Friday, October 31, 2008

Doomtree Release New DVD

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Saturday: Obama White House Party feat. Muja Messiah @ The Dinkytowner

Matador Releases Intended Play Sampler for Fall 2008

Download: AC Newman - "There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve"
Download: Pavement - "Cataracts"

Matablog, who today are doing a nice impression of Brooklyn Vegan for Halloween, have released the Fall 2008 edition of their Intended Play sampler. As you can imagine, it includes tracks from already released albums, as well as forthcoming ones, including AC Newman (which you can find at the top of the post), Pavement (ditto), and Condo Fucks.

Download it here.

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Stephen Colbert Interviews Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Who Also Perform a New Song

(Wilco - "The Wilco Song" - Live on "The Colbert Report")

Jeff Tweedy, frontman of Wilco (who also performed) and self-described "really lousy capitalist"--what, he doesn't remember the car commercials--recently stopped by the set of the late night faux-punditry late night comedy powerhouse "The Colbert Report" to discuss the free giveaway song from their website, potential nom de rock's of Tweedy's, and the possibility of playing an Obama inauguration. To which Tweedy replies with a priceless anecdote about what Obama himself said when Wilco asked him that question.

Wilco also performed a new song called, um, "Wilco The Song", a new, exclusive track that starts out sounding like The Velvet Underground before entering more familiar alt-country territory. That video can be seen at the top (while you can see it, that is). Jeff Tweedy's interview is at the bottom of the post.

Wilco MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tonight: Yeasayer and Chairlift @ Triple Rock Social Club

Download: Chairlift - "Evident Utensil"
Download: Chairlift - "Bruises"

With a sound so heavy driven by clean, funky guitars, soft electronic drums, and a wide array of celestial synthesizer sounds, is it any wonder that Chairlift, a Brooklyn-based trio, have come on like gangbusters with the internet crowd? It certainly helps that songs like "Bruises", essentially a re-write of The Cure's "Close To Me" through the guise of new millenial romanticism, are written in a cloud of reverb-y haze that suggests fellow 80s-minded contemporaries M83. An iPod nano commercial isn't too shabby either. While the songs from their latest effort, the grammatically challenged Does You Inspire You, aren't as dramatic as the ones on Saturday=Youth, any one who wants to further explore groups who are expanding on the lush sound of the Cocteau Twins can take a chairlift.

Chairlift opens tonight for Yeasayer at the Triple Rock Social Club.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Video: Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - "Fix It" and "Cobwebs" (Live on Letterman)

(Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - "Fix It" - Live on "Late Show With David Letterman")

Not sure what was going down at Lenscrafters, but Letterman lets us know that all is apparently well. Even if it weren't, listeners could see that, unlike Lenscrafters Ryan Adams and The Cardinals only take 3:44 to "Fix It". That, my friends, is well under an hour. Indeed, one of two songs that the alt-country crooner and his band of merry men (perhaps I'm mistaken, but wasn't there a lady as well?) is the lead single from Pitchfork-smacked down Cardinology. Dave is clearly enthused by having the band there, and he informs viewers that after the band's televised performance, they can go to the "dubya dubya" to watch an exclusive, on-line performance. Naturally, that performance has leaked. You can watch the video for "Cobwebs", another jammy ballad, below.

(Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - "Cobwebs" - Live on "Late Show With David Letterman")

Cardinology is out now. Buy it here. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals play the Target Center on December 10th.

Ryan Adams MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

*PS, Culture Bully, work your MP3 voodoo!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Video: Jake One/Rhymesayers Single Contest

Jake One explains all in the video above.

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Video: The Simpsons Spoof "Mad Men" Opening Credits Sequence


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New Music: It's a Musical, Juliette C, The Raveonettes, The Acorn

(It's a Musical)

A million years later, I've finally gotten around to reviewing these tracks. (Kicks self several times). Enjoy the write-ups and downloads:

Download: It's a Musical - "Bad Day"

Lest you think that this is a cover, It's a Musical's "Bad Day" lets you know that there will be no Daniel Powter-style sad-sack moping by adding fey vocals and 8-bit electronic textures. There's a compelling mix of a Belle and Sebastian-style twee-pop, brushed drums, and synth, but then the song just ends. Was It's a Musical's "Bad Day" so bad that they had to leave the listener with musical blue balls?

Download: Juliette C - "Queens Die Proudly"

The former singer of Hello Stranger, and veritable goddess of the keyboard sounds like she's rocking many different synths here, not just ones that strap over your shoulders. As a result of that, along with some violins and a Specter-esque drumbeat, Commagere creates a catchy pop songs that ensures her a successful solo career.

Download: Nous Non Plus - "Fantôme Dur (Tuff Ghost)"

Speaking of synths, Nous Non Plus' latest track begins with a lot of them before settling into a film-noir-style guitar groove with a beat bordering on disco (un-tiss-uh-tiss). Taut, melodic, and very hummable.

Download: The Raveonettes - "Black White"

Lust Lust Lust is a favorite of mine this year, so naturally I went koo-koo for cocoa puffs when I saw this new track appear in my inbox. It's duet, with Sune Rose and Sharin Foo trading verses in the classic style. For about 2/3rds of the song, "Black White" doesn't suggest the leap forward in confidence and ability that Lust Lust Lust showed, but there's an awesome breakdown. Not bad by any means, but I can see why this was saved for an EP.

Download: The Acorn - "Crooked Legs"

The Acorn put together a nice, shambling, shuffling song of many different acoustical elements. "Crooked Legs" reminds me of The Arcade Fire's more subdued moments, usually when they are incorporating Caribbean or French elements into their music (think "Haïti" or "Ocean of Noise"). I'm very intrigued by a group who seizes upon those elements, as opposed to the more obvious anthemic qualities derived from Bruce Springsteen or U2. I will be definitely keep my eye out on The Acorn in the future.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Flyer: First Communion Afterparty @ Club 416

Fucked Up's Father Damien Bares Soul, Ass, at Reggie's Rock Club in Chicago

Download: Fucked Up - "Twice Born"
Download: Fucked Up - "No Epiphany"

Fucked Up
The Chemistry of Common Life (Matador, 2008)
Grade: A

There's been a lot of talk about common life these days, whether it's political campaigns talking about "Joe the Plumber", or economists talking about how the pure free-market has failed some 40 million Americans without health insurance (to be fair, some of them have undoubtedly made the choice on their own not to have it), or average folks simply discussing how hard it is to get by these days. The significance of a title like The Chemistry of Common Life to current events in 2008 is probably unintentional, but the record's startling contempt for the status quo, it's search for deeper solutions to life's problems, and it's reinvention of hardcore punk's sonic and musical vocabulary (flutes, bongos, multi-tracked guitars) all practically guarantee this album's relevance this year, next year, next decade...well, next century seems to be pushing it. But those listeners who want to be pushed, challenged, and thrilled by the Father Damian's John Brannon-esque roar, or the compositional diversity of his group, can look no further than Life

The Chemistry of Common Life retains all of the righteous fury of first-and-second-wave hardcore bands (and even second-wave emo on "Black Albino Bones") while at the same time introducing a multitude of ambitious ideas--I get a chill down my spine every time the serene, but fatalistically angry, "No Epiphany" comes on, as the track's layered guitars and angelic vocals unquestionably foreshadow a hardcore Loveless. That's not the only song with psychedelic aspirations though. "Royal Swan"'s neo-psychedelia stands up to anything that Black Mountain has released this year (and then some), and "Golden Seal" is the kind of instrumental segue track that would have Kevin Sheids envious. But before you can lull yourself in a droney haze, Fucked Up come back with hard-fisted hardcore, including "Twice Born" and the epic closing title track. Simply put, this is one of the best albums of the year.

Fucked Up recently played a show at Reggie's Rock Club, where they bared their souls by way of the philosophical lyrics, and where singer Father Damien bared his ass using more conventional methods. All photos by Jimmy Farabi. Check them out below:

(Father Damien)

For more, including the opening bands, go here.

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on CIMI.

Photos by Jimmy Farabi

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Alarmists announce last minute show @ The Turf Club

From the group's MySpace Bulletin:

We were asked to hop on to what was already going to be a great bill. We're rocking with mpls' own Red Pens and a band from Italy called Afterhours, they are on tour with the Gutter Twins right now.

Alarmists 12pm
Afterhours 11pm
Red Pens 10pm

The Alarmists MySpace Page

Turf Club Website

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Video: Wheelchair Werewolf trailer

In Chicago this past weekend, the fourth annual Music Box Massacre took place, and one of the funnier faux horror trailers they showed was this. Absolute hilarity!

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The Deaths featured on HBO's "True Blood"

Minneapolis-based retro psych-pop act The Deaths were featured in a scene from HBO's new southern vampire saga "True Blood". Listen closely, as the music is in the background, and if you do, you'll hear a song from the band's record Choir Invisible. As to what song it is, I'll let you readers figure out what track is playing :)

Buy it here.

The Deaths MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Of Montreal Perform on MPR's "The Current"

Download: Of Montreal - "Nonpareil of Favor"
Download: Of Montreal - "Id Engager"

Performing three songs from their most recent foray into psychosexuality, Skeletal Lamping, glam-revivalists Of Montreal stop by the studios of MPR's "The Current" to do stripped-down renditions of immensely complicated songs. In addition, Kevin Barnes and co. talk about influences, what makes a good cover, and his early days rooming with the Elephant 6 collective. Listen to the session here.

Check out two MP3s from Skeletal Lamping at the top of the post.

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Video: Young Son - Influential Melodiez Vlogs

(Influential Melodiez part one - feat. Young Son)

(Young Son & Hypel @ The Dinkytowner Matinee Show - part two)

(part three - freestyle)

Part three features a brand new freestyle, for all you hip-hop fans who love when your favorite emcees go off script (and who doesn't?).

Young Son MySpace Page

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Video: Slug of Atmosphere on "The Daily Fix"

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Deerhunter - "Microcastle" (Out Today)

Download: Deerhunter - "Nothing Ever Happened"

Yep, another fantastic release from Deerhunter.

Buy it on Amazon.

Deerhunter on MySpace

(Ian Anderson)


Flyer: The Melismatics @ Turf Club

New Kanye West - "Coldest Winter" and "Robocop"

(Kanye West - "Coldest Winter")

Download: Kanye West - "Coldest Winter"

(Kanye West - "Robocop")

Downloads via P4K and Nah Right

More and more material is being leaked from Kanye West's upcoming fourth record, 808s and Heartbreak (the supposed cover album for which can be found at the bottom of the post. H/T ) Over the weekend, two new songs appeared. First off is "Coldest Winter", which is driven by a Tears for Fears sample and is reportedly about the passing of Kanye's mother. That track continues the "expressing-emotion-wounds-through-autotune" vibe of "Love Lockdown", in addition to being a more straightforward modern R&B track.

"Lockdown"'s lyrics concerned West playing the obsessed aggressor in a unhealthy relationship, and its interesting to note that the lyrics from the second leaked track "Robocop" are from the opposite perspective. In other words, it's Kanye on the receiving end of a too jealous lover. Kanye poses the question "who knew that she was a drama queen/that'd turn my life into Stephen King?" before asking "when did you become a Robocop"? The vocals in this track are more spoken, but that doesn't necessarily make it rap. It's definitely a synth-driven song with a poppy chorus.

Listen to both songs at the top of the post.

Kanye West MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Crosspublished on CIMI

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Flyer: Doomtree Blowout Part IV

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tonight: The Spinto Band @ 7th Street Entry

Spinto Band Website
The Spinto Band MySpace Page
The Spinto Band Wiki Page

About a recent show, Culture Bully's Erik Thompson said that the "7th Street Entry is a venue built specifically, it seems, for loud, sweaty rock shows." The Spinto Band aren't a group that fits the loud part, but don't be surprised if you find yourself surrounded by dancing, sweating peers once Delaware-based blog-pop sextet The Spinto Band take the stage. The band exudes melodic effortlessness, and all of the songs off of its latest effort, Moonwink, are affable and upbeat. But for a band who's on their sixth studio album, the fact that the record sounds like a group is search of a musical identity (there's hints of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in the vocals, and a more caberet Broken Social Scene in the music) is disconcerting. Still, expect at the very least an energetic show as the band plays the more danceable selections (i.e., the first couple song off of Moonwink).

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Video: Mac Lethal - "Calm Down Baby"

From the man himself, part deux:

Hello world,

I am very proud to present to you, after a long time in development, the "Calm Down Baby" music video! My great friend, and video director, Kyle Harbaugh and I really pushed the limits of guerilla style DIY entertainment with this one. Everything from the grenade launcher van explosions, to the thrashing of the Japanese restaurant cost us under $6,000. We are absolutely thrilled to finally show the world this creation. Please show this video to everyone you think would enjoy it. I believe anyone who likes seeing shit get blown up will enjoy this.

-Mac Lethal

Watch shit get blown up at the top of the post.

Mac Lethal MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Toki Wright - "State of Emergency"

Download: Toki Wright - "State of Emergency"

From the man himself:

Never before has this generation been at more of a critical point than now...the present day. War and Peace. Poverty and Gluttony. Enslavement and Freedom. Each measure of the spectrum entangled in the ultimate fight for power. Obtaining justice and equality are no easy tasks, our forefathers and mothers have proven this to be true. May this surge of energy be the catalyst for global understanding. In our struggle let us not forget the trials and tribulations of the great many who have walked along the hazardous path. Recognize history. Prepare yourself for the future. We are in a STATE OF EMERGENCY!

- Toki Wright

So Toki Wright thinks that martial law is about to go down? Probably not. There's a definite sense of foreboding though, whether its a W. sample about ethics (ha ha), to the minor-key piano lines, to Wright's furious flow and lyrics. Strangely, the track is very reminiscent of Eminem's work, albeit from a purely musical prospective. One strange thing about this leak. The curse words are edited. What the deuce is up with that?

Listen to "State of Emergency", from Wright's upcoming debut album A Different Mirror, at the top of the post.

Toki Wright MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: The Blend CD Release Party

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tonight: The Rumble Strips @ 7th Street Entry

Heiruspecs do expert impression of Barack Obama in new video for "Get Up"

We got an announcement of a CD release show and new self-titled album from Minneapolis hip-hop group Heiruspecs back in September. That show and record won't happen until December, which is still a bit off (although, to be fair, when the hell did October decide it had to come to an end?). But we're starting to see some signs of life from the 'specs.

First off, the group premiered a new song from the upcoming full-length as part of Culture Bully's blog-a-thon for charity. Now, the band has debuted a new video for their song "Get Up". You can watch the Obama-flavored video, which is sure to be the stuff of Michele Bachmann's nightmares, at the top of the post. Listen to their new track at the bottom:

Download: Heiruspecs - "Let it Fly"(via)

Check out what Sean McPherson of Heiruspecs said about music education here. It's a pretty remarkable story about how one teacher can make a world of difference in the life of a student.

Heiruspecs MySpace Page

Speaking of Minneapolis rappers and Obama, have you heard M.anifest's new jam?

Download: M.anifest & Budo - "Age of Obama" (via)

While you're at it, read his essay too.

M.anifest MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tonight: No Bird Sing, Kristoff Krane @ the Dinkytowner

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Video: Mighty Fairly - "My America"

Spotted at City Pages. What's really impressive is that this song was written as a part of Rake Magazine's 36 hour songwriting contest. This video was then made shortly thereafter. The topic of the contest was "America", and this is what Mightly Fairly submitted. Watch it at the top of the post.

Mighty Fairly MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Muja Messiah Battles Aych in Underground Hip-Hop Showdown

Well, not battle battles, but Hip-Hop Lives Online is featuring the Minneapolis rapper in their Underground Online feature. Muja Messiah is up against Aych, a rapper from Delaware. Yes, that's right, Delaware has rappers. And pretty good ones at that. Aych's jam "We Used To Be Tight" is up against Muja Messiah's "The Madness". It's a pretty good match-up, but we have a feeling we don't need to tell you who to vote for.

Do so here.

Additionally, the rapper has taken part in Culture Bully's mammoth charity blog-a-thon. Read what he wrote here. Here's a key excerpt:

It’s just now getting to the point where Minneapolis has certain places and forums where you can express your talent. I’d like to believe that it’s because of the work me and my generation put in. Opening up doors that weren’t open before. With that said Minneapolis could still use a lot more schools and programs that specialize in the arts because as an artist I feel so many talented children are be deprived from answering their calling. Everybody hasn’t got money to go to L.A. or New York…

In other Muja Messiah news, his full-length debut, Thee Adventures of a B-Boy D-Boy, will be re-released nationally on Nov. 15th by Koch Records.

Muja Messiah MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Show Announcement: First Communion Afterparty @ the Nomad

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Solid Gold Announce CD Release Party

Show Announcement: Baby Guts @ Band Box Diner

Video: Slug (of Atmosphere) Interview By SEIU About Youth Vote

Service Employees International Union, who put together the Take Back Labor Day Festival which took place this past summer in St. Paul, interviews Slug of the hip-hop duo Atmosphere about the importance of young people voting, particularly in this election. Watch the video at the top of the post.

Atmosphere MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tours: Tapes N' Tapes

The Minneapolis-based indie-rockers embark on another tour leg in support of their sophomore LP, Walk It Off. Dates are below:

01-15 Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room
01-17 Boulder, CO - Fox Theater
01-19 Boise, ID - Neurolux
01-20 Seattle, WA - Neumos
01-21 Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
01-23 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
01-24 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theater
01-25 San Diego, CA - Casbah
01-29 Austin, TX - The Parish
01-30 Dallas, TX - Club Dada
02-02 Lawrence, KS - Jackpot Music Hall
02-03 Columbia, MO - Mojo's
02-04 Ames, IA - Maintenance Shop
02-06 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
02-20 Notre Dame, IN - Legends
02-21 Columbus, OH - The Basement
02-24 Boston, MA - Paradise
02-25 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
02-26 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
02-27 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
02-28 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
03-03 Atlanta, GA - The Earl
03-04 Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
03-05 Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
03-07 Chicago, IL - Metro

Watch an interview with the band conducted at the Bumbershoot festival:

Tapes N Tapes MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Culture Bully undergoes mammoth 60-hour blogathon for charity

This week's "Tip of the Hat" definitely goes to Culture Bully, who are undergoing a 60-hour blogathon as a fundraising campaign to support Donors Choose, an organization that allows teachers to propose a classroom project which will then be brought to life by charitable donations. Check it out. is teaming with for a three day fundraising campaign supporting music development and literacy within local Twin Cities schools. Beginning with this post Culture Bully will be posting exclusive content at least once an hour, every hour for the next 60 HOURS!

With the support of over 50 local and national musicians these posts will include exclusive commentaries by the likes of Josh Grier of Tapes ‘n Tapes, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, YouTube legend Tay Zonday, Kid Dakota, Maria Isa, Kristoff Krane, M.anifest and many, many more!

So far, CB has come up with some doozies of exclusives, including a live Love in October performance:

Love in October "Like Nothing Ever Happened" (Live @ Dunn Bros) from Culture Bully on Vimeo.

An essay from new MFR favorite Jeremy Messersmith about the importance of music education in his life:

I find it hard to believe that I could make the music I write now without the music education I got as a child. Even though I don’t play trumpet as much as I used to, the foundations of melody and ear training still come in handy. Music education was a big source of confidence for me as a child. I wasn’t exactly athletic or even that interesting, so music was one of the only things I was really good at!

There's much, much more here. Read and donate.

(Jonathan Graef)

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"In Rainbows" Sales Info Released

I thought this was very interesting. The following information was released by Radiohead's publicists.


Little more than a year since Radiohead's October 10, 2007 pay-what-you-like self-release of its seventh album, In Rainbows, some conclusive statistics were made available at the recent "You Are In Control" conference in Reykjavik, Iceland.

For those who missed coverage of the conference while engrossed in something as trivial as the Presidential Debates or the world economic collapse, the following is a summation of key answers to FAQs:

* In Rainbows has sold three million copies thus far, a figure that includes downloads from, physical CDs, a deluxe 2-CD/vinyl box set, as well as sales via iTunes and other digital retailers.

* The In Rainbows deluxe edition sold 100,000 copies via Radiohead fan service W.A.S.T.E.

* Radiohead made more money prior to In Rainbows' January 2008 physical release than its total take on 2003's Hail To the Thief.

* The physical release of In Rainbows entered both the US and UK charts at #1 in January, despite having been freely available since October 2007.

* In Rainbows was the first Radiohead album available on iTunes, where it went in at #1 in January, selling 30,000 in its first week.

In Rainbows also owns the singular distinction of being the first record widely regarded as album of the year in advance of its actual physical release: By the time TBD/ATO released In Rainbows to retail on January 1, 2008, the digital version had already topped the 2007 year-end lists at NEW YORK, THE NEW YORK TIMES, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, NPR, TIME, PEOPLE, ROLLING STONE, BLENDER, SPIN, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES and many more.

Radiohead recently concluded a world tour in Japan, one that sold over 1.2 million tickets.

(Ian Anderson)


Electric Touch Launch Breast Cancer Awareness Tour

Download: Electric Touch - "Love in our Hearts"

As you probably know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Austin-based power-pop group Electric Touch have decided to launch a special tour in order to raise money for breast cancer research. The tour, titled "Pinktober", will see all of its proceeds donated to breast cancer research and awareness organizations around the world. So even if you're not thrilled with the prospect of going to the Hard Rock, you can at least be sure that the money you spend will go to a most worthy cause. Tour dates are below:

10/23 Charlotte Radio Charlotte, NC
10/24 Hard Rock Cafe - Pittsburgh, PA
10/27 Piano's - New York, NY
10/28 Hard Rock Cafe - Philadelphia, PA *
10/30 Hard Rock Cafe - Washington, DC *
10/31 Hard Rock Cafe - Baltimore, MD
11/01 Hard Rock Cafe - Cleveland, OH*
11/03 Hard Rock Cafe - Atlantic City, NJ
11/04 Hard Rock Cafe - Foxwoods, CT
11/10 Hard Rock Cafe - Chicago, IL
11/13 Hard Rock Cafe - Minneapolis, MN
11/20 Hard Rock Cafe - New Orleans, LA
11/21 Hard Rock Cafe - Biloxi, MS
11/22 Hard Rock Cafe - Atlanta, GA

*Dates with Filter. Yes, that's right, Filter.

Electric Touch MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Big Quarters - "Good Look" (Prod. By Medium Zach)

Download: Big Quarters - "Good Look"

Taking advantage of the new online music business paradigm, Minneapolis hip-hop duo Big Quarters have been releasing 5 song EPs online directly to their fans, in a series titled...wait for it...Big Quarters Direct. So far, they've released two EPs, one for each month that they've been releasing them (starting in September).

BQ have also managed to release a little taste of each EP by releasing one track from them on their blog. Musically, the two tracks they've released so far ("Barter System" and "All Day Long") have been pretty similar: slightly downtempo hip-hop with a laidback flow driving the action. In terms of narrative, they couldn't be any more different, with "System" being a reflective slice-of-touring-band life, and "All Day Long" being a dark piece of fiction. So how does "Good Look", the released track from the Novemeber BQDirect edition, compare to the other two?

After starting with what sounds like a sample of King Khan and the Shrines, "Good Look" is definitely the most sonically aggressive of the tracks, as the garage-rock good vibes give way to a booming synth-bass, a sturdier drum beat than usual, and sonically manipulated group vocals like Lupe Fiasco's "Dumb it Down". The flows of both Medium Zach and Brandon Allday sound more fierce as well. "Good Look" gives the listener exactly that, insofar as its a duo stretching its creative boundaries and coming up with something interesting. But I think it's safe to say that the other tracks from BQDirect are better. Still, creative experimentation should always be encouraged.

Listen to "Good Look" at the top of the post.

Big Quarters MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

(Jonathan Graef)

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Video: Friendly Fires - "Paris"

Facebook Music Turning A Corner

It looks like the mighty and now most-popular social network, Facebook, will be pursuing the world of music interfacing. Check out the New York Post article here.

(Ian Anderson)


Tonight: Draw Fire Records Showcase @ Turf Club

(The Glad Version)

Draw Fire Records Showcase!
Turf Club
Friday 10/17/08
Doors at 8
Music starts at 9pm sharp!
$6 at the door

Show times:

Stook!: 9:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Aviette: 9:45 p.m. – 10:15 p.m.
Bill Mike Band: 10:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
The Glad Version: 11:15 p.m. – 11:45 p.m.
Sam Keenan: 12:00 a.m. – 12:45 a.m.

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Top Ten Tracks on Reviewed in 50 Words or Less: 10/01/8--10/15/08

(The Legends)

1. The Legends - "Seconds Away"

Download: The Legends - "Seconds Away"

Swedish noise-pop group offers palatable fuzz and hummable, heavenly harmonies, but can't help but suffer in comparison to The Magnetic Fields chain of Distortion issued earlier this year.

Grade: B-

2. Vampire Weekend - "Ottoman"

Download: Vampire Weekend - "Ottoman"

From Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, a song that showcases both the meritable aspects of VW's songwriting (including a admittedly sophisticated sense of songcraft) and their risible tendencies (afro-pop affectation). The former wins, but barely.

Grade: C+

3. Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue

Download: Jenny Lewis - "Acid Tongue"

Jenny Lewis' poignant tale of a former drug user's quest for redemption still benefits massively from the juxtiposition created from the lush, multi-tracked harmonies and raw, analog production. Like a luminescent star in a pitch black sky, Lewis' voice and tasteful songwriting remain beautiful over multiple listens.

Grade: A-

4. Buffetlibre DJs - "Verbena no.5"

Download: Buffetlibre DJs - "Verbena no.5"

Another marathon dance mixtape from a credible source for the stuff.

Grade: B

5. Deerhoof - "Offend Maggie"

Download: Deerhoof - "Offend Maggie"

One of the more subdued tracks from Deerhoof's most rock-oriented album, "Offend Maggie" subtly shifts from Led Zepplin III acoustic mystery to merry, singsongy melodic journey in a yellow submarine; grows upon multiple listens.

Grade: B

6. Katy Perry - Electric Feel (MGMT Cover)

Download: Katy Perry - "Electric Feel" (MGMT Cover)

For someone so insistent on sensational, but utterly unremarkable, novelty, this cover is both sensational and novel, insofar as that it's actually listenable.

Grade: B

7. Britney Spears - "Womanizer"

Download: Britney Spears - "Womanizer"

In the most literal terms possible, an odd, electro-pop blend of "Toxic" and The Turtles' "Happy Together". Repeating a word over and over again does not constitute a chorus. For a comeback single, this doesn't even stand up to the best of Blackout.

Grade: C

8. Crystal Stilts - "Shattered Shine"

Download: Crystal Stilts - "Shattered Shine"

Another retro bit of dream-pop, taking its cues from The Ronettes and The Jesus and Mary Chain, albeit with an harmonica line straight out of Dylan's Route 66. Mumbly vocals and general indifference to distinctive songcraft elicits nothing more than a shrug from listeners.

Grade: C

9. Brett Dennen - "Make You Crazy" feat. Femi Kuti

Download: Brett Dennen - "Make You Crazy" feat. Femi Kuti

In the time it takes me to give this milquetoast frat-pop the panning it deserves, I could instead direct you to one of the many talented Kutis still making music today.

Grade for Brent Dennen: C
Grade for Femi Kuti: A-

10. Kanye West Vs. MGMT - "Electric Touch"

Download: Kanye West Vs. MGMT - "Electric Touch"

The mash-up between one of Kanye West's early hits, and up-and-comers MGMT latest hit, this is pretty much what you would expect. Still, I danced.

Grade: B-

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on CIMI

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Dillinger Four - "Civil War"

Download: Dillinger Four - "Gainesville"

Living legends and Minneapolis-natives Dillinger Four released "Civil War" on Fat Wreck Chords on Tuesday. Finally. Oh man, have I been waiting for this record. 2004's "Situation Comedy" was fantastic and the hopes -- and standards -- are high for this one.

Angry, sincere and well-thought-out punk rock. Yes.

Do yourself and everyone else you know and buy this record today.

Buy it on Amazon


(Ian Anderson)


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tonight: Greycoats CD Release Show @ The Cedar Cultural Center

As you may have gathered from its melodramatic title, Setting Fire To The Great Unknown, Greycoats play a soaring, anthemic brand of music that owes a great deal to pre-Kid A Radiohead. But the group also expands upon that sonic palette, incorporating detours into melancholic new wave ("Goodbye, Sweet Youth, Goodbye"), and more modern-day mainstream balladry (much of the album). The fundamentals of Greycoats' sonic template are strong, but they could also use a lesson or two from Shearwater, the simple-yet-ambitious Okkervil River offshoot to whom Greycoats bear a considerable vocal resemblance. However, seeing as this is their debut record, Greycoats have plenty of time to develop an ambition to match their already considerable songwriting chops.

Setting Fire To The Great Unknown will be celebrated at the Cedar tonight.

Hear more at the band's MySpace Page.

(Jonathan Graef)

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New Kanye West - "Heartless" (Unmastered)

Download: Kanye West - "Heartless" (Unmastered) (via)

'Ye himself debuted this version of 808s and Heartbreak second single "Heartbreak", which features the vocoder heavily, but is more of a straight-ahead rap track, as compared to first track "Love Lockdown". Thematically, Kanye is treading similar dark emotional territory, but this time, 'Ye's playing victim rather than aggressor. Check it out at the top of the post.

Kanye West MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Fucked Up and Moby Lose Their Minds By Covering The Ramones

From yesterday's 12-hour marathon show in New York. Incidentally, The Chemistry of Common Life is one of the best records of the year. Pick it up here. Expect a review sometime next week.

Fucked Up Wiki Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Video: Kanye West - "Love Lockdown" (Live on Jimmy Kimmel)

Jeremy Messersmith - The Silver City

Jeremy Messersmith
The Silver City (Princess Records, 2008)
Grade: A-

Download: Jeremy Messersmith - "Miracles"
Download: Jeremy Messersmith - "Virginia"

Like a white collar version ofWhen Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold, Jeremy Messersmith's sophomore album is a thematic look into the lives of working people who strive to make the best of soul-deadeningly circumstances. Messersmith also offers an unflinching depiction of the tragedy that occurs when those people inevitably settle for less. But instead of detailing the existence of waitresses who deal with fucks and lowlifes, harried single mothers, or petty criminals trying to shield their children from the less attractive aspects of their lifestyles, Messersmith writes odes to people who've given up on their dreams by retreating into the world of cul-de-sacs, BBQs, and daily commutes to and from the city.

It's the sounds of those travels that begins the album proper, and helps set the conceptual tone for the record. From there, Messersmith crafts one song after another of sumptuously arranged pop music with influences ranging from the classic to the modern-day. Though The Silver City may at times play like an amalgam of those influences (post Rubber Soul-Beatles, The Postal Service, The Shins), but Messersmith has a wickedly clever songwriting device that he applies to devastating effect. Using his naturally soothing tenor, Messersmith has a preternatural tendency to lull listeners into a false sense of security, then beautifully shattering it with an arrangement curveball. On tracks like the baroque folk of "Dead End Job" and multi-harmonied "Welcome To Suburbia" feature great, patient songcraft on its, but the addition of an orchestral instrument, like the French Horn of "Job", allows the listener to discover the hidden symphonies in the music. Elsewhere, The Silver City ably dabbles in electro-minded indie-pop ("Miracles", "Virginia"), direct Beatles quotations ("Lightrail"), and sad, multi-layered folk-rock ("Franklin Avenue"). While Messersmith's sound has its obvious reference points, by crafting empathetic, third-person narratives with richly arranged music, The Silver City shines brightest as a document of lives that deserve more than they've received.

Buy the album here.

Jeremy Messersmith MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Reminder: Deerhoof Ticket Giveaway

MFR is giving away two tickets to Deerhoof's show at First Ave. tonight!, October 14th.. Here are the details: A Deerhoof fan must submit a short introduction about a friend who has never heard or currently isn't interested in Deerhoof's Music. The winner is the fan with the friend who is the most Unlikely Deerhoof Concert Attendee. Sounds simple, yes? Yes! Write to, and we'll pick a winner. Good luck to you all.

Mac Lethal Announces "Happy Holidays" Tour

11.11 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Conservatory
11.13 - Austin, TX @ Emo's Alternative Lounge
11.14 - Denton, TX @ Hailey's
11.15 - Lubbock, TX @ The Foundation
11.17 - Scottsdale, AZ @ Chasers
11.18 - Tucson, AZ @ Vaudeville Cabaret
11.19 - San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
11.20 - Hollywood, CA @ The Knitting Factory
11.21 - San Francisco, CA @ Elbo Room
11.22 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst Atrium
11.23 - Reno, NV @ Tonic Bar
11.24 - Bend, OR @ Domino Room
11.25 - Portland, OR @ Berbati's Pan
11.26 - Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
11.28 - Missoula, MT @ Badlander
11.29 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
11.30 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
12.01 - Durango, CO @ The Abbey Theatre
12.02 - Colorado Springs, CO @ Black Sheep
12.03 - Denver, CO @ The Marquis Theatre
12.04 - Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
12.05 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry

12.06 - Milwaukee, WI @ Stonefly Brewery
12.07 - Duluth, MN @ Pizza Luce
12.08 - Chicago, IL @ The Abbey
12.09 - Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop
12.11 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
12.15 - Washington, DC @ DC9 Night Club

Mac Lethal MySpace Page

h/t Switchblade Comb

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Man Is Doomed! Announce New Album Info

Man is Doomed is the newest project from Glorious Monster members Danny Burke and Brian Casey. Though Man is Doomed has a similar electronic starting-off point as Monster, Man is Doomed is clearly more influence by dance and funk music. Doomed has announced a new album, titled Escape to Europa, which will be released early in 2009. Here is the tracklisting:

When the Walls Come Tumbling Down
Electrons in the Air
All Night Long
Pink Martini
Take Off Your Pants and Dance
Strung Out
Disco Angel
The Cougar Hunt
Impact Juicy
The Machine
Escape to Europa

You can see the band's live debut this Saturday at the Triple Rock.

Listen to some songs from the album here.

(Jonathan Graef)

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Ticket Giveaway: Deerhoof @ First Avenue

Download: Deerhoof - "Offend Maggie"

MFR is giving away two tickets to Deerhoof's show at First Ave. tomorrow, October 14th.. Here are the details: A Deerhoof fan must submit a short introduction about a friend who has never heard or currently isn't interested in Deerhoof's Music. The winner is the fan with the friend who is the most Unlikely Deerhoof Concert Attendee.

In order to enter, send your short introduction, with the subject line "Unlikely Deerhoof Concert Attendee" to by 2 p.m. tomorrow, October 14th. Once again, the rules are this: you, a Deerhoof fan, must write a brief intro about a friend who's never heard of, or isn't interested in, the band. The winner of the pair of tickets is the friend who is most unlikely to attend the show.

Send your responses to by 2 p.m Central time tomorrow, October 14th. Good luck!

Speaking of Deerhoof, read Culture Bully's interview with the band's Greg Saunier here.

Deerhoof MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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New The New Monarchs - "Across Your Hands" and "Surprises"

Download: The New Monarch - "Across Your Hands"
Download: The New Monarchs - "Surprises"

The New Monarchs are a Twin Cities-based electronic duo who recorded their first album, Blueprints, this past summer in the box office of their former high school's theater department. Like their contemporaries, NOBOT, The New Monarchs blend together glitchy dance beats, vocoder vocals, and harmonized, counterpointing guitar parts. We'll hold off on our opinion of their record until closer to the release date, but in the meantime, let's premiere two songs from the record: "Across Your Hands", which is a pretty straightforward dance anthem, and "Surprises", which is a little more in the vein of a reflective, Postal Service-style synth-pop song (at least until the second verse, when those rawk gee-tars kick in). Listen to both tracks at the top of the post.

The band is going on a short tour before the release party for Blueprints, which will take place on November 15th at the Kitty Cat Klub. Here are those dates:

11/7 - Duluth, MN - Beaner's Central
11/9 - Chicago, IL - Ronny's Bar
11/10 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews
11/11 - Lincoln, NE - Box Awesome
11/12 - Omaha, NE - PS Collective
11/13 - Vermillion, SD - Raziel's
11/15 - Minneapolis, MN - Kitty Cat Klub (CD Release Show!) w/Ghost in the Water, Laarks, & I, Colossus

The New Monarchs MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

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M.I.A. is Coming Back With Baby, Baby (In Other Words, She's Preggers!)

(Pic via Pitchfork)

Download: M.I.A. - "Boys" (Remix feat. Wale)

At least, according to P4K, who don't exactly have a stellar relationship with the world-traveled, iTunes chart-topping star.

Peep the article:

In case the big lovely bump in her belly up there didn't clue you in, M.I.A. has some news for us. "I'm creating a baby," she revealed to Pitchfork's Jessica Suarez in an interview just prior to her performance at Diesel's ridonculous xXx party in NYC Saturday night. "I've got two kids, that's what it feels like.'

(T)he baby is the collaborative undertaking of M.I.A. and fiancé Ben Brewer, frontman for NYC rockers the Exit and son of Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

I think its fair to say that congratulations to the happy couple are due. Congrats!

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on CIMI

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tonight: The Peoples Collective, Toki Wright @ The Dinkytowner

The Dinkytowner

The Peoples Collective
Toki Wright MySpace Page
Diametrix MySpace Page
Noam The DJ

$5 Cover
Free for ladies before 10:30

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Tonight: The Melismatics CD Release Party

Friday, October 10, 2008

Saturday: Fleet Foxes @ The Cedar Cultural Center

Download: Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"
vDownload: Fleet Foxes - "He Doesn't Know Why"

From the First Ave. Twitter:

We are releasing a small amount of tickets to the Late Fleet Foxes show. Should be on Ticketmaster soon.

The show was previously sold-out. Hop to it. Buy those tickets here.

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New Music Smorgasbord: Jean on Jean, Atlas Sound, Volcano Suns, Sage Francis, and more

Download: Jean On Jean - "Tonight"
Download: Holding Mercury - "Downfall of an Empire"
Download: Atlas Sound - "Maybe Logic"
Download: Marcio Local - "Samba Sem Nenhum Problema"
Download: Yonlu - "I Know What It's Like"
Download: Japanese Motors - "Spending Days"
Download: Volcano Suns - "Jak"
Download: Volcano Suns - "White Elephant"
Download: Sage Francis - "Conspiracy to Riot"
Download: Johann Johannson - "The Rocket Builder"
Download: The Problemaddicts & Masta Ace - "Hurting"
Download: The Problemaddicts - "Over The Colour You Like"
Download: Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt - "Fast Forward Regrets"

Here's a collection of new MP3s, as well as my thoughts on them. Here they are:

Jean on Jean
- definitely sounds like someone is trying to cheer themselves up by singing a song, but also recognizes the utter futility of doing so. This starts out as an anti-folk version of a girl-group anthem, but then slowly adds a church organ (research organs), xylophone, and other Specter-esque production tricks. There's not much imaginative songwriting, but bells-and-whistles are still nice.

Marcio Local - well, the title certainly negates the need for explaining the style of this song.

Holding Mercury - sounds like Nickelback doing Cheap Trick. Melody is reminiscent of The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony", but instead of orchestral transcendence, we get a douchey chorus. This is the sound of a band struggling against themselves, and it's painful to listen to. There's something here to suggest that they could still learn something from Rick Nielsen and Co., but that would mean going all the way to Budokan.

Atlas Sound
- Another appealing slice of dream-pop from Bradford Cox.

Yonlu - Beautiful, melancholy music that marries Brazilian musical stylings with a George Harrison-esque sense of songcraft.

Japenese Motors
- "Spendin Days" is not revelatory to anyone who's heard either garage-pop from the 60s, or New Wave from the early 80s, but an amiable melody and some nice clean guitar tones make for a pleasant listen.

Volcano Suns - Two new old songs from Volcano Suns, who bear a positive resemblance to Guided By Voices and Husker Du.

Sage Francis
- A special MP3 released to raise awareness to journalists mistreatment in St. Paul, the Providence-based MC crafts a scathing indictment of authoritarianism. The last minute of sampled audio footage sends chills down the spine.

Johann Johannsson - A part of a planned musical trilogy about technology, Johannsson, uses minimalist motifs to create a haunting piece. For those who admire the Kronos Quartet's work in Darren Aronofsky's films.

The Problemaddicts - Two solid hip-hop tracks from a Rhymesayers-minded group.

(Jonathan Graef)

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