Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Baby Guts - "Drag" (Plus: New Album Info)

Download: Baby Guts - "Staplegun"
Download: Baby Guts - "Drag"

MPLS punk trio Baby Guts make the kind of music that is so filled with glorious, righteous anger that it just might put the fear of God into you. Since that anger comes with a fuzzed-out guitar and banshee howl vocals, the group has earned a lot of comparisons to (riot)girl groups such as Hole, Bikini Kill, and Call The Doctor-era Sleater-Kinney. Those frames of reference still apply to "Drag", the new single from the trio's upcoming record The Kissing Disease, the release date of which, May 29th was announced through the group's website a couple weeks back. We're quite excited. Here's the tracklisting of the record:

1. Badmouth
2.Tiny Cuts
3. Shark Teeth
4. Asbestos/Esophagus
5. Firetruck Vagina
6. Tarantula
7. Rum & Coke
8. Bedsheets
9. Hamster Bite
10. Dispelled
11. Meat + Gesture
12. Medusa, Stomach Acid, Brain Cancer
13. Drag
14. Cricket Lung

I, for one, am highly curious as to what a "Firetruck Vagina" entails. We will find out soon enough, though. As stated before, The Kissing Disease comes out May 29th via Guilt Ridden Pop

Baby Guts MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Toki Wright - "State Of Emergency" (Live in Boston)

Is "State of Emergency" is a track from reggae and afrobeat-influenced Twin Cities artist Toki Wright's upcoming debut record A Different Mirror? Maybe. Maybe Not. But Wright himself tells us that the song was recorded during a performance in Boston, presumably on the "Truth Is Here" tour that wrapped earlier this month. Wright also says that we should "tell a friend to tell a friend". So, hey all you readers: Toki Wright has a new video for "State of Emergency", a video which was filmed in Boston.

Now go tell someone else!

Buy Rhymesayers music here.

Toki Wright MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Headlights Perform "Cherry Tulips" Live on Yahoo's "Who's Next" Series

The Champaign, IL-based pop quintet Headlights are in the midst of a tour that now sees them in the Midwest (not MPLS, though there are shows aplenty in Chicago), but will eventually take them to the East Coast and this mythical place called..."Canada". Hmm. Sounds dubious to me.

What isn't dubious, however, is that the group managed to squeeze in a little to make Ian Anderson's heart fill with joy perform a song from their second record (their latest) Some Stopping, Some Racing. The song, you'll be none too surprised to find out, is "Cherry Tulips". That's probably the most obvious choice but, hey, there are records to promote. Watch the band perform an acoustic version of the song at the top of the post. While you are there, listen to two other Headlights tracks, including one from Racing, a song called "Market Girl". Good times.

Headlights MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Video: Cloud Cult - "Everybody Here Is A Cloud"

This video, for a track from the environmentally-conscience group's eight album Feel Good Ghosts, is the one noteworthy for having hundreds of extras from the Twin Cities area. Try to see if you can recognize yourself. Also, if you were involved with the video, tell us what it was like making it in the comments section.

Feel Good Ghosts is out now.

Cloud Cult MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Video: Feist - "I Feel It All" - Live on "The Colbert Report

(Jonathan Graef)

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M83 - Saturdays=Youth

Grade: A-

I'm 15 years old, and I already feel that it's too late to live...don't you?

With these words, during a spoken-word passage from "Graveyard Girl" (the second single from Saturdays=Youth) reminiscent of Cecilia Lisbon's diary entries in The Virgin Suicides, M83 (the primary creative outlet for one Anthony Gonzalez) expertly captures the adolescent frame of mind: namely, mistaking your own naivete for romanticism, the result of which is both spending many a night yearning for sweet escapism to problems that, upon reflection, are almost comically exaggerated and sincerely dreaming up a better life when you're more grown up.

Reflecting upon that worldview in your mid-twenties may make one realize how absurd and melodramatic such a frame of mind can be, but it also makes you think about the sweet and earnest place where such thoughts and sentiments can come from. Stubborn, youthful idealism is both admirable and self-defeating, and "Graveyard Girl", along with the many other great tracks from Saturdays=Youth (M83's fifth album), capture this emotional essence perfectly.

Taking its cues from the romanticism of 1980s teen films (both the Molly Ringwold namedrop in "Graveyard Girl" and the actress' doppelganger on the album's cover should be pretty clear indicators as to which director from that decade had the biggest impact on Gonzalez), as well as the synthesized alt-pop music (Cocteau Twins, The Cure, Depeche Mode) from that era, Saturdays=Youth is firmly entrenched in the sounds of the Reagan-era.

But instead of being solely an exercise in nostalgia for its own sake, M83 take that template and filters it through the Berlin-Wall-of-Sound prism of 90s shoegazer acts like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. "Couleurs" sounds especially like it came from the post-Souvlaki EPs while “Highway to Endless Dreams” sounds like late 80s Cure (just right before they informed us of the fact that Saturday-Thursdays aren’t good for Robert Smith w/r/t love). Elsewhere, "Graveyard Girl" recalls The Jesus and Mary Chain, albeit a version took prom seriously, and album highlight "Kim & Jessie" emulates Tears For Fears.

While changing from more formless, ambient soundscapes to straightforward song-structure and epic, echo-y choruses might cause some to question the artistic integrity of such a move, Saturdays=Youth rebuts those charges by, like all great records, being both relevant to the present and reverent toward the past. By paying homage to his teenage years, and the iconic music made therein, M83 create a document that just may be as revered as those the band grew up revering in the first place.

M83 MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Video: Tapes N Tapes - "Hang Them All"

(via MTVU)

(Jonathan Graef)

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Vampire Hands, Gospel Gossip, Skoal Kodiak Win Best-Of City Pages Awards

Download: Vampire Hands - "Statuette"
Download: Gospel Gossip - "Shadows Are Bent"

Some of our favorite local acts, including Gospel Gossip and Vampire Hands, have cleaned house in the City Pages's Best Of The Twin Cities' Poll. Vampire Hands won Best Rock Band, while GG took Best New Band. Additonal winners included Baby Guts's Laura Larson winning for Best Female Vocalist, Brother Ali for Best Hip-hop artist, and Skoal Kodiak for Best Live Artist.

Read more here.

(Jonathan Graef)

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New CSS - "Rat Is Dead (Rage)"

You may have heard this track already via GVB or, just a little bit ago, Stereogum, with the former posting the track via the CSS website. However, those of you who do not want to sign their soul over to the Costra Nostra of Sexy can take comfort in the fact that CSS' label, Sub Pop, has also posted the song on their website. Listen to all of its new-wavey glory at the top of the post.

The record from which "Rat Is Dead" is taken, Donkey, is out in June.

CSS MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Coldplay - "Violet Hill" (Plus: Album Artwork Info)

Judging by the striking cover work from their upcoming fourth record), Viva La Vida: Or, Death and All His Friends (perhaps somebody in the band is taking a cue from either Roman Polanski or Stanley Kubrick?), British quartet Coldplay have got the struggles of wars and battles on their mind. No idea as to why that's the case. However, it's no surprise, then, that when the Chris Martin-led group's first single begins with the singer stating plainly that "It was a long and dark December" over a glacier-slow crescendo of ambient synthesizer, he's referring to a romance gone awry. This is, after all, a Coldplay song were talking about here.

However, after about 30 seconds or so, "Violet Hill" starts to resemble one of the group's more well-known anthemic numbers, but with a few key differences. Martin's voice now sounds almost Dylan-esque, the guitars are fuzzier, and the mood is the most apocalyptic sounding the group has ever been. Despite the sonic re-decorations, the group still maintains a workman-like dedication to song form; choruses are epic as ever, Not only that, but the closing lament of "If you love me, why won't you let me know" has a populist bent. Overall, "Violet Hill" is a reasonably successful change of pace for the band. The track won't make you want to recite Coldplay lyrics as gospel. But it also won't make you thumb your nose at the church as you pass it, either.

Viva La Vida is out in June.

Coldplay MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Tonight in Minneapolis: Foals at the 7th Street Entry

UK electro-pop/dance-punk quartet Foals play an 18+ show at the Entry tonight. Tickets are $10 and can be bought at the venue. Go to the show, as the group has a reputation for absolutely being smokin' hot live. Dance the rain away (assuming that it's raining in MPLS like it's raining in Chicago right now). Their latest, Antidotes is out now.

Foals MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tegan and Sara - A Conversation

I think a calling was missed here. Not sure exactly what that calling is, but I think it went that-a-way.

(Ian Anderson)


Live Music Update: Wolf Parade, Yeasayer, Mill City, The Hold Steady

If you saw any of P4K's coverage of the Man Man/Yeasayer show from a couple of weeks back, then this news should undoubtedly get you excited, even if you've read the news already. Brooklyn's multi-culti experimentalists Yeasayer are going to be playing a free show at the Urban Outfitters in Minneapolis. Good thing the show is free, because I'd imagine everything else is over-priced. Print out your tickets now, and show up to the show on July 30th early, as space is limited.

Get a bigger version of the ticket here.

In other mind-blowing indie-rock news, Wolf Parade, whose second release is still untitled (as of this writing), announced a tour to support said album release. One of the dates on that tour is Minneapolis itself. The Canadian quartet will be stopping by First Ave. on July 9th. Tickets are not on sale to the general public yet, but you can register at this site in order to purchase advance tickets.

On another live show note, The Hold Steady round out the final part of the line-up for the 2008 Pitchfork Festival. Read more about it here.

And, finally, Switchblade Comb announced the lineup for Mill City Live series, in which free outdoor concerts take place at the Mill City Museum. First up on the list is MPLS' own delicate twee-pop quartet The Owls. Read the rest of the line-up here.

Wolf Parade MySpace Page
The Hold Steady MySpace Page
Yeasayer MySpace Page
Mill City Museum Website

(Jonathan Graef)

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MTVu's "My Shot With Atmosphere"

(Jonathan Graef)

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Stream New Albums From Madonna, Jamie Lidell In Their Entirety

In terms of release dates, tomorrow is a great one for fans of pop music. Madonna's new record, Hard Candy, comes out tomorrow, with its cover art showing Madge to be the führer of sexy, and Berlin-based soulster Jamie Lidell, whose new album Jim presumably details his slowly, sweetly blossoming romance with its fellow album Pam. You can find out whether or not either of these efforts are actually any good by heading over to the artists' respective MySpace pages, which you can find below. Listen to two MP3s at the top of the post.

Jamie Lidell MySpace Page
Madonna MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Video: Matmos - "Exciter Lamp"

Download: Matmos - "Rainbow Flag"

If your artistic raison d'etre is to craft an entire album's worth of material with no microphones allowed in the studio for an ALL-SYNTHESIZER record, then I'd imagine that you'd want to have videos from that album be as high-concept as possible. Lo and behold, here comes Matmos with a video that looks like it's footage taken from a documentary about man's first attempt to fax a human being across the galaxy.

Actually, the video for "Exciter Lamp", a track from the experimental duo's forthcoming album (the creative concept of which we've just discussed) called Supreme Balloon* does a very good job of playing with light and shadow, and the video's color motif, involving green, helps establish the kind of dreadful mysteriousness of an imminent UFO landing.

Supreme Balloon is out May 6th. Buy it here. Check out an MP3 at the top of the post.

Matmos MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

*seriously, how much post bong-hit giggling was involved when these words were first spoken?

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Prince Covers Radiohead's "Creep" During Coachella Festival Performance

Amazing find from Stereogum of the Purple One covering Radiohead's first and biggest hit from their least artistically-relevant record (arguably). I think Prince could have made a pretty good go at "Thinking About You"--Pablo Honey's introspective, acoustic number about masturbation. After all, it's a subject that Mr. Rogers Nelson knows a thing or two about--but this soulful rendition of the mock self-loathing classic still does the ears good. This might even top his previous dabbling in alt-rock. What's next on Prince's wishlist of the 90s? Perhaps he could do "Sex Type Thing" in the same kind of screeching falsetto that he used for "Kiss". And then, a decade-and-a-half later, Tom Jones can cover it.

On second thought, that sounds like a terrible sequence of events.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Saturday In Minneapolis: Bouncer Fighter, Cloud Cult, Happy Apple

A whole bunch of our favorite bands are playing the Future Pasture on Saturday in order to help Bouncer Fighter (pictured at the top)celebrate the release of their latest tape. They include:

Gospel Gossip
Best Friends Forever
The Blind Shake

To check out the rest of the lineup, head here.

Also happening on Saturday

Cloud Cult is playing their CD Release Party in honor of Feel Good Ghosts at First Ave. Both Reveille and More Cowbell are having awesome giveaways to celebrate the event. By clicking here, you can enter for a chance to win the entire Cloud Cult catalog in digital format; go here, and enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets for the show.

Happy Apple play the second of three shows this weekend at Artists Quarter.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Video: Jamie Lidell - "Another Day"

(Ian Anderson)


Chicago in Minneapolis: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone

Download: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - "Young Shields"
Download: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - "Graceland" (Paul Simon Cover)

Droll, lo-fi indie-tronica artist Casiotone For The Painfully Alone (aka Owen Ashworth) is playing a show tonight at the 7th Street Entry. Tickets are $8 for a 21+ show.

Though his last full-length LP Etiquette came out in 2006, CFTPA has been keeping plenty busy in the interim. In addition to numerous Daytrotter sessions, Ashworth has been releasing a plethora of singles and downloads through his website, as well as touring, touring, touring. If Ashworth keeps up his prodigious place, he may no longer be able to effectively convey the sense of mid-twenties ennui which saturates his bedroom-conceived brand of electronic pop-music that sound like little pocket symphonies for answering machines.

Etiquette broadened Ashworth's sonic palette by adding numerous other instruments and a warmer, more analog, sound; tracks like "New Year's Kiss" and "I Love Creedence" revel themselves to be wry observations about the overall banality of urban life. Which is a worldview that may not necessarily translate to a David Lee Roth-esque stage presence, but then, misery prefers company that doesn't really rock out with its cock out. But, based on the response to Ashworth's recorded output, it's not only the lonely who will commiserate with his grandly subdued songs.

CFTPA MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Video: Foals - "Red Socks Pugie"

Pitchfork TV just debuted this apocalyptic, yet poignant, clip from UK-based Post-Pop-Punkers Foals. There's a lot of end-of-the-world imagery here (explosions tend to have that effect on one's perception of a piece of art), but, like Kurt Vonnegut before them, it would seem that the UK-based quintet seem to have a soft spot for the ole' human species after all. Aww...humans deserve a modicum of respect. Yay.

Antidotes is out now.

Foals MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy - New Album, New MP3

Download: Bonnie Prince Billy - "So Everyone" (Demo)

From the Drag City Newsletter:

We put together a sales slate of perfect balance, and then we go and add something else to throw the whole GD thing out of whack! It’s the Drag City way — and besides, who are we to not release a fantastic new Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy album that we feel super-strongly about? It’s called Lie Down in the Light and it’s coming along on LP and CD in May with these other records that I just described. You heard it here first. Did that just happen?

Oh, yes it did! Not only that, but the label was generous enough to give away a track from the upcoming record. The song is "So Everyone", and it's available in demo version. As long as there are tapes hissing, you can count on me to be a happy camper. And, though hearing the finished product would be good for the sake of comparing/contrast, this demo has the bare-bones quality of vintage blues and folk recordings--as a frame of reference, this track is more Leadbelly than Robert Johnson.

Lie Down In The Light is available in May.

Listen to "So Everyone" at the top of the post.

Bonnie Prince Billy on MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Radiohead Stack A "House Of Cards" On "Late Night With Conan O'Brien"

Regardless of whether or not you choose to celebrate it, Tuesday was Earth Day, a holiday which involves people condescending to environmental conservationism without actual considering long-term changes in their lifestyles or their consumption habits. *Sigh*. But at least it's doing something, right? Can't fault people for good intentions, can we?

While NBC's Earth Week may seem like it's too little, too late in the context of climate change, one certainly must give credit to the network for at least effectively raising and promoting the issue. One such promotion involves Late Night With Conan O'Brien. No, it's not alternative fuel made from the masturbating bear's semen. Rather, it's an all-green episode of the show. The guests? Seth Green and Peter Greenberg. And Radiohead.

The band, who has some credibility on the subject of being green, pre-taped their performance of In Rainbows gem "House of Cards", in an effort to "act in the greenest manner possible."

From the Conan website:
By opting to record this exclusive performance rather than fly over for a one-off appearance, the band - as frontman Thom Yorke notes in the introduction to their performance - avoided leaving a carbon footprint equivalent to driving one's car for a solid year.

See if their efforts paid off by watching the clip at the top of the post. The performance of the song is nothing if not ethereal.

But, if you want to see something really trippy, check out this old clip of Radiohead performing "Creep" on Conan's show back in 1993. Not much as changed, looks-wise, for Mr. Brien in the interim, but as far as Radiohead's concerned...

Pretty interesting, no?

Radiohead MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Glorious Monster Offshoot To Appear In "The Real World: Hollywood" (Also: Perez Hilton Digs The 1900s?)

Download: Glorious Monster - "Photographs"
Download: The 1900s - "Georgia"

Minneapolis and Hollywood are opposites in many ways, not the least of which includes climate--MPLS, after all, has something called "Cold Weather". But the two cities are about to have at least one thing in common: the music of Glorious Monster, the electro-pop duo from the land of 10000 lakes. The conduit for such a connection? Why, it's "The Real World". Yes, the television show that started out as an earnest, if convoluted, look into the lives of twenty-somethings that has gentrified to an even more convoluted orgy of twenty-something drinking-and-screwing themselves into an orgy of stupid. How is this possible? I'll let Brian from GM do the explaining.

via MySpace:
Hello World,

So, as many of you may or may not know, we here at Glorious Monster also write music for many other things. One of these things is a Neo-Disco Electrono-Rock project that we had not yet revealed to the public.

However, one of the songs we wrote for this project, "Take Off Your Pants (and Dance)", is being featured tonight on the new episode of MTV's Real World Hollywood. A "feature" means they use the vocal version, a significant amount of the song, and they give us a little drop down box during the show as the track plays that tells the viewers the name of the song, band, and album.

This created a small problem for us, as the fine people at MTV received a song from us that we are yet to release.

So if you are feeling juvenile and want to watch MTV tonight, look out for "Take off your pants (and dance)", by The Skeptics (our production team name).

Are we going to release this new neo-disco electrono-rock project under the artistic signature "The Skeptics"?? No, in fact, that shall remain our title as producers, but the song should really be attributed to the band name "Man is Doomed".

Because of the sudden placement of one of our new unreleased songs, we were forced to hastily and crudely assemble a myspace page for "Man is Doomed". It will get better, we promise. Also, we have updated the Skeptic Music page with new(er) music from Glorious Monster, Man is Doomed, and some recent film music we wrote as well.

Listen to Man is Doomed (as well as "Take Off Your Pants (And Dance") at the band's MySpace Page and The Skeptics here. Incidentally, do a Google search for "Man Is Doomed". Lots of fun to be had there.

We're not judging--the economy blows goats (I have proof), and the bills have to get paid somehow. Still, "The Real World"? Does it really have to be "The Real World?".

Yes. It does.


Read P4k's take on one of 2007's best albums, Cold And Kind, here

Glorious Monster MySpace Page
The 1900s MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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MFR Feature: Jayber Crow

Jayber Crow
Two Short Stories (Field and Forest, 2008)
Grade: A

Download: Jayber Crow - "Saint Anthony"
Download: Jayber Crow - "Devil and the Desert"

Lots of things spoil with age: fruit, milk, U2. But some things, like wine and fruit-infused vodkas, just keep getting better and better. You can toss Jayber Crow into the latter category as well. The folk duo, comprised of Pete Nelson and Zach Hawkins, is back with a deeper, expanded sound on their first full-length album Two Short Stories.

If you're unfamiliar with the band, Jayber Crow came out with The Farmer and the Nomad in 2006. Nomad is a sunny little E.P. that I couldn't take off rotation for months. Since then, the odd smattering of demos has popped up on the band's Myspace page, leaving me with a serious hankering for JB's listener-friendly brand of folk pop.

In the years between the release of The Farmer and Two Short Stories, the pair has grown up – both in and out of the studio. The change is audible on the record. "As with anything, with more time comes change," lead vocalist and guitarist Hawkins said.

Musically, Hawkins and multi-instrumentalist Nelson have a better handle on the subtleties of their instruments. Where The Farmer was an explosion of energy, Two Short Stories has found itself more comfortable in the art of actually crafting a song. There's no lack of energy, but the band has grown more skilled at channeling said energy to create emotion rather than just excitement. For example, songs like "The Limited Voice of the American Crow" and "Song of the Jack Pine" develop a wonderful sense of urgency that was missing on their debut E.P.

Upbeat songs have also found themselves embracing the subtle nuances that can be created by even the most simple of instrumentation. "Drinking Song of a Germinating Seed," for example, tempers an excitable chorus with basic banjo plucks during the verse. The choice to balance the mellow with the loud causes the audiences' attention to shift back and forth constantly, and therefore keeping it focused precisely where it needs to be. It's a subtle songwriting choice, but it's extremely effective in driving the song forward.

The band's tinkering with songwriting amounts to a change in sound which keeps them innovating without losing their fundamental "Crowness."

"The little things make a difference. We use our instruments a little different," Nelson said. "We're always trying new things, but we're not trying to reinvent things."

The expansion of their sound, while holding firm to their roots, is a great thing for Jayber Crow at this point in their career. By building an album of what Hawkins described as "simple folk songs," they're giving their established fan base what they want. By pushing their sound subtly, they're allowing themselves to grow in a very organic way. For a band that is just coming to light in the Minnesota scene, this is a perfect album. It asserts the musical identity the band has already built without growing static. As a longtime fan, I couldn't be happier with the album.

Thematically, Two Short Stories is broken into two parts: "Freeze and Thaw" and "What Is This Wilderness?" "I kind of wanted to do two E.P.s," Hawkins said. "We structured it to be two parts that have similar themes."While The Farmer and the Nomad was written right after both members graduated from college and therefore deals with questions of identity and of finding one's place in the world, Two Short Stories comes from a more mature perspective, exploring biology and faith among others.

Originally titled Crumble, Crumble, Stories also explores the transience of life. This theme is continued in the album packaging. Printed on recycled paper with vegetable ink, the packaging is biodegradable. Containing a hand-written letter on the inside cover and original woodcuts done by Jane Becker Nelson on the cover, Hawkins and Nelson managed to put together a package that reflects the handmade earnesty and simplicity of their songs. It's lovely stuff – I don't normally comment on album art in reviews, but I'm really impressed with this particular piece.

Two Short Stories can be ordered directly from Jayber Crow. Go order it. It's an excellent album. That isn't something I say often without qualifying it somehow, but there it is. I have nothing bad to say about this album, and every second that you spend not owning a copy is a second you're wasting.

Jayber Crow MySpace Page

(April Wright)

Disclaimer: A member of this blog engineered and produced this record.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Atmosphere Performs Live on The Current, Kicks Off Tour Tonight In Chicago (Plus "Paint It Gold": The Final Chapter)

Download: Atmosphere - "You"

It doesn't really matter that you can no longer stream Atmosphere's new record (out today) on their MySpace Page. After all, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. Of course, the gold painting in this scenario merely involves heading down to your local record store and purchasing...oh gosh, what's that record called again? Strictly Leakage? No, that was the online one. No, this one, their sixth is Filled... With Cherry...Bowled...Goodness?


Damn, I just can't think of it. Oh well, it's not like it was some gloriously irreverent take on an old aphorism or anything like that.

Yes, you, yourselves can Paint It Gold by walking to your local record store today. Call it an "action painting". Zing!

I promise I will stop.

For those of you who can't quite get to the record store yet, you can stream Atmosphere's appearance on The Current (the one we told you about yesterday) by heading here. Songs performed include second single "Guarantees" and Sad Clown Bad Spring#12 track "Not Another Day".

In other Atmosphere news, the duo kick off their tour supporting the new album tonight in sweet home Chicago. They'll be playing two shows at the Metro. Tickets are still available. (Damn you unemployment! Damn you and your damn dirty ape-hands!)

Listen to Gold highlight "You" at the top of the post.

When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold is out now. Buy it here. And watch the final episode of the fan-based Q&A series "Paint It Gold" at the top of the post.

Atmosphere MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

*I almost ended this post with "Sincerely, Jonathan Graef". I've been spending way too much time writing cover letters.

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Islands - "Waterloo Sunset" (Kinks Cover)

Download: Islands - "Waterloo Sunset" (Kinks Cover)

Here is a rad Kinks cover brought to you by Islands on this rad primary day.

Islands on MySpace

(Ian Anderson)

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The Dodos's Music Used In MoveOn.Org Barack Obama Ad Contest

Download: The Dodos - "Walking"

Progressive political organization Move On may inspire hope or rage, depending on one's view of the world. But, after viewing one submission from the group's Obama in 30 Seconds contest (in which readers are encouraged to create their own political advertisements for Move On's preferred candidate for president, Barack Obama), one thing is for certain: Move On subscribers seem to have great taste in music. Or, rather, two of them do.

If the rumbling arpeggios of a guitar tuned in unorthodox manner which is used on loop in the ad you see at the top of the post sounds familiar, that's because the song is "Walking" by San Francisco-based, MFR-beloved alt-folk duo The Dodos (who recently have been tearing shit up on their tour behind this year's exquisite Visiter LP). As far as whether or not the band approves of the ad, the answer seems to be on the affirmative side: The pair posted this video on their MySpace Bulletin.

The ad, by Tova Goodman and Harris Danow, is called "Changing", and its concept is simple, tasteful, and effective. Creating artful images using plastic toys, the ad imagines a more united United States of America. Watch for yourself at the top of the post.

Vote for the ad here

The Dodos's MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Atmosphere All Up And Down Your Radio Dial Tonight

Download: Atmosphere - "Sunshine"

Directly from Atmosphere's MySpace Page:
Atmsophere is scheduled to make two radio appearances today to discuss their new album "When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold"! You can check them out at 89.3 the Current at 5:00PM CST in Minneapolis/St. Paul or listen live online!

You can also catch them on PRI's Fair Game at 7:00PM CST...This program will also be available online later this evening.

At this rate, Slug will be dishin' out some homespun advice with Garrison Keillor on "Prairie Home Companion" by the end of the week. Either that, or "Car Talk." I could see Slug being very handy in diagnosing what's wrong with a '57 Chevy.

Speaking of Atmosphere and Public Radio, Slug recently joined Brother Ali and Chuck D for MPR's Fakebook Series. You can read a review of the proceedings (I hope someone got video of Brother Ali performing "Letter From The Government") here.

When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shite Gold is out tomorrow. The tour behind that record begins tomorrow as well, at Chicago's Metro club. (Damn You Unemployment! Damn You All To Hell!)

Atmosphere MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)


Themes Post New Song, Tour Dates, Quote "The Simpsons"

Download: Themes - "Epic World"

Everything's coming up Milhouse! And by Milhouse, I mean MPLS-based expansionist alt-folk duo Themes. The duo, who put out their record War Over The Great Plains in the winter of last year, blossomed into a quartet by adding new members back in February. Then, about a week-and-a-half ago, the band triumphantly opened for Fleet Foxes and Blizen Trapper at a show in the 7th Street that Themes described as their "most memorable show to date".

Now, as May approaches, the group is set to start a West Coast tour where, hopefully, each show presents an opportunity to become even more memorable.

As the band explains, via MySpace:
"Did anyone get the licsense place number of the winter that just hit me?"
-c wiggins
dear friends, and innumerable shards of shimmering fragments.

we are headed west again. bursting from the dams of winter's confine. we'll spend to month of MAY roving the western seaboard, with our stories to tell. you might come see us at the shows, you might run into us at the bar be que. you may see us syphening gas from suv's in home depot parking lots, and you might say, those fuckers are crazy, and they look like road warriors. and you would be right. i am fucking crazy. crazy like a fox.

Not one, but two Simpsons quotes!

You can see if the band is coming to your town by heading to their MySpace Page.

For those of you in the Twin Cities-area who want to see the band, they'll be playing April 29th at Future Pasture, and May 3rd at the Uptown Theater, where they will be playing with Chicagoans Lacona.

Those who want to hear what the band actually sounds like (shocker of shockers!) can listen to lullaby-like, arpeggio-heavy, and aptly-named "Epic World" at the top of the post. If you like what you hear, then head on over to the band's MySpace Page, where the band has posted a "new" song. "The Soldier's Trade" is taken from the Plains record, but seeing how you can only buy the record from the band themselves, the stream on MySpace will have to do.

Band member Jacy sez:
a big what up to those of you who might not have been so lucky as to have gotten a copy of this elusive "War Over The Great Plains" album. I figured i should give a heads up and let you know you can hear the song "The Soldier Trade" on our page now. dig it....

And dig it we do. "The Soldier's Trade" features ghostly, sonically-manipulated vocals which help bely the seriousness of the song's "war-is-hell" message. It's a short, but poignant, folk-protest song.

War Of The Great Plains is out now.

Read the Fantastic Weapon post about the band.

Themes MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Video: Mates of State - "Get Better"

Oh man, I love this band. The new Mates of State album "Re-Arrange Us" is due out May 20 on Barsuk Records.

Go buy their records at

Mates of State on MySpace

(Ian Anderson)

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New Music: Weezer - "Pork and Beans"

So it finally happened, someone in the Weezer camp figured out that they were a lot cooler back in the day, you know, before all of those crappy albums they put out. Well, it looks like it just might pay off. Granted, the lyrical content in this jam is about as deep as a modern Metallica song, but the music and melody is pretty ace. Here's to hoping that the rest of the album strives to match that motif.

The new "Red Album," complete with Century Gothic font and all, will be out June 24 on Geffen Records.

Weezer on MySpace

(Ian Anderson)


The Replacements Turned Down Coachella Reunion Offer...But Hint At Future Possibilities

Download: The Replacements - "Color Me Impressed"

With the band's entire Twin/Tone Catalog set to be re-issued tomorrow, the inevitability of future generations discovering the music of legitimately legendary indie-rock (version 1.0) quartet The Replacements is perhaps at its highest. Further cementing that opportunity for music fans not around for the band's 80s and 90s heyday would be if the group had made the decision to re-unite at this year's Coachella Festival, set to begin on April 29th. The band, whose original line-up is largely intact (founding guitarist Bob Stinson passed away in 1995), revealed to Billboard Magazine that the group rejected what were reportedly large offers to reunite at Coachella, amongst other major festivals, because "At the last minute, it just didn't seem like the right thing to do...".

Founding band member Tommy Stinson explains more to Billboard:

"We actually talked about it again this year, and I think there was a consensus that, you know, maybe it wasn't the right time (to reunite), or maybe it is the right time," Stinson says. "Paul and I were kind of in cahoots talking to them [and] talking to (his manager) Darren (Hill). There were some things thrown out, and there were other festivals that wanted it too, if we were going to do it.

"At the last minute, it just didn't seem like the right thing to do, so we didn't do it. But I think Paul and I have something to offer each other still. I think that's pretty obvious when we get together."

At the same time, principal songwriter Paul Westerberg explains to the magazine that "I'm very hesitant about dragging the name out there and what damage we could do to the legend. Whatever we did, someone would want something else...So if I was ever going to play, I'd like to play once the whole shooting match is out, because I don't think I could physically get up there and bellow these 18 songs (from) that first record..."

Read the rest of the article here

If the Replacements were to reunite, I don't think there'd be a single soul out there who wouldn't be interested in watching "the band" live. But the reason "the band" is in quotation marks is because two of the band members are not participating: one due to shuffling his aforementioned mortal coil; the other, Chris Mars, retired from music to focus on painting. So this would be a reunion in the same sense that the Smashing Pumpkins getting back together was a "reunion".

Still, personally speaking, I can't count how many personal organs I'd be willing to give just to hear any essential Replacements cut performed live. Since the article mentioned that the band also turned down offers from major festivals, I'd assume that we're not going to hear Let It Be performed in its entirety at Pitchfork, or can expect the quartet magically show up at Lollapalooza. But there's a chance of the band getting back together. The Sire catalog will be re-issued in the fall.

Maybe then will be the right time? Perhaps. But ay any rate, Replacements fans have been shiftless when idle for 17 years, with regard to a reunion. Waiting for another couple of months won't hurt.

(Jonathan Graef

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Stream Flight of the Conchords In Its Entirety

Download: Flight of the Conchords - "Business Time"

Flight of the Conchords, the self-described "fourth most popular digi-folk paradists", as well as the missing link between Spinal Tap and the funk-infused soul of the early seventies, will release their first full-length LP on Tuesday. Time will tell if this 12-song record will be as delightfully absurdist, intelligent, and dry-witted as their comedy act/television show is (we have a feeling the answer is yes), but for those of you who want to hear the entire record, head on over to the group's MySpace Page. I definitely plan on listening and reviewing the album myself.

But before I do so, I have to go sort out the recycling, which isn't part of the "listening process", but it's still very important. Brushing my teeth, on the other hand...

Flight of the Conchords MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)


Sunday, April 20, 2008

42 Songs for 4/20 (Plus: Atmosphere Show This Afternoon At First Ave.)

(Peter Tosh - "Legalize It" - Live)

Whether or not you know or care, today is a national holiday of sorts. We hope you celebrate with these songs.

For more, head here. Also, celebrate by going to see Atmosphere at First Ave. Details here.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tonight in Minneapolis: Ouija Radio, Maps of Norway

Download: Maps of Norway - "Manners"

Minneapolis-based neo-post-punk group Maps of Norway will be playing at the Rank Strangers Record Release party at the Kitty Cat Klub.

Maps of Norway Myspace Page

Download: Ouija Radio - "Other Side of the Sky

Ouija radio play one of their last shows of 2008 before guitarist/singer Christy Hunt becomes a touring guitarist for the Von Bondies.

Details here. Doors at 9.

Check out what else is going on today by heading over to More Cowbell.

(Jonathan Graef)

Support Your Local Record Store Today! (Plus Toki Wright is the Coolest Person Alive)

Download: Toki Wright - "Future Rock"

As if you didn't know. Today, Saturday, April 19th, is Record Store Day, the idea of which is to stimulate economic interest in independent record stores and to embrace the dying culture of actually purchasing your records. And, though I'm very skeptical of the idea--realistically, we're going to have to have "Record Store Year" in order to revive record-buying culture against the twin forces of the bad economy and file-sharing--I still encourage you to go out and support your locally owned, independent record store, if only for the sheer sake of using your dollar to promote your community's unique culture.

Read more about the economic crises faced by independent record stores here.

Shifting to Minnesota-based record stores, those who decide to shop at Fifth Element today between 1:30 and 3:30 will have a very cool surprise: Toki Wright will be working the register at the hip-hop record store. Wright explains on his MySpace Blog that shoppers should "Stop down and pick up some new music, chat with RSE artists, and most of all support your independent everything. (Oh yeah...and buy one of my cds or tshirts". Oh, tongue-in-cheek humor: will you ever stop providing laughs?

Seriously though, that's excellent of him to work the register. Definitely buy something from Rhymesayers. Or Modern Radio. Or Guilt Ridden Pop. Or, uh, Afternoon Records. Or Flameshovel, Sick Room, Permanent, Bloodshot, Matador, Touch & Go, Mute, Dischord, Beggars Banquet, Sub Pop, Kill Rock Stars, Parasol, K Records, Unnecessary Records, or any other independently owned record label you can think of. Just go buy something! (Didn't Bush say this to Americans right after 9/11? And look how well that turned out...I mean, I LOVE AMERICA!!!

Here's a list of all the independent record stores in MPLS:

Fifth Element
Electric Fetus
Extreme Noise
Vital Vinyl

Just in case you need directions, head on over the Mapquest.

(Jonathan Graef)


Friday, April 18, 2008

The Plastic Constellations Earn a 7.1 From Pitchfork

Download: The Plastic Constellations - "Diablo Dastron"

Well, at least they went out on top. Minneapolis neo-post-punkers The Plastic Constellations earned a 7.1 from Pitchfork for their latest effort, their last before a self-imposed hiatus, We Appreciate You. Read the review

The group plays a CD release party for You (as well as you) tomorrow at First Ave

The Plastic Constellations MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New My Morning Jacket - "Evil Urges"

This is the title track from Louisville (pronounced Lou-uh-Ville, as Kirsten Dunst has properly taught us), Kentucky-based quintet My Morning Jacket posted the title track of their new album, which is called Evil Urges. And with that post came a nifty manifesto of sorts explaining how and why the listener has traveled in time back to the 1990s. You'll see what I'm referring to once you click on the link here.

As for what the track sounds like, "Evil Urges" sounds like the great vintage Motown song that David Bowie never wrote during his Ziggy Stardust phase. We dig the falsetto vocals by Jim James. Perhaps James will start to give the Purple One a run for his money? If so, the MMJ singer's got to reach higher notes and be less inclined toward those gloriously summery instrumental jams that are the Jacket's forte. As it is, the track is blissful, glam-futuristic blue-eyed soul music.

Evil Urges comes out in June.

My Morning Jacket MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Stream Atmosphere's New Record In Its Entirety (Plus Atmosphere Karaoke and Paint It Gold #8)

Download: Atmosphere - "Shoulda Known"

As the old aphorism goes, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. Or rather, that's how the old aphorism goes if you happen to be Slug and Ant, the Minneapolis-based rap duo known professionally as Atmosphere. You yourselves can find out whether or not the duo has made good on its unique brand of inspirational quoteage by streaming their new album in its entirety over at its MySpace Page.

Those wanting to hear the new songs in a live setting as well. In addition to kicking off their tour supporting Gold with two shows in the Windy City, Slug and Ant will also be headlining the Soundset Festival, an all-day hip-hop extravaganza featuring many of Rhymesayers's best players. However, if you think that you can rap just as well as Slug can, then you are in luck. How does Atmosphere karaoke sound to you? Check it out, via the duo's MySpace blog:

atmosphere karaoke.

on this upcoming string of release parties,
"when life gives you lemons, you paint your city gold,"
atmosphere, abstract rude, and dj rare groove will be doing sets,
and doing our bestest to make you smile.

but I am pleased to announce that before any of us play our music,
dj rare groove and myself will be personally hosting some "atmosphere karaoke."
a handful of you will be pulled up on stage to attempt to perform your
favorite atmosphere songs (while trying to keep your face straight).

this is not the normal tv screen karaoke where you get to see the words. atmosphere karaoke means you need to know the words to the songs you're performing. you sign up, tell us which song you're going to rap, dj rare groove drops the instrumental and you perform your favorite atmosphere song.

we will have a sign up sheet at the merch table.
along with a list of various songs for you to choose from.
each one of you that gets chosen will walk away with a free copy of
the new atmosphere album, "when life gives you lemons, you paint that shit gold."

Can it get any better? Actually, yes. Here is what in all likelihood be the last episode (since the record drops on Tuesday and everything) of the 'Sphere's YouTube series "Paint It Gold":

When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold comes out on Tuesday.

Atmosphere MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fleet Foxes Do Daytrotter Session, Release MP3 From Debut Album

Download: Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"

After the considerable buzz garnered by a glowing Pitchfork review of their Sun Giant EP, Seattle-based quintet Fleet Foxes are set to release their debut LP, which will be self-titled. Before the buzz tumbles like a tumbling tumbleweed, the band are doing things like making a Daytrotter session, which you can listen to here. Additionally, the group has released the first MP3 from that debut album, a gorgeous track called "White Winter Hymnal", one that you can listen to at the top of the post.

Fleet Foxes MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)


Bon Iver Remixes The Rosebuds

Download: The Rosebuds - "Get Up and Get Out" (Bon Iver Remix)

We never thought Bon Iver to be the remixing type, but this re-imagining of The Rosebuds' "Get Up and Get Out" obviously proves us wrong. The track is taken from the free remix record that Merge Records gave away on their website. You can listen to Bon Iver's remix at the top of the post, and download the remix album here.

The Rosebuds MySpace Page
Bon Iver MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: Win Tickets To See RJD2 at First Ave!

Amongst the many shows going on today is RJD2 at First Ave. MFR is giving away a pair of tickets to the show. The first person to write in to jon@minneapolisfuckingrocks wins a pair of those tickets. You don't have to write anything other than "first!". Sounds simple enough, yes?

Once again, the email is jon@minneapolisfuckingrocks. All you have to do is be the first emailer, and the tickets are yours. Done and done.

RJD2 plays tonight at First Ave.

(Jonathan Graef)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tonight in Minneapolis: Destroyer, Solid Gold, Alpha Consumer

Download: Destroyer - "Foam Hands"

Wed, Apr 16 @ 9 pm
400 Bar
Opening: Colossal Yes

The Dan Bejar-led group kicks off its tour tonight in MPLS. The band is playing shows in support of its latest record, Trouble In Dreams, which mines the same sinewy, lyrical territory as its predecessor, Destroyer's Rubies.

Destroyer MySpace Page

With a flier like that, it's got to be entertaining, right?

Solid Gold MySpace Page

Even if members of Alpha Consumer gave up their day jobs--as players with Andrew Bird and Dosh, respectively--they would still have the neo-shoegaze sounds of their own excellent band to fall back upon. The group, along with Pattern is Movement and Andrew Broder, play a 21+ show tonight at the Turf Club.

(Jonathan Graef)


The Roots Play "The Colbert Report" - Plus New Video for "Birthday Girl"

Speaking of musicians, hip-hop, and Philadelphia, local heroes The Roots were the house band of sorts on "The Colbert Report" last night, where they played homage to Jimi Hendrix with a smashing--literally--rendition of our nation's anthem. Colbert's been doing his show live all this week, so everything you're watching is in real time.

In other Roots video news, the band released its video for Rising Down reject "Birthday Girl" starring porn star Sasha Grey. Watch that video below (possibly NSFW):

Stream: The Roots - "Birthday Girl"

Rising Down is out next week.

The Roots MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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MFR Contest: Win a Pair of Tickets to Thursday's RJD2 Show at First Ave

Download: RJD2 - "Beyond The Beyond"
Download: RJD2 - "Get It"

With last year's The Third Hand, Philadelphia-based hip-hop instrumentalist RJD2 made a radical change in his style. D2's first two records were largely sample-based affairs, but this third, and most recent, one finds the DJ--who may know through his work with Rhymesayers act Blueprint as Soul Position--both singing and playing live instruments on almost every track.

Whether that new style holds up in a live setting remains to be seen, but those who are curious can find out for themselves when RJD2 plays tomorrow night at First Avenue. MFR plans to help those musical adventurers out by giving away a free pair of tickets to the show!

What do you have to do in order to win these tickets? The answer is simple. By 10 a.m. tomorrow morning, you have to write to and tell us what's your favorite record this year so far (on a local or national level) and why. Let's set the word maximum at 250. The best one gets to go, with a guest, to the RJD2 tomorrow.

So, just to review: 1. Write to and tell us what your favorite record of the year is. 2. Do so before 10 a.m. tomorrow. 3. If yours is the best, you'll be going to see RJD2 tomorrow for absolutely free.

Sounds good? Of course it does.

Listen to two RJD2 tracks at the top of the post.

RJD2 MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New My Brightest Diamond - "Inside A Boy"

Download: My Brightest Diamond - "Inside A Boy"

It's been said that the only thing that really matters in life is the classical sauce. Because rock'n'roll is bogus, right, K.G.? Wrong. Dead wrong. Well, maybe not wrong (and certainly not dead wrong), so much as someone forgot to tell one Shara Worden that approaching rock and classical with equal abandon is apparently a zero-sum game. Not So! says Ms. Worden, whose nom de rock is My Brightest Diamond. Her band's debut album, Bring Me The Workhouse, combined styles such as rock, classical, opera, and cabaret in a manner that was tastefully performed and arranged--the results of such efforts being a legitimately well-crafted record.

Which, oddly enough, was its main problem as a record. For all its operatic bombast, Bring Me The Workhouse was a little too square-sounding and too carefully controlled. Playing music in an orchestral setting is about discipline, nuance, and maintaining a strident work ethic, whereas rock music is about being as reckless and irresponsible as one could arguably be. Workhouse would have been a much better record if the former could teach the latter how to fish, and if the latter would remind the former how to love and laugh again.

The title of MBD's second album A Thousand Shark's Teeth might sound like Warden's musical bark might starting to match her compositional bite. Instead, My Brightest Diamond gives us an epic track which makes great use of her lithe soprano and the kind of anxious melodiousness of Radiohead's best work. The song is called "Inside A Boy", and it is Teeth's first single. The song itself continues in the direction of Workhouse, but there's a wiser of guitars in this track--they help accompany Warden rather than stand awkwardly next to her. The result is a song much more pleasing that her last record--"Inside A Boy" sounds like the great addition to Hail To The Thief which never was written.

Listen to "Inside A Boy" at the top of the post.

A Thousand Shark's Teeth is out June 13th.

My Brightest Diamond MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tonight in Minneapolis: MCAD Earth Fair, The Plastic Constellations

(flier via More Cowbell)

Download: Lambs of God - "The Whores of Babylon"
Download: Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles - "Yet Untitled"
Download: The Hammer Gang - "Willow Tree"

The nature-friendly activities behind the MCAD Earth Fair have been going on all day, but come 5 p.m., the music will start. Bands set to play include Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, The Hammer Gang and Lambs of God.

Download: The Plastic Constellations - "Stay That Way"

The Plastic Constellations are showing how much they appreciate you by playing a free in-store at Electric Fetus. Do your part of appreciating them by showing up. Their new album, We Appreciate You, was released today via Frenchkiss, and I would imagine that they'll surely play some songs from that record, and that you'll be able to pick it up.

Speaking of that album, which may unfortunately be their last for quite a while, the band will hold a record release party at First Ave. on April 19th (this Saturday). Details are in the flier below:

The Plastic Constellations MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)


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