to us OINK, which, at this point, is just as well. Happy Reading. If you readers have got any more articles, post them in the comments section. I'm sure there will be a lot more about this story in the days to come.

(Jonathan Graef)

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First Verve Demo In Ten Years Posted On NME


Download: The Verve - "The Thaw Session"

Regarding giving away free music on the internet, it would seem that more and more artists are following in Radiohead's footsteps everyday. Add Brit-pop propagators The Verve, who are legends in the UK, but, due to the sole success of "Bittersweet Symphony," are one-hit wonders in the US, to that mix. The band, who reunited last June after singer 's stalled solo career, has chosen to give away its first recording in ten years via NME . The idea is more interesting in theory than in execution - the "song" in question is really a 14-minute jam session called "The Thaw Session," which is an apparent reference to the final bonus track off of "Urban Hymns", the band's breakthrough album. However, as an insight into the band's creative process, it's pretty interesting, though very free-form and definitely jammy.

Click here to read more about the Verve and NME's free music giveaway. You can download the track at the top of this post.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Super Junior



Thanks to Mark Ritsema on this one. Wow, no words, should have sent a poet.

(Ian Anderson)

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Bob Dylan's Cadillac Commercial



Not to state the obvious, but he's come a long way since Dinkytown, hasn't he? Still, it's no more absurd than the Victoria's Secret ad he did a while back.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Times New Viking Annouce Album Title, Release Date, Tracklist


Download: Times New Viking - "Dance Vahalla"
Download: Times New Viking - "TeenageLUST"

Late Friday, Matablog announced the official release date and album title of Times New Viking's debut album for the label. Rip It Off comes out on Jan. 22nd, and it will be Times New Viking's third record overall. Rip It Off follows last year's Present The Paisley Reich and 2005's Dig Yourself.

Those of you who are unfamiliar with the Columbus, Ohio band's lo-fi stylings (similar to Pavement, and The Fall, but with of a more noise-rock influence) can listen to two MP3s (from TNV's aforementioned previous records) at the top of this post.

What intrigues me is what the band will sound like on a bigger label. Matador is a major label, for all intents and purposes, so I wonder to what degree TNV will expand their production capacities. I guess we'll find out if and when an MP3 from Rip It Off is posted.

MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Les Savy Fav Gets Four Stars In Rolling Stone



(Ian Anderson)

Labels:

New Tegan and Sara Video - "The Con"



Download: Tegan and Sara - "The Con"

Maybe Tegan and Sara shouldn't make videos. I love them to death, but their videos are pretty uneventful.

(Ian Anderson)

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Tonight: The Thermals at the Triple Rock


Download: The Thermals - "No Culture Icons"
Download: The Thermals - "A Pillar Of Salt"

The show that we wrote about back in August has finally come to fruition! The Thermals are playing an all-ages show tonight at the Triple Rock. Show starts at five and tickets are twelve dollars. Get said tickets at the box office or here. Reporter and St. Paul-based Superhopper open.

Reporter MySpace Page
Superhopper MySpace Page
The Thermals MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Video: Brother Ali, "Take Me Home," Live On "Late Night With Conan O'Brien"



Download: Brother Ali - "Take Me Home"

Brother Ali is still taking the undisputed truth to the masses. Not only that, but the Minneapolis rapper managed to do it on national television as well! Check out this video of Ali performing the track "Take Me Home" on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien". An MP3 of the studio version of "Take Me Home" is posted below the video.

Ali is on tour right now, but he doesn't have a date until Oct. 29th, when he'll be doing a thorough tour of the West coast. Check out tour dates here.

MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Friday, October 19, 2007

CD Release Party: The Evening Rig, Saturday at the Triple Rock


Download: The Evening Rig - "Playing House"
Download: The Evening Rig - "City Lights"

If there is one word to describe the sound of The Evening Rig, it's "Minneapolis". It's not due to the fact that the band says on its MySpace page that they "sound like what bands from Minneapolis typically sound like, but not that good." As you can hear from the MP3s posted above, The Evening Rig underestimate themselves.

It's because the quartet, who formed back in 2005 and consist of former members of The Cardinal Sin, April Epidemic and The Crush, don't necessarily reinvent the wheel in terms of updating the sound of seminal Minneapolis groups like The Replacements, Soul Asylum and The Jayhawks, but rather, they expertly adapt it.

Songs like "Playing House" are sung with the heart-on-your-sleeve, intensely hoarse vocals of Paul Westerberg and are driven by the propulsive guitars of Soul Asylum. But while "Playing House" aims for the rafters, "City Lights" is much more quiet and contemplative, like a rainy Friday afternoon. Guitars shimmer and vocals croon in a very pleasing and affirming way.

The Evening Rig will release their debut album, Never Been'er, on Tuesday via Heart Of A Champion records. The band will promote said album with two shows tomorrow night, the 20th. The first show is at Treehouse Records at 4 p.m. and the second show will be a 21+ gig at the Triple Rock. The T-Rock show starts at 9 p.m.

MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: Kill The Vultures at Triple Rock Social Club



Download: Kill The Vultures - "Moonshine"
Download: Kill The Vultures - "Where The Cutthroat..."

5 p.m. at the Triple Rock! Tickets are seven dollars. A Night In The Box, MICTLAN (of Doomtree) and Ladyslipper open.

The band has recently released a new EP titled Midnight Pine, so it will be more likely than not that they play material from that record.

Kill The Vultures MySpace

(Jonathan Graef)

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Brutal Legend



Download: Probot (feat. Jack Black) - "I Am The Warlock"

I've never bought too heavily into the whole metal thing, but Brütal Legend looks like it is going to be all kinds of wicked. Made by Double Fine Productions, the action-adventure game is going to be released in 2008 for the PS3 and the 360.

In the game, you play roadie Eddie Riggs (Jack Black) as he fight his way out of a Death Metal/Nordic gods-themed world to save the world – and save his love, Ophelia.

This game is going to be epic. You can see the trailer here, but you're going to need to play it to believe. Double Fine founder Tim Schaefer has been behind two of the most innovative and beautiful games of the decade: Grim Fandango and Psychonauts. Grim Fandango is a film noir trip through the Land of the Dead, with all the characters decked out Mexican Day of the Dead-style. Psychonauts is a massively stylized voyage into the minds of a whole slew of characters ranging from a mutated lungfish to a conspiracy-crazed milkman.

If I had to make any predictions about this game, I would say that it will be brimming with dry humor and visual effects executed with an unholy amount of panache and wildly unpredictable storytelling. It's going to be great…I'm going to buy a 360 to play it.


(April Wright)

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Various Artists - I'm Not There Orig. Sdtk



(Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan)

Download: Sufjan Stevens - "Ring My Bells"
Download: Jeff Tweedy - "Simple Twist Of Fate"

Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There" has plenty of cool stuff going for it – Heath Ledger, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett all play Dylan at different points in his life. And I think we all expected the soundtrack to be pretty sweet.

And sweet it will be: tracks by Sufjan, Calexico with Jim James, Cat Power and Jeff Tweedy are now up on the soundtracks official MySpace. As someone who is both hot and cold on Dylan (he writes come great songs, but some of them go on a solid 2 minutes too long), I am blown away by this. The complete soundtrack has Stephen Malkmus, The Hold Steady, Willie Nelson (w/Calexico), Eddie Vedder, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Karen O, Iron & Wine and more. That's a whole lot of rock on two discs.

Up top is Blanchett as Dylan. Well, isn't that somethin'!

(April Wright)

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