Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brother Ali Talks About "Explode The Vote" Concert

The concert to which Ali is referring is:

Broth​er Ali
Big Quart​ers
Usual​ Suspe​cts
Illum​inous​ 3
Green​ Sketc​h Crew

Hoste​d by I Self Devin​e
DJ'd by Justn​ine


(Jonathan Graef)

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Radio K Sessions: Hand Over Fist, Cecil Otter, Private Dancer, Ra Ra Riot, A Place To Bury Strangers, The Broken West

Download: Ra Ra Riot - "Dying Is Fine"
Download: The Broken West - "Auctioneer"
Download: A Place To Bury Strangers - "To Fix The Gash In Your Head"

Before Radio K celebrates their 15th Anniversary, they have to remind us of why they're so special in the first place. And, boy, have they ever.

In the past few days, the radio station has posted several in-studio sessions from both local and national acts. They include sessions from Doomtree members Hand Over Fist and Cecil Otter; Private Dancer, a garage-rock band featuring members of STNNNG; neo-shoegazers A Place To Bury Strangers; power-pop group The Broken West; and orch-pop septet Ra Ra Riot.

Listen to the sessions here.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Video: Jack White and Alicia Keys - "Another Way To Die"

Download: Jack White and Alicia Keys - "Another Way To Die" (via)

On the theme song to Quantum of Solace, Jack White and Alicia Keys collaborate to write a track that sounds like something White finished ten minutes beforehand, and then invited Keys to do some soulful vocalizations in order to make in a "collaboration". Seriously, she could have added something special to this. Oh well.

(Jonathan Graef)

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This Saturday: Glorious Monster, D Numbers, Food Team @ Nomad World Pub

Nomad World Pub
Saturday, October 4th
9 o'clock doors, 10 o'clock music
Glorious Monster
D Numbers
Food Team

Glorious Monster MySpace Page
D Numbers MySpace Page
Food Team MySpace Page (solo project of Ryan Alcott's)

(Jonathan Graef)

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Video: Fleet Foxes - "He Doesn't Know Why"

Live Review: My Bloody Valentine @ The Aragon Ballroom (9/27/08, Chicago, IL)

(My Bloody Valentine - "I Only Said" - Live at the Aragon Ballroom - 9/27/08)

Download: My Bloody Valentine - "Cigarette In Your Bed"

At Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, a legendary group took the stage after being away from both live and recorded music for 17 years. The quartet, My Bloody Valentine, a British band who helped re-define psychedelic music by wholly inventing a subgenre that continues to shape and influence independent music today, demonstrated to an enraptured audience how it was possible for songs that were 20 years old to remain vital, contemporary, and awe-inspiring. Using a Berlin-Wall-of-Sound, My Bloody Valentine played songs from a masterpiece in sound that still resonates greatly today.

And the songs from Loveless didn’t sound half bad either.

The biggest surprise from My Bloody Valentine’s 13-song set wasn’t that the band gave what many regarded as an incredible, ear-shattering live performance. Rather, it was the fact that the material from 1988’s Isn’t Anything was what ultimately held up best in the context of that live performance. After opening with two Loveless tracks—the mid-tempo “I Only Said” and “When You Sleep”--, the band absolutely tore into “(When You Sleep) You’re Still In A Dream”, a deep cut from the aforementioned Anything. It was on these upbeat tracks that the band was at its most tight rhythmically. Bassist Debbie Googe and Drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig were in absolute lockstep, creating a thrilling foundation on which guitarists Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher could create their vast tapestry of sound.

The minor problem, then, was when the band tried to create some semblance of dynamics on Loveless tracks like “Come In Alone”. On that track, the night’s only real disappointment, the sheer density of the wall-of-sound dropped out when Kevin Shields solely played the whirring main melody on his guitar. That resulted in a lot of empty sonic space, which is a killer in momentum for songs that are so clearly based on epic soundscapes. This is probably why the Isn’t Anything tracks were the best, because they were closer to traditional (but still forward-thinking) rock sounds, rather than the fever-dream sound collages of Loveless.

That said, one highlight came in the form of You Made Me Realize EP track “Cigarette In Your Bed”, during which the band regained an impressive command of dynamics that had eluded them during “Alone”. To see a band that was playing as loudly as MBV was don an acoustic guitar to successfully play what was, in the context of the set, a straightforward ballad was impressive.

In a set loaded with highlights, it was on Loveless’ more upbeat songs, such as “Only Shallow” and “Soon”, as well as on Anything tracks like “Feed Me With Your Kiss”, that the grandiose guitar shined brightest, and were the main causes of the band’s pulse-pounding live show. Part of the reason for the live show’s success was due to the increased presence of the drums. In mixing Loveless, Shields and his engineers buried both the drums and vocals to create an air of ethereality. Live, the drums were much higher in the mix, which allowed some songs—namely, the material from Anything—to get a greater “oomph”.

Lastly, but certainly not least, was the infamous “You Made Me Realize”, with it’s the 15-20 minute white-noise section in between. Basically, hearing this section live was like experiencing the end of Eraserhead and 2001 simultaneously. I’m still not entirely sure that’s a compliment, but it did make for a memorable concert moment—particularly after watching dozens of people walk out after minute 10.

While My Bloody Valentine gave a performance that surely be remembered by everyone who experienced it, the show also presented an opportunity for fans to re-evaluate MBV’s debut album, Isn’t Anything, insofar as that was the material that shone brightest amongst a set heavy with highlights. Truly, it was a show not to have been missed.

MBV MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on CIMI.

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Stream Sing It Loud's New Album on PureVolume

Local pop-punk favorites Sing It Loud are streaming their new Epitaph-released full-length "Come Around" in its entirety on their PureVolume page. Check it out HERE.

(Ian Anderson)

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Photos: Big Quarters - Hand Over Fist CD Release Party

(via Big Quarters)

See more over at the Big Quarters MySpace page

Check out the free song from their upcoming Big Quarters Direct EP, if you haven't already:

Download: Big Quarters - "All Day Long"

Big Quarters MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Rift Magazine's 36 Hours Songwriting Contest

Ben Glaros, Brad Senne, Brian Just, David Brusie*, Future Lisa, Nicholas Roesler, Patrik Tanner, Pete Wannemacher, Chris Hall, Nigel Eccleston, ShugE , Mischa Suemnig, Eliza Blue, Sarah Pray and Scott Schweis. - (contestants are subject to change if they get a better gig)

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
Doors Open 6:00, Show at 7:00 sharp.
at the Bryant-Lake Bowl Theatre
$8.00 in advance and $10.00 day of show
Reservation Line - 612-825-8949

h/t Culture Bully

(Jonathan Graef)

Full Disclosure: David Brusie is a former contributor to MFR

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Shearwater Announce New Digital EP, MP3, Tour Dates

Download: Shearwater - "The Snow Leopard"

Of all the majestic tracks of Shearwater's masterful fifth album, Rook, the one that's most impressive, in terms of song dynamics and building to an unforgettable crescendo, is "The Snow Leopard". One of the closing tracks off of Rook, "Leopard" features a band at its creative peak. So it's fitting, then, that the song is the focal point of a new, digital-only, EP the band plays an releasing in just a few short weeks time. The new EP will include "The Snow Leopard", two covers ("So Bad" by Baby Dee and "Henry Lee", an American traditional), and a whole slew of tracks from radio sessions (including a pair recorded at a certain beloved Minnesotan institution). Check out the tracklisting below:

The Snow Leopard digital EP
(available from all digital stores October 14):

1. The Snow Leopard (album version)
2. So Bad (iTunes bonus track)
3. North Col (vinyl and iTunes bonus track)
4. Henry Lee (live from KUT)
5. Rooks (live from Radio K)
6. I Was A Cloud (live from Radio K)
7. South Col / The Snow Leopard (live from Florence Gould Hall, NYC)

And Tour Dates Via Matablog:

Mon, Oct 13 Chicago IL - Lakeshore Theater - with Hospital Ships
Tue, Oct 14 Cleveland OH - Beachland Tavern - with Hospital Ships
Wed, Oct 15 Washington DC - Kennedy Ctr — Millennium Stage, 7 PM, FREE
Fri, Oct 17 Annandale NY - Bard College
Sun, Oct 19 Boston MA - Cafe 939 at Berklee - with Hospital Ships
Mon, Oct 20 New York NY - Le Poisson Rouge
Fri, Oct 24 Asheville NC - Grey Eagle (stripped-down set)
Sat, Oct 25 Durham NC - Duke Coffee House (stripped-down set)
Sun, Oct 26 Atlanta GA - Drunken Unicorn (stripped-down set)
Fri, Nov 7 Brussels BE - Botanique
Sat, Nov 8 Antwerp BE De Nachten
Sun, Nov 9 Utrecht NL - Tivoli
Mon, Nov 10 Rouen FR - Club 106 - with Silver Mt. Zion
Tue, Nov 11 Paris FR - Le Bataclan with Silver Mt. Zion
Wed, Nov 12 Feyzin FR - L’Epicerie Moderne
Thu, Nov 13 St-Gallen CH - Palace
Fri, Nov 14 Lausanne CH - Le Romandie
Sun, Nov 16 Schorndorf DE - Manufaktur
Mon, Nov 17 Berlin DE - Postbahnhof with Okkervil River
Tue, Nov 18 Dresden DE - Beatpol
Wed, Nov 19 Hamburg DE - Nachtasyl
Thu, Nov 20 Ghent BE - Vooruit
Fri, Nov 21 The Hague NL - Crossing Borders Festival
Sat, Nov 22 London UK - St. Giles in the Fields Church
Sun, Nov 23 Coventry UK - Taylor John’s House
Mon, Nov 24 Brighton UK - Komedia

Rook is out now.
The Snow Leopard is out October 16th.

Shearwater MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on CIMI

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Video: Doomtree - "Game Over"

Like a cross-pollination of Nickel and Dimed and Clerks, rapper Mike Mictlan demonstrates the difference between the romantization of rappers (notice how the customer in line for the "rap won't save you" line is a damn dirty hipster, no doubt ironically purchasing celery flavored soda. No, wait, that was my college friends) and the reality of actually being a rapper over a toy-box sample and some shuffling, mid-tempo beats. Watch the video for "Game Over" at the top of the post.

From the self-titled crew record, out now.

Doomtree MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tonight: Maps of Norway on "The Local Show With Chris Roberts"

Download: Maps of Norway - "The Run-out"
Download: Maps of Norway - "Strict Ritual"

As you may know, Maps Of Norway are having releasing a new record titled Die Off Songbird, which they will be celebrating the release of on October 10th. If you want to hear more from that record, then The Current is your place to be. First off, the band's first single from the album, "The Runout", was a Current Song of the Day. Furthermore, the band will be on the The Local Show With Chris Roberts, which airs on 89.3 from 5 pm to 6 pm.

Die Off Songbird is out October 10th.

Maps of Norway MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sunday: Hand Over Fist CD Release Party @ 7th Street Entry

Tonight: Nobot @ The Uptown Bar

Download: NOBOT - "Drinking Progress"
Download: Estate - "Write To Make"

Saturday, September 27th

Uptown Bar and Cafe
John The Savage
The Anonymous

DJ Bach spinning between bands w/ live, interactive visuals by mulitmedia artist Beeple. (http://beeple.com)

21+ | 9pm | $5

(Jonathan Graef)

This post contains previously published content.

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Video: TV On The Radio - "Dancing Choose" (Live on the "Late Show With David Letterman")

Friday, September 26, 2008

Saturday: Justin Nuoffer Benefit @ Club Underground


A benefit for Justin Nuoffer
to help him cover the evil bills of fighting cancer.

Saturday September 27th.
4 PM-Midnight
Ouija Radio
Orange Blank
Country Dollar Love

Club Underground Myspace Page

Also happening this weekend:

Free Martin Dosh and Tim Glenn Show at 331 Club - 9pm. 21+ FREE
Themes' final show as a Minneapolis band at 7th Street Entry

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New Music Playlist: The Gentle Guest, Lambchop, Shawn Hewitt, Kid Sister, Jeremy Messersmith, and more!

(Kid Sister)

Download: The Gentle Guest - "Down At The Still"
Download: Shawn Hewitt - "Keep Them At Bay"
Download: La Rocca - "Sing Her Song"
Download: Chandeliers - "Mango Tree"
Download: Chandeliers - "Big League"
Download: Jeremy Messersmith - "Skyway" (Speaking of The Replacements)
Download: Kid Sister - "Family Reunion"
Download: Vince P - "Walking Down The Block"
Download: Lambchop - "National Talk Like a Pirated Day"
Download: White/Light - "Monadnock"

I've decided to compile a collection of new MP3s that have come my way in the last couple of days. Here now is a brief rundown of the artists: The Gentile Guest, a raucous, whiskey-soaked throwback Americana group from Eau Claire, Wis; Canadian electro-soulster Shawn Hewitt, with the first track off of his upcoming Spare Hearts disc; Vanilla Irish indie-folk-pop group La Rocca, whose music has been featured on One Tree Hill; Chicago electro-funk outfit Chandeliers; Fellow Chicagoan, hip-hop artist and Kanye West collaborator Kid Sister; Eccentric electro-hip-hop artist Vince P; Minneapolis singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith covering The Replacements on The Current; Lambchop's first single from their upcoming album; and finally, Chicago dronemeisters White/Light.

Listen to all the songs at the top of the post.

(Jonathan Graef)

A version of this post has been cross-published on CIMI.


Reminder: Muja Messiah @ The Triple Rock

Saturday, September 27th
Triple Rock Social Club
Muja Messiah
St. Paul Slim
Paper Tiger
Aby Wolf

21+ | 10:00 PM | $7.00

Hosted by SAMAHRA (Black Blondie)

This post contains previously published content.

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Reminder: Jagerfest @ Club Jager

Saturday, Sept. 27
6-10pm bands
10pm-2am Attitude City DJs
Solid Gold
First Communion Afterparty
Bella Koshka
Beatrix Jar
$5, includes Summit Octoberfest
@ Club Jager

This post contains previously published content.


Live Video: Neko Case - Songs From The Upcoming Middle Cyclone (Plus: "John Saw That Number" - Live at First Ave.)

(Neko Case - "John Saw That Number" - Live at First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN - 9/19/08)

If you've happened to see Neko Case live (you may have caught her First Ave. show last Friday, video of which is at the top of the post) on her current jaunt--which I did when she stopped by the Hideout Block Party--you'll know that she's been playing songs from her upcoming release, titled Middle Cyclone, which is set for release in March 2009. After being totally entranced by her set at the Block Party, where she, along with Monotonix, gave what I thought was the best performance of the festival. There she played four new songs which may appear on the aforementioned Cyclone. I went on a little YouTube mission to see what I could find and--lo and behold!--there's some great stuff out there.

(Neko Case - "Blue Blue Baby" -Live at the Slowdown, Omaha, Neb.)

I don't think she announced the title of this midtempo song, but the ballad is kind of a musical sibling to Star Witness, one of the many standout tracks from Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. Other videos have titled this "Blue Blue Baby", but that's obvious speculation. However, I've labeled it here as such because "New Song" proves to be awfully monotonous. At first hearing this, I balked a little bit, because it seemed like Case was trying to have songwriting strike twice. That said, it's grown on me after repeated listens. The track may not have the emotional wallop as "Star Witness", but the track easily is a strong showcase for the Case's considerable talents.

(Neko Case - New Song from Middle Cyclone - Live @ The Orpheum Theatre, Madison, Wi.)

(Neko Case - New Song from Middle Cyclone - Live @ The Orpheum Theatre, Madison, Wi.)

Both of these videos were taped at Case's recent show at The Orpheum Theatre. They're both shot at peculiar angles, but the audio quality is still quite good. The first song is a stripped-down ballad, with guitar arpeggios that will melt your heart the instant you hear them, and the second is a short, blast of country-flavored jangle-pop. Of all the new songs floating around, the second one is my favorite, because I like the idea of Case creating a record that's more of an upbeat contrast to Confessor stark lyricism. Also, because it's amazing.

(Neko Case - New Song from Middle Cyclone - Live @ Bumbershoot 2008)

(Neko Case - "Don't Forget Me" - Live @ Bumbershoot 2008)

Another pair of videos, this time taken from the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. The audio for the first one is a little bit rough, due to the increased presence of the drums in the arrangement. It's also the least interesting song in this batch, as the track shows Case staying in her mid-tempo comfort zone. An anti-climatic ending doesn't help either, but at least there's a jangly guitar line and nice texture from a pedal-steel guitar. The second song is a cover of Harry Nilsson's wry, heartbreaking divorce ballad "Don't Forget Me", which originally appeared on his "lost weekend" album with John Lennon, Pussy Cats (You may know The Walkmen's cover version of the entire album from 2006). These have already been on Stereogum, but they're here because I'm a completist. Check those out above.

Based on these videos, I'd say March can't come soon enough.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tours: Marnie Stern

Info via KRS Blog:

Download: Marnie Stern - "Transformer"

November 2008
3 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle - w/ Gang Gang Dance
4 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry - w/ Gang Gang Dance
5 - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall - w/ Gang Gang Dance
7 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge - w/ Gang Gang Dance
8 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court - w/ Gang Gang Dance
10 - Seattle, WA @ Triple Door - w/ Gang Gang Dance
11 - Vancouver, BC, Canada @ Biltmore Theater - w/ Gang Gang Dance
12 - Portland, OR @ Berbati's Pan - w/ Gang Gang Dance
14 - San Francisco, CA @ Bimbos - w/ Gang Gang Dance
15 - Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater - w/ Gang Gang Dance

(Marnie Stern - "Every Single Line Means Something")

Cross-published on CIMI

Incidentally, I nominate "Transformer" as song of the year.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: Jeremy Messersmith CD Release Party @ The Varsity Theater

(Jeremy Messersmith - "Miracles")

Jeremy Messersmith's gentle, folk-addled pop music recalls another artist who cribbed quite a bit from the George Harrison-penned Beatles songs--Elliot Smith. (Although,strangely enough, "Light Rail" nicks the guitar lick from "Ob la di, ob la da"). But those who'd automatically conclude that Messersmith must be derivative can have all the fun they want resisting tracks like "Franklin Avenue", with its sighing-then-soaring harmonies provided a thrill-worthy chorus. It still won't change the fact that Messersmith is a talent worth serious consideration. And that's before you hear the left-field electronic curveball of "Miracles" (just added to his MySpace Page). Again, the reference point is an obvious one (the electro-emo of the Postal Service). But Messersmith has such a readily apparent gift for melody and arrangement that arguing, let alone resisting, with its originality seems futile at best. His new album, The Silver City, has been out for a few weeks now, but will be celebrated at this show tonight.


Jeremy Messersmith
The Owls
Rachel Ries

Varsity Theater
18+ show

(Jonathan Graef)

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Video: Woodhands - "I Wasn't Made For Fighting"

New Pornographers' Newman To Get Guilty On New Album

Download: A.C. Newman - "Miracle Drug"
Download: A.C. Newman - "Drink To Me, Then"

The New Pornographers are rightly considered by many as one of the greatest power-pop groups to have emerged this decade. This assessment should be considered a surprise, given the fact that the Canadian group is almost saturated with seemingly supernatural talent--members include Neko Case, Dan Bejar, and A.C. Newman.

The first two names of that list either had, or were on their way to establishing, solo careers of their own, when the New Pornographers released their first album, Mass Romantic, in 2000. The third, Newman, released his first solo album, The Slow Wonder, in 2004. While there was the trademark bouncy pop effervescence on most of the album, there was a hint of wistful melancholy in tracks like on "Come Crash"--a stylistic tendency that showed up on the Pornos most recent effort, the underrated Challengers. No word on what Get Guilty, the second solo effort from Newman, to be released on January, 20th, 2009, will sound like, but Matablog states that "we’re confident ‘Get Guilty’ raises the bar on Carl Newman’s songwriting prowess even higher."

That's almost terrifying, in a way. We'll find out in a few weeks, when an MP3 from the record will be released. But in the meantime, peep the album cover at the top of the post, and check out Newman's day job covering ELO's "Don't Break Me Down" at the Hideout Block Party:

AC Newman MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: Hojas Rojas @ The Hexagon

Hexagon Bar
Hojas Rojas
Zoo Animal
Wizards Are Real MySpace Page
Inwood Radio

Hexagon Bar
2600 27th Ave. S
Price: free
Start time: 9 p.m.

Download: Inwood Radio - "Irises"
Download: Inwood Radio - "A Letter"
Downlaod: Inwood Radio - "Linger"

Hojas Rojas MySpace Page
Zoo Animal MySpace Page
Wizards Are Real MySpace Page
Inwood Radio MySpace Page

The Wizards Are Real songs are the most interesting of the bunch, with the band's sound suggesting seminal post-rockers Mogwai adding addition textural elements like saxophone and pedal-steel guitar. Zoo Animal have a crunchy, lo-fi aesthetic, with treble-heavy guitars and singer Holly Hansen helping the band sound like cross between a more upbeat Low and What Would The Community Think?-era Cat Power. Speaking of lo-fi, Inwood Radio have the classic slacker indie-pop sound that has made/will make past, present, and future listeners feel slanted and enchanted. Those wanting a little more fidelity and crashing rhythms can take comfort in headliner's Hojas Rojas brand of post-punk-pop.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: Muja Messiah @ St. Cloud University

Atwood Memorial Center
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Muja Messiah, DJ ARKITEKT & Nerve go on at 4:30 PM
Cost: Free

Muja Messiah playing a get-out-the-vote rally? But he's normally so apolitical!

(Muja Messiah - "Patriot Act" feat. I Self Devine)

On second thought, perhaps it is a good fit.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tonight: Monotonix at the Uptown Bar

(Live at the Canopy Club, Urbana, IL on Sept. 18th, 2008)

(Live in Kingstown, TN in 2007)

(Live at the Hideout Block Party, Chicago, IL, - Sept. 20th, 2008)

Monotonix are a trio from Israel who play Vol. 4-era Black Sabbath as filtered through Iggy and The Stooges. They also like to blow shit up and have the audience lift the drummer up above their heads while he's still playing. This is not a show to miss. For the love of God, this is not a show to miss.

Tonight at The Uptown

Call Me Lightning
Gay Witch Abortion
The Guystorm
21+ | 9pm | $6

(Jonathan Graef)

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Video: Ponytail - "Beg Waves"

Via P4K TV

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Video: Atmosphere - "You" and "Yesterday" (Live on Jimmy Kimmel)

Tonight: Athletes In Slacks @ Kitty Cat Klub

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Wilco w/Fleet Foxes - "I Shall Be Released" (Bob Dylan Cover)

Every election year is a chance for new voters to experience their own personal, political awakening, no matter what ideology they belong to. But ideals don't matter a single bit if they aren't put into action--and voting is the most simple way to do that very same thing. As a means to increase voter turnout, The AV Club has announced the details of an exclusive live collaboration between lush melodists Fleet Foxes and alt-country innovators Wilco that was recorded in Bend, OR. The song played is a cover of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released", which he originally wrote, but was played by The Band on their first album, Music From The Big Pink. Download the song here, for the cost of an email address and a pledge that you will vote in the November election.

As for the original version of the song, check out footage from Martin Scorsese's legendary concert film, The Last Waltz:

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on CIMI

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New Music Smorgasbord: The Killers, Golden Hands, Crooked Fingers, and more!

Download: Golden Hands - "Blood"
Download: Golden Hands - "Communist Party"
Download: Crooked Fingers - "Phony Revolutions"
Download: Lukestar - "White Shade"
Download:The Whispertown 2000 - "Done With Love"
Download: Star - "Turning It On"
Download: The Killers - "Human"

Several noteworthy MP3s have crossed my path, and I thought I would make a smorgasbord playlist from it. So here it goes: first off is two MP3s from Golden Hands, both of which hark back to country-pasts; "Communist Party" suggests a fuzzed-out "Maggie's Farm. Next up is Crooked Fingers' Latin-tinged, baritone sax heavy "Phony Revolutions", which strangely resembles Marc Antony's 1999 hit "I Need To Know"; Pavement-esque Lukestar, with their laid-back track "White Shade"; Chicago dream-pop band Star, with a girl-group indebted song from their upcoming sophomore album Violence Against Star; and The Killers, who release a song called "Human", a synth-heavy track that sounds like it could soundtrack the end credits of a terrible anime.

Listen to all of the songs at the top of the post.

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Black Blondie - "Hunger"

Stream: Black Blondie - "Hunger"

Last time Black Blondie posted new music on their MySpace Page, they were in the midst of what relationship expert Slug might call drama addiction with "For The Taste". But with all of the emotional ambiguity, the band was still able to rejoice with a potent blend of trip-hop rhythms and fantastically abrupt transitions that recall a gospel Fiery Furnaces. This time, with new song, "Hunger", the emotions are darker, for a while at least. "Hunger" starts out with a glum, dissonant chords on the piano, with a solid beat anchoring the proceedings. But, like in "Taste", there is a radical stylistic that suggest the down-on-her-luck narrator isn't about to give up the possibility of emotional transcendence.

I'm not gonna tell you when it comes, of course. That would be spoiling the surprise. Instead, head on over to their band's MySpace Page, so you can hear for yourself why Black Blondie is one of the most promising bands in Minneapolis do what they do best.

In other Black Blondie news, the band will be opening up for Climbing Poetree on October Fourth (as already mentioned below)

Who are Climbing PoeTree? Good question.

(Climbing PoeTree - "Hurricane Season")

Show Details:

Black Blondie
Climbing PoeTree (BROOKLYN)
Black Audience
Carpscale Orchestra
DJ Shannon Blowtorch

Pi Bar
2532 25th Ave. S. MPLS, MN

Black Blondie MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Anni Rossi - "Wheelpusher"

Download: Anni Rossi - "Wheelpusher"

Like fellow Chicagoan/part-time Minnesotan Andrew Bird, Anni Rossi creates a rich tapestry of sound by melding together eclectic orchestrations and lush instrumentation. Rossi's aesthetic is more straight-forward--there are no Dosh-assisted style sonic collages that Bird happens to be fond of--but, using her viola and the surprise appearance of saxophones, Rossi is able to create an imaginative, impressionistic world for listeners to get lost in. But lest you think that Rossi and her Joanna Newsom-like warble make a detour into the self-indulgent, the minimalist production makes sure that both listener and artist stay grounded in reality.

Rossi is currently at work on her debut album, set for release next spring, recording it with Steve Albini at Chicago. But those enticed by the sounds on "Wheelpusher", the track at the top of the post, don't have to wait long for new material. The "mini-album" (different from an EP...how?) Afton, which features "Wheelpusher", will be out on October 21st. Rossi's last US date before her European tour is in Chicago opening up for Why?, but has soon as she has more US dates, we will let you know.

To get a further glimpse into Rossi's creativity, check out her cover of Radiohead's "Creep" (and be sure to download "Wheelpusher", of course):

Afton is out October 21st.

Anni Rossi MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

*The viola, Rossi's instruments, is often the butt of good-natured jokes in orchestras. Read some here.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

CD Release Show: Heiruspecs @ First Avenue

h/t to City Pages. According to Andrea Swensson, Heiruspecs announced from the River Rocks Festival stage this past Saturday that their first new album in four years, which will be self-titled, will be released on December 13th. The band has released no new material from the self-titled album (though a song "I Know", is posted on the MySpace page for those "waiting for a new record), but once they do, we'll let you know. Here are the show release deets:

Saturday, December 13
6:00 pm

Heiruspecs MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Show Announcement: Solid Gold, First Communion Afterparty @ Club Jager

Saturday, Sept. 27
6-10pm bands
10pm-2am Attitude City DJs
Solid Gold
First Communion Afterparty
Bella Koshka
Beatrix Jar
$5, includes Summit Octoberfest
@ Club Jager

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Show Announcement: Black Blondie, Black Audience @ Pi Bar

Video: Brother Ali Freestyle on B96 Radio

h/t Nah Right/Switchblade Comb.

I think Ali would do amazingly well on something like the Wake Up Show. Thoughts? Here's a Wake Up Show session featuring Eyedea (from Eyedeas and Abilities) and Slug from Atmosphere, added to YouTube this past May:

(Eyedea and Slug on "The Wake Up Show" - Part One)

(Eyedea and Slug on Wake Up Show - Part Two)

(Jonathan Graef)

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Tours: Sybris

Spotted at the Sybris MySpace Page:

Sept. w/Colour Revolt

25 The Marquee - Norman OK

26 Hailey's - Denton TX

27 Creative Incubator - McAllen TX

28 Austin City Limits Festival - TX

30 Birdy's - Indianapolis IN

Oct. w/A Decent Animal

1 Canopy Club - Urbana IL

2 Cactus Clb - Milwaukee WI

4 7th St. Entry - Minneapolis MN

7 Sunset Tavern - Seattle

11 Spaceland - Los Angeles CA

12 Rhythm Room - Phoenix AZ

13 Moonlight - Albuquerque NM

14 Larimer Lounge - Denver CO

15 Jackpot Saloon - Lawrence KS

(Sybris - "Oh Man")

Sybris MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on CIMI.

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New Kanye West - "Love Lockdown" (Young Son Remix)

Download: Kanye West - "Love Lockdown" (Young Son Remix)

Young Son is an emcee from the Twin Cities who, like many rappers in the Chicago area (like Rhymefest and Lupe Fiasco) peppers his rhymes with social commentary. Flow-wise, he skews closer to Lupe's Tribe Called Quest-isms, but lyrically, he deals with the day-to-day struggles, much like Rhymefest. Recently, he remixed Kanye West's new track "Love Lockdown", the heavily re-recorded first single from 'Ye's fourth album, supposedly titled 808s and Heartbreak. Listen to it at the top of the post.

Young Son MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on CIMI.

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Video: The Melismatics - Live @ Summerfest

Performing "Industry of Cool" at Summerfest. Spotted at the band's MySpace bulletin.

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Saturday: Solid Gold @ Kitty Cat Klub

This Weekend: River Rocks @ Harriet Island

Jake One and Brother Ali Post Behind The Scenes Footage of "The Truth"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New NOBOT - "Drinking Progess"

Download: NOBOT - "Drinking Progress"

"We're drinking progress/and we're getting fucked up" is probably too saucy a line to ever expect out of the speakers at a Barack Obama victory rally (fingers crossed, knock on wood), but for those of us who aren't trying to impress anyone with our moral constitution can scream this at the top of their lungs after pounding a cold one after celebrating the end of the Bush-era. From a micro-beer, of course.

But no matter what your race, creed, or gender is, if MPLS-based electro-dance duo NOBOT's new song "Drinking Progress" doesn't make you get up and dance, then you must be John McCain. In which case, I'd like to thank and honor you for your service to the country, but politely suggest that the gutteral, rumbling bass synth-sounds that begin the song, or its free-form song-structure which allows for both a catchy verse and for the extended jams that hardcore dance fans are used to, may not be for you. Don't get mad! Don't get mad! ARGGHHH, WAAAA.

While I fend off a attack from the distinguished senator from Arizona, you can listen to NOBOT's new single, "Drinking Progress", at the top of the post. In other NOBOT news, the band has got a show with We Are Wolves and Soviet Panda coming up this Sunday, the 21st. The following Sunday, the 21st, sees the band headlining a show at the Uptown Bar. Peep the show details below:

NOBOT MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Big Quarters - "All Day Long"

Download: Big Quarters - "All Day Long"

Minneapolis rap duo Big Quarters hit upon an exciting, novel way to deliver new music to their fans with their Big Quarters Direct subscription service. The concept is simple. For 5 bucks every month, you get a new Big Quarters EP delivered to your email address. The duo also has been leaking tracks from the EPs on their website to give listeners a better idea as to what they're in for. This month's offering is called "All Day Long", and you can listen to it at the top of the post. As far as the music goes, it doesn't really depart from what BQ do best--chill mid-tempo grooves, with a jazz-like flow on top--but the narrative is quite dark. The MP3 is at the top of the post.

Check out the video for their track "Barter System" (the first Big Quarters Direct song leaked) below:

Big Quarters MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Show Announcement: Radio K 15th Anniversary Party

The University of Minnesota's radio station Radio K is a veritable underground institution, one deserving of all the celebration it can get, not only for introducing the world to many great, left-of-the-dial bands, but for the fact that, after 15 years, the station is still going strong. So, in order to celebrate, the station has put together some of Minnesota's best acts to play a show at First Avenue. Slow, steady hush-rockers Low, electronic collage-maker/god of multi-tasking Dosh, Doomtree member Sims, and house-of-mirrors psych-rockers Vampire Hands are all coming together on October 8th for an 18+ show to celebrate the station and, presumably, play some awesome music.

Here are the deets:

Low + Dosh + Sims + Vampire Hands
Wednesday, October 8
First Avenue
Minneapolis, MN
8 pm | $12 | 18+

In other Radio K news, the station will be holding its Fall Fund Drive from October 1st to October 10th. So, while you're celebrating the station, throw it some bones too.

Check out Radio K sessions featuring the artists playing on the 8th here:

Vampire Hands

(Jonathan Graef)

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Woodhands - "Dancer"

Download: Woodlands - "Dancer"

In contrast to Canadian keytar-and-drums duo Woodhands' first single, "I Wasn't Made For Fighting", their new track "Dancer" strikes a darker, more ethereal note, with female vocals taking the lead, and a minor-key synth line providing the melody. There's a surprisingly hardcore outburst toward the end of the song, and it helps keep things from becoming too predictable. Listen to the track at the top of the post.

Woodhands MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Emiliana Torrini - Me and Armini

Emilíana Torrini
Me and Armini
Grade: C+ (Rough Trade, 2008)

Download: Emiliana Torrini - "Me And Armini"

Sultriness is a distinct expression of sexuality, in that it is the direct way to convey sexual feeling, but it also cannot be overwhelming. There’s a little bit of subtlety needed in order to direct one’s self backwards from being cocky to being confident. Too much in one direction will lead to either being slapped in the face, and too much in the other may lead to not even having your feelings acknowledged.

How curious then, that while Icelandic Emilíana Torrini has a voice that's soaked in sultriness, her songs result in nothing more than toe-tapping innocuousness. Torrini's sixth album, Me and Armini, succeeds in dabbling in many different genres, some more straightforward than others. The first song, "Fireheads", recalls the laid-back surf-rock of Jack Johnson, with a little nod to the chromatic guitar riff from Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary", while others like the In Rainbows-esque multi-track warmth of "Bleeder" are cut from more experimental cloth. One peculiar aspect of listening to Me and Armini is hearing the more adventurous songs stacked up against songs that are nondescript at best. For every track like the VH1-ready "Big Jumps" and the humdrum bossa nova of "Hold Heart", there's a stunner like "Dead Duck", a song that alternates time-signatures and expertly manipulates Torrini's acoustic guitar and voice; and "Gun", which casts the songstress as a femme fatale in the old-school noir sense to tell a reverb-heavy tale of lust and revenge.

Elsewhere, creative production techniques and unpredictable arrangements (check out the almost post-rock interlude of folk-infused ditty "Birds") help keep the album from entering the introspective doldrums too much, and "Jungle Drum" gets by on sheer, goofy infatuation. While too much of Armini is a battle of the mundane and the truly distinctive, and the former wins out much more than it should (like on the sass-ska of the title track), the fact that the latter peeps its head out on more than one occasion should encourage any listeners who have their doubts.

Emiliana Torrini MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Show Announcement: Muja Messiah, St. Paul Slim @ The Triple Rock

Triple Rock Social Club
Muja Messiah
St. Paul Slim
Paper Tiger
Aby Wolf

21+ | 10:00 PM | $7.00

Hosted by SAMAHRA (Black Blondie)

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Conor Oberst on World Cafe

Conor Oberst spent some time on NPR's World Cafe today and they aired an old recording of "When The President Talks To God." Reminded of how great the song is, I thought I'd post a little reminder to you about it.

This is an older, rougher version than what I heard, but it's a live performance at ULU.

(Ian Anderson)


Tours: Jennifer O'Connor

Sep 17 Rochester, NY Water Music Hall w/ Hayden
Sep 19 Cafe Nine New Haven, Connecticut (headlining)
Sep 21 Vienna, VA Jammin Java w/ Hayden
Sep 25 Iron Horse Music Hall Northampton, Massachusetts w/ Great Lake Swimmers
Sep 26 New York, NY Mercury Lounge w/ Great Lake Swimmers
Sep 27 Brooklyn, NY Union Hall w/ Great Lake Swimmers
Oct 13 Philadelphia, PA M Room w/ Hotel Lights
Oct 14 Pittsburgh, PA Howler's w/ David Dondero & Boca Chica
Oct 15 Cleveland, OH Beachland Tavern
Oct 16 Pontiac, MI Pike Room w/ The New Year
Oct 17 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle w/ The New Year
Oct 19 Madison, WI Cafe Montmarte
Oct 21 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry
Oct 23 Columbia, MO The Blue Fugue
Oct 24 St. Louis, MO Off Broadway
Nov 2 Buffalo, NY The Tralf Music Hall w/ Amy Ray
Nov 4 Toronto, ON The Mod Club Theatre w/ Amy Ray
Nov 5 Burlington, VT Higher Ground w/ Amy Ray
Nov 7 Somerville, MA Somerville Theatre w/ Amy Ray
Nov 15 Richmond, VA Capitol Alehouse w/ Amy Ray
Nov 19 Carrboro, NC Cat's Cradle w/ Amy Ray
Nov 22 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse w/ Amy Ray

Jennifer O'Connor MySpace Page

(Jennifer O' Connor - "Always on Your Mind")

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Top Ten Songs On Elbo.Ws Reviewed In 50 Words or Less: 9/01/08--9/15/08

(Jenny Lewis)

Just a quick note: I've decided to review Justice's "Plainisphere" as one whole song, rather than the four separate parts. So if you're confused regarding the order of this edition, that's why.

1. Jenny Lewis - "Acid Tongue"

Download: Jenny Lewis - "Acid Tongue"

On the title track of her second solo album, the Rilo Kiley songstress harkens back to folk-and-country-influenced songwriters of the 70s, not only musically, but by eschewing modern-day production techniques. The narrative is somewhat trite, but the multi-tracked harmonies will still breaking hearts after multiple listens. Heck, after multiple years.

Grade: A-

2. Deerhoof - "Offend Maggie"

Download: Deerhoof - "Offend Maggie"

Speaking of title tracks, "Offend Maggie" shows that Deerhoof are just about to hit a creative plateau, with an offering that's not quite as spastic as their past work, but still showcases the deft instrumental interplay for which the art-pop trio are known. An abrupt end leaves the listener wanting more, and wondering why they didn't get it.

Grade: B-

3. Kanye West - "Love Lockdown"

Download: Kanye West - "Love Lockdown"

A departure from his past three educationally-themed albums, "Love Lockdown" is the most straightforward R&B song that Chicago-rapper West has written. It's also his darkest, with lyrics depicting conflicting, borderline possessive (think stalker), lyrics about relationships, and a dim heartbeat of an electronic beat keeping the pulse. A unusual change of pace, one that has potential to grow greatly on listeners.

Grade: B+

4, 5, 9, 10. Justice - "Planisphere"

Download: Justice - "Planisphere"

An epic, extended dance track created for the Dior Homme fashion show, this four-part dance symphony from the French duo introduces many different motifs, ranging from neo-classical to old-fashioned metal (dig the not-quite lightning fingers guitar solo) while still keeping a steady beat. Justice introduce enough ideas to keep listeners engaged throughout, but enough to blow their minds.

Grade: B

6. The Kooks - "Kids" (MGMT Cover)

Download: The Kooks - Kids (MGMT Cover)

The British rock quartet offer an acoustic take on the electro-pop group's standard anthemic tracks. Cue song being used to soundtrack a prom scene quarrel in three, two, one...

Grade: C

7. Annuals - "Confessor"

Download: Annuals - "Confessor"

The first representation of the North Carolina-based blog-buzz band's sophomore release, "Confessor" has the requisite multi-part harmonies that evoke the most sun-filled day, and reverb-heavy production characteristics that define the band's past work. A brisk tempo should work to the band's advantage, but instead ensures that the song suffers from an anti-climatic end.

Grade: B-

8. Chad VanGaalen - "Willow Tree"

Download: Chad VanGaalen - "Willow Tree"

Like Neil Young, this Canadian singer-songwriter has an affecting tenor that suggests both defiance and resignation in swinging, banjo-accented folk music. Despite a pleasant melody, VanGaalen adds nothing new to suggest that listeners should listen to his music instead of Young's.

Grade: C+

(Jonathan Graef)

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Okkervil River - The Stand-Ins

Okkervil River
The Stand-Ins (Jagjaguwar, 2008)
Grade: B+

Download: Okkervil RIver - "Pop Lie"
Download: Okkervil RIver - "Lost Coastlines"

Okkervil River, since 2005, has emerged from a fairly mediocre career to ride a massive wave of success, from fans and critics alike. Following up the mature, complex and fascinating Black Sheep Boy, Okkervil released the masterful The Stage Names. While Sheff used his lyrics to plumb the depths of despair, the rest of the band crafted a bold and tight package in which to parse Sheff’s lyrics.

The Stand-Ins, their latest release, falls somewhat short of the near-perfection of The Stage Names, but still makes for a worthy follow-up. Conceived as the second half of The Stage Names, Stand-Ins retreads some of the same themes and stories, putting more meat on their bones. Whether he’s reflecting on misery of assorted kinds, musing on the relationship between performer and fan or giving himself over to despair, Will Sheff always proves to be one of the most densely – and naturally – meaningful lyricists in rock. On “On Tour With Zykos,” Sheff captures the mundane aspects of coming home and crashing when you should be working, writing, or doing something (anything!) productive. His hesitating, drawling delivery just reinforces the foot-dragging aspects of day-to-day life.

Perhaps a little paradoxically, the downtrodden nature of the lyrics on both The Stage Names and The Stand-Ins is what makes the fact that the albums were released as separate bodies of work function especially well. If the two albums had been released together, people would have died of despair about halfway through. But by cutting them apart and giving people the time to appreciate the two bodies as separate, the audience is able to appreciate The Stand-Ins as a contemplation on the same topics rather than as an extended meditation.

One of Okkervil's strongest selling points is their ability to draw influences from a multitude of bands and styles without sounding forced or clunky. The buzzing orchestral keyboards of "The Stand-Ins, One" are abruptly displaced by the jangling, bass-heavy "Lost Coastlines." Sheff, along with recently departed (to concentrate on Shearwater) guitar player Jonathan Meiburg, alternate vocals, with Meiburg taking the smooth, almost jazzy parts and Sheff bouncing along with the faster paced parts. It's a fun effect that I wished they would have used more often on previous albums. And as soon as the song is over, the group changes directions, infusing their jangly pop rock with dewey-eyed folk, belieing the dismal nature of "Singer Songwriter's" lyrics. Then, in another sharp contrast, Okkervil goes off into soulful bluesy jamming on "Starry Stairs."

And they keep up the pace the whole album. The Stand-Ins is an extravagant mixture of styles, altering and mutating all the way through while still holding to a core of jangly, excitable rock. It doesn't have quite the same tightness or quotability of The Stage Names, but it’s a damn good follow-up.

Okkervil River MySpace Page

(April Wright)

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